Instructables

Good LED Lights for Terrariums?


I'd like to buy cheaply or make a LED light for a terrarium cover, I'd like for it to be something good for the plants, but since the whole thing is supposed to be a display piece, the red/blue plant-lights aren't really going to cut it, I want it to be visually close to white light. (If that means some 'wasted' light in the green part of the spectrum, then so be it.)   Any suggestions?

Some white LEDs seem to at least roughly cover the needed spectrum, if in the wrong proportions, but I'm not sure if that'll do it for me.

I'd appreciate advice from anyone who's done a project like this.  Thanks!

iceng2 years ago
Use only clear LEDs ie ONE color LEDs.
The RGB kind which gives a POV light of any color does not work for plants.
As far as what frequency / color off of the web suggests
32 of 660 nm RED LED and four of 450 nm BLUE LED to make a
hydroponic Lamp LED GROW LIGHTing system.

A
I was wondering about that. The Cree warm whites though seemed to have a spectral output that was very strong around the wavelengths you've highlighted.

Steve
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Hi, I'm looking at the latest Cree 1000 lm units, its a 3000K device I waslooking at specifically - lots more red. They  are multiple dies on a superb heatsink by the look of it...like 40W in one chip, and about 15 USD a piece.
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GOOD GRIEF THESE THINGS ARE BRIGHT !!!!
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Going to try seeing if they'll keep a couple of plants happy for a few weeks, and then I'll deploy them in a larger hydro setup in my office at work.
Do you think the 4K part then ? I thought redder was better here ?

Steve
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What's interesting in the link you've posted is the shape of the photosynthetic actions spectrum, and mentally overlaying it with the Cree graphs, looks to me like a pretty darned good fit really,.
iceng seandogue2 years ago
I think Steve is talking about a single White LED that has the ratio of red and blue
for spectral distribution. I don't how many of them he needs to get his lumens up.

I'm talking about two different LEDs and adjusting the ratio by
using 32 Red and 4 Blue. If I want more light I will use multiples
64 Red and 8 Blue and so on

A.
iceng iceng2 years ago
Sorry, I didn't answer the die part.
My red could have more then a single die to get the intensity as with the blue.
But no POV games just the promised color frequency.

A
seandogue iceng2 years ago
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iceng seandogue2 years ago
As are you. . . . . . A
seandogue iceng2 years ago
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How well determined is this peak at 650 nm though I wonder ?

Steve
That's right. I've ordered a couple of these new super-Crees to try a controlled experiment first, with Basil plants. Two plants, one under Cree, one under fluro and see what happens.
Specifically:
http://www.farnell.com/datasheets/1305819.pdf

VRAndy (author)  steveastrouk2 years ago
Thanks, this does look like what I need. I'm going to order a couple now and see what they're like.
VRAndy (author)  iceng2 years ago
Sure I figured that part out on my own, but, like I said, that doesn't help my primary goal of being a nice visual display. (Plant growth serves that goal, not supersedes it.)

My goal here is not to maximize my harvest of some vegetable, it's to keep plants from dieing in my dimly lit apartment.

I ask the question because I'm worried that standard white LED lights won't do ANYTHING to sustain the plants if their spectrums don't match up the way the plants need.
iceng2 years ago
This site where I got my count and color info first.
Then here is a panel that uses a ratio of 3 Red to 1 Blue. . . . . .  . .  A
GrowLED13.jpg
VRAndy (author)  iceng2 years ago
Right, but that doesn't really answer my question.

Information abounds if you want to make a plant-light that's an eye-hurting shade of purple. But these plants exist purely to look nice, and they're not going to look nice if they're lit by one of these.

My question is how to buy or make a plant-friendly LED fixture that looks like natural light.
iceng VRAndy2 years ago
Steve has a Cree warm white LED that he likes in this thread.
Steve said it had the grow colors distribution and should
let you see the natural colors you seek.  . . . . .  A
Light Spectrum and Plant Growth.png
j-rae2 years ago
take a look at Illumitex. They make an LED array specifically for horticulture - specializing in urban greenhouse applications:

http://illumitex.com/horticulture-lighting.php

keydogstony2 years ago
I would recommend a LED Light Strip. Very inexpensive and WATERPROOF!
Like this one.
Nothing LIKE bright enough though ;-)
The ones I've looked at for a project of my own are peaking in the red and blue anyway. Try one for a few weeks, before you commit to any. THe ones I've seen are Cree and give off 1000lm.

Steve