Today, we’re taking a look at a complete lighting kit from my friends over at GrowersHouse. I’ve talked about ceramic metal halide lights in-depth before, but realize that they might be a bit expensive for most growers to get started with. On top of that, the form factor of the bulbs isn’t friendly for those who are rocking a standard HID lighting system.
Getting set up with a CMH grow light used to mean getting a new grow light reflector – one with the two-prong base that most CMH bulbs use.
However, the Prism Ceramic Science kit not only comes with everything you need to get started with a CMH setup, it also has a handy CMH to MOG adapter socket, so you can retrofit an older reflector if you so choose:
This makes growing under ceramic metal halide lights much more accessible to the budget-conscious grower. At the same time, we’re going to look at their full kit…so let’s go ahead and get into it!
What’s In The Kit
The full “Ceramic MH 315w CMH Optimum Performance Package” includes:
- Prism Lighting Science 315w Ceramic Metal Halide CM 120/240V Ballast
- Sun System LEC 315 RA CMH Remote Reflector
- Philips MasterColor CDM-TMW Elite 315W/942 CMH Lamp – 3100ºK or 4200ºK
- Grow Crew 1/8 inch Ratchet Light Hanger (Pair)
All of this comes in at ~$320. Not a bad deal. But let’s take a look at the components of the kit one-by-one and see what we’re actually getting…
The ballasts from Prism Lighting Science are specifically designed to run 315w CMH lights safely. One of the issues with growing under CMH lights is the special gear you need, with growers often wondering what type of ballasts work with these bulbs.
You want a ballast that has a few key features:
- Ignition failure protection
- PAR output maximization
- A quality warranty (3 years in the case of this ballast)
- Wattage: 315W
- Input Volt: 120V/240V
- Input Current: 2.89A / 1.42A
- Input Power: 343W
- Min Power Factor: .95
- THD: <15%
- Crest Factor: <1.7
To me, the ballast is always the key element in a grow kit. If it’s not up to the task…the rest of your gear really doesn’t matter. In extensive testing of the Prism Lighting Science ballast, I’ve been extremely pleased with the results.
The best part is that it comes in at a fraction of the price of a popular competitor – the Philips CMH/CDM ballast.
Sun System reflectors are more or less the industry-standard reflector upon which all other reflectors are measured. Just based on that, I’m happy with the inclusion of this reflector in the kit.
The Sun System LEC 315 RA Remote Reflector is designed specifically for light-emitting ceramic bulbs, as its name would suggest. The only thing to consider with this reflector is that it doesn’t accept a glass plate on the hood, and it’s not air-cooled.
Because CMH lights put out a lot of heat, you’ll want to consider a solid grow room ventilation setup to make sure you’re adequately cooling your space.
With this kit, you get the choice of a 3100K or 4200K lamp. Go with the 3100K if you’re looking for a flowering / fruiting light, and the 4200K if you want a propagating and vegetative light. Either way, they’re both super high-quality lights from Philips, which is one of the better bulb manufacturers in the hydro space right now.
- Watts: 315W
- Lamp Voltage: 98 V
- Lamp Current EL: 3.15 A
- Lifespan: 20,000 hr
- Color Temperature: 3100K or 4200K
- Initial Lumens: 33000 Lm
- Energy Efficiency Label (EEL): A+
- Energy consumption kWh/1000h: 315 kWh
Light Output Specifications
- PPF: 1.95
- Color-Rendering Index: 92
When it comes to non-LED grow lights, it’s all about the lifespan and lumen output of a bulb over time. The Philips also shines here, with a 90% lumen maintenance @ 8,000hrs 85% PPF maintenance @ 20,000hrs.
Not too much to say here – ratcheting light hangers that you can trust are absolutely crucial when you’re hanging a few hundred dollars of gear over your plants.
The ones shipped with the package come from Grow Crew, which hold up to 138lb. The cords are 7′ and are braided, so both feel and are quite sturdy.
Installing the Kit
To be honest, there isn’t much of a story to tell here. It’s an extremely straightforward setup:
- Attach the light to the reflector, using adapter if you’re using a reflector with a MOG socket
- Set up your ratching grow light hangers – be careful to set these up correctly, or else you risk breaking your light!
- Plug the reflector cord into the ballast, and the ballast into an outlet (I use a grow light timer, so I plug my ballast into the timer)
That’s all there is to it! As you can see from the above picture, after a short warm-up period the system throws off a lot of light.
Here’s a shot from underneath (just ignore the sad basil, it’s going through some pruning at the moment):
At ~$320, you’re hard-pressed to find a better value in a full CMH grow light kit. Reflector, ballast, bulb, and optional grow light hangers and adapter kit all included.
In previous reviews here on the Epic Gardening blog, I’ve lamented the cost of CMH setups vs classic HID setups, wondering when the cost would come down enough to convince growers to switch to what seems to be a better growing experience.
Well, that time seems to have come with this kit.
If you’d like to purchase the Prism Ceramic Science 315w Light Kit, I recommend picking it up from my friends over at GrowersHouse. Also, if you’re working on more of a budget, you can get their less expensive CMH conversion kit to retrofit any single ended reflector into a CMH reflector.”
This article is a paid partnership with GrowersHouse. Paid partnerships are NOT a guarantee of a positive review. Click here for details on our review process.