How to set up a 600W HPS grow light system
HPS grow lights (high pressure sodium) are really great for beginners and experts. With these lights:
- You can hit really high intensities with premium models
- You can use one dual-spectrum lamp that is ideal for vegetative growth and flowering
- You get to produce infrared heat, which helps keep your plants and grow room warm in winter
- You can dim them down using a dimmable digital ballast, giving you more control
Here we’ll show you how to set up a 600 Watt HPS grow light system in a grow tent. We’ve used our popular BAY6 600 Watt Dimmable Digital Lighting System.
Each 600 Watt grow light system is made up of 3 parts:
- 600 Watt grow lamp
- 600 Watt grow light ballast (ideally dimmable, digital ballast)
- Grow light reflector
You can buy everything together with one of our 600 Watt grow light kits.
Remember, the wattage of your HPS light’s ballast and lamp need to match. Even if you have a dimmable ballast, you must never try to use it with a lower wattage lamp.
To safely run and suspend them, you will also need:
- Hanging equipment
- Timer (for setting light on/off times)
- Contactor (protects your timer from power surges)
Each 600W grow light covers roughly a 1.2m x 1.2m area. That’s enough space for 1 - 4 plants.
1. Bend out the hanging holes in your BAY6 Euro Reflector with a screwdriver.
3. Peel off the blue grow light reflector covering - if you don’t it’ll melt all over your grow light system & plants.
4. Screw in your grow lamp, wearing gloves.
5. Secure the grow lamp to the lampholder with a firm half turn at the end.
6. Position your grow light ballast outside the tent. You can place it on a solid floor (no carpet) or screw it to the wall via the mounting points on your ballast.
7. Connect your grow light reflector to your ballast (feed your ballast's cable through a tent port).
8. Plug everything together. Your timer plugs into your wall socket (2 counts). Your contactor has 2 plugs - 1 goes into your timer, the other into your wall. Your ballast plugs into your contactor.
9. Select your wattage if using a dimmable ballast then switch everything on.
To get the best from your 600 Watt HPS grow lights, follow these tips:
Use a grow light timer and contactor for HPS grow lights
Use a timer to automate light on/off times - most people run their HPS grow lights for 18 hours in vegetative growth, and 12 hours in flowering.
If using a grow light timer, you must use a contactor to protect your timer - you can get 2-in-1 grow light timer contactors - like the Heavy Duty Lighting Timer and Contactor (for single light setups) we use in the video.
Never try to dim your grow light ballast when it’s on
It’s not good for your grow lamps. Some ballasts won’t actually dim unless you switch them off to do it. Instead, switch your HPS grow light systems off, then dim your ballasts. When you turn your lights back on again, soft start technology gradually brings your grow lamps to the selected power setting.
Use gloves when handling grow lamps
Otherwise the oils on your naked hands can cause lamp degradation.
Position ballasts outside your tent
Ballasts emit heat which can warm the air in your grow tent.
Pick a digital ballast over a magnetic one
Digital ballasts cost less to run and give off less heat.
Run HPS grow lights at night
Energy tariffs tend to be lower at night, which keeps your running costs down.
Get your HPS grow light hanging height right
The exact hanging height of your 600W grow light depends on lots of factors:
- Your reflector footprint
- The number of lights
- Your tent size & shape
- The plants you're growing
But as a rule of thumb, you want to hang your 600W HPS grow light systems at a height where you leave a safe enough gap between your lights and canopy. For a 600W HPS Grow Light Kit, the gap should be:
- 150cm (small plants)
- 120cm (medium plants)
- 70cm (large plants)
Position your HPS grow lights correctly
When using one HPS grow light, most people place it in the centre of their tent.
Using multiple HPS grow lights, you need to split your tent into sections, then place each light in the centre of each section.
If adding supplemental lights, you slot one supplemental between 2 main 600W HPS grow lights, or place 2 supplemental grow lights on either side of your main 600W HPS grow light.
Choose the right reflector shape
When choosing your reflector or reflectors, make sure its footprint matches the shape of your tent.
Replace grow lamps and reflectors regularly
Over time, grow lamps and reflectors naturally degrade. For every 1% of light lost to walls, you lose around 1% of your yield. Premium grow lamps and reflectors last longer, but as a rule, you should:
- Replace reflectors every 12 months
- Replace HPS grow lamps every 4,000hrs - 5,000hrs of run time