COBs vs Mid Power Diode Boards (Samsung LM561C, LM301B, etc)
A question we hear often is "Which is better, COBs or boards?" Boards traditionally consist of long strings of 100's of mid power diodes driven at low current outputting on average 1/2 a watt per diode. This power, or PPF, is spread out over a large area, typically an 8x12" MCPCB and is designed to be used close to the canopy.
Our COBs are driven at over 100 watts each emitting a 120° beam angle from an area roughly 2" in diameter. As a result of this concentration of photons, COBs penetrate plant canopies better and when placed in an array at 18" above canopy provide more even coverage and spread the PPF out more broadly than board style lights, which typically concentrate the power in the center and then drop off on the edges and corners.
Why is white LED light better for plant growth than only red/blue or "targeted spectrum" LEDs?
It is important to have wavelengths of light from the entire 400-800 nM spectral range available to the plant in order for all its biological processes to take place. Targeting only Chlorophyll A & B peaks does not provide the entire photosynthetic range required for proper plant growth.
COB LEDs provide a spectral distribution that closely approximates outdoor sunlight. These LEDs provide more red and blue photonic energy per watt than HPS to help with chlorophyll production, general growth and flowering. Full spectrum white light produced by COBs contain parts of the spectrum missing from companies using "targeted spectrums".
Is wattage important? What are the different wattage ratings?
Knowing the amount of wattage your light will consume is important because it is a basis for the amount of money you will spend in electricity to operate it. Also, and arguably more important, it is the basis for your PPF. Having the proper amount of wattage in a well tuned grow area will promote heavier flowering. High efficiency lights like LEDs produce more photonic power (photons within the photosynthetic range), and less heat, compared to HPS and MH style lights. All of our product pages list the amount of power in watts that is consumed at the wall.
What is PAR, PPF and PPFD - and what are the differences?
PAR simply put is the amount of wattage output that is energy that is usable in plant (within the 400-800nM spectral range). The difference between "actual wattage" and PAR wattage is usually heat and energy required by the light to operate. This "excess and unusable" energy is dissipated through cooling.
PPF is the total usable PAR wattage in µmol/s. The placement of this PPF over a given coverage area is how PPFD is derived (PPF/coverage area in sq meters). Having a desired PPFD of 500-600 µmol/m²s is ideal for vegetative, mother plants and clone growth. Maintaining higher PPFD levels in the 900-1000 µmol/m²s range is ideal for flowering. In certain circumstances, such as CO2 enhanced environments, you can utilize up to 1200+ µmol/m²s during flowering.