Monthly Archives: May 2015

Testing the new 4 foot SG lamps


Had a fun day pushing the new Solacure SG-1-40 prototype. I feel bad calling it a prototype, as I know I’m going into production with this exact lamp. Even the “prototypes” aren’t marked as prototypes. Awesome lamp, to say the least. Very much the same as the big brother SG-1, only easier to use for most applications. I’m guessing this will be a best seller once we get production quantities.

I tested using the Workhorse 7, Workhorse 8 and SunHorse ballasts. On the whole, I think the SunHorse ballast did the best job. The Workhorse 7, however, was a bit disappointing and I didn’t do a lot of tests with it. I still have the bench loaded with the lamps, so I may try some funky wiring methods with the 7. The Workhorse 8 did surprisingly well when wired in VHO modes, of which there are a couple of different ways, using 2 or 3 lamps. The problem is that 3 lamps is an odd number for most applications, unless you are using 6 or 12 lamp rigs. Tripling the wiring to two lamps (which is WAY OUT OF SPEC FOR THE BALLAST!) gave me 80 watts per lamp and the output was insanely high. For high production systems, this is the way to go, although it will generate a bunch of heat.

For grins and giggles, I thought I would wire up the SunHorse in VHO mode. Keep in mind, this is a 40 watt format, and I was pushing almost 100 watts to each lamp. I ended up getting twice the regular output, although I have no idea what this will do to lamp life. The actual components can handle it (the cathode/anode set is rated for 120w), but this puts some serious wear and tear on the phosphors themselves. At this stage, I wouldn’t recommended it until more testing can be done.

I published a power chart on the website showing relative output using the different ballasts, but for now, it is probably better to just call me. I expect I will configure 3 or 4 different kits using the same ballast, to cover all the different applications. Things get complicated when you are pushing this much power. Oh, and they can still just be run using an off the shelf 40 watt FR40T12 ballast, so that makes them especially easy to work with. For horticultural use at 12 hours a day, this is an acceptable configuration and they will end up lasting 4 seasons (guestimate at this point), although it will take at least one lamp per two plants. I also tested them at 32 watts, and they performed just fine, with the type of performance drop off you would expect.

So the design concept works flawlessly, they have been tested and operate within expectations from 32 to 99 watts, an unprecedented 300% wide margin, and one not seen on ANY fluorescent UV lamp by any other maker except Solacure. All you have to do is figure out which power level is right for you.


Spring update

I haven’t been very good about updating this spring, but it isn’t because I haven’t been busy. Two new prototype lamps have shown up on my door, including one that I’m confident to be going into production, a four foot version of the 6 foot long SG-1. These are the green lamps, 1.5″ in diameter and can put out about twice the UVA as our standard lamps, making them perfect for curing. This is due in part to having some UVB in the perfect bands to speed up curing and make the finish cure from the bottom up.

These use the same phosphor blend as our original cannabis/marijuana growing lamp, which is unusual since you would think that curing and growing require two different phosphor blends (and usually do). It has to do with the glass, Sol Glass to be specific, which lets us produce UV in a range that no other lamp can, and which happens to be extremely effective for stressing the plant using significantly lower amounts of UVB. It works smarter instead of harder. This phosphor blend has actually been tested by a number of medicinal dispensaries and has produced increases in THC well over 20% when compared to control plants. I’m designing a new version of this phosphor as we speak, one that will be tailored specifically for growing only, with significantly higher UVB so it can be placed farther from the plants, thus cover a greater area. While they will be more expensive per lamp, this will save you a lot of money in fixtures and lamps since you will need less of them. Obviously this would work great for all plants, not just cannabis.

I will update with some photos later, but know that we have some very cool stuff coming soon for wood aging, curing AND horticulture. Stay tuned!