Factors to consider when comparing LED suppliers
There are numerous factors to consider when exploring and comparing LED grow light products from different brands in the initial purchase phase. Factors, which impact plant growth conditions and the number of fixtures needed for optimal plant growth and light distribution.
Always receive light plans before purchase
We recommend that you always receive light plans from all the suppliers you are considering to be sure that the grow lights will provide the intended effect and that you purchase the correct number of fixtures.
DGT by Senmatic’s light engineers and sales team always compose light plans prior to selling LEDs to ensure that the effect, the number of fixtures, and the placement is correct – and thus also the accuracy and output.
In light plans from DGT by Senmatic, you can see the precise amount of light distributed in your area provided in µmol per square meter. This means that no plant is left without the needed exposure to light in a darker zone at the edge.
Important factors when comparing LED fixtures
To compare LED fixtures from different suppliers on a reasoned and factual basis, several important factors must be controlled and considered carefully.
Distribution and adjustability
The distribution of light and the fixtures’ adjustability largely impact how profitable your investment in LED will be. Both here and now, as it affects the number of fixtures you have to purchase to cover your area, but also in the longer run, as the two factors impact the plants’ growth conditions and thus also salability and production times.
Distribution of light is one of the most important – if not the most important – factor when discussing LEDs. DGT by Senmatic’s LED grow lights are built to distribute light evenly across the area the fixture covers. This is not necessarily the case for all LED fixtures on the market, and you risk that light is very intense directly below the fixture and only emits minimal light in the outer areas. If light is not distributed evenly, fixtures have to be placed closer to one another. This means that you have to purchase more fixtures from these suppliers – and probably more than actually needed. You also risk that not all plants receive the amount of light needed for them to grow. Always ask about light distribution.
Adjustability is another important factor. Check, if you can adjust the spectral distribution and light intensity. If the light intensity can be adjusted, you can adapt the light to each of the plants’ growth stages to ensure than the plant absorbs the light and that plant growth benefit from it. If you can adjust the spectral distribution, you can ensure that the plants receive the right amount of light in the correct colour combination on each of the plants’ growth stages. When adjusting the spectral distribution, you change the percentage of blue and red light.
When comparing LED products from different suppliers, you must first and foremost consider the relation between price, number of diodes, and effect. The price of the fixture is in all probability closely connected to the given effect and the number of diodes – do these cover your needs? If you still want to compare effect, then have a look at watt. Products with different watt cannot be compared one-to-one. Just keep in mind that watt alone will not provide the full story compared to price and diode composition.
Output from the diodes and output from the fixtures
The output from the diodes is not the same as the output from the fixtures. When diode manufacturers state the output, they do not take into account that the diode will be placed in a fixture, which changes the diodes’ conditions – often, the light from the diode have to shine through a different material, which causes a natural loss in output. For example, DGT by Senmatic’s fixtures have plastic under the diode, as the plastic is part of the construction that ensures the correct spectral distribution. In addition is a natural loss in power supply. It is estimated that the output from diodes and the output from fixtures vary by 8-10 %.
Be aware that information about output is different from supplier to supplier. Keep an eye on whether the output stated from the supplier is the output directly from the diode or what is actually emitted from the fixture. This type of information is typically found on a data sheet – if it is not specified what the number covers, we recommend that you ask the supplier to be able to make a comparison.
Area and height
The closer the fixtures are mounted, the more intense the light effect will be. They will, however, cover a smaller area. In a light plan you can see the installation height from your surface and with the exact figures for light effect on your cultures. To compare effect and number of fixtures – and thereby also price – it is essential to receive a light plan.
It is also a good idea to consider the installation of the fixtures to make sure that installation costs – either to the supplier of LEDs or your local electrician – will not end up with high unforeseen costs. Installation is often an additional purchase. Examine whether your newly purchased fixtures can be installed using existing railing, whether the nursery have to be emptied prior to installation, if installation can be done from a ladder or if scaffolding is needed, and if your current electrical installation is sufficient or requires smaller or larger adaption.
Can fixtures be connected to a control system?
Another factor worth considering is whether the LED grow lights can be connected to a control system.
With a control system, you connect all climate elements to one central PC, from which you can easily adjust the different settings, monitor all processes in your nursery and collect historical data, presented as graphs for example. This eases the daily management of your nursery and provides a golden opportunity to analyze on how your grow lights – and irrigation, fertilizing, and climate factors – benefit the production.
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