Mars Hydro FC series and FC-E series - what’s the difference?
After the release of the new FC-E series, many customers feel confused about how to choose between FC series and FC-E series. They have similar names and similar appearances, but their prices are quite different.
In this blog, we’re going to explain their similarities and differences.
Similarities between FC series and FC-E series
To clearly understand their differences, we must first know their similarities. FC series and FC-E series have 7 similarities.
·Appearance. They are both multi-bar style LEDs.
·Driver. FC series and FC-E series are both mounted with MOSO drivers. (FC3000 and FC-E3000 are mounted with Mean Well driver)
·Spectrum. They have the same spectrum design.
3000, 4800 model: 380-410nm(UV), 650-665nm, 730-740nm(IR), 2800-3000K, 4800-5000K
6500 model: 650-665nm, 2800-3000K, 4800-5000K
·Heat dissipation performance. They have the same heat sink design - Peak-shaped aluminum heat sink on each light bar to increase the heat dissipation area. So if you ask which is cooler. We would say they have little difference in this aspect.
·Uniformity. Due to their multi-bar style appearance, both series have an even light distribution. And, because the chips and bars are specially arranged, they have a more uniform light distribution than other LEDs.
·Daisy-chain Dimming Function. FC series and FC-E series both have daisy chain function and dimming function.
·Waterproof. They are both in IP65 waterproof rating.
Differences between FC series and FC-E series
After we find all their similarities, now it’s time for their differences. They have 5 main differences.
- LED Chips/Diodes
- Functional Design
The biggest difference between FC series and FC-E series is the LED diode mounted.
FC series mounts Samsung diodes
FC-E series mounts BridgeLux diodes
These two brands are known in the industry. Samsung is well-known as a leading diode manufacturer; BridgeLux is a local American manufacturer with 18 years of experience. There’s nothing much to say about the history. They’re both reliable manufacturers. If you are interested, you can check their official website for information. What we growers concern is their contribution to growing cannabis.
FC series use Samsung LM301B diodes, official efficacy data: 2.92μmol/J
FC-E series use BridgeLux 2835 series, tested efficacy data: 2.7μmol/J
In terms of efficacy, Samsung is the winner. Therefore, to ensure the whole-light efficiency of FC-E series, we use more diodes on it. You can clearly see in the below table.
As we mentioned in our previous blogs, more diodes on the same wattage grow light is beneficial to grow light because of low-current driving. But Samsung's efficiency is undoubted.
However, there’s still a small gap in whole-light efficiency between FC-E series and FC series. See the comparison of PPE/PPFD below.
It is most accurate to measure the efficiency of a grow light by PPE or PPFD. Let’s review their definitions:
PPFD - Photosynthetic Photon Flux Density (PPFD) is the measurement of PAR delivered to a specific area. It is expressed as micro-mole-per-meter squared-per second (µmol/s/m2).
PPE - Photosynthetic Photon Efficacy describes how much light a grow light produces from its input power. The metric used to measure PPE is micro-moles per second per Watt -which simplifies to µmol/J.
PPE x Wattage = PPFD
(Though they're super different)
The PPE & PPF data of FC series and FC-E series are shown in the table below:
Despite their similar appearance, their body design carries two different functions.
FC series(4800 & 6500) is foldable. The light body itself can be folded in half. This design avoids the inconvenience of transporting and storing the huge light body, and the ability to fold freely at 180° allows the light itself to be bent to an angle to focus light on the central area - reduce coverage area for more light in the center.
FC-E series are built with detachable light bars. This makes transportation and storage more convenient and the moveable light bars also provide growers with a more flexible, unique space to make their own lighting system. For example, unique design central and side lighting using FC-E4800 and SP3000.
P.S. FC6500 is 8-bar light, FC-E6500 is 6-bar light, though they’re both 650w lights.
Apparently, these two series have a huge gap in price - that’s the main reason why customers want to know their differences.
The major reason for this price gap is that Samsung diodes are a lot more expensive than any other diodes in the market. As a result, when you find a grow light mounted with Samsung diodes is very cheap, it must be a fake or use an inferior diode model which is much less efficient than the 3030 series. (Lm301 series)
Our comparison above is clear. For practical applications, PPE (or PPFD) & body design are the two major differences that may have an impact when using.
0.1 µmol/J PPE gap between FC series and FC-E series won’t make much difference on personal cultivation. But when it is applied to large commercial cultivation, 0.1 difference is able to create thousands of dollars margin. Of course, if you’re an individual grower seeking top yields, the FC series will be your best choice.
The detachable-bar design might be a small surprise for individual growers to enjoy the DIY time, while it is tough work for commercial growers because you will need to install hundreds of bars after receiving the lights.
Consequently, FC series and FC-E series have different applicability.
FC Series: Top yield, top quality required; for any grow size/scale.
FC-E Series: High yield, high quality required; for individual grower scale or small commercial scale; for people with a limited budget.
Let’s make a conclusion directly with a picture: