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Batteries are necessary with wind power due to the variability of wind speed. Operating 2 metal halides at 120 volts would require about 1000 batteries (AH-34) wired in the following manner: a series/parallel circuit where 10 banks of batteries are wired in parallel, each bank consisting of 100 batteries connected in a series. Since halides require A/C current, an inverter would be required leading to a loss of efficiency. This is a costly operation, and is not cost effective in today's market. A photovoltaic system would cost even more ($100,000). Large scale windmill systems are more suited to the needs of halide growers, but they are still too expensive in most cases.
It is better to use A/C power generators because you eliminate the need for an inverter. Hydroturbines are available at about $1000 per KW ($4000 minimum) from the Clean Energy Products Co., Seattle Wa. Diesel generators are a good investment due to their low cost, durability, and adaptability to methane systems. Industrial generators are available up to 55,000 watts.
5000 watt diesel generators are claimed by the manufacturer to: use h gallon of fuel per hour; need an oil change once a year; and an overhaul every three years. I recommend purchasing a larger generator to avoid maintenance problems associated with smaller wattage generators. Larger generators operating at half capacity will last a lot longer than smaller models which are constantly operating at full capacity. Some people have two, in case one breaks down or to alternate machines every light cycle.
DO NOT vent the exhaust from the generator into a greenhouse or grow room. The danger of a person walking into the area and getting poisoned from carbon monoxide is great. The exhaust can be piped into the greenhouse through a seriesof air tight pipes, which will give off heat into the growing area. Make sure that the venting pipes have no leaks in them; check every few weeks for cracks or leaks in the metal piping. Vent the exhaust pipe outdoors after no more heat is extracted from it.
Sources for alternative energy products and information:
Metal halide and High Pressure Sodium bulbs, unlike incandescent bulbs, cannot be plugged in directly to an outlet. They require a ballast, which is a transformer and a capacitor. The ballast will increase and regulate the current or voltage.
Several companies manufacture High Intensity Discharge ballasts, and there is some variation in quality and price.
The Universal ballast is reliable, but is somewhat on the noisy side. The universal HPS ballast has been reported in some cases to be too loud for apartment use, as the sound of the ballast (hummm) is heard on the floor above and below the apartment in which it is used.
Mounting the ballast on rubber washers may help a little but make sure that the ballast is grounded to the the box.
The Advance ballast is relatively quiet but has a 15% failure rate.
The General Electric ballast is both quiet and reliable, although it does cost $20-$30 more than the competition. The difference in quality is significant in the Metal Halide and more noticeable in the HPS. Considering the long life of HID ballasts, the extra money for the top of the line equipment, is well worth it.
The Jefferson ballast is also quiet, and reliability is a little less than the G.E. models.
People purchasing lights from garden supply stores typically pay much less than electrical contractors would pay, due to the large volume of lights being sold for agricultural purposes, which are minus the industrial fixtures.
Your ballast will run cooler and quieter if it is operated at 240 volts rather than 120. Less of the transformer is used when it is wired for 240.
The transformer should be grounded to a piece of metal. This can be accomplished by drilling 4 holes through the mounting brackets and box, and inserting *s" screws. The iginiter of the HPS must also be grounded. The capacitor can be secured with 1 screw and some perforated plumbing tape.
The ballast is connected on one end to the plug, and on the other end to the socket. Three strand heavy duty electric wire should be used and the green wire should connect the reflector and ballast box to a ground. The wire should be at least 14 gauge. The wire coding is "SJ" meaning normal, ”S" for sturdier due to thick insulation, and "SO" meaning impermiable to oil.
There is a circuit which can be added to a ballast which will enable it to power either a Halide or an HPS but not simultaneously. The retail price for this combination unit is about the same as the total for both a Halide kit and a HPS kit. The combination unit would start with a halide bulb and then change to a HPS during the flowering stage.
Such a procedure could shock a plant by abruptly and totally depriving the plant of blue spectrum light. Unless your plant is genetically adapted to only red spectrum light, plants need blue light not only for the vegetative cycle but for seed and bud production. It is fetter to have both a Halide and a HPS in a growing operation. This produces a full spectrum of light so that the highest quality can be achieved.
There is a bulb manufactured by G.E. called the "I" line bulb. This bulb can operate on most mercury vapor ballasts. Some of the disadvantages are:
Before buying any gimmick units, make sure that your dealer is well versed in plant growth as he/she is in electronics.
There are basically three legitimate survivalist groups:
It is true that we are faced with many different threats to survival. Some individuals often see only one threat. I hope that those people with a good sense and a creative spirit can be aware of all three and arrive at a consistent solution. It doesn't seem to do much good to blame capitalism for pollution or imperialism, without defining terms. Certainly state capitalism or fascism is an evil. The alternative is voluntarism which can be either communalistic or capitalistic.
There is a new vehicle called the "Quadtractor" which has many advantages over the standard tractor. It's wheels are all the same size preventing the machine from tipping over. It is higher off the ground, so weeding can be done further into the growing season. It is lighter, leading to less soil compaction. For more information, write to: Jack Haggerty, 16819 427 Ave. S.E.,
North Bend, Wa. 98045.
If any SINSEMILLA TIPS readers have any questions for the FARMER IN THE SKY, send them to FITS, c/o S. TIPS, POB 2046 Corvallis, Or. 97339.