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An Introduction to LEC Light Systems

Tomatoes in our Carrboro store, grown under LEC light system.

Light Emitting Ceramic technology is getting a lot of attention from indoor growers, and we thought it would be great for our customers to know a bit more about these innovative lighting systems.


Light Emitting Ceramics are a new iteration of the classic HID (high-intensity discharge) lamps.

The superior ceramic tube allows the bulb to burn at a higher temperature, creating light much closer to the sun’s*.  Being able to operate more efficiently at higher temperatures means a boost in performance, quality of light, lamp color-shift, and spread stability.

*Not going into too much science, but the sun has a CRI (color rendering index) of 100, LECs have 80-96 CRI, with 80 considered excellent.  (HPS bulbs average around 22 CRI while normal MH bulbs average 65-70 CRI).

Greens at our Asheville store under LEC light system.


In our industry, most lighting is “bright” in terms of lumen output.  Lumens, however, measure brightness in terms of human perception.  Plants on the other hand, perceive light in the amount of energy the light is valued at based on wavelength.

Light spectrum is important, because different wavelengths carry vastly different amounts of energy.  The shorter blue, violet, and ultra-violet wavelengths carry more energy, while orange, red, and far red have longer wavelengths, but less energy.

Plants evolved to use the entire range of sunlight – both short and long wavelengths.  Changing seasons bring different light spectrums, as blue light mimics spring and summer (for veg) and red light mimics late summer and fall (for flowering).

Cucumber seedlings in Smart Pots underneath a Sun System LEC in a DarkRoom 3×3 tent at our Raleigh store. We’ve got a Can Filter charcoal filter hanging in the right upper corner of the tent, and a 6″ Hurricane Clip Fan is providing nice air circulation. Notice how the bulb hangs vertically.


– One bulb (3100k bulb) provides the full light spectrum, so it can be used for both veg and bloom stages.

– Bulbs only need to be replaced about once every 2 years, instead of every year.

– LEC ballasts use a more efficient square wave frequency (for those interested in physics) that allows for a much smoother, more efficient firing rate*.

*Curious to see?  Come in to our store and your phone to take a picture of the light and compare it to other ballasts and light sources.  The more bands you see, the slower the firing rate.

– Because of lower heat output, LECs are perfect for small spaces like tents, closets, etc.

Consider this: one 1000w HPS creates 3500 BTUs of heat that need to be cooled per hour. Now with two 315w LECs (or 630 watts), you only have to account for 2205 BTU.



Only used ballasts designed to work with these bulbs, NO DIGITAL BALLASTS

These bulbs are designed to be EITHER horizontal or vertical, not both, and no angles between 90 and 180

Tip to success: many gardeners report better success with use of Silica nutrients.  These bulbs make plants grow fast and silica is involved in cell division and overall plant strength.


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