In this instructable I'll show you how to make your own grow light for indoor gardening!

The light was inspired by what NASA uses to grow lettuce aboard the ISS.

This light is perfect for indoor gardening to make sure your plants get enough light for photosynthesis.

It is made with alternating red and blue LEDs because these are the wavelengths plants use the most. That's actually why plants look green. They absorb all the light in the red and blue spectrum, and reflect the green wavelengths away.

The light is built in modules which makes it easily expandable to any size you need.

This project requires a lot of soldering so it's a perfect project for learning or honing your skills!

If you like this project hit the vote button up in the right corner!

If you want to get fancy with this light add a timer so your light turns on and off automatically!

## Step 1: Parts and Tools

Because this project is modular you can make it as big as you need it.

I made my light with four modules, to make the same size as me you are going to need:

Parts

1. 40 red LEDs
2. 16 blue LEDs
3. 20 56 ohm resistors
4. 16 100 ohm resistors
5. 2 blank circuit boards - 5 x 7 cm
6. USB cable
7. USB charger
1. Any power source with 5 V and more than 720 mA will do
8. Hookup wires

Tools

1. Soldering iron
2. Solder
3. Wire cutters

## Step 2: Circuit

This circuit is built with modules. Each circuit board contains two modules for a total of four modules in this project. If you want to expand or shrink this light, all you do is expand or decrease the number of modules in your circuit.

Each modules consists of:

• 10 red LEDs and 4 blue LEDs.
• The red LEDs are wired two in series along with a 56 ohm resistor.
• The blue LEDs are wired with a 100 ohm resistor.
• Five of these red pairs are wired in parallel with four of the blue LEDs.
• A current draw of 180 mA

The complete circuit with four modules draws 720 mA.

## Step 3: Soldering

Solder all the elements together according to the circuit diagram.

Then add some leads to all the common anodes (positive side) to each other, and connect all the common cathodes (negative side) to each other.

Rip open your USB cable and trim away the shielding and the data lines. The data lines are colored green and white. To avoid a short circuit, trim these cables at different lengths.

Then take your power leads from the USB cable and solder the red wire to any of the positive sides on the circuit board. Then solder the black wire to any of the negative sides on the circuit board.

After you have done this you can test your lights. Hopefully everything works!

If all the LEDs doesn't light up go back and check your wiring and soldering.

## Step 4: Optional: 3D Printed Light Holder

If you have access to a 3D printer, I have included two STL files to print a holder for your lights.

One of the files, the one printed in the picture, have a slight angle on the legs to make it stand on top of my tiny green house.

If you don't have anything to set the holder on top off you can also hang the holder by the lights, as shown in the third picture.

You're finished!

If you wan't to see more of my projects check out my instructables or click here to read my web site.

<p>Mate you just dropped some serious knowledge!</p><p>I really like the idea of having the LEDs more spread out. For this, the LED strips you use would be perfect.</p><p>What do you use as a power source and do you have any heating issues with your setup? </p>
<p>I used a 12V led light strips. the lamp is powered by a 60W 12VDC power supply. The entire glass panel is warm to the touch but not hot (about 100F). I do not have a constant current power source, fan or heat sink. At the temperature it is operating at, a constant current source is not required.</p>
<p>Nice set up. </p><p>For me, the biggest hurdle of a bigger grow light would be to get a power source as cheap as possible.</p>
<p>Use 12v 2 amperes that would be perfect. Also attach heat sink with the board and attach the fan for overcome the heating issue. </p><p>check mine instructable</p><p>https://www.instructables.com/id/Plant-Grow-Light/</p>
<p>There's actually no heat problem at all. The nice thing about this running on 5V is that it can be powered by a spare phone charger and I don't need to add a noisy fan or a bulky heat sink!</p>
<p>the reason why you don't think this is enough light is because unlike nasa you are using regular LEDs. you need to use at least 1W high power LEDs.<br>.<br>have you seen my custom plant lights; <a href="https://www.instructables.com/id/LED-lights-1/">https://www.instructables.com/id/LED-lights-1/</a><br></p>
<p>You're right my friend.</p><p>I'll look into uppgrading the light with brighter LEDs later on.</p><p>That's a nice collection you got there!</p>
<p>i really like your setup. especially the printed arm. the lights you have made can be used to wake up seedlings but not for much longer. the problem is not the spectrum. it is how far the lights can travel. with what you have made it only reaches to the very near leaves and not the rest. and the light has to be really close to the plant</p><p>.</p><p>more wattage means they travel longer. each 1W led uses upto 350mA. 3W leds use 700mA, same space same size can reach upto 100W, thats around 900w equivalent from a space the size of your fingertip. at these stages we need serious cooling solutions.<br>.<br>but depending on what you need, especially for small indoor gardens - like an herb garden, you can get away with using just 1-4W. i grow seedlings under 1W and here also you can see a +2yr old citrus grown using only 4W since seed.</p>
<p>I see. I've looked into some more high powered LEDs like you've described.</p><p>My only concern is finding a suitable power supply because those LEDs draw a lot of current. </p><p>I'm guessing an old laptop charger would be perfect for those lights!</p>
<p>yes, current is the only thing you need to watch out for with high powered leds.</p><p>.</p><p>1W consumes 350mA, 3W consumes 700mA both needing 3.3V. for example 10 in series whether 1 or 3W equal to 33V minimum. you would need to find either a 33V @350mA adapter which is very unlikely to be found or you can do 5 in series 2 in parallel and find an adapter for 17V @700mA which is still unlikely..</p><p>.</p><p>this is why you must most likely purchase an LED driver specifically designed for constant current high power leds. i use these all the time, 48V at 350mA or 700mA; <a href="http://www.ebay.com/itm/Mean-Well-MW-12-48V-350mA-16W-AC-DC-LED-Driver-90-264VAC-/121249151992?hash=item1c3b033bf8:g:qVQAAOxyUrZSyjWd">http://www.ebay.com/itm/Mean-Well-MW-12-48V-350mA-...</a> only \$10, ready to accept AC. all you do is add to this driver 10 to 13, 1W or 3W leds in series. and done. you have a VERY strong light for under \$15 (39W led light ~350W bulb equivalent). if you are using 3W you will most likely need a fan along with your heatsink. 1W is ok with just a good heatsink; <a href="http://www.ebay.com/itm/Aluminum-Heatsink-Heat-Sink-Cooling-for-4pcs-x-3W-12pcs-x-1W-Leds-Light-Lamp-/190895630373?hash=item2c72442825:g:pV4AAOxy015SJVI2">http://www.ebay.com/itm/Aluminum-Heatsink-Heat-Sin...</a></p><p>.</p><p>they are very easy to work with. they can handle a big change in voltage (not current). you also don't have to use resistors with them. you do however need to always use thermal paste like on cpus for best heat dissipation. i hope you give them a try. i used to use CFLs all over the house, taking up lots of room. i've switched to custom made led lights never to look back. they are far more superior to any source out there right now both price and effectiveness they have surpassed bulbs.</p>
Dude your soldering looks interesting... Might want to add some hotsnot to the solder side as plants are mostly water it's a easy fire risk
<p>I guess that's something.</p><p>It's a good idea to add some hot glue to the connections. I won't be doing it on this light because I ended up hanging the light from the ceiling, so it stays dry anyways.</p>
How long have you had your plants growing with this set up? I curious if it's enough light for them.
<p>The plants have been growing for four months and I've just built the light.</p><p>I doubt the light is enough for the plants. I'm thinking that this light wasn't built to replace the sun, just add to the overall light the plants receive.</p><p>This is really useful at this time of the year, because I only get about three-four hours of sunlight in Norway.</p>

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