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Hacking together a grow light



<from the forum>
My 'test' light setup I'm playing around with is in a 30cmx20cm tank lined with mylar. I'm only using half of it - so estimate a 20cm x 15cm area that contains two small pots with drosera aliciae in them. Both were repotted from a crowded pot. Neither looks very well at the moment - probably because I keep experimenting on them ;-) both are about 10cm from the lights balanced on upturned plant pots.


The lights. Both on the same heatsink (20cm x 8cm) - I have 5 lots of 20cm 5050 led 'grow' strips with the red/blue leds. Claims to be 14.4w per meter. I also have 4x 3W COB leds (6500k).


I can run either or both.


Is either suitable for the two small pots? Is running both better? Is running the red/blue better? Is running the white better?


This setup is really just me playing around with LEDs and improving my soldering skills but I'd like to ultimately use this setup or one similar with more power across the small tank as a propagation/small plant tank especially for winter growing plants. Any advice from the group would be welcome. I find LED threads have some great ideas, but are hazy on just how much light is required.
</from the forum>


The light itself uses 1m of grow LED strip, cut into 5x20cm strips and soldered back together. This claims 14.4W of light in the ranges plants need. The white LEDs are all 3W COB LEDs of 6500k. The whole thing looks very very bright to me, but I've no idea if my plants would like it. I'm planning on growing chilli seedlings in it with some also on my window sill in the same room, see if there is any difference. If I ever get satisfied it works its going to be a germination/seedling tank for carns - probably cephalotus as I'm a bit obsessed with getting cuttings from mine. The heatsink does get quite warm. I've added a PC case fan powered from the 12v adaptor thats powering the strips and this seems to work quite well at keeping things cool.


I'd love to hear peoples thoughts - even if you're just telling me its not suitable. It was/is only ever really meant as an experiment in LEDs and electronics as its been a very long time since I've done anything in this area.


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