Making a LED Grow Light Stand
I'm about to start my garden seeds and decided to try supplementing the sunny window with a stand of LED lights. It's a south window but only gets a few hours of sunshine on a good day. It's also really cloudy this time of year. Later I will be able to put the plants in the greenhouse that covers the swimming pool. It's not a heated enclosure so it's too cold for plants right now.
The light is separate from the legs and can be raised as the plants grow, (hopefully.)
The legs are connected to the light frame with 2 nuts and bolts on each side. I'm using regular nuts but I will get some butterfly nuts that are easy to hand tighten. It can be taken apart and can be stored flat.
Because regular LED lights do not supply the whole spectrum that plants need, LED grow lights have been developed that are more complete. I am not worried about this because this light stand is intended to supplement the outside light and will only be used for a few weeks.
Here is a link from Amazon.com for LED lights if you want to use them: [Pack of 4] eSavebulbs 28W Full Spectrum Led Grow light Bulb E27 Grow Plant Light for Hydropoics Greenhouse Organic
I made the legs with only the crosspiece at first and found that I wanted a slightly more stable base so I added the side support.
I marked the holes for the bolts that support the light frame on one leg and drilled both together so they are even. The holes are larger than needed to make it easier to line up the holes of the frame and legs and push the bolt through.
The legs are made from quite rough pine boards I had left over and which were too rough for much, and the light frame from 1x2 lumber cut a 2x4 for another project. Everything is put together with screws.
The size was chosen to fit on a side table I have and is made to fit the mushroom boxes I'd planned to use to start the seeds. The table fits 6 of the plastic mushroom containers and there is enough space for a row of smaller pots along the edge.
The lights are are wired in parallel so that if one is bad the rest still goes on. I'm using household LED's. I wired a switch box to turn on and off. I should have used metal boxes for each of the lights and if I was doing it again I would use them. If you decide to do this, use wiring that is of appropriate weight and proper boxes and connectors.
Each of the lights draw less than 9 watts each so it's not a heavy circuit.
I'm also using little heat pads to help the seeds germinate. Each draws about 5 watts.
I only put 4 bulbs but I can add 4 more in the outside corners if it's not bright enough.
I only use the heating pads till the seedlings have appeared. It helps speed up germination. It's quite surprising. I had several basil seeds germinating in 3 days.
This information is for general knowledge. I am not an expert electrician. If you decide to make a similar light stand, get help for the electrical parts, or use ready made light units.