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NextLight Mega Pro Review

on September 03, 2021

 

 

The NextLight Mega Pro is part of the new NextLight Pro Series. The Pro series is an upgrade to the NextLight Commercial series. The Mega, Core, and Veg8 all received a facelift. The series now includes a greenhouse top light called the Plus Pro. The entire series integrates with the NextLight Control Pro controller. The Adapt Pro can be used to integrate this series with a 3rd-party controller. Read on to learn more about the NextLight Mega Pro...

 

Build

The fixture’s dimensions are 37.75" x 36.75" x 3.25" and it weighs 26 lbs. The Mega Pro arrives in the box folded in half. To use the fixture, simply unfold it and hang it up with the included wire hangers to expose the wide form factor.

 

 

The Mega Pro is all aluminum and has a minimalist look. The drivers and central control lie in the middle of the unit, while three LED PCBs sit on each side of the driver box. NextLight stuck with this design for the new fixture, which is similar to the previous Mega. This unique design is a breath of fresh air in an LED market crowded with bar-style fixtures.

The Mega Pro is a very versatile fixture and can be used in open rooms, over benches, in racks, or grow tents.

There are no cooling fans - the unit is passively cooled. The wide, aluminum design allows for maximum heat dissipation. There is a small gap between the back of the PCBs and the top layer of aluminum which allows for air circulation to help cool the diodes.

 

 

When you purchase the Mega Pro, you can choose between 4 different style plugs - 120V, 240V, and 277V, attached to a 10’ cord.

In the box, you will also find a 10’ control cable to link the fixtures for central control while using the controller.

 

 

The Mega Pro has built-in electronic dimming control buttons, dimmable from 100% to 75%, 50%, 25% and off. Without the controller, you have pretty good control over the light intensity. However, with the controller, you have even better control of the dimming, as you can dim down to 0% intensity, along with controlling the timing and creating a sunrise/sunset effect. Each of the two channels allows for 250 fixtures, for a total of 500 fixtures per controller. 

 

 

Diodes and Spectrum

NextLight does not reveal the brand and model of diodes that are used in the Mega Pro or entire Pro Series. My best guess is that they are using Samsung diodes. Furthermore, they do not mention which brand and model of driver is used.

It seems that they care more about the performance of these components, as is indicated by the total light output and PAR efficacy. I agree with them on this. Too many growers are focused on the brand and model of these components. If you buy from a trusted company, they will use good components. It is more important to look at the fixture at a system level, not at a component level. There is so much that you can tell about a light just by knowing its total light output and PAR efficacy (these 2 things are system level specifications).

NextLight was one of the first companies to use a full white light spectrum in their fixtures. In a way, they pioneered the use of this type of spectrum and brought it into the mainstream. Before NextLight, many other LED grow light companies seemed to still be focusing on red and blue or blurple LED grow lights.

 

 

Looking at the spectrum graph, you can see that the NextLight spectrum lies at around a 4000K color temperature, which is great for seed to harvest growth. This is the same spectrum they have been using since the beginning. They have not altered this spectrum at all, while other companies have used this spectrum model and added other wavelengths to enhance the spectrum, including UV, Deep Red, and/or Far Red. NextLight is a bit of a maverick in this space and have kept it simple, by not adding Deep Red. 

According to their website:

“NextLight's Full Spectrum is very similar to LED competitors with added red. NextLight chooses to place more energy (wattage) toward the green and blue, rather than the red bandwidth of light. This is for a significant reason. Adding red is an easy way to pad efficiency statistics. Red is known to be more electrically efficient than other bandwidths of light. However, red is arguably less photosynthetically efficient in bright white conditions. Additionally, this added red is known to degrade the light fixture at a more rapid rate.”

They are correct in that red does increase the efficacy of the fixture. Red is actually more photosynthetically efficient...but in bright white conditions, red and blue get absorbed at the top layer of the leaf and green light gets absorbed deeper. The source of one of these studies can be found here.

 

 

Personally, I have not heard that red diodes degrade quicker than white diodes, but I’m sure NextLight has done its research on this. I will say that many LED fixtures have deep red diodes in them and there are benefits to this. This subject is debatable and a bit outside the scope of this review. But to sum this up, over the years, I guarantee that NextLight has received positive yield and quality feedback from their growers. If the feedback has been excellent, why change the spectrum? 

 

Specifications

The total light output of the Mega Pro is 1650 umol/s. It boasts a PAR efficacy of 2.6 umol/J. At this light output, a Mega Pro will cover a strong 4x4 or up to a 5x5 flowering area. Hanging height will vary between applications, but most growers can expect to hang this light at around 18-24” from their crops at full intensity. During veg, you can dim the light down to 50% or hang the fixtures 30-36” above the canopy.

The Mega Pro draws 640W at the wall and 5.34A at 120V and 2.67A at 240V, according to NextLight’s specifications. I measured the wattage draw at the wall with a Kill-O-Watt meter. At 115V, I received a reading of 658 watts with an amperage of 5.72.

 

 

The auto-sensing driver will accept voltages from 100-277AC. All you need to do is change or select the plug type for your application. 

Expect a heat output of 2183 BTU/Hour from a single fixture or around 36% less heat than a 1000W HID fixture. 

NextLight is a US company and is located in Ohio. The lights are DLC Hort listed, UL 8800, IP65 wet rated, and come with a 5-year manufacturer’s warranty (good, down to the diode). NextLight has some of the best customer service in the industry and a proven track record of helping customers out quickly when they need it most. 

 

PAR

At the time of this review, since the light is quite new, NextLight does not have PAR readings for the NextLight Mega.

I measured the PAR in a 4x4 tent. Here are some screenshots of the readings (see complete PAR readings on this video here):

Center reading at 36": 761 PPFD

 

Center reading at 24": 990 PPFD

 

Center reading at 18": 1207 PPFD

 

Center reading at 12": 1362 PPFD

 

Summary

What are my overall thoughts on the NextLight Mega Pro?

1) The fixture is very well constructed and looks really cool. But looking great only goes so far. Does it perform? Well, yes! The 1650 umol/s light output is up there with other commercial fixtures, as is the 2.6 umol/J efficacy. While not the highest I have seen these specs are still very competitive with LED grow lights that boast a similar light output, efficacy, and wattage draw.

    2) The PAR readings on the Mega Pro are very good too. The light is not spread over several bars, so you just want to make sure you have adequate space between the light and plants so the emitted light has enough distance to reach uniformity.

     

     

    3) The control system on the NextLight Pro Series is very clean and easy to use for home or commercial growers. While the controller does not offer spectrum control, you can still manipulate most variables for nearly full control over the lighting. By just focusing on lighting, with this controller, and not adding in other sensors or adaptors, NextLight is shooting for ease and reliability. 

    4) Their 5-year warranty and customer support are excellent, so you don't have to worry if your fixture arrives damaged or has issues down the road. They have you covered and assist by shipping a replacement to your door quickly, so your plants don’t have to suffer.

     

     

    5) The Mega Pro price dropped to $899 in August 2021, down from over $1200. NextLight lowered the price to be more competitive with other lights on the market. At under $900, this is the best LED grow light on the market given the controllability, quality build, performance, warranty, and NextLight’s customer service.

    As for a downside of the Mega Pro, the only thing that stands out is that it doesn’t have red diodes to enhance the spectrum. This is not a deal-breaker, and as I mentioned earlier, they do this for a good reason. But it does seem a little against the grain compared to most other brands. 

    There is a link for the Mega Pro product page below if you want to learn more or purchase this fixture. These lights ship for free in the lower 48 states with no tax in the USA.  

    Erik

    Owner/Founder

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