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Chip On Board LED technology, better known by the acronym ‘COB’, have made their way in the ascendancy to the top of artificial grow light technology. Surpassing both prior stages of LEDs and tried and true industry standards to provide a highly efficient, reliable, long lasting and an overall optimized growing opportunity for those willing to try them out, it’s now easy to see what all the ever growing talk about ‘COB’s’ is all about! Voices all over are touting the high praises of these little chips that capture a sampling of our solar sun and bring it down to terra firma, allowing people at will to utilize its advanced power to illuminate darkened spaces and transforming them into lush and vibrant gardens! Such gardens become an oasis for the providing of foods and medicine in abundance for the nourishment and healing to all those who would reach out and freely partake!
As current LED technology rapidly grows at an ever expanding immensity of speed, what was once a novelty, a ‘new thing’ or reserved for the big boys or the ’trial testers/runners’, now with magnetic like precision is grabbing people’s attention to pay attention and not to miss out! Times change, the get ‘on board or you’re going to miss the train’ is applicable to many things in our 21st century. That which was the talk on everyone’s lips, or through the typing of everyone’s fingertips, is always moved aside and surpassed by that which is NOW – the ‘newer and better’. COB LEDs are at the very front of this growth and expansion of lighting technology!!
Before the highly advanced COB style LEDs, or even LEDs in their initial phases used in personal cultivation, many were the winding paths within the realm of grow lights.
Through the progression of the very beginnings of soil stained sunny window sills, to flickering T12’s, all up to the almost war-like cries of those who shout ‘Hail (Metal) Halides’, to the ‘Hail HPS’ crew, the MH/HPS seemed to be the end all of indoor lighting when it came to providing a viable source capable of bringing a seed to an abundant harvest. One would eventually see the shift from the actual light source (bulb advancements) to things more like reflectors (certainly an important field of study and development) garnering the attention and subject of thought for the improvement and maximization of crop yields. The testing of various reflective materials, angles of light refraction, etc. were for a while the ‘new thing.’
MH and HPS lights, for many people, are either too big or bulky, or most often opined against as to the heat concerns for those who grow in smaller spaces. The hassle of having to add ‘one more thing’ (a cooling system in this case), is just another hurdle to cross or just downright cost prohibitive for the penny pinchers already. Loud fans not even mentioned- COB LEDs are beyond question superior in the area of controlling heat output (and reduction of operational noise). COB is LEADING the way in performance and ease of operation in smaller to the largest of grows!
T5’s, T8’s, and even T12’s will likely always be a main stay (until LED prices drop) for vegetative growth, especially for the individual smaller or residential option for startups. LED tubes which fit the standard ‘shop light’ fixtures surpass the traditional gaseous fluorescent’s, so having an incredible high quality COB light fixture dialed in for a smaller space dedicated to vegetative or even vegetative/flower production with excellent spectrum is most certainly the greatest option to implement! The supremacy of COB's to ‘T’ whatever' lights, isn’t EVEN an issue!
What’s old (fluoro’s) was then new again with the popularization of CFL’s! Seemingly a breath of fresh air! Those who wanted to grow in smaller spaces with a lesser productive cost than HID options rejoiced! Still used to this day in particular residential operations, and in the right situations, they are a tried-and-true light source. Overall however, with their slouching qualities and most often less than advertised life span, many were left disappointed and dismayed- not yet finding that Holy Grail. With the proliferation of LEDs, CFL’s are simply outdated to even being not the safest of options- especially with the gigantic fixtures like the 240watt bulbs. LED lighting, in particular the COB style, have taken and delivered on the characteristics promoted by CFL’s, but which came up short in the end. COB style lights being applicable to smaller spaces, drastically reduced operational cost due to high efficiency, reduced heat output, and extensive life span- COB LEDs have the SUPREME advantage over CFL’s for certain!
What seems to be an almost common theme of triplicate acronyms (CFL, HPS, HID, to even (now) LEPs, LECs, etc… sorry MH!) new whispering's began to emerge about LEDs.
The initial scoffers who chided about ‘Light Bright’ toy lights that can’t grow plants began to take notice as the technology rapidly progressed and more and more people were claiming either excellent potential or actual substantial success with even the original ‘stone age’ style technology (compared to the COB’s of today!) of ‘star’ style LEDs. The main drawback was price (to a great degree, sadly, STILL is), but also an abundance of cheap or poor quality products from an array of producers with wild claims/little backing proof to substantiate their claims. Hucksters and ‘snake oil salesmen’ antics turned many off! Many jumped on the DIY wagon however and have never looked back! Those who may want to go the DIY route, still may choose to go with a pre-fab light to get their bearings down with some experience under their belt before getting in over their head, or even running into complications which may turn them off towards LED’s in general, or add them to the ‘slander camp’ which still banters against LED’s (even after years of grow outs, tests and results made public). The clarion call is sounding forth, and is so far beyond now any real dispute- with things like the advancing COB technology (and may it continue to advance!), LEDs are ALREADY the way of the future NOW present!
Current generation COB’s as well also far surpass both the 3 and 5 watt ‘dinosaur’ generation/outdated LED chips/stars. Longevity is certainly a major contributing factor that weighs heavily on the scales towards choosing a COB style LED as opposed to the more traditional HID options- the constant replacement of bulbs adds up. While LEDs (currently) usually have a higher startup cost, as times progresses through successive growing periods, the pricing not only quickly evens out, but ultimately saves over the long term due to the aforementioned lifespan and overall efficiency.
All lighting technologies still have their usage today, but specific COB style LEDs are being made known to have advantages in ALL areas of growth for either the individual resident to large scale grows. The beginnings of vegetative growth to flowering, the full spectrum of COB’s is highly praised as the leading edge, and now exclaimed by many as their be-all and end-all preference. Full spectrum ‘White’ light LEDs are primarily at the forefront of the forefront of COB’s it seems right now, and are surely posed to greatly advance (hope so)! Times ahead are exciting!
What is NOT to love? High output of full spectrum lighting, cost savings in the long run, longevity of life, extensive reduction of heat without added cooling/fan systems, etc…etc.. Viva la COB's!
In my own current living condition, a high quality light source is a dream. To possess a LED option (certainly COB style) light for either beginning to end crop production, or initial startup to transplant outside when the sun blazes bright and warm above, would be most awesome! Not being able to work at all (med. issues, gastrointestinal for one (I grow ‘superhot’ peppers as my ‘medicine’) -no Gov. assistance yet, even moving back in with my ‘old man’- money is almost/practically non-existent. Desiring to have at least one 2x4 tent (3x4 or 4x4 would be better, and two of them would be choice, plus having something smaller dedicated to veg would be ideal!) Individual shop light T8’s (not even the large multi 6-8 lamp fixtures), flimsy pvc framed/white poster board (hopefully panda film) covered ‘tents’ and other things less than ideal are seemingly the only option. Indoor growing is really the BEST option (apartment balcony = no space, plus insane 110+ degree heat in summer is no way to grow anything, especially when needed constantly to use as meds. Total failure with outdoor grow last year- hellish heat!) COB’s being the ideal for such an indoor grow, be they multiple pre-fabs, or DIY customized versions, cost is still utterly prohibitive! From all I’ve seen and read, I’m ALREADY on the LED bandwagon (and COB’s the preferred LEDs). To dream of lush vegetative growth, poddage filled tents supplying beautiful medicine of the highest quality year round, such are my happy thoughts… but imaginings don’t bring health maintenance and ease of sufferings! Cheers!
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