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California Lightworks FAQ – ShopGrowSpaces

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California Lightworks FAQ

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SOLARSYSTEM AND SOLARXTREME LIGHTS?
DO I HAVE TO KEEP MY CONTROLLER POWERED ON?

Yes, you need to keep your controller powered on in order for it to run the program. Our lights do not retain any programming. Commands are sent to the lights from the controller when they are scheduled to occur. If you are concerned about the light that the controller screen emits, as long as you are on the home screen that shows the current program, time, spectrum, etc. your screen will only emit a green light which has no effect on your plants during the dark period. You can power off your controller if you do not wish to run any program or keep your lights off. You can also use the controller's manual mode to simply send a specific spectrum to your lights and then shut the controller off. This will cause your lights to remain powered on with that spectrum indefinitely, or on a schedule if your lights are plugged into an external timer. As long as you keep your light switched to controller mode, it will remember that last spectrum every time it powers back on or until you change it again with the controller.

DO I NEED A CONTROLLER TO USE MY LIGHTS?


The SolarSystem Controller is not required to use any California LightWorks LED grow lights. Without the controller, you can keep a SS-1100, SS-550, or SS-275 in always on mode. This allows you to keep the light on full blast and plug it into a timer just like any other grow light.

In order to use the SS-1100, SS-550, or SS-275 to their full capabilities, we recommend purchasing the SolarSystem Controller. You will be able to customize your spectrum, set your hours of light and dark, set a calendar of programs for each growth phase, put your SS-550 or SS-1100 into view mode, use the advanced programming to change your spectrum up to 20 times in a 24 hour period, manually change your spectrum, set a sunrise / sunset length of time, and many other features. The SolarSystem Controller also can control a limitless number of SolarSystem series lights, perfect for applications of all sizes.

WHAT CONTROLLER SETTINGS DO YOU RECOMMEND FOR EACH PHASE OF GROWTH?


Seedling – R39 W49 B99
Veg – R50 W99 B99
Pre-Flower – R99 W99 B50
Flower – R99 W99 B39
Finishing – R39 W99 B99

A heavy blue spectrum is ideal during veg which simulates springtime sun and encourages overall development of roots, branches, and leaves with short spacing between nodes. A heavy red spectrum is ideal in flower which assists in stretch and bigger yields.


HOW DO SOLARSYSTEM LIGHTS COMPARE TO OTHER LED GROW LIGHTS ON THE MARKET?

Most LED grow lights on the market are made at a handful of factories in China and look identical. They are imported and marketed by various US or Canadian based retailers and e-tailers under various brands under much fanfare, often on eBay and Amazon. They typically employ low power, low quality 1 to 2 Watt LED emitters, often packaged in China. Most of them do not deliver enough intensity for flowering. California LightWorks SolarSystem LEDs feature high power LEDs from Osram, a world leader in LED technology. All other manufacturing is done 100% in California, USA.  All of our lights deliver high levels of PAR in the highest absorption parts of the spectrum to yield high quality crop. Other unique features of the SolarSystem series include the ability to change spectrum to optimize the light output for each stage of plant growth and the supplemental UVB lights to maximize potency.

 SHOULD I HAVE THE UVB ON ALL THE TIME?

UVB has proven to be very effective in the last 2-3 weeks of flowering.

DO OTHER GROW LIGHTS HAVE UVB?

HID bulbs do not deliver any significant levels of UVB since it’s filtered by their outside glass. No other LED grow light in the market covers the UVB spectrum to our knowledge since LED emitters are narrow band and focus their light in a narrow range. There are no cost effective LED based solutions to effectively deliver UVB today. That’s why California LightWorks employs T5 based fluorescent lights for UVB.

HOW DOES UVB HELP PLANT GROWTH?

UVB has been shown to significantly increase potency in certain flowering plants (Just Google “UVB research by Pate, David W.” or “UVB Lydon, John and Teramura, Alan H.”)

Most traditional grow lights and LEDs do not produce any UVB. Our SolarStorm series was the first grow light to integrate supplemental UVB light into the spectrum for increased potency. We now offer the SolarSystem 550 UVB, the SolarSystem 1100 UVB, and the SolarSystem UVB standalone supplemental light.

DO I NEED TO COOL CALIFORNIA LIGHTWORKS LIGHTS WITH A FAN OR AIR CONDITIONING?

In most small setups California LightWorks LED grow lights should require no additional cooling. In larger commercial setups, depending on room configuration and number of units running in a confined space, some type of venting or exhaust may be needed to keep the grow room temperature within acceptable range.


DO I NEED A BALLAST WITH YOUR GROW LIGHTS?

California LightWorks LED grow lights are equipped with built-in power supplies and require no additional ballasts. The installation takes a couple of minutes; just hang, plug in power and data cables (if applicable) and you’re done.

HOW LONG DO LEDs LAST?

California LightWorks uses only premium Osram LEDs.  We do not use the cheaper Chinese LEDs like a lot of other LED grow light manufacturers. The rated life on all of our LEDs is over 50,000 hours (more like 80,000 hours.) This equals from 12 to 15 years of normal grow cycles.

HOW MANY WATTS IS THIS EQUAL TO VS OTHER TYPES OF LIGHTS?


LEDs produce roughly four times as much plant usable light per watt as compared to traditional grow lights. Many LED suppliers argue that a 200 watt LED is equal to 800 watts of traditional grow light power. However, a more realistic rule-of-thumb ratio of 1:2.

A better way to gauge power level is by looking at the surface area adequately covered by the light. The SolarSystem 1100 which consumes 800 watts is designed to cover a 5' x 5' grow area in flower, similar to a 1000 watt HPS light. In the same respect, a SolarSystem 550 replaces a 600w HPS with only 400 watts maximum. Please see product pages for more information.



ARE LEDS MORE EXPENSIVE TO USE THAN OTHER GROW LIGHTS?


When looking for a grow light solution, you need to take a look at the full cost picture which consists of cost of the light, cost of the system, and cost of electricity over time. LED grow lights are more expensive than traditional lights when first purchased. However, when you include the full cost of an HID system including cooling, ducting, wiring, installation, etc. the up front cost can be about the same. The big savings come when you factor in energy cost. By reducing energy usage by 50% or more, LEDs deliver major dividend, often within the first year. Additionally, LEDs never require bulb changes and are rated to run for over 50,000 hours. This represents a 12 to 15 year life span in most growing situations. Traditional light bulbs are only rated at 10,000 hours and most growers change these every six months to a year. Over a 12 year period this represents a bulb cost of over $2,400.00 for each 1000 watt HPS fixture! When considering the energy savings and bulb replacement costs, LEDs are much less expensive than traditional grow lights.

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF LED GROW LIGHTS OVER OTHER TYPES OF LIGHTS?


Indoor horticulture adopted HPS (high pressure sodium) and MH (metal halide) HID (high intensity discharge) type lights a long time ago because they were the only systems that delivered a high enough level of light. Even though HID lights were developed for outdoor street lighting applications, they delivered good results when used for indoor growing. However, HID lights suffer from a few drawbacks. First, they are not the most efficient at delivering PAR (photosynthetically active radiation) and thus lose most of their energy as heat rather than useful light for plants. This results in huge energy bills as well as the need for supplemental cooling of the lights with fans and ducting. Fluorescent lights do a good job for vegetative growth but are not powerful enough for flowering and tend to also produce a great deal of heat. These traditional types of grow lights cannot be designed to deliver the specific light wavelengths that plants absorb the most. LEDs are much more efficient and create much less heat to generate high intensity light for indoor growing. This eliminates the need for supplemental cooling. Also, LED technology makes it possible to select only the light frequencies most absorbed by the plants during each phase of growth. This further reduces energy waste and improves overall growing results. California LightWorks LED grow lights can typically reduce energy costs by 50% or more.



I'VE HEARD THAT LEDs ARE GREAT FOR THE VEGETATIVE PHASE BUT CAN I ACTUALLY FLOWER WITH LEDS?


The simple answer is YES, if you have a high enough light intensity.

The key to a healthy bloom and good yield is having the right level of PAR (photosynthetically active radiation) light for the type of plant you are growing. The standard way to measure PAR light is in micro-moles per square meter per second (µmoles/m2/s.) On a sunny day at noon in California, the sun delivers around 2,000 µmoles/m2/s. Different plants require different levels of light for healthy flowering. For example, lettuce and potatoes can grow under only a few hundred µmoles/m2/s. Red peppers require higher levels and tomatoes need light levels 1,000 µmoles/m2/s or higher. Too much light does not necessarily help: Plants only absorb a certain maximum level of light and the rest is reflected back. This maximum level is called the “light saturation point” and it varies from plant to plant. In order to achieve good flowering, the leaves of your plants need to receive PAR light levels that approach their light saturation point.

Well designed LED lights concentrate their emitted light in the deep blue and deep red part of the light spectrum where absorption by plants is highest. Thus, LEDs allow you to achieve good bloom with a lower PAR light value compared to HID lights. If the LEDs are delivering light in the right parts of the spectrum (deep blue 430-460nm and deep red 650-670nm) where absorption is at its maximum, the PAR value required for bloom can be 40-50% below that of HID type lights.

Many Chinese made LED grow lights use low power one or two watt LEDs with common colors used for traffic lights, street lights, etc.. not well suited for horticulture. Companies importing and marketing these lights make all types of claims about results and show pictures of various types of plants growing as proof. Just because you can grow lettuce under UFO type lights does not mean you will get tomatoes to bloom.

California LightWorks LEDs use the latest Osram top bin LEDs which are the most powerful single die LEDs on the market. The light is concentrated in the right parts of the light spectrum - deep blue (430-460nm) and deep red (650-670nm) where absorption is highest. Our grow lights including the SolarSystem and SolarXtreme series deliver PAR light levels that are at or above the light saturation point of the most demanding plants. This produces excellent results in flowering when the light is positioned at the proper distance from the plant canopy.



WHO IS CALIFORNIA LIGHTWORKS? WHAT DO YOU DO?


California LightWorks is a company focused on research, design, development and manufacturing of advanced, energy efficient horticultural lighting and automation equipment. Our vision is to apply the latest advances in high efficiency lighting and control technologies as well as effective manufacturing techniques to deliver highly differentiated products with clear benefits at competitive prices to the greenhouse and indoor horticulture markets.

 

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