Q. Which is a better lamp to grow with MH or HPS; I'm on a limited budget and can only afford one?
A. I would recommend purchasing the Metal Halide kit, and when it comes into the bloom stage you purchase an HPS conversion lamp or a full spectrum MH lamp. If you are only going to use one type of bulb for flowering and vegetative stages the Sun Master neutral deluxe is an excellent lamp for both purposes. This will be more economical for setting up on a limited budget.
Q. How long does the average 1000 watt HPS lamp last?
A. On average they burn for 12000 hrs but most gardeners replace once a year more maximum efficiency from the lamp. The cost of new bulbs is minor in comparison to yield loss from weakened lamps. The best way to monitor a bulbs wear is with a light meter. These can be expensive, any where from $100-$300, but for a larger scale set up it is wise investment.
Q. Is it worth the investment to upgrade to a full spectrum bulb rather than the standard bulbs?
A. While the standard bulbs perform very well, I have seen first hand the benefit of full spectrum lamps such as Hortilux, Solarmax and Sunmaster and can say with confidence these lamps are definitely worth every penny. But if you are on a limited budget and you buy the clears you will still get excellent results as they are still a very high quality lamp. The full spectrum bulbs give you a combination of red and blue light similar to HPS and MH mixed together which is best for optimum growth.
Q. Which Bulb should be used in the Vegetative stage and which one in the bloom?
A. Use a Lamp with a high output in the blue range of the spectrum for the vegetative stage and for the flowering stage use a lamp with a high out put in the red range of the spectrum. During all stages of growth but especially during the bloom stage plants require a balanced mix of blue and red for optimal growth.
Q. Based on Lumen per watt Ratio what is more efficient to operate, MH or HPS?
A. HPS gives a higher lumen per watt ratio than metal halide and the bulbs often last up to twice as long. The 600 watt HPS has the highest lumen per watt ratio of any HID bulb. But for growing MH has a higher PAR value than HPS but often isn't enough in the red range of the spectrum, this is why a mix of both is required for optimal growth. Or the use of full spectrum bulbs is replacing mixing the MH with the HPS. The bulb manufacturers are doing this for you.
Q. Can I run a 1000 watt MH bulb wired up to a socket and just plug it in my wall plug?
A. Absolutely NO, NO and NO!!! You have to use a 1000 watt MH ballast to power this lamp. The power coming out of your wall must be transformed to usable voltage by the lamp. This is the job of the ballast.