Supplemental winter lights

Roy Herold via pbs
Thu, 03 Mar 2022 10:55:41 PST
Steve, Ken, Mike, et al,

A couple of observations here....

I finally took the plunge last fall and got some LED fixtures for the 
greenhouse. The biggest problem here is actually in fall when the sun 
goes behind the tall trees to the south that don't lose their leaves 
until mid November. These trees are around 20 feet taller than when I 
built the greenhouse, and things have been getting worse and worse.

I was torn between getting a generic 5000k fixture and one that had more 
light wavelengths in a single fixture. The latter seem to be like some 
of the ones that Ken is using in terms of having multiple types of LEDs, 
a mix of blue, warm white, red and IR. I selected one from Amazon made 

I was very impressed with what I received. The construction is great, 
lots of cords, switches, adjustable hanging cables, etc. They consume 
70W per 4' fixture and are insanely bright. I bought a set of 2 for less 
than $25 each, they worked fine, and I got four more. These easily cover 
about 25' of 3' wide benches.

The aluminum extrusion used for a housing is a great heat sink and 
dissipator. No problem at all with starting after a cold night with 
temps below 40F. SHZLUX also makes regular 5000k fixtures with the same 
design if you'd like to follow the recommendations of Steve and others.

Regarding the other option of changing fluorescent tubes to LED, I'd 
recommend against it. The price for a pair of LED tubes is comparable to 
a single new fixture like I got, and I don't think the performance is 
nearly as good. I had a terrible experience inside my house with 
replacing fluorescent tubes with LEDs in the kitchen and other rooms. I 
jumpered out the ballast as recommended. I went through bulbs from 3 
different manufacturers, finally sending over 20 back for refunds. 
Problems were mainly noise, a terrible buzz and hum that made them 
unbearable indoors. Others died after a couple of weeks, some flickered, 
lots arrived damaged, and some were just weak. Realize up front that the 
heat dissipation from a tube is much worse than an integrated fixture.

Finally, take a look at the attached picture of a happy Eucomis regia. 
This was from early January, and it's just starting to come into bloom now.

NW of Boston

On 3/3/2022 11:44 AM, Steve Marak via pbs wrote:
> Ken & Mike,
> My friend looked at both the ballast-bypass and straight replacement 
> HO LED tubes for his fixtures. For him the advantages of the bypass 
> type - uses a little less power, since you're not driving the 
> fluorescent power supplies as well as the LED driver modules, and 
> eliminates the ballasts as points of future failure (and they will 
> fail!) - outweighed the pain of having to open the fixtures and wire 
> around the ballast. Depends a bit on whether you're comfortable doing 
> the wiring yourself or not, and he was. It's not hard, as long as the 
> fixtures aren't difficult to open up, but obviously any wiring work 
> involving direct household power has safety implications.
> Steve

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