Compact Fluorescent Grow Light

Bulbs Installed

I built this 160w CFL grow light so my chillis can get a head start on the warm weather. The light hood is a basic painted MDF frame and the inside is lined with a windshield reflector and flashing tape. Each side has four B22 sockets salvaged from some old party lights with 20w globes installed.

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Although it's a bit heavy, I had some spare MDF lying around so it was the material I chose for the body of the unit. It's just a simple box with corner brackets for bracing.

MDF Frame

The top is glued and nailed into place, completing the basic structure of the hood.

Sanded and Vent Holes Drilled

I had some primer and satin black lying around from a previous project so I layed down a few coats after adding the holes for wiring and ventilation.


The reflective coating in the hood consists of an old car windshield reflector stapled and glued into place. The corners were then filled with aluminium flashing tape.

Reflective Coating

I had an old set of AC party lights in the shed. Since it chews a fair amount of juice to run incandescent party lights the B22 sockets will be repurposed.

Pile o' Sockets

Each side has a row of four sockets connected in parallel. I used some tape to ensure I was spacing them evenly.

Marking Out The Sockets

Each light is joined using screw connectors which are encased in junction boxes, isolating the joins to prevent shorts or anyone coming into contact with them. Due to the age of the party lights I chopped up for the sockets, it uses the old red/black Australian colour scheme for the live and neutral wires respectively.

Row of Sockets

The sockets are arranged in a staggered formation so larger CFL's can be installed and won't intersect. If I was to upgrade to larger wattage globes, I would install a fan and not rely on passive cooling but it's fine for this configuration.


The lamp has two 20w warm white (2700K) 1350 lumen and six 20w cool daylight (6500K) 1200 lumen CFL globes.

Switched On

Different light temperatures are suited to different stages of plant growth. The 6500K cool daylight globes are good for vegetative growth where the 2700k warm daylights are more suited to the flowering stage. As I'm germinating from seed it's setup in a 3 cool to 1 warm ratio.

Bulbs Installed

The cable for both sets of sockets pass through the back and connect in a junction box. I measured the current draw at around 1.15A so a 2A fuse was installed.

Junction Box

Some plastic vents were added for a clean look and a hook in each corner for mounting.

Hooks & Vents added

I'm currently germinating some chilli and tomato seedlings with it so I'll post an update on how it all went.

Finished Light Top