Damien - I just bought the HLG 260xl. Seems like you're pretty familiar with the light? What are your thoughts on distance from plants and use of dimmer during life cycle? I'm having trouble finding much info, other than the manufacturer suggests 18" during flower; 24" during veg; and 30" for seedlings. So I've more or less been following that, but I'm not real sure what the corresponding wattage setting should be. I bought a wattage meter and I can crank the light from about 40 to about 260 watts. Any thoughts on how you might run those lights in a 2x4 grow tent? And I recognize that there are probably lots of considerations that are plant-specific, but for a noob grower that doesn't really know how to read a plant just yet, any thoughts on sort of default distance/wattage settings with this light? Thanks!! And sorry for hijacking the thread!Depends on what you want in a light. Most lights will grow. It's not so much the amount of watts to cover the space but the efficiency of the light measured. A 1.9umol/j won't perform as well as a 2.5 or 3.0 but you pay more. Usually comes with higher quality heatsinking, diodes, functions, etc. Translates to less heat output, maybe waterproofing and so on.
Slightly over budget but
Ultra High Efficiency LED Boards for DIY. QB288 has 288pcs Samsung 301H or 561C LEDhorticulturelightinggroup.com
That would cover a 2x4 well. They need 24" of space
I think the QB elite 96's are being phased out but two on a 240w driver would put you at 2.4+umols/j. They also have a 10% discount if you're inclined to DIY. Spectrum on them is great while also needing to be hung 18-24" during flower.
You could make a small aluminum frame and have a sub $300 build.
QB96 Elite V2 is a white LED Board with boosted red spectrum. Each Board is powered by 64 high power white LED, 16 630nm Red LED and 16 660nm Deep Red LED.horticulturelightinggroup.com
You can also wire your driver and dimmer outside the tent.
Otherwise there's Mars, Spider, Alibaba, etc but the first two are a real value imo