Opinions on COB vs QB LEDs

So I want to hear people’s opinions on COB LED’s vs QB LEDs. I currently am running 4 100 watt COB LED’s with 2 Citizen 50 watt chips in each light. The biggest difference between the COB’s at this point that I can find is the chips in them but I am not terribly educated in terms of electronics or much in terms of lighting I’ve been doing lots and lots or research but hey only so much I can try to learn at once. The Cree and Citizen chips really seem to be the better chips for the COB’s as far as I can tell but again thats from an uneducated standpoint. They also seem to be a bit more expensive than some of the kits you can get for the QB LEDs which seem to be very popular. The QB LED kits can have a great wattage output for the actual wattage input and they have and they can have a dimmable driver which can be very nice. I’ve been looking at some of the HLG 260 xl kits which seem to be very popular with many on this forum including @dbrn32 and other places on the net. These seem like very good options but I’m not terribly familiar with the benefits of the QB LEDs vs the COB lights. Is there anyone who has used both of them and has an idea of lifespan differences and of the efficiency of both of them compared to each other? Is there a big difference is electricity usage?(I can’t imagine there is a terribly big difference other than possibly the COB’s tend to also have fans built in for cooling the LEDs as well?) Also what about heat? I’m guessing that the QB lights get a bit hotter than the COBs because they are attached straight to a heat sink without a fan but they also have the benefit of being able to move the driver outside of the tent to try to take some of the heat out that way which is a nice benefit as well.

I feel like for some reason COB lights tend to cost more. I’m not sure if it’s because the tech for those lights to make them cheaper just hasn’t caught up or if they are just worth more for some unknown reason to me?

So basically I just want to know any opinion on these lights what people are using and why? If they have had very good or very bad experiences or done any diy COB or QB builds that were very easy and could be duplicated by a novice. Any input from people who know anything about all of this would be greatly appreciated. Hope everyone is doin good. Thanks in advance

3 Likes

I think @Tinman an @Covertgrower both use cob lights. And lots of members use the HLG 260

2 Likes

Awesome hopefully we will get some good conversation and opinions going. I’ve really liked my cob lights so far. They’ve had a good lifespan and they do a good job as far as output but I feel like there must be a way to either do a diy COB build so that it doesn’t cost as much as the high end lights with the Cree or Citizen chips that are out there I just honestly am not good enough at that stuff yet to have figured it out.

I’ve heard people rave about those HLG 260’s either putting a few of them together to get more light in a larger tent or however they need to do it that really seems to be a very good kit as far as the QB’s go. I’m really leaning that way for my next light unless I can figure out something with the COB’s that works out to be better somehow.

1 Like

I don’t have anything to compare to , but i love my timber grow lights, no fans , think most of the heat comes from the drivers , which if you build your own you can mount on the outside of the room or tent . From my understanding the cob gets better penetration and the qbs get better spread, dont take my word for it, dbrn has all the knowledge on that

2 Likes

Thanks for the input man. I’ve always really liked the output from my cobs. I feel like you said the penetration really helps. This is the kinda stuff I was talkin about where comparing notes really helps. I just recently switched from a t5 to a qb light in my closet and the qb is a little bright. The qb was a free light that I was given so this was my first experience with it and I’ve been constantly trying to adjust it higher and higher to keep light stress from my lil girls. I think I’m gunna have to get an adjustable driver for that light. When I first was given that light it I didn’t even know that was an option to try to get a new driver and switch it out.
I really like the idea of building a cob light and having the drivers out of the tent as well to cut down on the heat. Right now the ones that I have are in a case with a fan and the drivers in the case so all the drivers are inside the tent. It would make a big difference heat wise if I could move them all outside of the tent like you said. I’m currently mounting the driver for my qb light outside my closet on a board to try to cut the heat in there down.

1 Like

1 4vs and redwood , 1000 plus watts

4 Likes

That is a great set up man. The kind of cob thing I’d like to work up to. I had that kind of thing in mind when I started buying mine but it just started getting so expensive filling the tent with more and more cobs. Timber seems to have a really good warranty though so that is another good selling point for them. Looks like those lights are really payin off for you anyway. What size room are you working with those plants are spread out great?

4’ × 7’ with 6’ foot tall , the customer service is great , haven’t any problems ,just questions for them

I may be biased, but I love my cobs. I’ll post in more detail when I get home.

11 Likes

This somewhat of a true statement. I’m not sure the differences in efficacy, but they do cost more because a proper sized heat sink is required. No fan dissipate heat, all passive cooling, but they do have excellent canopy penetration. Once you find the correct height, I’ve pretty much left them alone.

Rapid LED kit shown above, and they send everything you need except wire. Which I think they’ve changed a bit and send wire now. There’s 817 possible watts, and I can run them around the 400W total and its plenty for flowering. I ran the grow really hard at all 800w and I got a lot of yellowing. So I’ll be dialing back next round. Been growing for about 5 years now, and these light continue to produce.

9 Likes

Generally speaking, the mid power pcb style lights (quantum boards) will have a higher ppf per watt than chip on board styled leds. The pcb styled lights are also usually a little cheaper to put together as well. When using higher end cobs it’s definitely possible to get close to mid power performance though. I agree that one reason for cost is heavier heatsink requirement due to condensed thermal load of the cobs.

I think you can diy with either fairly easily. Most would probably prefer using boards or strips of the mid power leds due to the increase in efficiency. But if you’re resourceful enough you could probably build out either at a reason price.

4 Likes

Those kits from Rapid look very interesting. They use the cree chips and everything which is a great selling point. Like you said I really appreciate the canopy penetration of my cobs the ones I have are cheaper ones and actually have fans built in over each heat sink to so if I can actually manage to build one like those without the fan that would save me a bit as well. I was looking at the kits from Rapid and it almost looks like I could get all the pieces needed for a kit separately to try to keep the price down without paying for the name brand kits? Would the only drawback to this be that it might be a bit harder to put together and I’d loose the customer service from those companies? Or is there a step that I am missing as someone who has never attempted one of these projects before? All this info with the tuning of the lights from 800 to 400 and everything is pretty much exactly what I was talking about when I was saying I needed opinions on peoples experiences on these lights and why they do what they do. I feel like we all grow better together when we can figure out all the little missteps and great successes we might have all made along the way and just figure out how we can all get the best out of our hobbies. thanks for the input

2 Likes

I feel like I’m already learning so much more about both types of these lights. You all are helpin out so much thanks. Do you think the mid range pcb lights are comparable to the cob lights that you might be able to build with the cree cobs for the same or comparable price? Knowing that I’ll hopefully be able to diy either of them really opens up the options for my next light because that will almost certainly be cheaper. As far as the diy pcb lights do you recommend the hlg 260 xl or is there another that you think is a good comparable light?

What kind of strips do you recommend if I can get those in the future? I hear a lot of people talking about cutter strips and I think that you can just attach those to a heatsink as well but like I said I am a novice in terms of building lights I’ve always bought them pre-built which is just getting to expensive for me. I think that now I might be at the point I can tackle that kind of project though. (hopefully haha)

1 Like

I assure I’m you I priced everything out individually, and it comes out more.
Secondly, I want top bin chips, not questionable where they came from.

Some of this is my fault. Each grow I tried pushing the plants as hard as I could.

2 Likes

That is so good to know that someone already tried to price out everything individually. I totally agree I think the chips make a huge difference with the cob lights in terms of how the end product works out. And yea I totally understand trying to find out how hard you can push the plants. I just had the same problem in my veg closet where the light I switched to is a bit to bright and causing some light stress so I’m trying to work that out. But hey that is how we get the strongest healthiest girls possible you know trial and error and then learning from each other.

1 Like

Cutter has good stuff. Pacific light concepts, chilled tech, horticulture lighting group, and many others all offer diy pcb’s. I have a thread on here that I did one with bridgelux eb series. Others have put up topics with multiple Samsung strips as well.

Sometimes it’s just a matter of what you can get into for best price at the time. The cxb3590 was the top dog when diy game started getting big. Since there are multiple newer cobs that perform better and are even cheaper. If you decide to go cob route, check out the bridgelux vero 29b and 29c. Also the Luminous cxm22. You can generally find all of them in +/-$20 range, and they are all as good or better than whats typically available in the cxb.

2 Likes

This is all such good information. Especially for somebody just starting into diy like me. Having all these starting points and everything and getting opinions from other experienced growers is so much help. I’ve already been following one of the diy threads that you did so I’ll have to go back and find that one to because I’m very excited about the possibilities of doing diy lights to try to increase what I have in my tent and closet. Between this thread and a few others that I’ve been reading through on here I really feel like its so much more of a possibility than when I first started looking into it.

2 Likes

It’s right here

Keep in mind It’s a small light and was designed to be a budget build a while back.

3 Likes

Thanks so much man. I’m goin through that right now and its so full of exactly the kind of stuff I need to know to be able to build one of these well and without spending to much. Kinda feel like I’m goin down the diy rabbit hole now haha but this way is going to make it so I can get so much more light affordably and in a customizable way to which is exactly what plants need to grow the best.

2 Likes

Thanks to @dbrn32 and the thread you sent me and a few others that you have that I’ve been reading through as well as some more research I did I was able to figure out that the light I have in my closet right now already has an adjustable driver and figured out how to dim that a bit to hopefully help the light stress on my smaller girls and clones in my closet which is awesome.
I also have been getting a lot more comfortable taking my lights in and out of my tent to adjust them and everything thanks to doing that more and got up the courage to try to clean them even more than the usual just canned air through the casing holes. I ended up taking each light out of the tent one at a time

(incase anyone wants an idea of what kind of light I’m working with/talking about) and taking the casing apart by taking the 4 screws out of the sides of the cases… and then cleaning the inside fans and heatsinks with a small brush and the canned air very gently to try to keep the lifespan of these lights going as good as possible. I think it will end up making a bit of a difference as the inside of the case was much dirtier than I could get without opening it up. This is the fans and the heatsinks in one of the lights when I first opened it up even after trying to clean through the slits in the casing with the canned air…
Now after I cleaned the fan blades with a small brush each individually and then cleaned the heatsink. I had to keep cleaning the brush because of how dirty the fan blades were but they look better now.
Honestly this is my first time actually opening up the cases on any lights and I wouldn’t have felt comfortable doing it without reading a ton of the DIY threads on here and I can’t recommend that anyone do it willy nilly as there is always a chance that you can mess something up very easily. (Especially like me your fine motor skills get worse the more things that you do sort of bent over and doing very precise things. I have lots of back issues) But I think that doing this every once in awhile will probably help the lifespan of my lights where unlike the normal DIY lights I can’t just clean the heatsinks etc…
Do others with lights in cases take the cases apart to clean the insides or is just using canned air usually good enough? I like trying to be able to get the full lifespan out of everything that I’m using by being as proactive with it as I can. I’m just very inexperienced with the electronic side of everything… (usually more just going along and willing to take things like lights at face value but this is bringing me down the DIY rabbit hole and gunna save me a bunch I think)
Thanks to everyone whose been helping so far. In this thread and in all the others that I was reading this place is an endless well of great info.

2 Likes