Growlights - Yay or Nay?

I have seen a few topics covering grow lights with FarmBot and noticed that the consensus is a yes and no answer. My immediate concern is how to effectively use growlights on a FarmBot when the gantry would slide into them?

To me, it seems adding grow lights almost negates the purpose of FarmBot being an automated tool.

What I learned is that grow lights need to be:

  • On 12 hours a day

  • 2 feet maximum above plants to be effective

So, am I correct in assuming there is not a feasible solution to this issue? I work with a lot of schools and ease of use would lower the barrier to entry and I feel like adding grow lights may increase the barrier.

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@JBingham I use grow lights over the long winters here when I can’t do “real” gardening. The only times I can think of where LED lighting would be appropriate are:

  • You are a researcher using a minimal setup to run experiments in. I have grown lettuce like this with OK results (150-watt HPS equivalent lighting).
  • You have the initiative to modify the hardware to account for the gantry bumping issue you mention.

I keep a tiny FarmBot at my desk for testing purposes and will sometimes attach LED lights to it for fun, but keeping them out of the way of the gantry is a challenge:

Some folks have gotten it to work with varying degrees of success, but ultimately as engineers of the system, we designed the device only with outdoor/greenhouse growers in mind. If you are building a system that uses 100% artificial light (or 100% artificial nutrients, for that matter), the open-source nature of the project will allow you to make modifications quite easily but you must acknowledge that you are using the system in an environment it was not designed for. We’ve seen some users do some very cool things with hydroponics and indoor lighting, but these projects almost always require a heavy amount of modification to the existing design.

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Thank you so much for your feedback!

I figured this would be a challenge but wanted to verify. Ideally, I would want them to operate outdoors but I know it is a discussion that I will have with others involved.

Thanks again!

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