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LED Danger - Melting Chips

1ofaKind

Well-Known Member
Hi Everyone,

These lights have been good to me and have not put me in any danger. They have helped me produce a couple pounds and have certainly paid for themselves, but...

To have melting chips on so many of my lights in less that 2 years irks me. To be fair, I either bought these used or on clearance. Some might say it serves me right.

All these lights are sold through HTG Supply. They are a low cost grow equipment provider (East coast). I am not trying to bash them in any way. They are simply the manufacturers and resellers.

You can't see much in the images below, but try to put yourself in my shoes. You finish your grow season, hunker down and enjoy your pounds for 6 months, start setting up again the next year, and BAM, you see all these melted chips on your LEDs. Fire safety is now a huge concern for me. I want to sell these, but I would feel shitty if they caused a fire for someone else, too. Not to mention that no one wants to touch them with a 39.5' pole.

I tried to get the local hydro shop to fix them. The one that I bought on clearance they did fix in the first 12 months for free, but that warranty ran out and the others I bought used so LHS was not responsible for them. They are modular, but they want over 50% of the cost of the lights, retail, for the modules.

The models are :

AgroMax 150 watt pro 5 band LED (140 actual draw). This one has the lease melting and I have 3 others that appear to be in perfect condition, still. I bought these @ $175 each + 10% off for buying with a tent.

7-Band HTG 90 watt (60 watt actual draw). These retail @ $150, I bought a used pair for $100 ($50 each). These have a molded plastic lens. So not only have the chips melted, but the lens melted, too... The LHS said the UV bulbs were the ones that melted here, but it seems like several chips melted out, so I think it was more than just the UV chips.

6 band HTG UFO 225 watt (150 watt draw). This light retails @ $300. I bought it used @ $150. This one always had a raw, mechanical look to it. No covers. Now it looks gnarly and scary with the melted chips.

I took all the lights apart to see if there was anything I could do to try to fix them. I did not see anything that looked like I would be able to improve. Considering the prices I paid, it is probably best to scrap them and invest in something new or downsize and use the products I have that are in good condition.

I am just looking for others who have had a similar experience. Are these low end Chinese products? Maybe they are fine, I just bought products that were more greatly used that what I was led to believe. Would you still use them? LHS said they are still safe... Just no more UV... Some of these lights don't even have UV...

These pics are not the best. I did show the inside of the small green lights. That is basically what is happening with all the lights. That small green one is missing like 25% of the chips!

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1ofaKind

Well-Known Member
Here are a couple more pics. They are the green light's plastic lens. The grey stuff on the above pic is just thermal paste, nothing out of the normal. I wonder if I took it apart to clean it and did not set it back down on the heat sink correctly and that is what burned so many in that light? You wouldn't think 2 watts in a 3 watt chip would get hot...

The UFO and pro light have lens / coverings, so they are difficult to see the burned chips.

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Scientific

New Member
Very interesting. Thanks for sharing those!

I wonder if the take-home message is to buy top quality gear that's made with better components? The fire hazard concern seems very real. Best to keep a smoke detector in the grow room and to try to have lights on only while you're home to attend to any emergencies?
 

1ofaKind

Well-Known Member
A fire detector in the tent is a great idea. Very common sense, but I overlooked that. I was thinking I needed the whole automatic fire extinguisher setup. I use light on @ night because I live in a hot area, but I am at work with lights on in veg. (18/6). I have been so concerned with this, I am not growing anything at this point in time.

Here are a couple more pics of the issue.

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Scientific

New Member
It occurs to me that home monitoring systems that report right to your cell phone are cheap now.

Of course, if the system is telling you that your house is on fire and you're half an hour away, that might not be very useful information.

What you need is something that cuts power when an anomaly is detected. And an automatic Halon extinguisher system! ;)
 

1ofaKind

Well-Known Member
I have researched some extinguishers ranging from $75 - $500. They seem reasonably priced. Lower prices were for less Kg and for temperature release. Higher price was mainly for air pressure release rather than temp. If the halon is released, is the bud still good?

The lights are all on GFCI outlets if that is what you mean. However, they never tripped when the LEDs popped.
 

Scientific

New Member
GFCI's only detect when the electric current coming back from the load doesn't match the current going out (like a short to ground). That's a great thing to have, but not going to help in this case.

CO2 or Halon (or it's Freon-like cousins) will suffocate you but shouldn't damage your plants. I think only a powder extinguisher would be a problem in that regard.

"An ounce of prevention" comes to mind: not having a wood frame grow room or a flammable cloth grow tent but to have everything be non-combustible. Automatically turning off the fans would sure help too!
 

Grassmaster

Well-Known Member
Looks like you just have some burnt out LED's. Really not much of a danger. You can either replace the leds or the boards. But I would just update the lights to something else.
 

dadums

Well-Known Member
I wonder if you had a voltage surge for the whole house.
You have different lights with burnt leds so I'd consider
It as a possibility.
 

1ofaKind

Well-Known Member
@ Grassmaster: That is the same thing the guy at the hydro shop said. These are modular lights so the boards are replaceable, but they wanted $85 for the small green one. While they light is $150 new, I only paid $50 for it used. The UFO is not modular.

I have never soldered before. LED chips are so small and the area is already a little melted. What does an LED "burning out" mean, exactly?

I am not a detail oriented person. For all I know these lights had bulbs out when I bought them used. Out of the new lights, only 1 of the 4 had a problem. And only 2 LEDs from it.

I do not have voltage problems often. If I do, as far as I know, it is a slight brown out. I am not aware of any other power issues over the past few years. I put in GFCI outlets. I would have to swap them out to use an UPS to correct that potential issue. Not a bad idea.
 

ConstantGreen

New Member
Are burnt lenses the same as melted chips? Just noticed today that one of my Mars reflectors has a bunch of blues that are burnt. They still work, but the blackened lenses do have a negative effect on the PPFD. I bought both reflectors at the same time last year and have used them in the same tent in unison. I would think if it was an environmental or surge issue in my situation that both reflectors would have been affected, but there's not a single burnt lens on the other unit. Maybe not all lights are made equal, even on the same production line.

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Tgrow

New Member
Also better dollar-per-Par-Watt vs Mars. Its actually quite deceiving because at first it seems Mars would be the cheap option, but its actually the more expensive option no matter which way you look at it
 

Scientific

New Member
Are burnt lenses the same as melted chips? Just noticed today that one of my Mars reflectors has a bunch of blues that are burnt. They still work, but the blackened lenses do have a negative effect on the PPFD. I bought both reflectors at the same time last year and have used them in the same tent in unison. I would think if it was an environmental or surge issue in my situation that both reflectors would have been affected, but there's not a single burnt lens on the other unit. Maybe not all lights are made equal, even on the same production line.

Still under warranty?
 

Scientific

New Member
Is their warranty 2 years? Bought in Sept. 2016.

Mars says:
We offer 2 years warranty to all our led grow lights. With Repair centers in USA, Canada, AU, UK, Germany. We can provide fast after service upon your needs within 24 business hours.
- Easy to contact: We are active on many social platforms such as 420magazine, GrassCity, facebook, Youtube, etc. You can find us very easily.
 

Tgrow

New Member
Does anyone know if Mars has published their PPFD numbers for their Cree CoB lights?

Entheogenerator, I did see the thread where you guys managed to get SmokeSarah to publish the numbers on a few other models. By the way very nice job on documenting the PPFD on the lights you own, reading your threads on that was extremely informative and is what pushed me to choose the lights that I went with.
 

ConstantGreen

New Member
Thanks Scientific. I'll probably wait for something worse to happen before sending it in, or wait until just before the 2 years. Maybe they'll both burn out by then and I can save some shipping.

Does anyone know if Mars has published their PPFD numbers for their Cree CoB lights?

Entheogenerator, I did see the thread where you guys managed to get SmokeSarah to publish the numbers on a few other models. By the way very nice job on documenting the PPFD on the lights you own, reading your threads on that was extremely informative and is what pushed me to choose the lights that I went with.

Thank you! :love:
So much easier to choose with the right information. Glad I could help!

That graph Sara finally posted was actually pretty helpful, but I doubt they ever got around to measuring them all that accurately. She emailed me this chart a couple years ago for the first generation of the Cree 256, but it's in that incomplete format.

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Tgrow

New Member
That's perfect thank you! The purple dots are basically a square meter which represents my grow tent and it breaks down to a PPFD of 758.
unless I'm doing my math wrong. The value of all dots except the green ones divided by 25

The lights I went with cost me less than the Mars Cree 256 and it only uses 400 wall watts, PLUS makes a PPFD of about 1100.
These are the numbers that we need to compile to do the real comparisons on grow lights..

Apologies for derailing the thread.
 
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