Any of you growmies build your own lights.
I got a couple friends who have built their own led lights already and they're crushing it to be quite honest. We basically mimicked the nextlight max using Samsung chip boards "I belive 501b's" and 2 280watt meanwell drivers and 1/8" extruded aluminum sheeting for the frame/heat sink. Came in right around $500 for the same as the max light with upgraded drivers. Working at a hydro store I've been lucky enough to get my hands on the new nextlights and others so I've been able to check em out top to bottom and the heat drop is the best part about them and really where the power savings comes in. Not only from the drop in consumption on the light but from the drop on the cooling of the room... that saves more than the drop on watts for the lite. Here's a hi ornate starting to flower under it
Yes, as crazy as it sounds I have been using 6 bulb vanity strips (bathroom style) with screw in LED bulbs (14 watt, 2700K). They have worked very well for my small (2×3 running 18 bulbs) personal grow. It's a total of 252 watts and I hit around .8 to .9 grams per watt with a really imperfect environment.
The pros to this are that I can upgrade the bulbs with new tech as time goes on, easy swap out for different spextrum combinations, and this fixture was cheap to build.
The cons are it would be a hassle to light an area more than 4×4 or so and people are probably going to be very dismissive of it, in comparison to more legit light sources.
I built one using some huge COBs. It worked perfect!! The only issue was I built them before I knew anything and they were 450nm (blue). I used all parts from ebay and built a 6 foot long light with 4 cobs. Basically mounted cobs with thermal adhesive to finned aluminum heatsinks. Then I mounted the heatsinks in-line with each other using "L" channel aluminum stock from lowes, wired them up with the 110 plug and inline switch. I covered the Line of COBs with aluminum flashing from lowes (arched it over forming a tube design, fastened to the "L" channel Aluminum) and stuck an in-line duct fan in it to run cool air over the heatsinks. It worked SO GOOD!!! Stayed very cool. This all cost me literally 120 bucks or so and would go in my 5x8 very well!
Next I will do a similar Design with a 3500k warm white light for full spectrum ... I could easily swap them out but plan to use them for germination and seedlings. but the 450nm used alone caused short node growth. I've found full spectrum all the way through works best with some extra red and low IR in the last few weeks.
Lemme know if you need more details, I could literally give you a parts list.
I didn't completely DIY, but I bought the HLG QB132 boards, and mounted them to a sheet of aluminum, and then of course wired it up to a driver. I am thinking of getting a 4x4 to flower in, and leave the 3x3 as a veg/mother tent, allowing to get a perpetual harvest. Should I do that, my likely lighting options are two 315CMH, or more likely, some sort of DIY strip build. I can't rule out a couple dual 288 board setups, but strips just seem like overall they would be better (more light spread).