As we plan out our grow room design with LightRail light movers, we plan out runs. Even if we are only moving one grow light or just a few grow lights, we think in the same terms. So, how far to move a grow light has to factor into our grow room setup planning. There are a few details to take into account. First, there is a difference between acceptable run lengths for the indoor grow room with grow lights compared to run length for greenhouse lighting. And, there is a difference between light loving plants and low light plants, as well.
30% more horizontal area per grow light
For a general answer to how far to move a grow light, we can typically think of covering about 30% more horizontal area. That’s per grow lamp with LightRail 3.5 or LightRail 4.0, and that’s in comparison to stationary grow light systems. It’s a starting point in visualizing and a good overall grow room design rule. So, for smaller grow lights, we might move those just two feet in total. And, for indoor grow lights that are average in size, we might move those about three feet. Actually, three feet is fairly typical for a grow light run distance. For a larger scale grow light, we might find four feet is a better grow light run distance. The thing to know is we are actually covering more than just the travel distance of each grow light. Here is how that works.
Half the grow light goes beyond that stopper setting and light pattern goes even farther
As we plan a 2-4 foot length of run for our grow light system, we need to visualize this. We are actually covering more area than 2-4 feet of grow light system area. Take a look at the photo. The Switch Stop stopper is the stop setting that tells the robotic motor to stop, pause and then reverse direction. And, we control that stopper setting by placing those stoppers anywhere along the Rail. So, when the grow light gets to the end of its run and stops, wherever we decide to make that, we see this. Half the grow light goes beyond that stopper setting and light pattern goes even farther. And, that’s for both direction of travel. So, at a three foot run, Switch Stop stopper to Switch Stop stopper, we are likely filling a six foot area with indoor plant light.
A three foot distance is probably an ideal run for how far to move a grow light. And, that’s for an indoor grow room setting including indoor grow tents. Of course, we can get a little bit of a longer run for very young plants or clones. And, that is the same for lower light plants. But, what about planning out the greenhouse setting that receives some natural sunshine? And, that supplemental greenhouse lighting can be used to simply extend the day by a few hours. Or, it might be used to supplement when the winter sun is too low on the horizon.
For greenhouse lighting, double the run
Here is the general rule for how far to move a grow light when talking about greenhouse lights. What might be a 4×6 or a 5×6 foot grow room design light footprint, with three feet of movement, will turn into this. In the greenhouse grow room design; we might have something more like a 10-12 foot grow room design light footprint. So, we can possibly double our run. That’s with natural sunlight available, and with the plan of supplemental greenhouse lighting or simply extending the day a few hours.
How we do this is to place Rail Alignment Pins, three per Rail seam, to connect one Rail to another. This allows the LightRail Motor to cross the seam from one Rail to the next. It’s a simple grow equipment change that is needed for proper function. And, see header photo on the previous page. That is actually the custom Strut Channel Compatible Rail which virtually attach to anything and work great in greenhouses. Another smart idea is to use Auxiliary Trolleys to help with cord keeping, and that’s for those longer grow lamp runs.
UVA grow lights and UVB grow lights can travel this far
One more example for a longer distance run might be for specialty grow lights like full spectrum grow lights. These include uv grow lights or uvb grow lights. With these grow lamps, we can absolutely get a farther run. These grow light system super stars need a very short duration per leaf surface. So, we would be able to perhaps go the length of a greenhouse for travel distance with these specialty grow lights. That’s as they kill powdery mildew or as they provide a stressor for encouraging the bloom cycle.
How far to move a grow light while not moving the grow lamp too far
For all other grow lights, no matter how powerful, we stay within the grow room design rules of use. In other words, we never want to move a grow light too far. If we did, the plants would be waiting too long for the grow lamp to return. To maximize growth rates and yields numbers, we want our grow equipment to be used as intended. And, this is especially true of our grow light systems. The point is to super charge our grow lights by getting them closer and by getting them to more leaf area. This is the ideal way to get perfect ppfd numbers, thereby getting faster growth and better yields. So, the approximately 30% more horizontal distance on a LightRail light mover is about right in most instances.