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Old 05-09-2019, 07:24 PM #1
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Penetrator Quantum - R&D For a New Era in Lighting

After being on hiatus the last several years from the LED industry due to personal reasons, a lot seems to have changed in the time I was absent. Most notably the resurgence of SMD panels that are being marketed as "Quantum Boards".



There is nothing new about SMD panels other than their rise to popularity. Back in 2010 we designed our first 50W SMD panel for microgreens. Testing with it went well, growing full sized cherry tomatoes, small peppers and microgreens, so we developed our ECO+ 0.5W SMD line. We sold it to a few commercial microgreen farmers and later discontinued it as the sales were slow in the retail market.

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Now it's 2019 and SMD panels are all the rage. Why? Mostly because of cost, but also because of efficiency. The lower you go in wattage on a LED, the less heat the diode is subjected to which means your efficiency increases. Put plainly: 200pcs 0.5W is more efficient (produces more light per watt) than 100pcs 1W. 300pcs 0.5W is more efficient than 50pcs 3W.

We told people in 2011 when our X-lens was released that it would eventually be made obsolete as LEDs became more and more efficient. Now it's 8 years later and it seems we are nearing the point where our X-lens could become obsolete.


NEW R&D FOR A NEW ERA

Lenses have been both a curse and a blessing for many years. When LEDs weren't as powerful, lenses helped to focus the intensity into a smaller area to bring PPFD high enough to flower plants. Without lenses the earliest LED grow lights would have fallen flat on their faces. But lenses also block about 7% light per layer, and over time the acrylic can degrade causing further losses in output. Once LEDs are powerful enough on their own to deliver 1500 ppfd at 12" without lenses, lenses are no longer necessary.

Hydro Grow has always been an open-source developer, publishing our R&D to the web wherever someone will host us (like ICMag). So I will be sharing with you the R&D that goes into making a new light here at Hydro Grow.

Step 1: Picking the right SMD LED
Right now I have samples being created in 3 different SMD packages: 2835, 3030 and 5730. Testing over the years has shown us that the same chips in different packages lead to different efficiencies, as some packages have better heat sink and optical efficiency than others.



The samples I am preparing have chips supplied by Epistar, EpiLEDs, Optotech, Bridgelux and Osram. I will be getting 2-3 samples of each chip in each wavelength for each of the 3 types of SMD packages. The wavelengths we will be testing are 440nm, 470nm, 525nm, 640nm and 660nm.



The samples will be soldered to Star MCPCBs. Each sample will then be loaded one at a time, into our custom integrating sphere that uses a quantum light (PAR) sensor. Our sphere was developed for one purpose only: relative output measurements. It is not designed to provide umol/joule or similar measurements, only to be able to create and then compare relative data.

The package that provides the best output per dollar is the one we will be choosing to build our new lights. While our focus is to maintain the highest efficiency in all our products, any gains in efficiency have to be justified by price. Prior testing has shown that a LED with 7% better output than our own costs double to purchase. Needless to say most people won't spend double to get 7% more yield.

Step 2: Calibrating our Spectrum
After we have selected our LEDs and recorded the test data of their relative umol output, the next step is to calibrate our G4 spectrum of 75% red, 15% green and 10% blue with a 4:1 ratio of red to far-red. This is done by taking the relative output of each wavelength and then multiplying out how many LEDs we will have at that output compared to the total output of the fixture.

Step 3: Building our Prototype
Once we have calculated out exactly how many of each wavelength we need to calibrate our G4 spectrum, the next step is designing the prototype. In this stage I will be creating a PCB layout of the LEDs where the focus is on equal distribution of spectrum for homogenous blending. The prototype PCB will be created and affixed to a sufficient heat sink, then sent to me for PPFD mapping. If the PPFD mapping shows a higher PAR average than our X3 technology, we will begin fading out the X3 line. We will then replace it with a new generation of SMD 0.5W products for a new era of indoor gardening.

We hope you will follow along with as as we carry out each of these steps and publish our R&D to ICMag.
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Old 05-09-2019, 08:11 PM #2
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Will be interesting to see if the newer smd chips in specific wavelengths will out perform the white/red mix on the v2 quantum boards.

Good luck in your research bro!
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Old 05-13-2019, 11:58 PM #3
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Will be interesting to see if the newer smd chips in specific wavelengths will out perform the white/red mix on the v2 quantum boards.

Good luck in your research bro!

Red LEDs tend to have the highest efficiency in terms of umol/joule, and considering our product has 2/3 of the LEDs in red/far red wavelengths, it should give us a significant advantage in terms of the efficiency of the product.



In terms of efficacy, our spectrum is a lot more powerful than generic white LEDs with a few 660 sprinkled in. We discontinued white from our products in 2010.
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Old 05-14-2019, 03:45 AM #4
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Excited to follow along and see what you come up with. Thanks for sharing your ideas and letting us peer behind the curtain a little bit.
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Old 05-14-2019, 04:48 PM #5
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Samples are on their way. Not all are shown in the image, and there are multiple packages in each stack, but should have them by next Monday to begin testing.
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Old 05-14-2019, 05:15 PM #6
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Am dont like "blurple".... Sun doesnt look that way..

but will stay to soak some new knowledge if this knowledge exists..

This with LED lights goes too fast,am hardly aclimatized for all this new models..
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Old 05-14-2019, 09:36 PM #7
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Am dont like "blurple".... Sun doesnt look that way..

but will stay to soak some new knowledge if this knowledge exists..

This with LED lights goes too fast,am hardly aclimatized for all this new models..

It's a common misconception that our lights are "blurple". We create white light using red, green and blue LEDs. RGB emitters are used in many commercial applications with color changing/blending LEDs. The spectrum from our light is white with a hint of pink, but in no way looks blue or purple.
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Old 05-14-2019, 09:47 PM #8
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Here are some concept images I began working on this morning. Cooling RGB LEDs is essential for their initial output and long-term performance/reliability (far more so than white LEDs), so I'm planning to use a rather thick heat plate behind the LEDs with short fins. The model I designed in this image comes in around 6.6lbs per linear foot.

I haven't decided yet on a final reflector design, or done the testing on various reflector samples to determine what type will give the best optical performance, which is why these are concept images. I do plan on having the option of a reflector, but it won't necessarily be a standard option (all lights will have the screw taps for it however).



On the side of the heat sink I have screw taps that can be used for hangers or T-Slot adapters (pictured) to use the light with 1020 or 2020 aluminum profiles to build out large arrays (rather than hanging lights individually).

I'm planning on using a configuration of 8 x 15 LEDs on a PCB that is roughly 5.5" x 12". Modularity has always been my thing rather than building out bigger and bigger panels. I may build models with 1, 2, 3 or 4 modules in length, as heat sinks can be extruded however long I want. The power supply will be external and likely affixed to a mounting plate on the back of the heat sink (not in concept images).



What it would look like with 4 lights on a 36" x 36" t-slot profile frame.


Each of the lights shown in these images would have 240 LEDs consuming approximately 100W of power. 3 modules would be 150W, 4 would be 200W (if I build longer panels).

If you have any design feedback, elements you think would enhance the design or ideas in general, please feel free to share them. We've always taken feedback and suggestions from customers when developing new products.
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Old 05-14-2019, 11:47 PM #9
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I noticed you didnt include any infrared light in your current penetrator series lights or for this newer design but mention in the pdf for your lights that 740nm is one of the most efficiently used wavelengths for plants. What are your thoughts on the Emerson effect and phytochrome manipulation before/a few minutes after lights out to hasten Pfr -> Pr transition? I searched through the NASA study on your site but only found mention of shade avoidance and stretching. Also noticed no UV light included in current or for new design, your thoughts on UV?
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Playing around outdoors again (current grow 2019 starts on post #75):

https://www.icmag.com/ic/showthread.php?t=352271

Science Of Lighting & Plant Reactions (Sticky Thread):

https://www.icmag.com/ic/showthread.php?t=358147

Drying and Cure Process Explained In Depth (Sticky Thread):

https://www.icmag.com/ic/showthread.php?t=358186

Pot Size, Root system and maximizing growth thread:

https://www.icmag.com/ic/showthread.php?t=344347

Silicon, The Misunderstood Element:

https://www.icmag.com/ic/showthread.php?t=352413

Humic and Fulvic acid information:

https://www.icmag.com/ic/showthread.php?t=352265


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Old 05-14-2019, 11:54 PM #10
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I noticed you didnt include any infrared light in your current penetrator series lights or for this newer design, what are your thoughts on the Emerson effect? I searched through the NASA study on your site but only found reference and mention of shade avoidance and stretching.
We have been using 740nm far red since our first Penetrator model was released in 2009. We use more FR than any other manufacturer in our standard spectrum. Right now the ratio is about 4:1 red to far red. We have never used infrared which is a heat-producing wavelength. The FR we use stimulates the Emerson Enhancement effect which I have been teaching people about since 2009. FR is a vital component in our spectrum, I simply am not testing the FR because doing so on a quantum light meter where the sensitivity is weighted between 400-700nm is not a good tool for measuring the output.

I see you have done a lot of in-depth research on spectrum. I read over your post a few days back. You've learned a lot more than most.
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