How many boards?
High Lights were originally designed as a 600W HPS replacement. Two boards side-by-side form a perfect square to cover a 2’x2′ to 3’x3′ area, offering much more even coverage than a HID bulb with two-thirds the heat and power consumption (see PAR maps below).
High Lights are usually hung in pairs – either side-by-side on single heatsinks, or end-to-end on a double heatsink – but can be mounted in almost any configuration for those willing to build their own frames.
The general rule is one board and heatsink per 2’x2′ area; two boards with heatsinks per 4’x2′ or 3’x3′ area; and four boards per 4’x4′, with each board running at around 170W (3.5A per board). These configurations match nicely with a HLG-320H-48A or AB driver for each pair of boards running at about 350W total (at the boards – or about 375W at the wall, including driver).
Mean Well A and AB drivers always exceed their stated output current and voltage, which is why a “320” driver can drive a pair of boards at up to 350W.
For those more concerned with total light output than efficiency, each pair of boards can be driven at up to 450W (225W per board) with a Mean Well HLG-480H-48A or AB driver – being careful not to over-current the boards, as the 480 driver has the potential to output well over 520W.
Real-world tests have shown that most growers get their best results driving a pair boards at 350W (and no more than 400W) over each 4’x2′ or 3’x3′ area.
For maximum efficiency – and the absolute best canopy coverage – two boards can be mounted over each 2’x2′ (or eight boards over each 4’x4′) being driven at 1.5-2A (70-95W per board). At these currents, heatsinks are not necessary, but can still be used for additional efficiency (LEDs are more efficient at lower temperatures).
With no heatsink, each High Light board can be driven at a maximum 150W as long as board temperatures do not exceed 70C. We generally recommend boards be run at about 135W without heatsinks in warmer climates.
Viso Systems Goniometer in action
How many watts?
Grow Lights Australia is fortunate to have access to a Viso Systems LabSpion Goniometer – the most accurate consumer tool on the market for measuring LED board efficiency, light spread and spectra.
With the Viso Systems Goniometer, we can create IES files (IES stands for “Illuminating Engineering Society”) that can be loaded into computer software such as the free DIALux program that can be used to create PAR maps to predict the best board configurations, currents and mounting heights for any area.
A PAR map (Photosynthetically Active Radiation map) is used to plot the optimal amount of light in a grow room and is measured in Photosynthetic Photon Flux Density (PPFD).
The ideal PPFD measurement will vary depending on plant species and stage of growth, but 800-1,000 PPFD is generally considered the ideal amount of light for many common species of flowering and fruiting plants.
Below are some PAR maps we have created using High Light IES files showing the most common layouts matched to each of our LED lighting kits. Each area is defined using 80% reflective walls – about the same reflectivity as a new grow tent or freshly painted white wall.
All the numbers are in PPFD.
The above PAR map is our Single High Light, Heatsink and Driver Combo driven at 4A (about 200W) and hung 16″ (40cm) over a 2.5’x2′ area (75cm x 60cm). This is a great starter kit for a small area or tent that will easily outyield a 250W HPS and rival a 315W CMH.
This PAR map is our Double High Light, Heatsink and Driver Combo driven at 3.5A and hung 20″ (50cm) over a 3’x3′ area (90cm x 90cm) using a HLG-320H-48A driver. This configuration is popular for replacing individual 600W HPS lamps in larger areas where the lamps are in rows with lots of overlapping light.
This PAR map is a 4’x4′ area with two 350W Double High Light, Heatsink and Driver Combos mounted 18″ (45cm) over the canopy using two HLG-320H-48A drivers. This is our most popular configuration.
Here’s the same pair of 350W Double High Light, Heatsink and Driver Combos mounted 18″ (45cm) above a 5’x5′.
Here is a pair of 400W Double High Light, Heatsink and Driver Combos mounted 18″ (45cm) above a 5’x5′ using two HLG-480H-48A drivers. The larger drivers give an extra 100 PPFD across the entire canopy for an extra 100W total (50W per driver).
A number of growers have had excellent results mounting eight High Light boards over a 4’x4′ area – with and without heatsinks – driving their boards at 1.5-2A (70-95W) each using an ELG-200-48A/AB, ELG-240A/AB or HLG-240H-48A/AB driver for each pair of boards. The above PAR map shows the boards driven at 1.5A (70W) and mounted 18″ (45cm) above the canopy.
And yet another option: six High Light boards over a 4’x4′ without heatsinks being driven at 2.5A each (120W per board, 720W total). You would likely run three ELG-240-48A/AB or HLG-240H-48A/AB drivers – one for each pair of boards. This option provides very even coverage for a good price,and saves on shipping, too.
Please note that Mean Well ELG series drivers are NOT recommended for countries with 100-120V mains (Japan, Americas etc), as they will be de-rated to 75% output. For 110V mains use Mean Well HLG or the new XLG-H series drivers for 100% output.
ELG drivers will output 100% on 220-240V mains and can be used in Australia and most parts of Europe, Africa and Asia (outside Japan and Taiwan). They are cheaper than the HLG series, but come with a five-year warranty vs seven-year.
If you don’t see your configuration here, and are still unsure how many boards to use and which drivers to pair them with, we can create a custom PAR map like the ones above to help you decide. Just Contact Us with your query.