DIY LED questions from the new guy

Hey gents, thanks so much for all the amazing feedback! I have an Illinois medical reefer card which allows us to grow FIVE plants. So we’re all legal here. FYI, I lost my two best weed friends years ago, and I hope they’re able to see what’s going on with med and Rec weed being legal in many states. They would never believe it. Hell, I can’t believe it.

The original DIY thread by @dbm32 was from 2017, so I just wanted to get some current technology feedback since we’re going on four years later, so my apologies for the resurrection.


Here’s what I’m trying to do:

  1. 4x4 w/propagation. I’ve already purchased an HLG 1000 for my nursery.
  2. I’m looking at two lights. The big red HLG and the Spyder Farmer.
  3. Is the gap in price worth it?
  4. How labor intensive would a DIY project to build something like the HLG be, versus biting the bullet and purchasing it to save the headache of the build?
  5. If anyone recommends the DIY, what brand and how much am I looking at for something comparable to both units?



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Sorry, this is Spyder Farmer and my HLG for the nursery.

I did the DIY thing only because I had a ready supply of heatsink material handy. The ‘Let’s Talk diy Lights’ is current so might start at the end and back up a bit. There’s a few folks discussing the differences. My vote is for the Quantum Boards but depending on the space you are lighting you may want smaller fixtures (multiple 260 rspec or XL, something like that)


Take a look at budget led. I bought I think it’s 500 watt from wall with a 760 far red. I probably want to believe I can see a difference.Diy wise save a lot over hlg. I’ve seen no drop in quality or yield. Just my two cents.

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Good point. Thanks

Budget led doesnt include the wire or connectors. They also dont sell the dimmer thing. By the time you buy that your rite at what hlg is. And hlg has the horticulture lm301h leds.


Do me this guy?

Does this involve installing all the diodes?
I guess the bottom line for me is how involved is the assembly, and is it worth it?


@mandoVol I just built same one.

You just have to mount boards to heatsink.
Cut and install wires
Screw driver to heatsink

Everything is included. You pretty much put the parts on the heatsink and connect wires.
I did have to drill 2 holes to center driver on back of heatsink. Easy enough.


I just ordered another. I’ll have it in a week. When I get it I’ll do pics as I build it. Also there is a video on hlg website that shows building .

You want two hlg 260xl rspec for a 4x4


The two 2x288QB’s are the most versatile than a one HLG-550.

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$368 without shipping DIY. You can find the power supply cheaper I just cant link it here.


You gents are powerful sharp!

The common denominator seems to be that you guy covet the coverage/power combo that you get with two smaller powered units. Does that makes sense?

Am I correct in assuming that although the HLG 550 is is the current standard, most growers that bought just one honking rig wished? they had purchased two smaller ones if they could do it again?

This is so intimidating because you want to get it right and get best possible technology for your $$$.
It’s very humbling so please bare with me for asking the same tired questions that you guys have been answering for years.


Are you planning on growing 5 plants, of the same strain, at the same time? Or will you be trying different strains and staggering their growth.

I mention this because 1 single fixture is great if all plants are the same age and at the same canopy height. Otherwise it’s better to have multiple (2 probably for a 5’x5’) fixtures so you can adjust them to be plant specific.


Well, I’ve already got the HLG 100 V2 for that purpose, but I didn’t think it had enough power for a full cycle grow?


Focus 70%-80% on flowering…

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The hlg 100 has plenty of power for a full grow. Albeit just for a 3sq ft area. So basically 1 smallish plant.


You are smart asking which to be looking at with all that are out there. I got 2 of the 135 kits when they were on sale. I chose that way so I could use them as add on lighting. or for a grow. I use scrogs. So one of these will flower a 2x2 top for me. 3x3 for veg. I have 3 other panels to cover 4x2 areas for flower. How I saw it was. I could get one light that would cover a 4x4 tent. And if I only used half the tent. Half the light was wasted. getting 2 panels meant I only needed to use the light I want. I, or @Myfriendis410 build me a 260 light that has 2 drivers on it. So I can veg using half the light. or shut down half the light as one pant finished and another was still growing. Most here have different light set ups to meet the needs of their grows. What works in my tent may not be what would be needed in yours :grin:
Basically. Once you know how you want to use the light area wise. It makes deciding a little easier I think. @dbrn32 is still around for better info too :grin:


I need to rewire mine so the four corners are on the same driver lol. I moved them around when I added the second set…oops…trying to save wire.

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The hlg-550 r-spec was $1000 light few months ago. New model means lower price, and you can probably find 10% off code somewhere. For $800 iys awfully nice light ready to hang. For around $700 or so you can do the two 260 xl kits. Two would 4 boards running at same power level as the 550, but using 2 drivers and board spacing provides little more even coverage in 4x4.

You can DIY to get a little more user friendly light in that space, but it’s probably not going to be any cheaper than what two 260 xl kits cost.