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Cheaper HPS bulb options

bigslick90404

New Member
Ive been doing some extensive research on cost effective alternatives for the more common and expensive HPS bulbs, (namely EYE Hortilux, Ushio etc...) and have found such a bulb made by Philips, available at every Home Depot for the resoundingly low price of $ 21.99

I downloaded the data sheet for this 400W HPS bulb directly from philips.com and compared it side by side to the Eye Hortilux Super HPS 400 and all of the values are practically identical.

There are a couple of things that jump off the page, namely:

Eye Hortilux Super HPS LU400S/HT/EN

http://www.eyehortilux.com/tb/superhps/EQS-N-52-78-66620.pdf

Initial Lumen (after 100 hrs of operation) 55,000 Lm
Mean lumens at 10 hours/start - 49,000 Lm

As opposed to the Philips - Model # 140987

Philips - Ceramalux 400W Mog ED18 CL

Initial Lumen (after 100 hrs of operation) 50,000 Lm
Mean lumens at 10 hours/start - 45,000 Lm

So there is about 10% less output from the Philips. But at $21.99!!!

The only thing I couldnt find on the Philips bulb was the Spectrum Data Graph which highlights the relative energy outputs specific to each photorange (red, blue etc..) I wanted to compare this side by side to the Hortilux bulb so I wrote to Philips and asked for a copy. No response yet but Ill post whatever they share.

So. Has anyone had the nerve to try the cheaper (one fifth the price) option from the good old Home Depot? If so, would you care to share your results and recommendations?

I am currently on my first 400W HPS grow but will be stepping up to a 2 x 400W grow next. Im seriously thinking about doing a Pepsi challenge on this sucker. Any thoughts? Am I crazy to think I can get the same results from such a generic challenger? Am I crazy not to try?

Interested in your thoughts..........

BS90404
 

Giantsfan24

New Member
Re: Cheaper HPS bulb options . . . . ??

I feel the same way...I don't feel like paying $124.99 for an Eye Hortilux Blue MH so started hunting around...

I found a Plantmax Blue 6500K MH for $30 free shipping. I also found another bulb that is kind of generic for $22 that is much the same.

For me, as long as the kelvin is correct for the growing stage, I'm good. That ensures that the color is good for whatever stage I'm in. I don't think I'm going to see a HUGE difference in yield between an Eye Hortilux, I have the HPS by the way, and the Plantmax to offset the additional $100.

I want good results but I'm not a commercial grower but just for my own med use.

Cultivators here are getting great results with F'in generic CFL's! You can't tell me there will be that much difference.

Just my opinion...

:peace:
 

Heks

Active Member
the K on the eye and philips light is almost exactly the same, but the 10% loss of already lower starting lumens could exponentially add up over the course of a grow, or two. For 20$ it's almost hard not to buy one. I think there may be the quality of bulb construction not considered, such as hortilux is making these lights for growing plants, philips is making that light for lighting an industrial and street lamps, not sure if that makes a difference, but if it did it might be a big difference when harvest comes 'round.
 

taithelles

New Member
I think that there may be quality of construction of the bulb is not considered, such as hortilux making these lights for growing plants, and Philips is to make this light lamps for street lighting and industrial.
 

Droopy Dog

New Member
I'm changing over to CMH bulbs, which are still way cheaper, but before, I was of the "buy cheap and replace often" school.

The expensive bulbs may work better, IDK. But, IMO they don't work so much better as to justify the huge difference in price.

YMMV

DD
 

Weed420

New Member
I buy the cheap bulbs for my 1000w hps system. I also bought a lumen meter to check light output. After 2 years of continuous use the lumen output has dropped about 10%.
If nothing else the cheap ones are always good to have on hand in case of a burnout in the middle of flowering.
 

harrywaless

New Member
Hortilux Super HPS Enhanced Spectrum grow lamps refine your lighting system to provide the best spectral energy levels that promote plant growth is strong. Eye Super HPS EN Grow Lamps provide 17% of total energy of the energy by 25% and more in the violet,
 

Hypo Hippy

New Member
I've been growing for over a year,recently found some hps bulbs (400w) AT LOWES for 14.95,have used them for two harvest, yield has been mostly the same,as the much more expensive.
I use two 400w in the grow room,also purchased mh for 25 dollars each.
imho its all in the advertising.LOL:tokin:
HH
 

quietonthe401

On Vacation
First 2 years I ever grew with a light, it all came from a lighting/electrical store. Built myself, didn't know what a mogul socket really was when I asked for one.lol. 1000w MH, plug to bulb, all off the rack. I was very happy with it.
Funny, my MH bulb just blew, so I was on my way back, fuck the 150$, generic again, now and forever. $100 extra is not worth it. Thats a months hydro!
I'll just keep them under the light an extra day this year.
 

xtrchessreal

New Member
As I am an Electrical Engineer I would have to say that if you are in the Grow business in large scale and your aim is to grow the best weed with scientific accuracy. You know, reproducing the same product every time. Then I would hire an Astro-Physicist to build and provide me my own test platform that I could see for myself the data that showed the wavelengths of 20 or more different Bulb manufacturers, if there are that many. Then I would have to hire a qualified Botanist that could show me that the weed is consistently reproduced with the least amount of hassle under a specific type or set of lights that my Astro-Physicist believes to be the most robust. Then I would call up those manufacturers and bring my team on a tour of their factory as well as any of their parts manufacturer factories so that I can see the quality controls on the production of these light bulbs and determine which of them at least appear to have quality controls. Only then would I consider purchasing a high priced bulb for my business. But even before then I would hire a Mathematician to provide me a mathematical model showing me the optimal method on my process that would show me the most probable weak spots and strengths involving all of my variables. The variables would include the grow space, water, soil, soil less, hydroponic, aeroponic, nutrients, equipment, pot types, cloning methods, exhaust and air circulation, construction costs, energy costs, cleaning costs, human resource costs, security, legal, financial liabilities, market share, advertising, taxes, off shore accounts, escape routes, identity changes, and my dog.

But until I get a 20 million dollar startup loan for my 500 million dollar business I'm just gonna buy the cheapest thing I can find. Advertising is huge on a startup bulb manufacturer because they know exactly what to say to get you to buy an expensive bulb when you could have bought the cheap one.

:peace:X
 

LEDBud

Well-Known Member
An oldie but a goodie

I have used the $10 Philips HPS street bulbs and their horticulture $50 Son Agro bulb.

For commercial growers a 5% reduction in light output could translate into a $50,000 or more loss in revenue.
for them it makes fiscal sense to swap out bulbs every 6 months for me its not an issue at all.


I use the expensive Agro bulbs until they are at a 10% reduction then I put them aside for back ups.
I will move the bulb a few inches closer as it ages , works fine.

I will use the cheap Phillips $10 street bulbs until they reach a 5% loss at 3 grows , not bad for $10

I can live with the lumen loss , I move the bulb a little closer to compensate.

the cheap Philips Alto 400w street bulb has the same 21k as the son agro , it's missing the 30% increase in blues and has 5% less lumens.
 

TorturedSoul

Member of the Month: May 2009, Oct 2010, Sept 2017
I have used the $10 Philips HPS street bulbs and their horticulture $50 Son Agro bulb.

the cheap Philips Alto 400w street bulb has the same 21k as the son agro , it's missing the 30% increase in blues and has 5% less lumens.

If you're referring to the 430-watt (et cetera) ones that worked best with a slightly higher-output ballast, I saw some of the tightest internodal spacing I'd ever seen (with HPS), and the difference in yield was more than simply the amount one would expect from the additional wattage. It has been a number of years, but I would say that the additional yield was more than $50 would buy me on the street, lol, so it seemed like a no-brainer at the time to spend $50 (more) on a higher quality bulb.

Additionally, I figured that... regardless of the percentage (of the initial "whole") of output I got from my lights, I would always be paying the full 100% in electricity (so to speak). So, again, it was a no-brainer; it'd be akin to having to stop and debate about whether or not I thought it was a good idea to use reflectors over my bulbs (in traditional grows where the bulbs are above the plants in a horizontal orientation) or to just let half the bulbs' output illuminate the ceiling, lol.

I can live with the lumen loss , I move the bulb a little closer to compensate.

That would seem to be an imperfect solution, because as one lowers one's light source, the coverage/footprint of that light source diminishes. Then, too, while the light produced by a bulb decreases over time - its heat output does not, and lowering the bulb would move that heat closer to the plants. Air-cooled hoods would go a long way towards offsetting that heat output, of course... But in such a scenario, the bulb's light output is already attenuated slightly by the glass in the reflector/hood - so I would think it'd be even more important to maintain optimum light output levels.
 

LEDBud

Well-Known Member
The Apollo 600 puts out 87,000 lm compared to most premium bulbs 90,000 lm.

That's a 4% increase in lumens for a 300% increase in price , I can move the bulb closer and not effect my tents footprint , it always over shoots the tents footprint and hits the walls.

Always will in my 4x6 tent using the three of 600w hps and 700w in Led panels and a few hundred more watts from assorted cobs.

Currently with 1 600w and 725w in led's the Two plants are getting 95w.sq.ft in light using 65% of the footprint.

You have to remember 1 inch down does a lot to a hps bulbs intensity with very little loss of the lights footprint

Very little especially so in the diamond Mylar tent

Looking like one plant will be somewhere over a 1 lb and the other about 3/4 lb. Week 8 approaches.
 

TorturedSoul

Member of the Month: May 2009, Oct 2010, Sept 2017
The Apollo 600 puts out 87,000 lm compared to most premium bulbs 90,000 lm.

Since the lumen measurement is heavily weighted toward the colors that the human eye perceives as being brightest as opposed to the wavelengths of light that the plants actually use... Maybe your Apollo is actually the premium choice, lol?
 

LEDBud

Well-Known Member
Most of the cheaper bulbs are a better choice as people will pay for a name and see no gain in harvest.

The Apollo has a great flowering spectrum comparable to premium bulbs, the spectrum graph is on the side of the box.


I have no worries about the gains the bulb advertisers promote

CoolTube_006.JPG




Curious what HPS bulb you use and if are your harvests are embarrassing or respectable using it ?



Since the lumen measurement is heavily weighted toward the colors that the human eye perceives as being brightest as opposed to the wavelengths of light that the plants actually use... Maybe your Apollo is actually the premium choice, lol?
 

TorturedSoul

Member of the Month: May 2009, Oct 2010, Sept 2017
Curious what HPS bulb you use and if are your harvests are embarrassing or respectable using it ?

It has been a while, but the last HPS bulb I used was Lumatek branded. I do not remember the harvest as being unusually heavy or light. Average, lol? I'm pretty sure I didn't hit one gram per watt - but there was sativa in the genetics, so this doesn't necessarily speak of the bulb's performance.

I ended up using it for both flowering and the last three or so weeks of vegetative. The plants did not seem especially stretchy (for sativa-leaning plants). I had previously been using a 400-watt MH bulb for the vegetative phase, but one day it just quit working. IDK if this was because it was a cheap department store general purpose bulb, if it was because I had been running it at only 250 watts, or simply random chance. I seem to remember that it made a good heater though ;) (before it expired).

Most of the cheaper bulbs are a better choice as people will pay for a name and see no gain in harvest.

Outside of the one that died on me, I have used both MH and HPS bulbs purchased from local lighting/electrical stores and they all made it through a grow (or two). The only good thing I remember about the MH was being able to go buy one within 30 minutes. But the spectral composition of their illumination was probably poor. And I think they might have been meant for enclosed fixtures, IIRC, so they might have been producing more ultraviolet radiation than the plants liked (at that point in their lives, in that environment, ???...). I remember having the impression that the HPS bulbs were okay. Not great, but okay. But it has been quite a while. I am only just getting back into the hobby of indoor growing.

The Apollo has a great flowering spectrum comparable to premium bulbs, the spectrum graph is on the side of the box.

I get the impression that having a spectrum graph on the package is pretty common these days. With that being stated, I don't remember whether or not there was one on the Lumatek package. I do remember that it had "Lumatek 400w HPS High PAR Output" on it. And a picture of a bulb - which I suppose would be helpful if someone accidentally wonders into an indoor gardening store looking for macaroni and wonders if there's some inside :rolleyes: . I remember something about umol/s - but, TBH, that might have been in the specifications on the website that I bought it from, and I don't remember the numbers. But it definitely stated "High PAR Output" right on the box. Which is a bit ironic, LMAO, because the article I saw where the author performed tests on various HPS bulbs only ranked it mid-pack in terms of PAR.

In case you (or others reading this) are interested: The clear winner of the test in terms of PAR output was the Eye Hortilux Enhanced, with measurements ~10% higher than the next-closest bulbs. Second and third places were "virtual ties" - an Ushio (I think it was the Opti-Red) and a Digilux. Those two had ~10% higher numbers than the next-closest. So fourth place was significantly (I consider the difference to be significant) worse in terms of PAR output than first place. They also tested an Ultra Sun Dual Arc and the numbers were... bad. All of the bulbs that were tested were 1000-watt ones.

I consider a 10% difference between the first place and 2nd/3rd places (and the additional 10% between 3rd and 4th) to be significant because, well... It is, lol. IF the gardener is making use of 100% of his light(s) illumination (yeah, I know, in a perfect world), then any decrease of illumination will decrease yield - and if light happens to be the limiting factor of the garden, then an increase in illumination ought to increase yield. Obviously, it is difficult to translate that into numbers because a garden is made up of many things that work together, and simply increasing/decreasing one single thing is not likely to invoke a linear change. OtOH, say that a gardener is getting one gram per watt yields. That's pretty good. Maybe not "world class," but it's a goal that a lot of people shoot for (and one I will not be likely to attain when my current grow is harvested). I would assume that people who reach such goals make use of as much of their lights' output as they can. IOW, while light may not be the limiting factor in their gardens... it is likely that a measurable decrease in light output will result in less yield. If a person is on track to harvest 600 grams of cannabis, and they switch their 600-watt bulb to one that produces 10% less illumination in the wavelengths that plants use... Well, it may not mean an exact 10% reduction in harvest, who knows? Say it only results in a 2/3 (of that 10%) hit - that's a 40 gram shortfall.

IF I could afford the difference, would I pay $110 instead of $10 for a HPS bulb, knowing that the less expensive one produces only produces 90% (or less!) of the more expensive bulb's PAR radiation? Absolutely - I wouldn't even have to think about it. But if I did think about it, lol, I'd probably think, "Gee, 40 grams... If I have to BUY that... Cannabis costs anywhere between $250 and $400 per ounce around here, and that's only 28 grams." Or I might be thinking that, regardless of my bulb's output... I still have to pay the same for the electricity to run the thing each month. I mean... I could use my light in my garden for 80% of the (lights-on part of the) day, then leave it powered up and sit it outside somewhere for the other 20% of the time. But that would be silly.

I could voluntarily purchase a bulb that produces 10% (, 20%, et cetera) less than the best available choice. But that would be silly ;) .

NOTE: As mentioned above, that sort of thinking requires having the ability to pick and choose. With the grow that I just started, I have to beg, borrow, and barter just to cover the essentials. Purchases that I make will be as likely to be made based on costing less than the money that I have in my wallet as based on quality. So do not expect to see great things unless a sponsor chooses to smile upon me, lol. Still, I managed to get Serious Seeds' Kali Mist and Sensi Seeds' Jack Herer genetics and they were top shelf when I experienced them (I think it was before 2000, but...), so I am hopeful. You are welcome to visit my journal and offer advice. I have a pretty thick skin, lol, so no worries about having to mince words. I had a glance through one of your journals and thought your plants looked nice.
 

LEDBud

Well-Known Member
An average harvests is easy to do , it can be done with old cheap bulbs let alone new premium bulbs.

I don't think the Lumatek bulb you used was any better then a street light ,when it comes to results seriously. Anyway that's my point.


I have used both cheap and expensive bulbs ,which is why I don't or won't waste my money on premium labeled bulbs anymore.

The Phillips Alto has a pretty good Par spectrum , little blues as expected but is strong in the red 630 to 660nm bands those were the exact same as the Son Agro as compared by the published charts.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Bulbs have a code that indicate if its they can be used vertical , horizontal or in a enclosed fixture. Many of the HPS bulbs are rated for vertical and horizontal and can be used open.

Most MH bulbs NEED to be or should be used behind glass in case a bulb failure causes hot phosphorus to be ejected across the room , potentially igniting what it lands on.

from wiki:
Also, there are measures that can be taken to reduce the damage caused by a MH lamp failure violently:

Ensuring that the fixture includes a piece of strengthened glass or polymeric materials between the lamp and the area it is illuminating. This can be incorporated into the bowl or lens assembly of the fixture.
Using lamps that have a reinforced glass shield around the arc tube to absorb the impact of flying arc tube debris, preventing it from shattering the outer bulb. Such lamps are safe to use in 'open' fixtures. These lamps carry an "O" designation on the packaging reflective of American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards.

Lamps that require an enclosed fixture are rated "/E". Lamps that do not require an enclosed fixture are rated "/O" (for open). Sockets for "/O" rated fixtures are deeper. "/E" rated bulbs flare at the base, preventing them from fully screwing into a "/O" socket. "/O" bulbs are narrow at the base allowing them to fully screw in. "/O" bulbs will also fit in an "/E" fixture.
 

LEDBud

Well-Known Member
I have three 1000/600/400 watt multi bulb ballasts by Lumatek that I will be using in the tent this fall/winter , powered by the $27 600w Apollo bulbs.

Each ballasts costs me the price of one premium bulb , about $80.

I would buy premium bulbs if I had more money then sense , I have the opposite which makes me behave more sensible.
I am all about bang for the buck not spend all the bucks.
 

TorturedSoul

Member of the Month: May 2009, Oct 2010, Sept 2017
I don't think the Lumatek bulb you used was any better then a street light

Oh, that's definitely true...

...if a street light has poorer PAR specifications than even the last-place bulb in the test I looked at. At the very least, I'd expect a longer internodal distance (that I've encountered with unbranded HPS) than with a bulb that is actually tailored (err... to a degree) towards indoor gardening.

The Phillips Alto has a pretty good Par spectrum , little blues as expected but is strong in the red 630 to 660nm bands those were the exact same as the Son Agro as compared by the published charts.

I do not remember the exact model number (it was approximately 20 years or so, give or take a couple years), but the 430-watt Phillips bulb I used (with a 430-watt C&C magnetic ballast) was the best 400-watt "class" bulb I've ever used for a single bulb (start to finish) grow. [EDIT: Admittedly, I have never used a CMH bulb. I have heard that they are "pretty good" all-around bulbs.] I believe it might have had both "Son-Agro" and "Planta T" on the package. I'm not really into traditional ballasts these days, but if someone offered my one of those bulbs (new) and a 430-watt C&C ballast, I'd jump at the chance. I still remember firing that thing up for the first time, thinking, "Well that's an awesome blue color, but it's not as bright as I'd expect from 400+ watts..." - and then the color started to change from the main bulb firing, lol, and I couldn't even see the blue any more (but it turned out that the plants could ;) ).

Bulbs have a code that indicate if its they can be used vertical , horizontal or in a enclosed fixture. Many of the HPS bulbs are rated for vertical and horizontal and can be used open.

If you're talking about the MH I mentioned, it was definitely marked universal (either mounting orientation). I don't remember whether it was intended to be used in an enclosed fixture or not, but I assume so. My eyes didn't like it - even though it was only a 400-watt bulb, spending much time near it when it was on made me feel like I'd tried to weld without a shield (you know, the feeling of having sand rubbed into your eyeballs, lol?).

Most MH bulbs NEED to be or should be used behind glass in case a bulb failure causes hot phosphorus to be ejected across the room , potentially igniting what it lands on.

While I knew that already, I decided to quote it - so that anyone who happens to read this thread will get to read it twice. (It is important!)

I would buy premium bulbs if I had more money then sense , I have the opposite / poor and at least half sensible.

Money and sense are not mutually exclusive, lol. I've heard it said that Warren Buffett is reasonably intelligent, lol.

I am all about bang for the buck not spend all the bucks.

Well, that's good to know. I'd hate to think that you were one of those guys that lines up to buy Advanced Nutrients or something.

However... Sometimes (often, actually), getting the most bang for the buck and spending the least amount of bucks are NOT the same thing. The Yugo was a fairly cheap automobile as I recall - but a person could get killed just trying to get one of those things onto an Interstate because they took over ¼-mile just to get to 60 MPH :19: .
 
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