So here is the vipar 600.
See those numbers I circled, that’s too low to flower anywhere near optimal. Even at dead center is a little low, so we would likely prefer to flower at 18” above canopy with this fixture. The light would then likely be what we consider flower effective out to about a 2’x2’ area. Meaning about four of them per 4x4 to be in the neighborhood of target par levels. You can do the math on Watts and confirm the notes a few of us made above.
Now to the light spectrum.
The arrows pointing at the numbers represent which wavelengths are most absorbed by the plant and directed to photosynthetic energy. It’s not that some of the other wavelengths aren’t important, but these come first and foremost. The arrow pointing across the screen shows 100% of relative intensity, and should be referenced to the McCree action spectrum.
As you can see, the blue is there but the red isn’t. Peak in both is fine but not necessary. We’d much rather have it in the reds. Your blue lights will keep tight node spacing in veg and aid in resin production during flower. The reds are what promote bud development and mass. By nature of design, there’s also a lot more photons in blue light than red. So having the same amount of blue vs red diodes isn’t necessary.
All of my grow lights are white and produce a light spectrum similar or close to this.
The efficacy and par levels are generally much higher on the whites we’re using than the colored diode offerings. So you can definitely expect more performance, but it will also come at a higher cost. If you can find room in your budget, I would highly recommend going with some sort of a cob or quantum board light. But plenty of people are still growing great weed with colored diodes, so don’t feel like you have to.
The high cost is what led a handful of us into building our own. You can usually build for about 50-60% cost of buying. Building obviously isn’t for everyone, but don’t be intimidated by it either. The quantum board kits can be built in about 15 minutes using only a screwdriver and wire strippers. Others require soldering, drilling and tapping, and some more advanced wiring techniques. It all kind of depends on the wants vs needs and budget you’re trying to work in. If you can handle basic house wiring, I’m confident you could build a light. And we’d definitely be there to help along the way.
If building isn’t an option and budget is an issue, you could always get into a smaller high end fixture and add additional ones later. I’m honestly surprised more people don’t go that route. Apparently I just don’t quantify cost vs performance the same as everyone else. But I’d much rather deal with a weaker system that had room for expansion than one that would require me replacing my entire lighting system.
Long story short, to buy a cob fixture for wall to wall coverage in a 4x4 you’re looking at about $800-1500 depending on features and availability. You can buy half for around $500. To build you’re looking at $5-600. To build in portions is really hard to put a number on, because you can start with a little or you can start with 75% of what you’d need. But we can get you to about $1 per watt with about 600 watts of cobs being enough for a 4x4.