I've been running two indoor grow chambers for salad greens for a year or so, using hydroponics. I use Jacks purchased on Amazon for my nutrients. I've been using a round LED grow lite, with an array of red blue and white bulbs in the smaller chamber, and 2 4 bulb fluorescent fixtures... bulbs around 22" T5 in the other. I recently started some dwarf tomato plants, in the fluorescent chamber, and later moved them to the LED chamber, and was surprised to see a significant increase in growth rate.
As a result I went shopping
on Amzn for inexpensive LED grow lights with the idea of gradually changing the fluorescent chamber to LED. I found some made in China
fixtures with about 20W total output, for about $20. They come in two panels
that are each 4" wide and 10" long (approx). Each has 96 surface mount LEDs in a mix of red, blue, and green, and they can be mounted end to end or side by side. The power supply is 24VDC. They are simple aluminum
plates with some medium on which the surface mount LEDs and the traces are attached. The LEDs appear to be mounted in gangs of 6 in series, so if one burns out, you will lose 6. They are impressively bright for the low wattage.
Today I will spread the two fluorescent fixtures out, and attach the 4" wide 20" long double set between. If I'm happy with this, I'll gradually replace all my fluorescent grow lights. Short bulb life is frustrating as always with fluorescents.
At 24V, this is not an optimal voltage for on board a boat
, but it is doable. I don't see a realistic way to convert it to 12 volt, as the construction seems to be simply a thin insulating layer on the aluminum
, copper traces, laid into it, the LEDs soldered to it by some method, and a light layer of insulating paint
over the works.
2 12 volt batteries
in series could drive it...solar panels
wired in series with a 24 volt charge controller. A system just as a grow system. Weight is almost nothing. Batteries
would not need to be much as you really only need about 12 hrs of light in a grow chamber. Direct sun would be the best, but a grow chamber might be more convenient in a place where you can't have that.
Of course the other option that perhaps makes more sense is a solar
tube grow chamber. That would make sunlight available without any worry about salt
spray, and be a fundamentally simpler system.