July 13th, 2015 | By admin
LED Grow Lights have come a long way in the past few years, but many growers who get good results from HPS lighting have been reluctant to make the switch. Bud quality appears to be pretty good under LED, you can’t argue with lower temps & power bills, and the bud porn is killer, but HPS has still remained the gold standard for high yields & dense nuggs – until now.
With a new LED light that offers a full 1000 watts of power, BigBudLED has put some pretty big claims out there, so we talked them into sending their biggest unit, the BBL1000, over to the Weed Geek lab so we could put it through its paces. Here’s what they have to say about this massive LED:
- A Full 1000 Watts of Power – This is the real draw, not some number they came up with by adding up the diode ratings of the individual bulbs. With 288 5 watt LEDs configured into 16 COB clusters each rated at a total of 90 watts, the grand total would be 1440 watts if BigBudLED used the standard marketing formula instead of a more honest figure.
- Reduces Electricity Needs by 20-35% – BigBudLED admits the BBL1000 LED Light will pull about the same wattage as a 1000 watt HPS because a watt is a watt after all, but they claim you can easily reduce your power consumption by 20 to 35% by eliminating the ballast and reducing the ventilation and air conditioning required to control temps. If you’re doing a new set-up, you can also take most of the ducting and fans out of your budget.
- Each BBL1000 Covers a 4X4 Grow Space with canopy coverage and penetration that’s just as good as a 1000 watt HPS, if not better. Each COB is covered by a high-density, 90-degree glass PCX lens that evenly distributes light with virtually no reduction in intensity.
- Increases Potency, Reduces Finish Time – With less heat, the THC should degrade less giving you up to a 25% increase in potency. The targeted light spectrum gives cannabis plants exactly what they can absorb best, allowing finish times to be reduced by up to 14 days depending on strain. If this is true, that’s way better than a lower electric bill or a few less fans to run.
The Weed Geek BigBud LED Review
The first thing we noticed before the BBL1000 even arrived is the price tag – we won’t beat around the bush, this baby is pricey at pennies under two grand. It’s targeted toward professional growers who can make their money back quickly by growing a better product at a reduced cost so that they can spend less and charge more with a faster turnaround.
By BigBudLED’s calculations, the BBL1000 should pay for itself when replacing a 1000 watt setup in a typical commercial operation within the first 6 months, then the rest is gravy.
If you’re growing your own medicine, you’d probably be more interested in one of BigBudLED’s smaller, more affordable lights like the BBL260.
We really liked how the BBL1000 LED light looked once it arrived & we unboxed it. The design is very streamlined and it had a sturdy feel to it. The specs give the weight as 24 kg (about 52 pounds) and the measurements as 65 cm (25.5 inches) square and 6 cm (2.36 inches) thick. We didn’t confirm, but that seems about right. In other words, it felt a little heavy for its size – make sure you have a sturdy framework if you’re hanging this in a tent.
To get an idea of how much power we were saving, we took an unscientific approach instead of running out to buy Kill-A-Watt. We turned on a 1000 watt HPS setup and noted the numbers on the electric meter when we started and then again 12 hours later. After switching out the HPS for the BBL1000 and unplugging most of the fans, we went through the exercise again the next day at the same time so that the building’s other electricity usage would be roughly the same. Our experiment showed that we saved just under 7 KWH over the course of 12 hours, which translates into about $30 a month. Depending on the electricity prices in your area, your savings could be more or less than that.
During this test, we also checked out the differences in heat. The 1000 watt HPS brought the temps up from 70 degrees Fahrenheit in the dark to around 78 degrees within the first 30 minutes using an air-cooled hood pulling air from outside the tent with a 650 cfm fan. The BBL1000 LED Light was barely warm to the touch and only brought the temperature up inside the tent 2 degrees after the full 12 hours with only passive ventilation and a fan for air circulation. Needless to say, the LED setup was much quieter, too.
Finally, we hooked the BBL1000 up over a mixed grow that was already showing preflowers and just begging to be flipped. The purplish color of the lights takes a bit of getting used to, but it’s a lot easier on the eyes than the yellow HPS glare. However, these are strong, strong lights – you should absolutely never look directly into the bulbs and eye protection is highly recommended.
The light covered our 4X4 tent perfectly with no dark areas or shadows at the canopy level. As long as we cleared away any fans that were blocking the light, penetration looked as good as a 1000 watt HPS, although we’re still adjusting to the purpleness. So far, we haven’t seen any of the bleaching that we did with other LED lights, but we’ve also been careful to keep the light at least 2 feet up from the canopy.
As of today, we’re about 5 weeks into flower and things are looking good. Bud size and density checks out, trichome production is nice and heavy, the smell is getting really strong and everything appears to be on schedule. We have a few more weeks to go before we can say if we’ll have an early finish and a few more weeks before we can give you a smoke report for flavor and potency. If this grow turns out as good as its looking now, there’s no way BigBudLED is getting this light back.
Stay tuned for the final report on BigBudLED’s BBL1000 LED light!