As soon as the BigBudsMag.com grow team heard that corporate criminal drug war corporation Scotts Miracle-Gro bought 75% of Dutch lighting giant Gavita, we agreed to divest ourselves of our Gavita double-ended (DE) bulbs, digital ballasts, reflectors, and other Gavita equipment.
We also agreed to never again spend any money on Gavita equipment.
This is how you fight back against evil corporations: you don’t give them even a penny of your money.
We were concerned about what we’d replace our Gavita indoor grow lights with.
Marijuana growers with ten-foot ceilings and adequate air conditioning have been getting three or more pounds per light using double-ended grow lights, and we didn’t want to lose those high-yield advantages.
Fortunately, Sunlight Supply just erased our concerns with an important hydroponics lighting first: a combination fixture called “Grow Beast” that combines light-emitting ceramic bulbs with a double-ended bulb.
The Grow Beast reflector is 25 inches deep, 41 inches wide, and 10 inches top to bottom.
The Grow Beast is sold in two versions differentiated only by the color temperature of the light emitting ceramic (LEC) lamps included with your purchase.
One version includes two 3100 Kelvin light emitting ceramic lamps, and the other includes two 4200 Kelvin lamps.
Of the two, the 4200K is the bluer, more metal halide type of color.
You can buy one fixture and use both the 3100K and the 4200K in the same fixture if you want to.
The 3100K is the more popular choice for marijuana growers because it contains a spectrum useful for both grow and bloom phase, whereas the 4200K is more appropriate only for grow phase.
The double-ended bulb, which isn’t included when you buy the Grow Beast, is an HPS type with a typical HPS (high pressure sodium) spectrum, which makes the double-ended bulb appropriate mostly for bloom phase unless you use it in combination with the bluer 4200K LEC bulbs.
I personally don’t see a reason to overpower my grow phase with double-ended bulbs. I use double-ended primarily for bloom phase.
The Grow Beast has the light emitting ceramic ballasts built in, but you have to buy the double-ended bulb and ballast separately.
Our grower team members are favoring the Galaxy Select-a-Watt 1000-watt adjustable ballast and either the Phillips or Ushio double-ended 1000-watt bulb for use with the Grow Beast.
Note that there’s some evidence that adjustable watt ballasts don’t create the best performance from hydroponics bulbs.
This three-light fixture with its two Kelvin temperature possibilities and the double-ended bulb has allowed us to engage in lots of creative experimentation.
You’ll want to check the intensity and spectrum graphs on Sunlight’s website to see what kind of light you get from the two types of LEC bulbs.
Because you can run the LECs with or without the double-ended bulb and vice versa, you really do get several lights in one. For example:
- You could use one 315-watt LEC in early grow phase for clones and seedlings instead of LED or T-5.
- You could use two LECs in later grow phase instead of LED, T-5 or metal halide.
- You could use LECs as auxiliary lighting during bloom phase or use LECs and the double-ended bulb during bloom phase as main lighting.
- You could use LECs as main lighting for motherplants.
- You can experiment with using one 3100K and one 4200K in the fixture instead of two bulbs of the same color temperature.
Light emitting ceramic is the newest grow light technology introduced for hydroponics marijuana growers.
It has a better efficiency per watt than high intensity discharge (HID) metal halide or high pressure sodium bulbs and generates about 35% less heat.
Light emitting ceramic delivers ultraviolet and far infrared spectrums that regular grow lights don’t deliver well or at all.
These wavelengths increase production of cannabinoids and terpenoids while also increasing harvest size and keeping internodes shorter.
Some practical tips for using the Grow Beast:
- A full-loaded Grow Beast fixture weighs about 31 pounds.
- If you’re running two LECs and a 1000-watt double ended bulb, you’re drawing about 1780 watts, which is way more than most household 15 amp circuits can safely handle. You want to upgrade to at least 20 amp capacity for the circuit you run a Grow Beast on.
- You need a 240 volt receptacle for the Grow Beast.
- Double-ended bulbs run super-hot and can’t be air cooled. Your cannabis plants have to be further away from them than from regular HID bulbs, light emitting ceramic bulbs, or from LED grow lights.
- Most people who run double-ended bulbs have them in grow ops with 10-feet ceilings, and/or they have seriously industrial air conditioning and air movement capacity.
Growers report that using only LEC is fine in grow phase but results in lower harvest weight and potency in bloom phase, whether you use the 3100K or the 4200K LEC bulbs.
So if you want a high-yielding, high-potency bloom phase, use the double-ended bulb and the two light emitting ceramic bulbs in combination.
Even though the total cost including the digital ballast and the double-ended bulb is around $1750, Sunlight Supply has hit a grand slam with the Grow Beast.
We’re glad they’ve given us a high-performing new alternative to Gavita Scotts Miracle-Gro indoor grow lighting.