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High Pressure Sodium (HPS) Lights For Growing Weed

High Pressure Sodium Lights for Growing

High pressure sodium lights for growing cannabis have been a reliable choice for indoor producers for decades. Although there are recent developments in alternative grow light technologies, like LED light, HPS light remains the preferred choice for many seasoned and newbie growers.

An overview of HPS lights

HPS light, like compact fluorescent light (CFL), generate light by combining vapor, gas, and electricity. In addition to the high-pressure variant, there is a low-pressure sodium (LPS) light, and the two are referred to together as sodium vapor lamps. Low-pressure sodium lamps became popular in the 1920s and are extremely efficient lighting alternatives today. Because of their capacity to emit vast volumes of light and produce near monochromatic yellow light, they are typically used when seeing color isn’t critical. LPS lights are now widely utilized in street lighting, tunnel illumination, and security lighting. High-pressure sodium lights were developed in the 1960s. They emit a greater light and color temperature range than their LPS counterparts and have been utilized for numerous purposes, including cannabis production.

Ideal wattage for HPS lights

High pressure sodium lights for growing cannabis come in various standard sizes for growers. The most common power levels are 250W, 400W, 600W, and 1000W. The number of plants you can grow beneath a grow light is determined by size. Of course, this might vary greatly if you use different training strategies. For example, a SOG system will certainly be able to accommodate more individual plants than a SCROG system. You should hang your light above the cannabis plant canopy. However, when doing so, use your senses rather than various tables. It is too hot for the plants if the light feels unpleasant on the back of your hand. Many gardeners begin with their lights well above the plants and progressively lower them daily, paying close attention to the uppermost growth tips. When you notice the first indications of leaf burn, move the lights back a few inches and keep them at this distance from the canopy.

Using high pressure sodium lights for growing weed

Since the spectrum of light emitted by HPS bulbs is more red, indoor gardeners frequently favor HPS lights for the blooming stage (when a more red-hued light is optimal for bud growth). For the vegetative phase, they transition to ceramic metal halide (CMH) lamps, which are more toward the blue end of the spectrum. However, gardeners that like to keep things easy with a single type of light frequently use HPS bulbs for the whole life cycle.

CMH and HPS lights are parts of a larger category of lights known as high-intensity discharge (or HID). The effectiveness of every lighting system varies. A high-quality HPS fixture may be more efficient than low-quality LEDs (light-emitting diodes). Still, in general, HPS lighting solutions fall in the center of the efficiency spectrum, being less efficient than LED but more efficient than CFL systems.

Benefits of using HPS indoor grow light

  1. HPS lighting systems may provide 0.8 – 0.8 grams of light per watt
  2. Initially, the cost is lower. However, remember that LED and LEC lights may assist save a significant amount of money on your power costs, more than making up for it. HPS systems are originally less expensive.
  3. Since these lights were the only ones accessible for growing cannabis, there is a variety of online information on how to utilize them.
  4. They’re wonderful for producing cannabis; however, they emit a lot of heat compared to other varieties. However, this might be extremely useful in keeping your grow room warm in locations where winters are harsh.

How HPS generates light

Light is produced by flowing electricity through vaporized sodium and mercury inside an arc tube in high-pressure sodium systems. In terms of physical, electrical, and color spectrum characteristics,’ an HPS bulb differs significantly from a metal halide bulb. An electronic starter delivers a brief, high-voltage pulse within the ballast to evaporate the gases in the bulb, causing it to ignite. It may take up to three (3) or four (4) minutes to glow completely. HPS bulbs, like metal halide bulbs, have a two-bulb design, with the outer bulb as the casing and the inner bulb as the inner arc tube. Unlike metal halides, you may put high-pressure sodium bulbs in any position without sacrificing lumens or efficiency.

HPS lights in a cannabis grow room

HPS light offers the longest lifespan and the finest lumen maintenance of any HID bulb for cannabis plants. High pressure sodium lights for growing cannabis provide the longest lifespan and the finest lumen maintenance of any HID bulb for plants. The sodium in an HPS bulb has the potential to ‘bleed’ out via the arc tube after several hours of operation. Long-term leakage will result in a shift in the sodium-to-mercury ratio, causing the bulb’s voltage in the arc to increase and finally burn out. 1,000-watt HPS bulbs have an average lifetime of 24,000 hours (5 years on a 12/12 day/night cycle). Gardeners will replace HPS bulbs every 18 to 24 months of growth to keep the garden’s lumen output high and production high.

An HPS grow light system

Using high pressure sodium lights for growing cannabis in an indoor grow room necessitates a proper setup, making them slightly more difficult and involved than alternative plug-and-play choices. An HPS system’s primary components are as follows:

  1. Bulbs: The larger your grow space, the higher the wattage needed.
  2. Ballast: Your lamps’ power supply might be digital or magnetic.
  3. Hood: To limit waste and enhance light exposure, it sits over the bulb and reflects light down toward the cannabis plants.
  4. Grow tent: Not required, but may improve efficiency.
  5. Exhaust system: Helps to distribute the significant heat produced by HPS bulbs, especially in a small, confined environment like a grow tent.
  6. A timer: This is an optional tool for controlling lighting systems.

The difference between digital and magnetic ballasts for HPS light

While magnetic ballasts are less expensive, digital ballasts start up faster, operate more quietly, emit less heat, last longer, and produce more lumens (light) than magnetic ballasts. More light equals higher yield, and digital ballasts may sometimes deliver 20-30% more light than a comparable magnetic ballast bulb. Furthermore, a digital ballast may increase the life of your bulbs, requiring you to replace them less frequently. There is no comparison in quality between a digital and a magnetic ballast; the digital ballast outperforms the magnetic ballast. A magnetic ballast can take up to 20 minutes to power up and is notorious for being loud and inefficient, providing less light and using more bulbs.

HPS vs. Metal halides

HPS light for weed, like a metal halide system, requires a certain ballast type to work. To function effectively, each ballast must have the same wattage as the hood and bulb. Instead of buying individual components, you may purchase entire HID lighting system kits. When you buy a lighting kit, you save money on the system, but you will only sometimes find the precise kind you want (bulb, hood, and ballast) in the kit and will have to buy it individually. Industrial, domestic, and horticulture lighting all employ high-pressure sodium bulbs.

Additionally, HPS bulbs are readily found at hardware or building supply stores; however, most hardware or building supply stores only stock 250- or 400-watt bulbs. If you want other bulb sizes, you’ll have to travel to a gardening store or purchase them online to have them sent to you. HPS bulbs are quite affordable, and any HPS bulb will produce cannabis plants.

HPS lights vs. other grow lights

HPS lighting has been tried and tested. They have gained popularity among indoor growers because of their low cost, high efficiency, and reputation for producing consistent harvests. Compared to compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs), an HPS system is often favored for its brightness and efficiency. However, since they employ typical socket shells, CFLs are easier to put into short or strangely shaped grow areas. HPS bulbs generate a lot of heat and must be kept away from plants, but CFLs and LEDs may be placed closer to the canopy without causing harm.

HPS lights vs other grow lights comparison

Regarding heat, LED lighting systems, which operate the coolest of all, are a key point of comparison. Because of the heat produced by the bulbs, HPS grow rooms frequently require an exhaust system. LED systems are usually more energy efficient but are also the most expensive. In terms of initial setup and operating expenses, HPS systems lie in the middle. Growers, particularly those on a commercial scale, are increasingly constructing hybrid systems that combine LED, CFL, CMH, or HPS light to maximize the benefits of each.

Disposing of HPS lights for weed

HPS bulbs, like CFL bulbs, contain a trace amount of mercury. This does pose a risk if they break. It also implies that when HPS bulbs reach the end of their useful life, they must be disposed of correctly.

HPS light for weed is the fundamental basis of cannabis cultivation. HPS light may be utilized throughout the cannabis growing process, from seed to harvest (though some growers like to start with Metal Halide or fluorescent grow lights before the cannabis hits the flowering stage). HPS light for weed appears to also assist farmers in producing the highest cannabis harvests. Conversely, HPS lights consume a lot of energy and generate a lot of heat. These concerns may deter a novice grower from utilizing high pressure sodium lights for growing weed.

Picture of Ed Rushford

Ed Rushford

Ed Rushford’s impact on cannabis growing is undeniable. Though he tends to focus primarily on 2 areas, plant training techniques and dealing with disease, pests, and other problems, he has offered many insights into how cannabis plants live and grow. That’s not to say that Ed is unfamiliar with the complete life cycle of cannabis, from seed to harvest, but he uses his widespread knowledge to hone in on the minutia and niche areas of growing cannabis. Ed’s goal is to spread knowledge and allow for everyone to become better growers. About this Author

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