Planning Your Grow Space with LightRail

LightRail moving Light Growing kits

This Math is Easy

Planning your grow space for LightRail usage involves just a bit of math and visualizing that space divided up into rectangles. Of course the rectangles don’t have to actually be delineated like in this photo but you just have to imagine the space of your indoor grow setup somewhat divided into rectangular shapes.

Easy Math - LightRail helps you Grow More

LightRail 3.5, 4.0 or 4.20

There are two ways to go for grow light systems including LightRail 5.0, but for the first more basic plan with LightRail 3.5 or LightRail 4.0, the rail is 6’6” or two meters long. For LightRail 4.20 the rail is 13’ long or four meters, in total. Either way, that is also the length of your rectangle for your indoor plant light or indoor plant lights.

LightRail 3.5 Installed

2 Meters or 4 Meters or 6 Meters

The Add a Lamp System, which is a way to move a second or third light with an auxiliary trolley(s) through a push/pull system (photo to right), will give you an additional 6’6″ or 2 meters of rail per Add A Lamp. So in planning your indoor grow equipment space, you can see the length of your rectangle can be longer.

Add A Lamp Kit installed

Rail Halves Fit Exactly

For LightRail 3.5 or LightRail 4.0, each rail comes in two, slide together pieces of 3’3″ or 1 meter each and at two rails, you are now at 13′ or 4 meters of rail with one Add A Lamp Kit added to your initial rail lights Kit.  LightRail 4.20 comes with an Add A Lamp Kit ready in the box to move two lights with 13 feet of rail, or 4 meters.

Note: The extruded aluminum rail can be easily cut at any time for fitting more exactly into limited spaces. You can also simply use a half rail.

LightRail Rail Assembly

Three Lights One Motor

LightRail 3.5 or LightRail 4.0 is now designed to move a maximum of three lights inline with Add A Lamp Kits going off in either opposite directions from your main LightRail Kit. With this configuration of mover lights, your indoor grow light setup is now up to approximately 18′ of usable rail or about 6 meters with two Add A Lamp Kits together with your main LightRail kit with motor.

Grow light system where each grow lamp is moved as a rail light on a light mover indoor grow kit

Simple, Smart, Scalable

For more, you start again with another LightRail 3.5 or LightRail 4.0 Kit and another Add A Lamp Kit or two. Again, the Add A Lamp Kit is only for inline usage with a maximum of three indoor grow lights. This system is simple, smart and scalable. The mover lights  in your indoor grow setup can be configured as big as you want, end to end and row after row, duplicating as many times as you like to make your grow equipment as efficient as possible.

Screenshot of plants Growing

Width Light Pattern Can Vary

So, we know the length of your indoor grow setup rectangle can be 2 meters, 4 meters or even 6 meters, but what about the width measurement of your rectangle? This really depends on the size of your indoor grow light and reflector. Whatever the size of your grow light hood, light pattern goes out farther than that by the time it reaches your plants. You can also increase that light footprint even more by turning your grow light hood sideways or 90 degrees from the direction of travel. This can be achieved with a RoboStik. It’s just another way to  customize your grow equipment space.

LightRail with Grow lamp and hood

Ok, But What If You Have a Room To Plan?

Just looking at the LightRail 3.5 or 4.0 with a larger area to plan out, first know your grow room dimensions and know if you need a perimeter for a walk around area or where any paths might be. Then, remember your length of rail (6’6″ or two meters) and remember you can add up to two Add A Lamp Kits inline. To fill up a grow room, you duplicate what you just did for mover lights the next row over, and you can duplicate end to end. You can duplicate again and again. It’s brilliant. Note : For light loving plants with indoor grow lights, you want to keep your watts per square foot at 35 watts per square foot. Factor that robotic lights formula in when computing how close to put your indoor plant lights rows in with respect to the next row over.

Sunset Hydro Gardens with LightRail in action

Extreme Duty Trolley Wheels (steel on steel) are available for the LightRail 3.5 or 4.0 and are recommended as an upgrade for heavier reflectors and also recommended for moving multiple lights. They are rated to 60 lbs and have a lifetime warranty to that weight. The LightRail 5.0 has it’s own heavy duty Trolley Wheels so doesn’t require anything done to adjust for heavier loads.

Extreme Duty Trolley Wheels are extremely capable

Let’s Talk Weight

Speaking of weight, the LightRail 3.5, 4.0 and 4.20 rail can carry 75 lbs if the rail is first mounted to a board using all the mounting holes and then the board mounted properly to the ceiling. Note: Our one-piece two meter rail, an option, doesn’t need a board if you only need to carry 35 lbs. More is fine, however, so know that the one-piece rail can also hold 75 lbs if mounted to a board first.

For the LightRail 5.0, each crossbar or Add A Bar will hold 100 lbs but again, proper rail mounting is key.

Attach Rail to Board

LightRail 3.5 Compared To LightRail 4.0 or 4.20

This is a good time to bring up the features of LightRail 3.5, 4.0 and 4.20 and how they compare. They are virtually identical, they use the same interchangeable mover lights parts and rails, they both have the adjustable time delay for the ends of each run and the only major difference is that the 4.0 and 4.20 also have adjustable travel speed along the rail. The LightRail 4.0 and 4.20 can be set at a speed of 2 to 4 feet per minute (6-10 RPM) and the LightRail 3.5 goes at a set speed of 4 feet per minute (10 RPM). Again, LightRail options and choices cater to a wide range of grow equipment and indoor grow setups.

LightRail 4 attached to Large grow lamp

The second way to go with robotics lights space planning is with LightRail 5.0. It’s our larger, side by side model that is capable of moving up to three crossbars per motor with each crossbar holding two to three lights, depending on the size of your grow light hoods.

Lightrail 4 Light mover in action

LightRail 5.0 Schematics

For measuring, the LightRail 5.0 Kit has an 8′ rail (two 4′ rails that slide together or can be left gapped) plus a motor and comes with one crossbar. From that point in this grow light system, the next crossbar, called an Add A Bar Kit, would have enough rail using your existing rail and with your next Add A Bar Kit after that, you would need a LightRail 5.0 Auxiliary Rail, and these measure 4′ long. Most people leave about a two foot gap between each rail as each Add A Bar Trolley is designed to travel in its own 4′ rail area and you’ll see that in the schematic below.

3 crossbars 9 lights LightRail
2 crossbars 6 lights LightRail

………And More

LightRail 5 Schematics

LightRail 5.0 Measuring

Factor those 2′ gaps into measuring. So, 4′ rail + 2′ gap + 4′ rail + 2′ gap +4′ rail = 16 feet, with the gaps being common space for both adjacent crossbars so they get grow light coverage from both sides. Indoor plant light coverage also goes beyond the ends of the run, as well. For the width of the crossbars, they are adjustable at 81″, 87″ or 93″. As before, indoor plant light coverage goes out farther than these measurements.

LightRail 5 Measuring and Layouts

Again, What If You Have A Room To Plan?

Just looking at the LightRail 5.0, think of your grow room dimensions and plan any perimeter walk around spacing or pathways. Remember your 4+2+4+2+4 figures for a total of three crossbars (one that comes with the original Kit and two additional Add A Bar Kits) and that equals about 16 feet of space filled with indoor plant light plus approximately two more feet of grow light coverage getting beyond that space, as well. Factoring that in for your grow equipment planning, you are up to about 18 feet of indoor plant light and then your width grow light setting is, again, adjustable at 81″, 87″ or 93″. If you have a very large area, start again and duplicate as many times as needed to fill up your indoor grow setup.

Black Dog LED Lights on LightRail

Ductwork Festooning With LightRail 5.0

A very important detail to mention with LightRail 5.0 is that perfect balance is key for the crossbars, and ductwork can play havoc with balance because of uneven tugging. You might consider using LightRail 3.5 or 4.0 or 4.20, positioned parallel to each other in a side by side run if using ductwork ( see the next page for how that works) or you can do the following for your indoor grow light setup with LightRail 5.0:

Below is a diagram of how you can stabilize ductwork with the LightRail 5.0. Basically, you mount two LightRail 3.5 rails (yes, that’s 3.5, not 5.0 for this outer stability configuration) parallel to the main LightRail 5.0 Rail so they are out on the ends of the cross arms. Then, tether each end of the cross arm to a 3.5 Auxiliary Trolley on its respective 3.5 rail. You’ll need to tighten the tethers so they are actually supporting the weight of the cross arm ends. This way, the drive motor of the LightRail 5.0 is just pushing one big assembly back and forth while supporting the center of the cross arm.

LightRail 5 Festooning

LightRail 3.5, 4.0 or 4.20 Ductwork

Auxiliary Trolleys are used, not just as an Add A Lamp component, but can also be used to festoon ductwork or to keep cords together, so for a variety of grow equipment uses. As your LightRail 3.5, 4.0 or 4.20 goes along the rail, ductwork can be gently pulled behind and as your motor goes in the opposite direction, it slowly pushed ductwork ahead. Ductwork likes to be organized, and Auxiliary Trolleys as part of these indoor grow kits, make this happen in an ingenious way.

Ductworks LightRail

Light Math Formula

One last bit of math to again mention when planning your indoor grow setup: As a general rule of thumb, 35 watts per square foot is about as skinny as you want to go with mover lights. You can help wattage out by getting your light closer to your plants and with LightRail, you can get your light much closer without the worry of heat damage. You’ll have a much closer plant to grow lamp tolerance with LightRail and because of that, you’ll get a much bigger bang for the wattage you have. In other words, you’ll have much better grow light efficiency with the grow light wattage you have. For more specific information, Check out “The Three Biggest Myths” article. You do not want to move your indoor grow light too far and details of this are covered in this article.

As you have seen, space planning is easy. Plus, LightRail is constructed to be simple, smart and scalable. For your indoor grow setup, you can go as big as you want with this and duplicate as many times as you like. Nice, huh?

peppers grown using LightRail light movers

Let’s Get Started

LightRail is the single most important thing you can do to supercharge your indoor grow light. The sooner you get started, the sooner you can sit back and watch the magic.

Indoor plant light is better on a LightRail light mover.

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How to plan for and setup your LightRail