Let's talk DIY lights


Wow, I had no idea so much went into growing. If been watching this show Viceland I believe it’s called. I’ve seen allot of supplies thats used but I barely started growing my plants, I’m containers on Window seals around my house :confused: Idk I switch then around depending where the sun hits…


Wow I love how low profile that qb is @mcpd_refugee you’re definitely right about that!

What’s the real difference between this quantum board we keep mentioning, and the strips? They seem very similar lol, but I’m sure @dbrn32 is going to tell me how different they actually are!



My guess is the LED chips that they use. But I could be wrong. I haven’t actually researched what’s available in lighting strips.


my guess is that QB’s are comprised of numerous strips close together…individual strips may be spaced as needed in your grow area. jmo


The quantam boards use the latest in samsung mid power diodes. The same diodes are available mounted on strip pcb’s from Samsung. The strips I quoted are similar technology from bridgelux. The Samsung diodes are more efficient than the bridgelux, but they are also quite a bit more expensive.

The difference from the quantam boards to the either of the strips, is that the diodes are much more condensed on the quantam boards. I believe the latest model uses 304 diodes on a board that’s about 6" x 12".

@ktreez420 if you’d rather look at a quantam board set up, we can do that too. I think 3 boards at about 100 watts per board will do a good 2x4 fixture. I think it would be about $100 per board with heatsink, have to look at drivers but safe to say another $100 give or take. The issue is they are typically out of stock quickly. Personally I don’t think you could go wrong with cobs, strips, or the quantam boards. So many people now are going from seed to harvest with the 3500-4000k phosphor, it’s almost impossible to build a light that doesn’t kick a$$. The biggest issue comes to whether you wanna have the hot new set up or not, and if you’re willing to pay the premium for it. 6-12 month old tech is still really darn good, and you can save a little cash using it.


I completely agree with @dbrn32 when he says, “Personally I don’t think you could go wrong with cobs, strips, or the quantum boards. So many people now are going from seed to harvest with the 3500-4000k phosphor, it’s almost impossible to build a light that doesn’t kick a$$.” I think that full spectrum white light LEDs are the way to go. I think that LED technology will continue to develop a lot like computing technology. I think something new will be continually be coming out.

So, for the average grower, the important things to be asking yourself are:

1.) How much am I really going to be growing? Is it for just me? Is it for me and family and friends? Are I planning on a commercial endeavor?

2.) How much area do I need to cover with my light? Are you in a 2 x 2 tent or 3 x 3 or 4 x 4 or larger? The answer to question 1 controls the answer to this a little bit or vice versa.

3.) What is the most efficient way to provide the right amount and the right type of light to the plants I have in my area? Ultimately, you don’t want to add an extra $20 to $200 to your monthly electricity bill if you don’t have to.

4.) How flexible and adaptable do I need my lighting technology to be? Does it need to be able to expand to meet future changes in your growing style? Or does it just need to be as inexpensive as possible to meet your current needs?

5.) Are there any growing environment concerns that I need to address with my light?

So, for me personally, since I have a smallish cabinet, there were a few limitations I had. I wanted a light that would fit in my cabinet. I needed to be able to control the temperatures in my cabinet. I needed my solution to be somewhat stealthy because even though I am in a legal state, I am in an apartment and my lease forbids growing. Finally, I was on a bit of a budget. I could not go all out and spend a small fortune without my wife giving me some grief. So, I made the decision that I did and it has worked out perfectly.


I know this is off topic but what are the black pots in the third pic? I’ve seen others use them but I’m curious about the design, material, benefits?


@SilentHippie, those are SuperRoots Air Pots. They are made by a company in the UK. They range in size from 1 Liter to 38 Liters for home use. Commercially, they are available in even larger sizes (think tree sized). You can find them in hydroponics stores and online (usually from hydroponics supply stores). Mine are 9.2 Liters (2.4 gallons). I think most people use the 14.6 Liter pots if they are growing in a tent indoors. They use up to the 22 Liter pots if they are growing outdoors and above ground. I have seen people use the 3 Liter size for a SOG application.

The benefit of using them is that your plants do not get root bound in their pots. As the roots grow out, they hit the little air holes and prune themselves. This encourages the root to create shoots off the side of the root so you get a fuller root structure.

That being said, I think that fabric pots work in essentially the same manner. The main difference is that these are made from plastic and are a little more durable and a bit more reusable. They do not soak up water and do not accumulate salts from fertilizers like a fabric pot might.

A downside is that there is a learning curve to using an air pot. When putting soil in an air pot for the first time, you have to carefully pack it into the bottom and sides of the pot to try to prevent water and soil from leaking all over. Also, if you water too quickly, water will just pour out the little holes on the side of the pot. One other downside is that the soil tends to dry out a little quicker in air pots. This ends up being a good thing, making it more difficult to overwater your plants - your plant’s roots get more oxygen than with a traditional plastic pot. However, you have to stay on top of your watering game - you can’t be forgetful with the water.

I hope this helps.


Thank you! I’ve got fabrics coming today myself. Maybe a good investment in the future for me. Sorry for off topic.


@mcpd_refugee I couldn’t agree more!

Everyone’s situation is a little different, but having so many different options plays in perfectly. I talked about this in a few different threads, but this one is as good as any. Among this forum, the norm seems to be big tents with lots of room in them, and a few plants with long veg cycles. In other forums, you see a lot of micro grows, with plants wall to wall in sog or scrog type set ups. The lighting needs for the each of them are completely different. There’s absolutely no need for 50 watts of modern led power per square foot in 10x10 if you don’t plan on having green from wall to wall. Likewise, saying that a single amazon light pulling 75-100 watts is enough for a 2x2 doesn’t tell the whole story either.

I got involved with this because a grower friend wanted to expand but didn’t have the funds to buy the latest and greatest commercial lights. He knew my background, and asked if I could help. So after a few months of learning as much as I could, he ordered about $1000 worth of cree cxa 3070’s and drivers. The change in lighting was such a big difference for him that he regularly upgrades his lights to the latest tech. Since the majority of his crop is sold, he can justify the added expense to higher yeilds on lower power bills. He currently runs strip/cob hybrid fixtures that pull about 60% of the power his hps did 3 years ago, and yeilds almost twice as much. If you look at it from a business standpoint, that’s almost a 400% increase in roi. For him, it’s simply too expensive not to have it.

That situation doesn’t apply to everyone. But I believe the reasoning behind it does even if you’re simply growing for yourself. Why wouldn’t anyone want to increase their yeild while decreasing cost? In @ktreez420’s case, he’s gonna start with just a portion of his grow space and see how it does. I’m 100% confident that it won’t be the last light he builds. But due to his multiple large areas, it’s not budget conducive to replace them all. So we throw the options out there, and he decides what direction to go. I know he’ll be happy, but he’s also going to get to try a specific build in action and see how it does for his particular growing method. Anything he wants to change won’t be a full replacement like buying built fixtures. He can add more led’s, take some led’s away, spread them out more, or tighten them up. Perhaps the biggest advantage here is the ability to replace a single component in the event of a failure, instead of an entire fixture.

You can never use terms like all or everyone, but once most people get over the uncertainty of making it happen, it usually becomes almost an addiction lol.


And this exactly why you’re the man and I love you lol! @dbrn32



@ktreez420 I had you mind when I was throwing the last light together.


I love the low profile of the whole fixture, it’s beautiful already!



@MAXHeadRoom I wanted to try and explain better earlier, but I had something come up mid response.

The quantam boards are using series/parallel layouts. I’m not exactly sure what the string counts are, but I’m sure we could find them. What I meant was that we kinda have to work with what they give us. The engineer that lays them out probably tries to get us close, and then leave it up to us from there.

I’ll try to make a simple example using ten 3 volt diodes with max current of 1000ma…

All ten diodes wired in series would have fv of 30 Volts with max current of 1000ma. They would have max output and least lumens per watt at 1000ma. If we run at 700ma, power goes down but lumens per watt goes up. And so on.

Taking the same 10 diodes and wiring them in parallel would be fv of 3 volts and max current of 10 amps. Running at 10 amps in parallel each diode receives the same 1000ma, will have the same output and efficacy as wired in series. It will just have a different driver application.

Now if we took the 10 diodes and wired two strings in series of 5, each string would have fv of 15 volts and max current of 1000ma. Then we took both of those strings and made a parallel connection, it would give us the same 10 diodes at fv of 15 volts with a max current of 2000ma.

In the 3rd example, if we powered with a cc driver ar 2000ma that had say a 12-18 vdc range, it would be the same exact efficiency as the first 2 examples. If we dropped the current, our led efficiency will go up just like in the other examples as well.

So it’s not really that one board is more efficient than the other. The diodes are the diodes. But hlg designed the 288 board with more parallel strings and the 304 with larger series strings. Obviously there is one less row, but that’s not exactly the electrical difference in the boards.

Hopefully that makes more sense, and sorry for the short answer earlier.


Well its all clear now LOL WOW so we really dont know unless we knew how the board was designed.

What you are saying reminds me of the people on LEDgardener that were wiring the strips. They where wiring series and parallel and I kinda got lost. i understand series and parallel by themselves but together I would reaaly have to think about it


Well yes pretty much. But we do know that as we lower operating current the efficacy improves. At least, I’ve yet to see a data sheet the says otherwise.

Same could be said about increasing the area of our heat sinks though too. If tc of said led is 25c it will be putting out more light than same diode with tc of 50c.

Don’t sweat it either @MAXHeadRoom. It’s pretty basic stuff for anyone in the electrical field, but useless to anyone else. Unless you’re trying build an awesome light.

Easy way to look at it, and you already know this. Series circuit voltage divides among the loads and current stays the same. In a parallel circuit the voltage stays the same and current divides among the loads. Hlg did us a solid by releasing 288 board with lower forward voltage. Makes a lot more options for drivers.


:dizzy_face: got squirrely headed​:upside_down_face:


Thank you! I’m starting very small planning for future needs. Happen to have an AeroGarden with some pretty intense lights. I love how quickly the 3 seedlings are responding. I’ll attach a day 4 pic


Very nice! Which aerogarden do you have? And please, tell me about your grow?

Have you researched growing with the ag any? It’s very easy, but there are some tricks to doing it well.


I’ve watched several you tube MMJ gurus & got seeds from a friend (3 white horse & 3 OGKush). Did water glass method then wet paper towel in zip bag, then next day they were showing signs of growth 1 went gangbusters. I have a 3 spot Aero garden so I put the WH in it & used coco seed pods for the OG (but haven’t seen them come out yet (they had tails when I put them in but I may should have waited another day for them) Aero growth is great. Take a look at my first header! Day 4 IMG_5228|533x500