It’s undeniable that the cannabis industry has evolved at a dizzying pace over the last decade, with a multitude of new genetics and products that we couldn’t even imagine a few years ago. A clear example of this is the new CMH (Ceramic Metal Halide) technology in illumination for indoor cultivation, also known as LEC (Light Emitting Ceramic). Based on the design of conventional high intensity discharge bulbs, these new lamps are innovative for replacing the quartz used in the familiar metal halide bulbs with a ceramic element, which provides a series of advantages, especially in terms of width of the light spectrum and better use of light, which translates into bigger harvests.
The explanation is simple: CMH LEC lighting systems emit a spectrum of light that is much closer to natural light than any other bulb on the market, with an unrivalled richness in the different wavelengths and that ranges from UV to far red. It is, in a manner of speaking, the perfect artificial light for cultivating plants indoors, increasing photosynthesis and reaching yields of 1.5 grams per watt in the case of cannabis, and with a higher production of terpenes! In addition, and as you will see below, some of the biggest brands in the illumination business already offer their own CMH equipment, which in itself is a guarantee of its effectiveness.
CMH LEC Nanolux CMH/LEC grow lamps
The famous manufacturer of lamps and ballasts for indoor cultivation Nanolux has entered fully into the worlds of high quality CMH lamps. Like all the other options that we present here, these devices are built with the electronic ballast mounted next to the reflector, which is an advantage in terms of comfort (not needing to have the ballast outside the grow area) and efficiency of the equipment (the shorter the distance between ballast and bulb, the better the performance of the lamp).
As you can see, with the CMH LEC technology we can find bulbs with two types of light spectrum: the 3100K bulbs (perfect for flowering) and the 4200K bulbs (suitable for the complete cycle of the plants). However, it is important to remember that you can illuminate a grow from start to finish with either of thess two spectra without any problem, and with excellent results.
In terms of power rating, Nanolux offers 315w and 1000w DE (Double Ended, double-cap) lamps, covering the needs of both the domestic grower and the most demanding of professionals. The Nanolux CMH 315w bulbs can be purchased, as we have said, in both 3100K and 4200K, and the same applies to the Nanolux CMH 1000w DE bulbs. These bulbs are used in all of the Nanolux CMH complete kits, that is, the sets including everything required, ready to plug in: bulb, reflector, bulb holder, electronic ballast and power cable. Of course, they can also be fitted in CMH systems of other brands.
The first, and smallest lamp of the range is the Nanolux 315w CMH LEC Fixture, which immediately catches the eye for the vertical position of the bulb. This, together with the 97% reflection achieved by the material used to manufacture the reflector, ensures a more even diffusion of the light over the plants, which in turn translates into more flower production in the areas that are furthest from the light and that normally produce considerably less than the buds closer to the lamp. The low frequency digital ballast is built into one side of the reflector, which as we know increases its efficiency.
The second option is the Nanolux CMH LEC 630W Fixture, which thanks to its versatile design allows the use of two 315W bulbs of either of the two available spectra, 3K (3100K) or 4K (4200K). In this way growers can install two 3K bulbs, two 4K bulbs, or one of each, and depending on their needs or the stage of the plants development, they can customise the type of spectrum as they see best. In addition, this equipment can be connected to the Nanolux Cloud Control System through an app, offering even more control to the user.
Finally, Nanolux proposes its most powerful lamp, the Nanolux CMH LEC 1000w. This lamp uses a double-ended 1000w CMH LEC bulb, whose power output can be controlled via the adjustable digital ballast built into the reflector. In this way, the grower can choose to operate the lamp at different outputs (500w, 750w, 875w or 1000w), which allows us to use the same equipment from the beginning to the end of the crop, as well as reducing the electric power consumption according to needs (heat, plant transpiration, etc).
Lumatek CMH/LEC grow lamps
Another of the leading brands in the agricultural illumination sector, Lumatek, has also presented its new CMH equipment, which, with the construction of these new lamps brings together the latest technology, the excellent features and high quality of this well-known brand. One of the main features of the Lumatek CMH Aurora 315w LEC 3100K is the possibility of regulating the output (something not usually seen in 315W equipment) from 50% to 100% in 10% intervals. This versatility makes them perfect both for the growth of small seedlings and for the flowering of adult specimens.
Lumatek offers – like Nanolux – a 630w unit, the Lumatek Tekken Pro 630w LEC CMH 3100K. However, in this case the light source is not two 315W bulbs but instead is one double-ended 630w DE CMH bulb. As in the previous kit, the adjustable digital ballast gives us control over the output power, in this case 80%, 90% or 100%. In addition, it has connections for use with the Lumatek controller, known as Lumatek Digital Panel. Without a doubt, Lumatek is once again at the forefront of illumination thanks to these two splendid grow lamps!
Newlite CMH/LEC grow lamps
Last but not least, we present the latest innovations in CMH/LEC lamps from Newlite. As in the previous case, we find ourselves with a 315w lamp and a 630w lamp. The Newlite 315w CMH/LEC lighting kit has a lightweight digital ballast (not dimmable) coupled to the German-made Alanod reflector and can be purchased with a 3K bulb, 4K bulb or without a bulb.
For its part, the Newlite 63ow CMH/LEC lighting system uses a 3K or 4K DE (double ended) 630w bulb, like the Lumatek Tekken. This new type of bulb has a lower thermal index, which combined with a higher PAR output than conventional bulbs makes them more efficient than two 315w bulbs. On the other hand, and as we’ve already seen, the advantage of units with two x 315w bulbs lies in the possibility of employing both spectra (3K and 4K) in the same lamp.
As you can see, the choice of CMH/LEC lamps increases by the day, with more and more manufacturers choosing this new type of lighting technology for indoor growing, and also as support for natural light for plantations grown in large greenhouses. We encourage you to try them, we’ve already done it and we can definitely say that the results do not disappoint, everything points to them being the future of high intensity discharge lamps for indoor grows.