DIY LED Grow Lights
DIY LED Grow Lights – A Step by step guide for building and installing your very own grow lights! The 10 steps you can take to build your own LED light system.
Step 1. Select and buy
The first step is purchasing the right LED grow light. In this step by step guide, we will discuss an LED light having a size of 2.5” across. With this particular size, you will need at least six units to be mounted. Multiply the total square feet of your garden by 40 to identify the total wattage you may require. Then for a six light system divide that number by 6 to identify the wattage you need for each bulb.
2’ x 2’ grow closet = 4 square feet
4 sqft x 40 watts per ft = 160 total watts required
160 total watts required / 6 bulbs = 27 watts per bulb
NOTE: Make sure the lamps have the right spectrum for your plants
Step 2. Choose your housing
Choose the size of your housing depending on the number of lamps you require and the size of each lamp. For instance, this housing from California’s LMB HEEGER (8” x 5” x 2”) could accommodate 6 LEDs.
That is based on two LED lamps wide 2 x 2.5” = 5 “ wide
Three LED lamps long 3 x 2.5” = 7.5” long
Step 3. Get Light Sockets
There are many socket options. In the figure above, a snap-in style socket made of ceramic is being used. For the hole, the diameter is 1 1/8”.
Step 4. Make your template
You need a template no matter what type of LED you are using, to make sure you are lining the lamps up correctly in the box.
Step 5. Tape the template to the box and start drilling.
To make sure your lights line up at the end, drill a pilot hole before you drill any large holes in the metal.
Step 6. Make holes in the panel’s rear
You need to have at least three holes in the rear part of your panel. They are for the grounding point, on/off switch, and energy chord.
Step 7. Drill the primary mounting holes
After drilling the rear part, start drilling the primary mounting holes. As you can notice in the image above, they are perfect circles and arranged correctly because of the template. Also, beginning with the pilot holes aids in having neat result.
Step 8. Mount the light sockets
Now it’s time to mount the light sockets. Due to the flexibility of the aluminum chassis, you can’t directly push the sockets inside. Put the socket first in the hole and flip the chassis face down on a table top. Push the chassis into the sockets by using a larger screwdriver.
Step 9. Wire the chassis
In the example, a 22 gauge Teflon coated wire is used. The whole fixture only uses 0.4 amps at 120 VAC because in this illustration we are using 6 lamps with 8 LED Watts for a total of only 48 watts. Rated at 5 Amps, a 22 gauge wire is used in this particular setup.
Step 10. Hang the chassis
Hang the LED chassis and wire it so you can raise and lower the lights to match the growth of your plants. You will want to keep the LED light source about 24” above your plants as they grow.