All posts by Tommy

T8 tubes in T12 fixture, overdrive fluorescent

We have a plant grow fixture made for two T12 48 inches fluorescent tubes with an electromagnetic old fashion ballast. This ballast is made to push 40 watts per tubes.

From my indoor growing experience, the light output (lux measured at 1ft from tubes on a white sheet of paper) was looking quite low with the two original T12 tubes this fixture was coming with.

I measured the light output from the two old tubes, my reading made with LightMeter iPhone app (maybe not scientific but fair enough for my experiences) was of 2500 lux.

After I had a hand on some two used but good T8 tubes from Philips and installed them in the fixture and waited 3-4 minutes for full warm-up, the measured value following the same protocol was of 16000 lux.

Just as a comparaison, we also have the same T12 fixture but 24 inches long in which we put brand new T12 grow tubes last year and this one has been measured at 8000 lux.

Returning back at our T8, these tubes are made to run on 32 watts and now get 40. Also, they are made to be used with an electronic start ballast so they had some flashing / flicker state during 2-3 minutes when I first cold started them. They were just out from the garage at -5degre celcius so maybe next time, the warmup will be a little quicker.

Affer 3-4 minutes, there was no more flickering, the light was perfectly solid and quite bright to start plants indoor.

Math made, bulbs are actually running at exactly 125% of thier designed power. How long will they last with a 25% power increase, I would believe at least 50% shorter… but only time will tell. These used tubes were found free in the garbage close to a renovation field so, for free tubes, if they last 3-4 month for us to have the time to start our seeds inside during this spring, that will be awesome.

Note that I will add a low velocity fan around the tubes just to move some little air in order to cool them and the ballast as well.

I’ll post an update when time will be arrived to transplant young plants outside to tell you how the overdriven fluorescent tubes went on the long run.

Here are some pics of the thing…

Je t’aime (poème)

Je t’aime comme dans je m’aime
à part entière
pour tout ce que je suis en cet instant précis
peu importe ce qu’en pensent les autres
parce que quels que soient mes intentions envers toi
distingués, maladroites ou voire mêmes déplacés
elles ne sont que remplies d’amour
d’un amour que j’ai envie de partager avec toi.

Je t’aime parce que
sans égoïsme ni altruisme
autant que moi
tu mérites de vivre cet élan de bonheur intérieur
cet amour pour toi-même
qui te donne l’impression de flotter autour des gens
cet élan qui ne peut provenir que de toi
seulement si tu acceptes
d’unifier et d’aimer l’entièreté de qui tu es
peu importe ce qu’en pensent les autres.

Je t’aime parce que
même si tes intentions envers moi
sont distingués, maladroites ou voire mêmes déplacés
toi et moi savons maintenant
qu’elles ne sont que remplies d’amour
d’un amour que tu désires maintenant
partager avec moi :-)

Télécharger en tant qu’image

Heat & Grow Machine – Growing veggies during winter

Who said growing veggies during winter was impossible?

What if creating a perfect climate for your plants during winter would cost just no electricity at all?

This is the first prototype I made two years ago of my Heat & Grow machine.


Since most houses are electrically heated these days, heating the house with the heating system or from the heat dissipated by the lights in the Heat & Grow machine will not cost you any additionnal electricity bill and plus, you have a bonus veggie season inside your house!

These are some other experiments I made. everything grown on those pictures were grown under artificial lights. at some point, corn was just too high to fit the machine!


I figured out here that aluminum paper was not a good idea, using PAR directional light pointing straight down is way more efficient!




Here is a graph combining the spectrum of various light sources and the plant absorbtion spectrum. All lines are from various sources, they have been added and scaled to fit all together. What’s interesting here is that, plant absorbtion spectrum is totally out of HPS light bulbs spectrum. Knowing that, I don’t know at all why everyone keeps growing under HPS. All the generated light from these ultra powerful bulbs is just not absorbed by the plant which is just pure energy waste.


I fugured out after many light bulb pattern attempts that the more efficient pattern would be to combine halogen and LED. The more efficient halogen bulbs for this purpose are PARs. PAR20 or PAR38 are best suited for these projects. Be sure to employ “Spot” instead of “Flood” for the beam width.  In addition to that, Bring up some bluest 6500k LED bulbs.

Sylvania 16743   70PAR38/HAL/S/NFL25 70w 1305lumen Medium 1500hrs  120v  5100cd  25° 2925k


It will need about double the brightness of halogen than LED to achieve a perfect natural white balance.

Let’s say in a closet like the first one, 6 halogen PAR would be needed (420 watts) and about 40-50 watts of LED Par as well in the 6500k part of the spectrum.

Osram 78551 seems to be a good product but not powerful enough, some more research would be needed.



Let’s talk safety. Since the whole machine will use and need to dissipate about 500 watts, if you keep all that heat inside, you’ll literally have an oven in which your veggies will be cooked before grown. Some ventilation will need to be taken in consideration as well as an over heating shut off protection system. Depending on the kind of veggies you want to grow, temperature must be set differently as well as the number of lighting hours.

I think it could be a great idea also to soft start the whole lightning in order to mimic the sunrise and sunset effect. I am not sure of that but I would pretend that instant blow of light under leaves that haven’t began yet to work on clorophyll could result into cell burns. Some experiment will have to be made on that as well.

I am planing on building the beta 4 version of my Heat & Grow machine soon. I just need a place to make it work where someone will have time to take care of it and add some daily water as needed.

In the 5th revision, an automatic water system will also be installed.

I may never sell a fridge to an Eskimo but who knows if I could sell them someday a Heat & Grow machine!


At maxi, no more free cart

If you get to maxi with no Dollar piece in your pocket but only a credit card, you cannot get a cart anymore. Just drive me nuts and want to leave away for any other market where they manage carts.  They even get rid of the small handy plastic cart you leave under  the register carpet. So frustrating.IMG_1809

When you scare the lady you like secretly

It’s always like that. When my heart just beat for a lady, when i convince myself to walk forward towards her and offer her something just loveable, i get stuck saying nothing, making me look weird and creepy and the lady get scared of the weird guy. Each time i did offer my phone number in those situation, they took it… but it was only to be sweet cause they just didn’t care about it and wanted to leave the uncomfortable situation the quickest way without risking to offend me and who knows, make me act an agressive way with her! In these situations, what i do feel, it’s to be intimidated by the size of her heart i can see through her eyes, her smile. I could never get mean, i am myself vulnerable with my heart beating like a hammer.

Year after year, i put my mind back on a way to make my life a great thing without any woman i could love in it. I try to work my way towards a career i will really enjoy.  But there are these days, these mornings, you just cannot not think to all of those who took your phone number who didn’t called back the handsome sweet guy. That’s a difficult moment, the moment you depreciate yourself of not being so wonderful, when you compare yourself to all other naughty and mean men to who, sweet womans do stick to… because girls i suppost, don’t really like sweet men, they prefer to take a mean one and work a hard way making him a little more sweeter.

The best is only yet to come. This next year will be full of new career opportunity for me. I hope this will make me forget i am a creepy guy pretty girls just want to run away.

How to write your website so that anyone could translate it

So you want to write a website but you are worried that some readers who use “Google Translate” could get a bad translation?

Well, I have a solution for you!

The trick is to write your website directly in “Google Translate” and translate it into a second language you might know.

Read the translated sentence and make adjustments on the left side until the meaning of it in the second language is correct.

After writing a sentence in the language of your blog, select it and copy it to the Clipboard (CTRL-C). Press the small “left-right “arrow”” button located between the two language areas to reverse the translation.

Now, the sentence you just translated will be on the left. On the right, you will have the translation of the translation. This is a puzzle, but to make things clear, make sure that no matter how many times you can translate a line between the two languages, this line stays the same while preserving its meaning.


Sometimes you may notice that after one or two translations, Google can choose a more general term to express something.

This page has been tested and can be translated into French , Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, or Chinese and it retain its meaning.

Try it with this button !