Let's talk DIY lights



So you just have the 1 plant in the aero garden?


No, there are 3. This one just came out ahead of the others

Heir to the Throne


If you plan on taking them all the way through flower in the ag, you’ll want to flip them early. The roots from 3 plants will fill that res quickly.

You’ll also probably want to look at getting an air pump with an air stone or 2, and start thinking about a way to add some additional lighting. 3 plants will take it over pretty quickly.


I can’t imagine they can stay in the AG it’s very small. Trying to plan ahead for transplant time. Any suggestions are welcome

Heir to the Throne


You can do 1 in the aero garden without too many problems. You’ll still want to shut down the pump and run air stones once the roots are in water. There’s very little room, and pump will suck up the roots and seize. You’ll probably want to add additional lighting as well too. If I remember, the 3 pod unit has a 20 watt led, or larger fluorescent correct? They will grow the plants out ok, but you’ll have very little yeild.

As far as transplanting, you have all sorts of options. You can stay with hydro and get a larger multi plant res. They also make several different sized individual plant hydro setups. Or, you could build your own hydro set up. Transplanting them to a coco mix would work too. Really depends on what you’d like to do and the size of your budget.


@Covertgrower which illumitex light? If I remember, they have a few different models.


@dbrn32 I forgot they had so many lights, glad you asked. I was thinking the NEOSOL light. It’s basically 2X4 coverage. My grow tent is an 8X4 (which is expected to be here Wednesday) with probably a really good chance of getting added on to, or adding another grow tent. So I need big, with lots of light coverage. I have a dedicated 20amp breaker for that space. Don’t forget the boiler uses a little though. I have yet to see how many amps it pulls on startup. But after start up, I know there’s tons of amps left. I installed that line myself, and if I need to, I know there’s more room in the breaker to add more.


Let me go check it out.


I didn’t see a price, but I could almost guarantee the replicating the hlg 550 would be about a direct replacement.

If you haven’t already, check out @MAXHeadRoom build. I think he was all in for around $600. You can buy the light complete from hlg for $1050, to get an idea of the savings. The parts are kind of hard to catch in stock, but there’s a pretty good reason for that. The qb 2700k spectrum looks about identical to the illumitex f3. You could probably even go with 3000k and get a little added blue.


@dbrn32 I’ll check out his build, I think I glanced his post, I may have started but didn’t finish. I like to start from the beginning before jumping in. The illumitex I’ve seen for sale for $700- to $1700. Used/new
I’ll look into his post and parts. Always something to consider. I think I would like to build something more efficient then the Chinese assembly line versions, with more output and better lighting spectrum.


I think no matter where you go, there’s going to be some level of Chinese manufacturing in the led world. Even the cree’s were manufactured in China last I knew. But horticulture lighting group is US company. That being said, you can build for nearly half the cost. And they’re happy to sell you the parts, when they have them. @Covertgrower


@dbrn32 I was just browsing their website. As far as Chinese manufacturing, I was more referring to premade Chinese grow lights. Although I’m guilty of owning one.


I think everyone is, or at least has been at some point. And they’re not bad for the money. I think what you want to try avoiding is falling into the rut of buying another, and then another and so on. You end up having nearly as much invested in lighting that doesn’t do nearly the amount of work.

There’s a lot of different reasons to build if you’re comfortable doing so. Usually at least one or more will apply to everyone.


@dbrn32 I think I’m going to give it a go, after looking at the website, seems really straightforward. The only thing that’s not straightforward is where to get all the parts. For my lighting think I would get those 4 panels plus and additional 2 down the middle to light a 4X4 area. (Overkill? Maybe) Dimmed at about 50% for vegging, and then 100% for flowering. Or shutting off some panels. I love the efficiency numbers.


6 is overkill, and will run into issues powering up. Unless you underpower them. In which case you’re probably better going with Samsung or bridgelux strips.if it were a 5x5, I’d say go for it. But 4 is good in a 4x4.


For the two in the middle I was considering a separate driver of course. Found an option on that site for two panels and one driver. Too bright for a 4x4, those things must be way brighter in person than what the camera captures. I was also considering mounting them in a row, I do have a 8x4 tent, and I know I’m going to end up spreading out the 15 I have because it’ll be crowded in even a 4x5 area.


The problem you run into is it takes a 230v 30 amp circuit to handle the inrush current of 3 of the drivers that large. We’re discussing options around it in 2 different threads, but I don’t believe anyone has a for sure it will work yet.

The hlg 320h-c1750 (I think that’s model) will run 3 of the qb 288 at a little over 90 watts. If you get the remote dimming driver and leave the dimming circuit open it would be closer to 100 watts per board. But that’s the only viable 6 boards on 2 drivers option I have found. Without connecting boards in parallel anyway, and I really really don’t like to do that.

When you take into consideration that as soon as they get the quantam boards in stock they immediately sell out, you’re almost better off going with a strip at that point. The diodes on the strips aren’t as condensed as the boards, but the strips are a lot cheaper. So if you’re worried about coverage, you could essentially cover the entire tent with them. Even though that would be way more than you need.

There are some really good cob options out there too. The cree’s are still pretty expensive, but citizen clu series and bridgelux Vero 29 perform very well at much cheaper price.

The pictures really don’t do them justice. On full power you can stand the light, but if you looked at the diodes you’d being seeing dots like weld flash pretty much instantly. They are bright!


@Covertgrower sorry forgot to tag you in last post


@dbrn32 I know about getting weld flashed, used to do that for a living too. I can run designated 230V if I need to, there’s room in the panel. Yeah availability of parts are a concern, I’ll do search for the substitute strip panel. If I can find a COB led I would love to do those too. As long as I can find some for a decent price.


Sky is the limit my friend.

Check out Samsung h series, uses same diodes as quantam board. Bridgelux eb series is a good cheaper alternative.

Cree has been the flagship of cobs, cxb 3590 specifically. But you can get similar performance out of the citizen cobs. The Vero 29’s are kind of the workhorse of the bunch. They’re a little more efficient at higher current than the others. A good choice if you’re chasing watts per dollar on your build.

Take plenty of time searching around at what other people are doing. If you have any questions I’ll help to the best of my ability.