Moving light rather than generating light

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sardonicus

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So, I am a big diy-er and I like to keep things as efficient as I can. I have been debating with myself on indoor vs outdoor growing while I do other research on growing cannabis. I've never grown it before, but I do have a bit of a green thumb. At the moment I have a large back deck on my house that is covered, and I never use it for anything, so it could be an interesting quasi outdoor growing space. Its out of view of all the neighbors and I live in the middle of nowhere a bit so theres no chance of a random passerby coming to check things out. The problem though is being covered it only gets sunlight for a few hours in the morning, which is not enough. The next natural thought of course is investing in grow lights, but those are expensive and I really dont want to spend that kind of money right now. My next thought comes from an idea that goes back thousands of years - moving light instead of generating it. The right kind of mirror would do the trick. I am also considering parabolic reflectors to concentrate light and a series of lenses and mirrors to move it where its needed and then diffusers to not set things on fire. I have also looked into plano convex lenses to focus light into a fiber optic cable where it gets paired with a diffuser of some kind and maybe a reflector to properly illuminate the area. I am curious to know if anyone else has done what I am thinking about - moving light. How they did it, how well it worked, how much it cost to setup. Any other thoughts on the matter are welcome as well.
 
AngeRBizcuTT480

AngeRBizcuTT480

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I am curious about this aswell. I'm not any scientist but I think if I could redirect sunlight it would be much better than any artificial light. I would also think that if you could successfully transfer sunlight thru a fiber optic cable that you would also be able to adjust the concentration of this sunlight effectively creating a light that would literally be the best light possible in exsistance !!! You could also add artificial lighting in much smaller amounts to tweak the spec and further optimize the light. I'm just thinking about the possibilities. I use a crude mirror system aswell and I really can see a huge improvement,my larf is transformed into quality sized buds and the frost levels are insane. The plant grows much better. How would you go about moving sunlight thru a cable like you mentioned? Can you elaborate a bit ? I think if you can effective redirect the sunlight thru a cable capable of producing enough par to grow cannabis, everything else would be simple,add a few uv, it,and uvb bulbs and its ready to go
 
TSD

TSD

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I too love a good diy project. This is an interesting idea. The first thing that comes to my mind, is various mirrors on some kind of movable post wherever the sunlight shines the most. If you couldn't move it manually, you'd have to rig some kind of small motor or pulley and timer that would move the mirrors every hour or so to follow the sun.... or just have enough mirrors to make that unnecessary.... then have them point at a large mounted mirror that shines down on the plants. You might need a few mirrors at different angles to direct the light... think the mirror scene in The Mummy lol. Concerns would be: How intense the light is and if you have enough clearance to not fry the plants, fire risk, drawing attention to your pad with beams of light, crashing planes by blinding them lol. Ha! This has been a fun little stoned rant to accompany my morning buzz. 🤣🪞☀️🌱🛩
 
AngeRBizcuTT480

AngeRBizcuTT480

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I too love a good diy project. This is an interesting idea. The first thing that comes to my mind, is various mirrors on some kind of movable post wherever the sunlight shines the most. If you couldn't move it manually, you'd have to rig some kind of small motor or pulley and timer that would move the mirrors every hour or so to follow the sun.... or just have enough mirrors to make that unnecessary.... then have them point at a large mounted mirror that shines down on the plants. You might need a few mirrors at different angles to direct the light... think the mirror scene in The Mummy lol. Concerns would be: How intense the light is and if you have enough clearance to not fry the plants, fire risk, drawing attention to your pad with beams of light, crashing planes by blinding them lol. Ha! This has been a fun little stoned rant to accompany my morning buzz. 🤣🪞☀️🌱🛩
Lmao I didn't think about that !! He would have to be able to cover them bit if he really can move the light thru a cable then intensity wouldn't need to be as intense or constant. He could hide the mirrors in less light and produce a decent par at the far end of the cable but that's why I asked him how that would work ? He would def need some kind of lenses system to concentrate and focus the light, but that cable opens a world of possibilities,I've seen a thing like a light tunnel that transports light by bouncing it off mirrors.
 
Ponky

Ponky

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They make light movers. They have approval agency stamps. Like etl csa etc. And you really shouldn't build something. Just buy it.
 
AngeRBizcuTT480

AngeRBizcuTT480

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They make light movers. They have approval agency stamps. Like etl csa etc. And you really shouldn't build something. Just buy it.
Do these light movers move enough to raise up a crop? Do they use mirrors, has the above mentioned fiber optic cable setup already been invented?
 
Ponky

Ponky

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Do these light movers move enough to raise up a crop? Do they use mirrors, has the above mentioned fiber optic cable setup already been invented?
The move the light back on forth on a rail. Are safety tested. So you won't have a legal issue if you have a fire.
 
Ponky

Ponky

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Screenshot 20220607 094808 Chrome
they look like this. Have a little motor on there with a gear reduction. They work.
 
Blastfact

Blastfact

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So, I am a big diy-er and I like to keep things as efficient as I can. I have been debating with myself on indoor vs outdoor growing while I do other research on growing cannabis. I've never grown it before, but I do have a bit of a green thumb. At the moment I have a large back deck on my house that is covered, and I never use it for anything, so it could be an interesting quasi outdoor growing space. Its out of view of all the neighbors and I live in the middle of nowhere a bit so theres no chance of a random passerby coming to check things out. The problem though is being covered it only gets sunlight for a few hours in the morning, which is not enough. The next natural thought of course is investing in grow lights, but those are expensive and I really dont want to spend that kind of money right now. My next thought comes from an idea that goes back thousands of years - moving light instead of generating it. The right kind of mirror would do the trick. I am also considering parabolic reflectors to concentrate light and a series of lenses and mirrors to move it where its needed and then diffusers to not set things on fire. I have also looked into plano convex lenses to focus light into a fiber optic cable where it gets paired with a diffuser of some kind and maybe a reflector to properly illuminate the area. I am curious to know if anyone else has done what I am thinking about - moving light. How they did it, how well it worked, how much it cost to setup. Any other thoughts on the matter are welcome as well.
We messed with this in the late 70's and early 80's. Outdoor grows were getting busted left and right. Bears in the air and satellites were picking them off. In the end it was very complex with having to move and time mirrors with the sun movement condensing the light energy and then uncondensing / diffusing. It was just a friggin mess. And then you still had light shafts shooting across the forrest floor that could be read like a map. Plus there was a lot of light lost to atmospheric and environmental conditions like dust, pollen, moisture and so on. We also played with early fiber optics and glass rods. A mentor, adopted father figure was a engineer in the telecom industry. Back in those days we could never collect and transport enough sunlight to light up a closet more than just a dim glow. Enjoy!
 
TSD

TSD

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We messed with this in the late 70's and early 80's. Outdoor grows were getting busted left and right. Bears in the air and satellites were picking them off. In the end it was very complex with having to move and time mirrors with the sun movement condensing the light energy and then uncondensing / diffusing. It was just a friggin mess. And then you still had light shafts shooting across the forrest floor that could be read like a map. Plus there was a lot of light lost to atmospheric and environmental conditions like dust, pollen, moisture and so on. We also played with early fiber optics and glass rods. A mentor, adopted father figure was a engineer in the telecom industry. Back in those days we could never collect and transport enough sunlight to light up a closet more than just a dim glow. Enjoy!
That's cool to know someone actually attempted it though! I bet the technology could be invented with today's materials... even just a solar array directly fed into an led lighting system on a constant loop would be cool, and probably not that hard to accomplish... which is kind of the same thing in a roundabout way.
 
NorthernOrganics

NorthernOrganics

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I also immediately thought of The Mummy. This is such a cool idea, but fraught with logistical hurdles. The biggest ones in my eyes are: how to redirect the light where you want it while the sun is constantly changing it's position in the sky, light loss to reflection, the system picking up light when it isn't supposed to, cost vs grow lights. I would love to see this in effect, but I'm not quite ready to try it myself. Good luck to you.
 
NorthernOrganics

NorthernOrganics

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I like the idea of rigging solar panels to offset the electricity cost of running grow lights, but not sure the offset will pay for the solar panels quickly enough. The tech is getting cheaper and better. I have this dream in my head of building a tiny home on wheels with solar powered grow lights. Take my garden with me on the road.
 
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N1ghtL1ght

N1ghtL1ght

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Something like a wide chimney that is highly reflective and directs the light into your growspace. There's houses that use that, if you'd have a wider parabolic shield it could catch a number of positions the sun'd have while moving up in the sky.

Your idea sounds interesting though not unexpensive in comparison of a growlight ;)
 
S

sardonicus

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There is a commercially available unit that moves light via plano convex lenses and optical fibers made by a company called parans. They are used to light underground spaces or buildings without windows. Very expensive to buy though. I looked into building one, the convex lenses are readily available and a housing could be made with 3d printing or pvc pipe. The most expensive part though are the optical fibers which make it mostly impractical for me at the moment. Could still be built cheaper than bought though. Im not sure what the rules are about posting links so if you want to see something like this being built on a small scale google fiber optic sunlight collector. There is a youtube video by a french dude that made a single lens one that will give you an idea how it works.

Mirrors were my next thought and the technical term for what I would need is called a heliostat - its a device that automatically follows the sun to produce light at a single target location. I am still researching designs at the moment to keep parts costs down. The stepper motors that would move the 2 axis are the biggest cost for making a heliostat. People often make them to shine into a window or glass door in the winter time to offset some heating costs, and obviously shining it through a window will illuminate the space as well eliminating the need for artificial light in the living space.

Another option would be a parabolic mirror collector, but it would still need to act like a heliostat for all day use and im not sure if you could make optimal use of the parabola with it moving around like that .

As far as setting things on fire, it is certainly a possibility whenever playing with sunlight but if your collector is small enough you can put filters on them that will dramatically reduce the heat that they produce while still yielding a plant friendly light. Also if heat were a major concern for someones area you could also install a diffuser at the focus point which would have two potentially positive effects, it would spread the light which would also spread the heat. It is possible however if lighting too large a space using a diffuser that you would end up with light that was too weak to properly benefit the plants.
 
Aqua Man

Aqua Man

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You will change the spectral ratios… not all spectrums travel through, reflect or absorb the same.

Will it work if you can get the intensity right? Yes

Will it be as effective as sunlight? No

Will it be as good as grow lights? Highly unlikely if using a garbage light and definitely not if using a decent light.

I can very much appreciate the concept but those are my concerns and opinions
 
Observationist

Observationist

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I also immediately thought of The Mummy. This is such a cool idea, but fraught with logistical hurdles. The biggest ones in my eyes are: how to redirect the light where you want it while the sun is constantly changing it's position in the sky, light loss to reflection, the system picking up light when it isn't supposed to, cost vs grow lights. I would love to see this in effect, but I'm not quite ready to try it myself. Good luck to you.
I’ve thought of similar before, nice to see some others have/are


I figure just use the daylight sun while you can, then for the extra few hours for veg, use LEDs when the sun is setting for a few more hours.
 
S

sardonicus

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You will change the spectral ratios… not all spectrums travel through, reflect or absorb the same.

Will it work if you can get the intensity right? Yes

Will it be as effective as sunlight? No

Will it be as good as grow lights? Highly unlikely if using a garbage light and definitely not if using a decent light.

I can very much appreciate the concept but those are my concerns and opinions
I agree those are certainly concerns, and while I have not seen anyone using straight mirrors on a heliostat for plants I have seen an instance of someone using a parabolic collector with a filter to eliminate some of the heat producing spectrums and using that to illuminate an underground space that had plants growing in it. Their purpose was not strictly for the plants, if memory serves it was a video about a project in new york to repurpose abandoned underground areas of the city into public spaces again in an energy efficient way. Of course how well those plants survived down there and for how long I can't say.

It should be easy enough to use a light meter in that area after getting my collector setup, but its not a sophisticated meter and will only be able to tell me how much light is there and not which wavelengths are present. As expensive as seeds can be, at least compared to your average vegetable seed, it would probably be prudent to get this space setup and then try to grow something like tomatoes or any other sun loving vegetable. If something else that thrives in full sun would grow adequately in this space with the light from the collector it would be fair to say that cannabis would as well. Perhaps not as well as a good grow light, but I could probably build a decent sized heliostat for half the cost of one good grow light. Worst case scenario performance is underwhelming and I can add some lights later to supplement the collector and perhaps need fewer of them.

Still a fair bit of research to go, and I appreciate everyones thoughts.
 
Greenyos

Greenyos

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Install a few of these babies. Could take the design and try to maximize it for growing.
Screenshot 20220607 202634 915
 
S

sardonicus

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I had thought about that too, i've seen them on a few tv shows and they would definitely work in the area I want to setup in. They are a touch on the expensive side though.

What might also be interesting is to setup one or two of those solar tubes and use them as targets for my heliostat. I wonder if that would make them more effective or not make any difference. Could be a fun experiment sometime when I have some money to throw at it.
 

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