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1. Growing Weed With LEC Lights

Lights are possibly the most critical piece of equipment for an indoor cannabis grow, and they may mean the difference between a big output of the dankest bud and a crop of subpar tiny popcorn buds. Choosing the correct grow lights is so critical. But where to begin with so many options? Light Emitting Ceramic lights have sparked interest among cannabis producers due to their distinct advantages over Metal Halide/High-Pressure Sodium and LED fixtures. In this post, we look at LEC lights, how they vary from LEDs, and their distinct advantages to determine if they’re a feasible alternative for cannabis farmers.

An overview of LEC grow lights

LEC lighting is the result of years of research into spectrometry. Your plants require light to thrive correctly and process light through photosynthesis. However, plants require a specific sort of light known as PAR (Photosynthetically Active Radiation). PPF (Photosynthetic Photon Flow) is the total quantity of PAR light emitted by any light, and LEC lighting generates the greatest PPF. This is how a 600w HPS light may produce the same results as a 315w light. LEC systems that create massive amounts of PPF have been developed due to recent advances in luminic nutrition for cannabis plants. They also create infrared and ultraviolet light (UV), which aren’t visible to the naked eye but have several benefits for cannabis plants, including improved photosynthesis, increased resin output, and more compact flowers.

The difference between LED and LEC grow lights

Due to their terminology, LED and LEC grow lights may appear identical. However, they bear no resemblance. Here are some key differences between LEC and LED lighting:

Low energy lights for weed
Low energy lights for weed
Low energy LED white light bulb near a cannabis flower
  • While LED lighting had a difficult start, current LED fixtures are outstanding. They provide lifespan and energy efficiency, creating relatively little heat using diodes rather than incandescent bulbs. LED lights provide growers with high-quality illumination that may deliver amazing yields while avoiding the size, heat, and complexity of classic HPS lights. LED grow lights are efficient, long-lasting, and often contain switchable light spectrums designed for veg and bloom, making them a popular choice among both amateur and professional growers. Also, they generate the least heat of any cannabis grow light, which can benefit some producers.
  • LEC lights promise to revolutionize indoor cannabis growth and have advantages. LEC or CMH lights are a mix of Metal Halide and High-Pressure Sodium lights because they use ceramic arc tubes rather than quartz. Most notably, they provide a very natural light, especially when contrasted with the amber light of HPS, the white light of MH lights, or the red and blue lights of LEDs. Furthermore, CMH lights can create UV rays, which, while harmful in excess, are thought to encourage increased terpene and resin synthesis when used to cultivate cannabis.

The advantages of LEC grow lights

LEC grow lights provide several distinct advantages that may make them an appealing option for indoor cannabis producers. These advantages include:

LEC grow lights generate UV-B light

The production of UV-B light rays is arguably the most significant advantage of LEC grow lights. While UV-B light (naturally generated by the sun) is hazardous to human beings (hence the need for sunscreen), in the correct concentrations, it can be helpful to cannabis plants. UV-B light is thought to help plants with photosynthesis and promote quicker plant development during the vegetative stage. Furthermore, UV-B lamps are thought to promote the creation of more trichomes, notably terpenes, during the blooming period. Some growers believe that trichomes protect cannabis plants from UV radiation.

LECs generate “natural light”

Another reason LEC lights are popular among growers is that they generate a more “natural” seeming shade of light. While protecting your skin and eyes while entering a tent or room with a LEC fixture is critical, the natural color light produced by these lights is incredibly pleasant. Not only will you enjoy your plants’ beautiful colors, but the natural spectrum of LECs can also make it easier for you to notice pests, nutrient deficiencies, or pathogen issues that might otherwise go undetected under the unnatural light generated by HPS bulbs or LED racks.

LECs are less expensive than LEDs

While LEDs account for a significant portion of the grow light industry, they aren’t necessarily the greatest option for hobby growers due to their high initial price. LECs are ideal for cost-conscious farmers since they are often 2-4 times less expensive than LED lights.

LECs are more effective than HPS lights (but they still generate heat)

Many cannabis producers have long utilized high-pressure sodium lights as their preferred grow light option. However, one of the most significant drawbacks of HPS lights is their inefficiency. While HPS lights may generate high yields, they are notorious for being expensive to run and inefficient, generating a lot of heat that must be dealt with utilizing intake, outtake, and oscillating fans. While LEDs are the polar opposite of HPS lights in terms of efficiency, their lack of heat generation might be an issue for growers in lower climates who wish to keep their tents or room operational during the winter.

Additionally, LECs properly balance HPS and LED lighting; they are significantly more efficient than HPS lights while still producing some heat to assist in keeping your tent and room at the proper temperature. However, you intend to utilize LEC lights in the summer. In that case, you will likely have ventilation and air, just like with HPS lights.

Most LECs are ready to use

HPS lights require a ballast and typically have large fixtures that might require more work for inexperienced growers. LEC fixtures are also fairly bulky (particularly when compared to tiny current LED racks); however, many newer LECs have built-in ballasts and plug-and-play functionality, making installation as easy as hanging them at the correct height and plugging them into a wall outlet.

How to effectively use LEC lights in your grow tent

Since LEC lights are so strong, you must exercise caution while installing and utilizing them. Here are some general rules to follow while installing and utilizing LEC lights in your grow room or tent:

  1. Maintain a safe distance between your canopy and LECs: UV radiation emitted by LEC lights can substantially harm your plants. When using 315W LEC lights (the most popular fixture for cannabis home growers), maintain the bulb at least 45cm above the canopy. Hang the light at least 60cm from the top of your cannabis plants if you’re using the more powerful 630W system.
  2. Always use skin and eye protection when entering a LEC tent or room: Wear protective eyewear and shield your skin when entering a LEC-powered grow area.
  3. Remember that LECs produce more heat than LEDs but less heat than HPS lights: Keep this in mind when you hang your lights and arrange your grow space. Depending on how cold it becomes where you live, the heat created by LEC lights may assist in keeping the temperatures in your tent or room ideal.

How do LEC lights compare to other cannabis grow light options

Cannabis grow lights are currently classified into four types: High-Pressure Sodium (HPS), Metal Halide (MH), LEDs, CFL (Compact Fluorescent Light), and LECs. Each lighting solution has advantages and limitations, and the one you pick will depend on your budget, skill level, the goal of your grow, and the kind of setup you’re operating. CFL lights offer average performance and simplicity at a low cost. Since they are easily available and simple to install, they are usually the initial choice for many novice producers. While they can be utilized to grow a cannabis plant from seed to harvest, the low power of CFL lights makes them unsuitable for anybody other than total beginners who wish to try their hand at cultivating a few plants.

Using light emitting ceramic lights to grow cannabis
Using light emitting ceramic lights to grow cannabis

Anyone expecting more than a poor crop should look at MH/HPS, LED, or LEC lighting. Commercial cannabis farmers cannot use CFLs. Metal Halide and High-Pressure Sodium lights have long been the go-to illumination for indoor gardeners. Indeed, many expert gardeners still prefer them to more contemporary alternatives because they produce outstanding harvests. The disadvantage of MH and HPS lights is that they require ballasts to reduce the amount of electrical current flowing to the lights, resulting in bigger fixtures with more complex installations. They are an excellent choice for intermediate home gardeners and commercial producers that can afford their exceptionally high operating expenses.

Furthermore, LEDs and LECs are the most current grow lights on the market. Despite a difficult start, current LED fixtures may provide outstanding harvests without the size, complexity of installation, or expensive operating costs of MH or HPS lights. However, these advantages come with a significantly greater initial cost. Conversely, LECs are a type of middle ground between MH/HPS and LEDs: they’re not as expensive upfront as LEDs, but they’re also not as inexpensive to operate; they’re more expensive upfront than MH/HPS lights, but they have possibly lower operating expenses.

LEC lights are also known as ceramic metal halide (CMH) and ceramic discharge metal halide (CDM). These are nearly identical and interchangeable. LEC lights do not employ the quartz version used in MH lights. Rather, it employs the ceramic arc tube. Your plants will have more color, but they will be more natural, producing more lumens per watt and lasting longer. Because LED lights have been the ‘go-to’ for so long, LEC lights are still striving for a market share. However, if you want to produce cannabis effectively, select the one with the greatest yield.

Picture of Taylor Christianson

Taylor Christianson

Taylor is an indoor expert. Through their writing, they offer a masterclass on growing cannabis indoors, maintaining a productive growing environment, and guiding growers through all the stages of growth both indoors and outdoors. Combining multiple fields of expertise allows for Taylor to give in-depth insights into overall cannabis growing. 𝕏

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