What Indoor Growers Should Know About LEC (Light Emitting Ceramic)
WHAT IS A LIGHT EMITTING CERAMIC SYSTEM?
As innovative and practical as indoor gardening is, there’s no getting around the fact that most plants require light. For years, indoor growers have used high intensity discharge (HID) lamps. A Light Emitting Ceramic (LEC) setup is the next evolutionary step in lighting for raising indoor crops. The LEC system uses a ceramic bulb that delivers both light and heat much more effectively over a large indoor growing area, resulting in an easier way to manage and produce a higher crop.
LEC systems give better light quality and stability and offer more control over the lamp’s color and light transitioning. An LEC system is better at approximating the actions of natural sunlight than HID lamps, making this system an advanced addition to your indoor gardening. The mimicry applies both to temperatures and light wavelengths. Vegetation uses light to receive energy, and it receives this boost from the energy provided along the color spectrum of a wavelength.
Shorter wavelengths are blue, violet, and ultra violet, and provide more energy. Longer wavelengths are orange, red, and “far” red in color, and produce less energy. All of these wavelengths are important to your plant at various times of year. Shorter wavelengths are necessary in the spring for maturing, and longer ones in the summer and autumn for flowering. These wavelength colors are known as a color referencing index (CRI). The sun’s CRI is 100. An LEC bulb’s CRI is in the 80-96 range versus an HID bulb with a CRI of about 65.
WHY INDOOR GROWERS NEED LEC
In addition to encouraging plant growth with light temperatures and energy wavelengths, LEC systems are beneficial to growers as well. Each LEC bulb (3100K or 4200K) has a life of about two years. The 4200K is ideal for early leafy vegetative growth while the 3100K is better suited to fruit & flower development.
The LEC ballasts themselves are far more energy efficient. And because of their smaller sizes and lower temperature outputs, growers have a far greater range of plot options, including tents.
HOW TO INCORPORATE LEC INTO YOUR INDOOR GARDENING
LEC systems are the wave of future hydroponic gardening and provide growers with better light control, stability, and nutrition for plants. When transitioning to an LEC system, growers should know the following:
- LEC system components aren’t compatible with other lighting systems. For example, you cannot use HID bulbs in a LEC ballast.
- Incorporating silica into indoor gardening areas may get better results in conjunction with LEC systems.