Check Out T5 High Output Fixtures!

milehigh_7

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Hey indoor growers, if you are using T-12 or T-8 fluorescent lights you should check these out! I have attached a comparison between T-5, T-8, T-12 and Metal Halide lighting. The results are interesting.

Searching online a four foot, four bulb fixture will run you $250+ but Home Depot has one for $69. There is some assembly required but you can't beat that price! Check out the chart.
 

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davetree

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T-5s are the best fluorescent lights you can use right now. They are warmer and will burn a plant though if they are too close. The results are much better than with other fluorescent lighting.
 

ibnozn

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You can also increase the output of fluorescent tubes via ODNO lighting. (Overdriven Normal Output - Google the term)
T5s work very well for this kind of setup.
 

Bill S

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hehehe after they get rid of incandescents, the mercury in the florescents will be next, I won't be in a hurry to buy $250 fixtures for tube lamps anytime soon. $69.00 either.

If the warm earthers have thier say the incandecents will return when the grid is run on sunshine.

Sorry strange mood today.
 

Bonsai Nut

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I want to comment because I have a little knowledge in this area and I think your chart may be misleading for many people.

First, T5 bulbs do not, in and of themselves, achieve the results in your chart. "T5" is not an indicator of lighting technology per se - it is an indicator of the diameter of the fluorescent bulb in eighth inches. T8 is 1", T12 is 1.5", and T5 is 5/8". You can get many different types of T5 bulbs, including standard output and HO or "high output" bulbs. Only high output bulbs come close to achieving the lumen/watt efficiencies in your chart - and HO fixtures are often not sold at big box retail like Home Depot. As is always the case, you need to know what you are buying.

Additionally, CRI (color rendering index) is not really relevant for horticultural purposes. What you want is PAR - which stands for "Photosynthetically Available Radiation". CRI is an indicator of what the human eye can see - and human vision is skewed heavily towards yellows and greens because that is how we have evolved. Photosynthesis relies on two spectrum bands in the blue and red spectra, and lights designed for plant grow will be skewed heavily towards these bands. Do not confuse what looks good to our eye with what is good for our plants :)

Additionally, be careful when calculating lumens! They are not additive in the way you suggest. For example if tropical sunlight is 30,000 lumens, you cannot take a room, put in 30,000 one lumen candles, and say - "look, bright as tropical sunlight". In your chart you are suggesting that 4 x 5000 lumen bulbs achieves 20,000 lumens. The reality is probably less than half that - I would be surprised if 4 x 5000 lumen bulbs generated more than 7500 lumens beneath the fixture (though they will cover a larger area with light).

There are many other considerations to take into account when designing lighting setups - things like heat, reflector efficiency, bulb age, space requirements, distance from fixture to plant, etc. To cut to the chase, right now the best T5 setups come close to achieving what good Metal Halide setups can achieve. I say "close" because for some purposes (like high intensity, or high CRI), metal halide is still the only way to go. Try to light a football stadium with T5 fluorescents and you'll see what I mean :)

Of course, all of this will be moot in about 5 years. The one lighting technology you DIDN'T mention will soon replace ALL lighting as we know it. LED's will soon be the only game in town. They will be more efficient, cleaner, cooler, brighter and cheaper than all other lighting technologies. The beauty of LED's is that they are following an improvement curve similar to that seen with microprocessors - their price is dropping 50% every 3 years. Have you priced an LED television recently? :) Go check out some high intensity LED light fixtures and prepare to be blown away... Within our lifetimes you will have to answer questions like "dad? what did a lightbulb look like?"
 

davetree

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BNut is correct - LED lighting will be replacing most lighting soon, just a matter of time. Just ask the guys at the grow store. They will tell you he's right about the T5 lighting as well. You need to buy the expensive high output fixtures. You get what you pay for with grow lights.

I believe that Walmart is converting every one of their parking lots to LED lighting.
 
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Bill S

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Good info BNut, right on the LEDs, they still have a few glitches to work out, but getting better fast. Heat and life are the bigger ones I know of, but as you start to see cities like Seattle change out street lights(high pressure sodiums for the most part) these will take over fast.
 

Smoke

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The other thing was that the comparisons made in the example was a HO T5 while being compared to NO T8's and T12's.

8 and 12 also come in HO and VHO which blow away HO t5's.

I went thru all this crap 10 years ago with Salt water Reef tanks. VHO flour versus HID. HID is always the way to go.....only if we could get rid of the heat....
 

elroy

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The research station I work at has replaced all the VHO T8 fixtures with HO T5 light canopies in the walkin growth rooms and growth cabinets. Apparently about 40% more PAR on a wattage basis. Less heat to worry about too.

Elroy
 

edro

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Last winter I switched from 2 400W Metal Halide fixtures to 2 fluorescent fixtures with 6 54W T5HO lamps each.
My tropicals grew much better with the fluorescents.
 

Jason

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Bnut, that was the most useful summary of lighting I've been privy to. Someone should cross post this to all those tropical guys trying to do it all indoors. Thanks. I'll save a light bulb to show my kids. :)
 

milehigh_7

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I apologize for leaving out the HO bit. The fixture and bulbs I am using are HO and work quite well!
 

C.A. Young

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T5s are great for small trees and propagating cuttings, but BNut is right: At this point in time, metal halide lighting is the best you can do for your trees. LEDs will get get there within 5 - 10 years, but they aren't there yet.
 

Poink88

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I apologize for leaving out the HO bit. The fixture and bulbs I am using are HO and work quite well!

This is the first thing I noticed. Regular T5 is actually very close to T8 performance & output wise (with very slight edge to T5).
 

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