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MH & HPS Grow Lights

HPS & MH grow light systems

Even in the growing era of LED Grow Light technology, many hydroponic growers prefer the gas charged high-pressure sodium (HPS) or metal halide (MH) grow light systems. The intensity, broad spectrum and light consistencies make HPS or MH lighting suitable throughout the entire plant cycle. This means that the same grow light system can be used from cloning or seedling stage through plant’s maturity and harvest.

HPS & MH grow light systems all operate on the same principle of an electrical current exciting gas within a vacuumed tube. There’s single-ended (SE) gas-charged grow lights and double ended (DE) lighting. All we’re really referring to when comparing SE to DE is the number of power bases or how an AC current flows through the bulb.

Should you go with an SE or DE grow light system?

That topic could be debated all day but as a general rule, the commercial grower is going to probably find the DE provides more flexibility for their type of use while the beginner with a much smaller grow room will get by perfectly with an SE.

Greater flexibility in wattage.

What’s so great about HPS and MH grow light systems is the flexibility they afford with the wattage a grower is able to use. There’s the option of 150 watt all the way up to 1,100 watt. A grower also has the freedom to mix and match wattage for more precise coverage depending on the need.

HPS & MH grow lights require a ballast.

All a ballast basically is an electrical charge regulator. It’s really that simple. Without the use of a grow light ballast a gas charged grow light would instantly overheat and explode. The ballast prevents this by limiting and distributing the AC current in a consistent charge. Therefore, all HPS and MH grow light systems require the use of a ballast.

Ballasts are typically either digital or magnetic. Either are suitable however, the large commercial grower will probably prefer the precision of digital while the beginner will appreciate the simplicity and reliability of the magnetic.

Why you should use a reflector with HPS or MH grow lights.

HPS, MH and other gas charged grow light systems almost always require the use of a grow light reflector for a very simple reason. Light intensity tends to concentrate downward and using a reflector helps distribute that light more evenly for full coverage of the plant. Reflectors for HPS or MH grow lights also come in a number of styles for multiple uses.

Which a grower decides to use depends on the individual growing conditions, grow room ventilation and the type of hydroponic growing being used. The commercial grower is going to benefit most from the air-cooled while the beginner will find the winged or vertical hanging the easiest to start off with.

Because of the versatility, cost and reliability HPS or MH grow lighting will undoubtedly never fall out favor with the hydroponic grower any time soon.

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