Why use Virtual Sun Grow Lights?Gardening and Horticultural enthusiasts have long reaped the benefits of being able to extend the growing season into a year-round event via Grow Lights. Grow lights provide lighting that is an indoor equivalent to sunlight. This is a great advantage which allows its user to have a year-round supply of fresh flowers, veggies, and herbs. Another great advantage to using a Grow Light System is being able to jump start the seedlings months ahead of the last frost of the season.
Virtual Sun HID (High Intensity Discharge) Plant Grow Lights & Bulb TypesWhy choose a HID lighting system? HID Lighting systems are the most efficient way of replicating the suns natural light in a manmade way. HID Lights comewith two specific bulb type, each bulb type possesses its own characteristic that are vital to the grow cycle.
Metal Halide- MH BulbsMetal Halide bulbs have a slight bluish light and are primarily used for the vegetative (first) phase of Plant growth. The type of light produced from MH is near the spectrum closest to sunlight (5500 Kelvin) which encourages normal growth. Metal Halide lamps also produce ultraviolet radiation which helps increase the amount and quality produced by plants. MH lamps are generally used 18-24 hours per day for the first month or two of plant growth which act to provide a robust and vigorous overall plant growth. Metal Halide can be used as a primary light when growing “leafy” plants; such as lettuce and vegetative herbs.
High Pressure Sodium Bulbs - HPSHigh Pressure Sodium bulbs have red-orange glow and is used for flowering/budding (second) phase of Plant growth. HPS emits a light further away from sun on the light spectrum (about 2200 Kelvin), this is what enables the plant to reach the reproductive stage and begin that process. HPS lamps are generally used 12-14 hours per day for the final stages of plant growth which act to promote the flowering/budding stages of the plant. High Pressure Sodium can be used as a primary light when growing flowering/fruiting plants; such as flowers.
How Long Should I run my Virtual Sun Grow lights?The amount of time that Grow Lights should run varies depending on application and crops. Flowering Plants generally need anywhere from 12-16 hours of light per day, whereas Foliage type Plants need about 14-16 hours of light per day.
All plants should receive a minimum of 8 hours of darkness on a daily basis. It is also crucial to run the lights at the same time everyday to maintain consistency. This can be achieved by using the Virtual Sun included Automatic Timer.
Virtual Sun Ballast – Digital vs. MagneticVirtual Sun offers two Ballast configurations so that all users may benefit from its Grow Lights. Also, Virtual Suns are compatible with Metal Halide and High Pressure Sodium Bulbs via switchable ballasts. This eliminates the need for having separate ballast thus reducing setup time and clutter. The Ballast is needed to control the electrical current that flows through the HID lamp.
A Magnetic Ballast is a great entry level ballast for beginning users. Their lower price and proven track record makes them a superb choice. Magnetic ballasts have been used by growers for over 30 years. At the current time many growers have stayed with this method because of the proven track record of it. Magnetic ballasts also run a little warmer and are a little bigger in size than Digital Ballasts.
A Digital Ballast enables the electrical current to conform to the optimal levels of performance for the bulb being used. This is only possible through digital circuitry. Digital Ballast also produces a more consistent light while also promoting longer lamp life via cleaner power. This ballast also uses power more efficiently which reduces operating costs. While a little more in price upfront, the cost savings over the life of the unit will greatly make up for the extra initial purchase price. Some of the benefits of Digital Ballast are: smaller/more compact, cleaner power to extend life of bulbs, quiet operation, and cooler running temperatures.