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420SA

Tips on keeping the electricity bill down with an indoor grow setup

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These pointers are pretty much related to saving electricity in general but will definitely come in handy if you find your electricity bill is getting excessive since you started growing. These pointers are obvious but believe me some probably are unaware  :-blazed

 

[*]Convert all your household light bulbs to energy saving bulbs such as Fluorescent, CFL and LED. Your ultimate goal should be LED

[*]Switch your geyser on for about an hour or two a day and then switch it off. Most of us only really need the geyser for showering or bathing so plan your geyser on-time around when those activities are going to happen and then switch the geyser off. Getting a timer for your geyser would be ideal!

[*]If using HID, keep track of your bulbs age and time it has been used. Older HID bulbs reaching the end of their lives will cause a ballast to draw more power to keep the bulb at the same intensity

 

This is a working thread in progress. Others feel free to provide your input on this matter :thumbups

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Something else that few consider is keeping that PC running all day and night. It draws as much power as a 250w setup.

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Guest Maxwell

At this rate just use what you can when you can.  :-hilarious :-hilarious :-hilarious If you have an old-school power meter, a strong enough magnet can turn it back, if you have a smart meter (Geeeezuz they are another fuck up of tenders, you should see what happened in Cali with the same units!) just use a foil tray and stick it over during your lights on. In the end of it tho, how many of us actually need to worry? Sure any saving is saving, but say your entire set up is 3kw, that's still like less than R1000, the price of 10g of indoor right? So for your (call it .5g/w) you're paying 4k (4 months of growth/work) for 1.5kg of bud. Sounds like a bargain to me....  :poke

 

Go digital, magnetic ballasts are power guzzlers.

 

I still cannot wrap my head around this? How does a digital ballast use less electricity?

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Cool guys, I am of the same opinion on saving energy not just for monetary sake but for environment as well.

First thing I did in my house was change over to LED and quality geyser timer. My geyser runs 3 hours a day. The 1st month alone I saved about R250. I am currently running a LED grow light. I am using about an extra R80 bucks a month running my grow cab. So far so good. Want to try and find out want I need to run my setup on solar power?

 

All useful energy saving tips most welcome.  :-peace

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@Maxwell

Digital ballasts use roughly half the power of magnetic ballasts.  It all come down to there design. Magnetic ballasts use magnets and coils which is a very inefficient way of converting power so a lot gets lost to heat. Digitals are the other end of the scale and utilise microchips to controller and convert the power with is a lot more efficient and produce very little heat.

Cheers

Reaf

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@420

Hi bud point number 3 you make about bulbs using more power as they age is only true on digital ballasts , on magnetic ballasts they just put out less light.

Thanks for that Reaf. Say for instance you're running a 600w bulb on a 600W digital ballast. Would the ballast start using more than 600w if the bulb is getting old? and can the ballast handle drawing more power?

 

What would be a good guideline to knowing if a bulb is nearing the end of its days?

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Hi bud

On digital ballasts there are chips that control the power sent to the bulbs , they can read how worn a bulb is and compensate for that by sending more power to the bulb . Therefor a the bulb will output a constant lumen output never getting less. The drawback to this is as the bulb ages you will use more power and you will have a much higher failed rate on bulbs at the end of there lifespan  due to the high power being pumped into them by the ballast to keep the lumen output constant. On a digital ballast you can test bulb age with a amp meter but you need to know what they pull with new bulbs then you can keep an eye on there age because as they get older they will draw more amps.

 

Magnetic  ballasts are pigs. .. they eat power and waste half of it. There only redeeming fact is that they are bullet proof. Magnetic ballasts are as tough as nails and last years. As a bulb ages on a magnetic ballast it will drop in lumen to a point were it's only outputting 50% of it's original lumens , you would think they eye would notice but it doesn't.  Best way to test a bulb on magnetic is with a light meter or an app for your phone. Once again you need to take a starting reading with a new bulb to have something to reference it to. 

 

I have done extensive testing between digital and magnetic and found on average magnetics pull twice there rated power output while digitals pull there rated output. All tests were done with new bulbs and ballasts.

 

Cheers

Reaf

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Guest Maxwell

And don't forget to ensure you use the correct MH bulb with magnetic/electronic ballasts. Pulse vs Probe start, the former for the latter and vice versa.

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Hi bud

On digital ballasts there are chips that control the power sent to the bulbs , they can read how worn a bulb is and compensate for that by sending more power to the bulb . Therefor a the bulb will output a constant lumen output never getting less. The drawback to this is as the bulb ages you will use more power and you will have a much higher failed rate on bulbs at the end of there lifespan  due to the high power being pumped into them by the ballast to keep the lumen output constant. On a digital ballast you can test bulb age with a amp meter but you need to know what they pull with new bulbs then you can keep an eye on there age because as they get older they will draw more amps.

 

Magnetic  ballasts are pigs. .. they eat power and waste half of it. There only redeeming fact is that they are bullet proof. Magnetic ballasts are as tough as nails and last years. As a bulb ages on a magnetic ballast it will drop in lumen to a point were it's only outputting 50% of it's original lumens , you would think they eye would notice but it doesn't.  Best way to test a bulb on magnetic is with a light meter or an app for your phone. Once again you need to take a starting reading with a new bulb to have something to reference it to.

 

I have done extensive testing between digital and magnetic and found on average magnetics pull twice there rated power output while digitals pull there rated output. All tests were done with new bulbs and ballasts.

 

Cheers

Reaf

Super info shot Reaf :thumbups sometimes you read up on ppl saying that digital ballasts are just money making tools that aren't worth the extra money over magnetic ballasts. I reckon that's been debunked now

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Guest Maxwell

So essentially a 400w system has nothing to do with the actual power consumed, rather what power is needed to ignite and run the bulb, provided it is new/not compromised?

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@max

The 400w it's it's output , draw can vary hugely . Digitals will draw close to there 400w output while magnetics waste a lot of power to get to 400w output so it has to draw more.

 weather it's magnetic or ditigal they both pull more on startup. Digitals at startup are a lot more efficient as they have what's called a soft start were the microchips controlled the startup to just let the bulbs ignite. For example my 1000w digitals start of by only pulling a small amount to of power to get the bulbs ignited . Then after about 40 seconds you can actually see the bulbs kick I to a higher wattage and then at about 1 min they kick I to full 1000w mode. They do this for a few reasons , but it's mainly to help controlled the startup draw especially  if you turning g on multiple 1000w at a time. It takes about 10min  for a digutal hid to get to full lumen.

Magnetics on the other hand go balls to the wall from the start drawing insane amounts if power to get going , for example my 400w magnetic runs at 989w when it's been on for 20min but at the start it draws 1450w , now imagine switching on multiple magnetic ballasts at once and the wiring you would need to support it all.

 

It's a joke actually that my 1000w digital actually draws less on startup and the same after 20min. Well almost the same , Magnetic 400w pulls 989w while digital 1000w pulls 1005w....

 

Here's a nice little fact about prepaid meters I found out yesterday that if you type #1# on you metres it will tell you exactly how much you are drawing of the grid.

 

Hope I answered your question max as I can waffle on a bit.

Cheers

Reaf

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@420

I had the same issues  with what read on the Internet and at one stage I was also one of those guys that said digitals were a con and a money making thing.... I was wrong. I got a 400w digital from a friend and started doing my own tests and man was I so wrong.... personally I will never again run a magnetic... might as well just set fire to my money...

 

Cheers 

Reaf

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Guest Maxwell

Okay cool that makes sense now. I totally get how the difference occurs. Can you waffle a little more reaf? So when taking your reading, is it between the ballast and bulb or plug and ballast? I am still a little confused about the draw difference. Surely 1000w on 220v is going to draw 5ish amps? So then a 400w should pull 2ish? How does the amperage factor into the higher reading? If the ballast is pulling 1400w for 400w, that'd be at 7 amps? Surely too high? Or is this all about how magnetics work? Perhaps I am a little out of my depth here....

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@Max

You always take the measurement between the plug and ballast on the live wire.

You are quite right 1000w on 220v draws 4.54 amps while 400w draws 1.8amps. The thing is they don't actually draw what they say they do. Magnetics 400w will draw close on 7amps at startup and drop to roughly 5amps after 20min. It's how they are designed with coils and magnets which is very wastefull in power . Best way we can physically see the power wastage is by touching the ballasts , if you touch a magnetic ballast they are dam hot , all the heat you are feeling is generated by power wastage. That's money that's being converted to heat energy not your grow.

 

Same can actually be applied to led panels... I hear all this talk about panels being that much more efficient but they to take drivers(ballasts) which have to covert power and there will always be waste in conversions . That's why weather it's led or hid the power output is always stated while it isn't the true power draw.

 

It all boils down to ohms law , if you take the reading you will get it's in amps then it's a simple equation to covert it to watts

 

The phase current I in amps (A) is equal to the power (P) in watts (W), divided by the power factor PF times the RMS voltage V in volts (V):

 

I(A) = P(W) / (PF × V(V))

 

The power factor of resistive impedance load is equal to 1.

 

The only true way to see what you use is to test it , you can't go by the output watts .

Cheers

Reaf

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Guest Maxwell

Boom! Totally on your level! I was struggling to understand why my equations weren't adding up to your statements. As you say, heat is wasted electricity. What is stated has little to do with what is drawn. And as for LED, the "power saving" side has never convinced me... Energy is always conserved, never lost.

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Guest Maxwell

Take an aspirin and enlighten me?! :-hilarious I'm very interested in this discrepancy. The more I learn about this hobby, the less I know! Geez...

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Lol....

Right here it goes... I will do my best to explain it

We all know that we pay for power by the unit or kwa ( same thig ) . 1kwa or 1 unit  is 1000w of power in 1h , simple. The problem comes in is when power is produced it isn't produced in kwa it's produced in kva . This a problem since we get charged in kwa to this is were the power factor comes in. A power factor of 1 means that for every 1kva you draw on a ballast will convert it to 1kwa.

The thing is a 1 power factor is very rare so electronic appliances do there best to covert it .

Say now u put a digital ballast of 400w and next to it you put a magnetic , yes they both output 400w but they each deal with the converting very differently . For exampke your digital may have a power factor of say 0.9 and the magnetic has one of 0.5 , this means that your digital will convert 90% of the kva to kwa therefore only needing to draw an extra 10% power to hit the 400w OUTPUT. Now if the magnetic ballast has a power factor of 0.5 it only can convert 50%of the power to usable power while a lot gets wasted to heat , what the ballast has to do to compensate for this is draw more power to get to your 400w OUTPUT.

All electronics suffer from this , that's why most are getting a lot more efficient as technology gets better at converting kva to usable power.

 

It's like when you look at a generator , in big letters on the side it will state 10000kva and you think awesome 10kw. Then you look on the other side in small writing and it says 8000w output... that's the power factor , generated power to usable power. Everything has a power factor 

 

Lol I hope that makes sense.... I am not an electrician

Cheers

Reaf

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Thanks for that Reaf

 

Aou just cleared up my mind aswell. now I have a better understanding of whats going on.

 

More knowledge equals better performance...

What do you do by trade?

 

 

Grow well

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Guest Maxwell

Very cool stuff Reaf! Found any cool oddities in some old buildings?

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