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Old 02-01-2019, 01:33 PM #41
Drop That Sound
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Update on my own designs:

Gonna find a middle ground, and take the advice of other SIL growers here, and not go too overkill with 930w 4' x 3' fixtures.

I heard there is diminishing returns over 40w per sq ft, but thinking that's with the lights hanging above the canopy a certain distance?.

I do see the benefit of going a little overboard, to the point I have to raise the lights up, and getting more light in places that otherwise would get blocked out. I also see the benefit of using less bulbs, with less electricity, and keeping them a lot closer, but thats not my main goal.

I'm not gonna go too much over 40w per sq ft now, and i'm new to LED growing with anything more than a few SILs, especially the 1600+ lumen ones. Never really flowered fully with LED, but do have my buddies that do and have watched them grow my same strains I have. I don't wanna go too much, but also fall short either if I can handle more light...

While I can get around a gram per watt with HPS in the same spaces I plan to hang the SILs, Its hard to wrap my head around the idea that less than 600w of LED light bulbs is gonna pull what a 1000 HPS will, especially when I grow monster single plants sometimes.

I just have the 1 gpw stuck in my head but would be awesome if I could hit 1.5 with them. But that changes my whole design, and i'm kinda OCD when I build stuff, especially when i'm about to hack both ends off over 100 bulbs give or take. Unlike most SIL arrays I won't be able to change much after my build, without starting over, so getting it right the first time is important.


Here are some more configurations I been thinking about below.

Keep in mind the main design on the first page, its a box with air flowing through, which I want to disperse evenly over every opened up bulb, and also keep the electrical runs nice and tidy, while also leaving room for recepticals and household light switches/cover plates to turn on different sets & or rows. The area on the left side of the pics will be a few inches of space to do just that, and the end I have access too in the room.

I'm gonna pick up 2 4x8 sheets of whatever material this wknd (1/4 ply, thinner hard tempered mdf with white coating, etc) I deem the best for the top and bottom panels, and use nice 3/4 plywood strips about 4" for the sides of the box. Maybe a little bit of framing depending on the need.

Everything on the exteriors will be routed with a small radius and all the wood areas painted or covered with laminate or something to look real nice. Maybe some trim mouldings on the corners, we'll see. Even the many holes will have a radius routed on the bottom side. And little feet to protect the PCBs if I lay it down flat on the ground.

The tops will be removable for access.
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Old 02-01-2019, 01:55 PM #42
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I'll be going ahead and building both fixtures at once BTW, one for each 4.5' x 3.5' area, roughly 15-16 sq feet each, with 6 inches of room around the fixtures for play. Stay tuned!
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Old 02-04-2019, 06:26 AM #43
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Hey drop that sound a nice thick dry erase white board might be nice to use for what you're thinking, they're already water resistant and a high gloss white, and sturdy. Would look really nice, I use a part of one for the back panel of a split clone/veg and mom grow box made from a big ass old wood tv and entertainment center combo. I cut holes and mount computer fans for air exchange on the white board and they're sturdy like a high density masonite board. I've had similar thoughts mounting and air cooling sils but decided to go a more simple route and skip all that for the time being. I love putting together my own stiff so maybe I'll assemble something similar to what you have in mind in the future and get some more inspiration from your build.
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Old 02-04-2019, 07:35 AM #44
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Good call Ill check it out if I can find some, they do have some white wall press board paneling that people use for dry erase boards, not the real deal though, ive seen old used big classroom ones sold on craigslist sometimes.

I was at home depot last night and checking out different materials. The 5mm underlayment shot up to over $16 a sheet which is rediculous, but then again more people doing flooring in the winter, while 9/16ths OSB is $9. Usually vice versa in the summer months. 3/8 or 1/2 inch plywood is only a dollar more, but all their stuff is pretty warped.

They have white vynil coated 1/4" mdf @ 22 a sheet which looks nice, but not very rigid and kinda heavy.

The best material looks to be tempered 1/8" press board, cheap at $9 and doesnt flex much, but i started thinking about checking for other stuff around first. Its #1 choice so far.

The strips i'll use inside the boxes to channel the air should make the fixtures less flexible anyway, another reason im doing it that way.


I may just use a thicker 1/2" panel for the bottom with the SILs attached though, and do a little framing and use thinner paneling for the rest of the box cover.

Ill use thin weather stripping/felt to seal the access panel, and glue everything else so its all air tight, including some rtv silicone on the SIL pcbs right where the pins from the driver connect in the center.

The weather took a turn for the worse last night and been rain/snowing, or I woulda said heck with it and went back today with the truck anyway. Truck bed full of wet snow no go..



Oh yea and they have the rectangular metal ducting. 3ft long half sections for $7, and 5' sections for around $10. Need two halves to create the duct, but they are hard to take back apart if you need to replace anything. Unless you reach in from the end. I will use them for another project in bigger spaces later this year. Cutting the holes wears out hole saw bits quickly too, but man they would look nice and be light. I hate paying full price for the register box fittings on the ends too, love finding them brand new at the re-store for a few bucks each, but that could take awhile. I dont want too much ducting in my small room. But long rooms for sure.

I'll be less than $20 for the boxes if i use the tempered utility press boards. 40 or so if i cover them with Plastex 1/16" plastic wall paneling sheets (like cheap FRP), and a coat of chrome spray paint on the bottom panel.

i dont mind spending money and using higher end materials on mine, but like to keep the costs low so others might want to try, or my friends might want me to make a few dozen boxes. I could have been mass producing simple fixtures with base sockets, and made 100 of them by now lol, but new designs are fun to figure out!
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Old 02-09-2019, 10:39 PM #45
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Lowes has the better high gloss dry erase board, I want it bad but they don't have full 4x8 panels in stock! Just 2x4's. I need 4 3x4' sheets and the leftover for around the edges.. I love the gloss idea almost enough to make 4 smaller fixtures instead.

Ahh well but anyway Lowes actually has the masonite like hardboard (not mdf) panels in white in 2 different thicknesses. Around $8 for .115 inch and $14 for .151 inch thick.

Ill pickup one of each, the thinner will be the top and to cover the plywood around the sides for the same look all around.

Will save me having to paint it for now or buying something extra to laminate it with. Ill cover all the corners with vynil corner trim.

I like the look of having the 4 corners of the fixture with 45s cut off so i can just make some kind of 45 degree trim..or if my miter cuts are good enough there won't even be a seam, or maybe just need a little caulk.

I'm too picky like that, being the high end fabricator that I am. I would use 1/4 corian panels left over from jobs if I didn't already have plans for them..

Fiberglass could be pretty cool too, maybe in the future Ill make a mold that fits most SILs.

Most people want to just screw the bulbs in which is great for sure, but air cooling The drivers of SILs will drastically increase the life, i'm positive of it.

Going to make a veg unit with sockets at some point, using 9 watt bulbs that generally outlast the hotter 14+w bulbs.

My flower fixtures I wont need to unscrew or have to many switches because I will fill the scrogs soon as I put plants under them.

Im probably just gonna have 2 or 3 circuits to switch on/off now, especially that Im lowering the overall amount of bulbs.

Anyway enough with the posting about it, been snowed in and getting ancy to build, next update will be progress
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Old 02-11-2019, 01:00 AM #46
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The build ideas sound great man, really looking forward to seeing any rough idea of yours being put into fruition.
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Old 02-15-2019, 12:09 AM #47
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The drop off in these lights after a couple years is extreme they just arent rated for this kind of usage and you're still spending alot for little.. seems like such a dumd massive waste of money all around..

My osram, cree, samsung leds wont drop off significantly for a decade, but when that does finally happen i cant go down to the home store to get more granted..
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Old 02-15-2019, 09:14 AM #48
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I feel ya man. I for sure have my doubts when buying a lot of bulbs like i have.

I'm the type of guy that buys cheap $20 something apollo/ipower hps bulbs and replace at least every 2 flower cycles.

So about $50 every 4 months. Once I get my whole perpetual system going in the next few months, that would be about 150 a year to keep two 1ks at full output levels. Way more if I was buying "better" bulbs.

8-9 watt bulbs definitely outlast 14+ due to the heat they create, i've had some 8.5 and dollar store 9w bulbs running non stop over a year. Gonna plug in new ones and compare it next to ones that been running. Will see if I can eye the difference after a years time. Probably buy a light meter soon too.

Im gambling on the fact that air cooling the 15.5w SILs will bring the temps down from 180f and make them last twice as long. Not only the drivers which are what usually fail, but the diodes themselves and the coating on em too.

2 fixtures with 40-49 (havent decided yet) bulbs each isn't a huge amount of money, I can blow that much at the casino in a few hours lol. I could buy any type of light on the market if I really wanted, but i'm going with SILs because.. I can.

Around a few hundred bucks to get my first real LED fix, and build cheap custom fixtures that I can change the bulbs in hopefully only 2 years which isnt a big deal. Well over 1200w too, if I spent a dollar a watt on other tech thats over $1200! Ill pass on that for now..

Snowmaggedon up here in the PNW has really put a hurtin on getting anything done, been repairing carports and canopies... as soon as a break in the weather and I can finally pickup 2 full panels, ill whip the boxes out down at the shop, and come home and wire them up.

They're gonna look like fancy slim hanging cabinets when im done. I pull just under 1 gpw on good runs with hps, if I hit over that (especially like 1.3 or more) I'll consider it a win even even if the bulbs burn out after 1 cycle
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Old 03-16-2019, 07:34 AM #49
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I'm running out of popcorn...any progress on this build? I'm very interested in the outcome as my plants get crispy under 200 watts led in a 2x2 tent, I turn them down late into flower.
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Old 05-02-2019, 05:50 AM #50
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Glad this thread is here, tho it looks like Hastings is the only one to actually SIL-light an entire grow.

I was just working up costs for a 5x5 using Feit 17.5w 100-watt equivalents...@25w/ft.sq, the power draw looks to be 620 for the room/tent...and $133 for cost of bulbs. I understand there are cheaper SILs out there, but I’ve had electricians tell me that Feit is the outfit with the better tech and greater experience, and they’re a hair over $3/bulb.

Something about screw-in LEDs I learned: *never* screw one into a socket that’s live. It’s not in any fine print I’ve found, but the bulb will go wonky - as in, lose brightness and/or just plain fail. Not immediately, necessarily, but having seen how they respond, I won’t risk it on a 36-bulb rig! It would be an effing shame to have a 90-bulb rack go all to feathers....

Now that I see I’d be running the same actual watts as a twin or DE CMH setup, I have to wonder how wise the idea is. Do y’all need to talk me down?
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Last edited by White Beard; 05-05-2019 at 05:57 PM.. Reason: Never use a *felt* bulb...it might sue you
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