Grow lamps in the Basement… Dude!!

30 03 2013

Just the other weekend I modified the grow lights I have in the basement to better distribute light for my seedlings.


Seedlings in the basement? What exactly are you up to, mister? What is really growing in that basement of yours? Isn’t that stuff illegal?


Two things- No, I don’t live in Colorado. And everything I grow in the basement, from flowers to vegetables, is all legal. None of that wacky vegetation for me.



Friends are eager to help out when you mention basement grow lamps

It’s important that your seedlings get sufficient light before you transplant outdoors. The proper illumination will ensure your plants get a good start, strong and not spindly. You can buy your own lighting system, but where is the fun in that? I built a variation of a CFL grow light I found on the net.



But before putting the parts list together, it’s important to to watch a Cheech and Chong movie and eat a few bags of Doritos….


There, much better. On to the parts list for the original light:


One 2 foot section of dryer vent

One lamp cord with plug (I used an extension cord)

Two ¼ inch, 1 foot long threaded posts

Eight nuts to fit the threaded posts

One mountable light socket

2 anchors to mount socket

Three Y-shaped socket splitters

Chain for mounting


Now put on that tie dye t-shirt and turn on the Grateful Dead. It’s project time.


Let’s refer to the colorful diagram below. The one that looks like I was on drugs when I drew it. Does Advil count? (The only joints I worry about are my aching knees.)


Refer to these to build your lights


Step 1 – measure out the places to drill the holes. ¼ inch holes go in 5 places: the very center of the duct work, and at each of the corners. The corner holes should be at least 1 inch from the side edge, and 1 inch from the bottom edge. The red X in the picture marks the spot for the ¼ inch holes. Drill the holes in the designated locations [diag A]


Step 2 – use the light socket to measure out the smaller holes (1/8 inch with the orange X); drill accordingly


Step 3 – Douse yourself in patchouli and go to a Phish concert


Step 4 – Thread nuts onto each side of the threaded posts. [B] Insert the posts through the corner holes. [C] Thread a nut on each side of the post to secure to the dryer vent [B]


Step 5 – Strip down to your birthday suit and play the bongos as loud as you can. (Special credit to Matthew Mcconaughey for thinking up that one )


Step 6 – Build a flux capacitor [D]. Go back in time and meet your parents. Hilarity ensues.



Step 6b – Feed the ‘blue’ lamp cord through the hole you drilled in step 1, leaving enough cord to connect to ‘brown’ light socket. [D] Attach the socket to the vent using the ‘gray’ anchors. [D,E]


Step 7 – Attach the wires to the light socket [E]


Step 8 – Bake some brownies. Eat them. Take a nap.


Step 9 – I think there were two… Uh, two… What were we talking about?? Oh yeah, grow lights.


Step 10 – Connect a Y splitter to the socket. Screw 2 Y splitters into the two sides of the first one. The final result is 4 sockets. [D]


Step 11 – Screw CFL bulbs into the sockets. [D]


Step 12 – Attach Chain [F] and hang your new lamp.


Step 13 – Admire your handiwork.


Step 14 – Grow things.


The reworked lamps differ from the plans shown, but they give you an idea of what the final result looks like.