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5 best grow lighting controllers compared

One of the benefits of LED grow lights is the ability to dim the light intensity. This  gives growers full control at every stage to push plant growth rate to the maximum without stressing the plants.

LED grow lights use transformers or LED drivers

The LEDs in your grow light are powered by a transformer, often called an LED driver. LEDs run on direct current and require an LED driver to convert the alternating current from the wall socket to direct current the LEDs can use.

LED grow lights have LED drivers to convert AC power from the wall socket to DC to power the LEDs

LED grow lights can be dimmed

Most LED drivers these days can be dimmed. That is growers can increase and decrease the light output from about 20% to 100% of the total output with little or no reduction in efficiency.

The LED driver will usually have a dimming knob on the LED driver but will also have ports for external dimming control. These are usually RJ12 ports which are the same ports and cables used for telephone connections. The LED driver will usually have a switch to change the dimmer control from the knob on the driver (local) to an external signal (remote).

LED grow light dimming daisy chain

LED grow lights can be daisy chained for dimmer control

LED drivers with dimming ports can be daisy chained. This means multiple drivers (slaves) can be controlled by one driver (master). The master LED driver is connected to the multiple slave LED drivers. The dimmer on the master driver signal controls all of the LED drivers in the chain so you can dim multiple LED grow lights simultaneously.

The master LED grow light usually outputs a 0 -10v DC signal which is transmitted via the RJ12 port to the slave LED drivers. The 0 - 10V signal is transmitted on 2 of the six wires in the RJ12 connector and cable. The output signal wires must match the wires the LED driver uses. Grow light controllers and LED drivers sometimes require adaptors so that the output wires used by the controller are matched to those of the LED driver.

LED grow light dimming RJ12 connector

LED grow lights can also be controlled by external controllers

There are dedicated grow light controllers that automatically adjust the light output. LED grow light controllers feature dimming timers that allow growers to set precise photoperiods and simulate natural day-night cycles such as sunrise and sunset.

Grow room controllers can also control grow light dimming

Grow room environment controllers can also be used to adjust the dimming of grow lights. They often have dedicated grow light control output devices which can connect to the LED grow light dimmer circuit. The grow room controllers can be programmed to adjust the grow light output schedule.

Benefits of a grow light controller

Precise and programmable grow light dimmer control can be used to deliver the following benefits:

  • Switch the LED grow lights on and off to a daily schedule
  • Apply timed dimming adjustment to simulate sunrise and sunset
  • More precisely control the light intensity than a manual dimmer knob
  • Reduce light intensity if the temperature in the grow room exceeds a set maximum temperature (If a temperature probe is integrated to the control system)
  • Control the light intensity remotely if integrated with an app and wifi control
LED grow light dimming manually

Grow lighting controllers compared

We tested 5 of the most popular grow light controllers for functionality and compare them for features and value for money.

The grow light controllers tested were:

  • Telos Growcast
  • Growflux universal dimmer
  • Vivosun Grow hub
  • Trolmaster Tent X TCS1
  • AC Infinity 69 pro

The following table shows the comparison of all 5 grow light controllers tested.

comparison table for 5 grow lighting controllers

Telos Growcast

The Telos Growcast is a dedicated grow light controller. It is a compact device which has two output adaptors to suit most grow light dimming configurations on the market. 

Telos growcast grow lighting controller

The Growcast app allows for sophisticated programming of the controller and can control multiple grow rooms and lights simultaneously. The Growcast uses bluetooth mesh to connect multiple devices on a private network with no need for local wifi.

The Telos growcast has been tested with many of the best selling grow lights. It is the only grow light controller on the market that you can precisely control the PAR intensity at canopy level without needing an expensive quantum PAR meter.

Growflux universal controller

The Growflux grow lighting controller is a commercial grade device which is much more expensive but also has a wider range of features.

Growflux grow lighting controller

It is compatible with all grow lights on the market but it may require you to connect the controller wiring to the grow lighting circuit. The Growflux app and wireless hub allow you to setup a dedicated network for the lighting controls. GrowFlux Mesh is an industrial wireless IoT protocol that provides unsurpassed range and performance in the agriculture industry, while overcoming many of the shortcomings of Bluetooth, WiFi, and other protocols

The Growflux controller also integrates a Quantum PAR meter so that you can precisely control the PAR intensity at canopy level.

Vivosun Growhub controller

The Vivosun grow light controller is very innovative with lots of features. It is also very good value for money. The controller can be linked to the networked lights and control the dimmer, circulatory fan speed and extract fan or air conditioning system using inputs from its temperature and humidity sensors.

Vivosun grow controller

The Vivosun controller can control grow light on/off times, sunset and sunrise dimming, dim down at high temperatures. The controller is compatible with MIGRO, AC Infinity, MARS Hydro, Spider Farmer and other brands with 0-10V DC control.

Trolmaster Tent X controller

The Trolmaster Tent-X (TCS-1) control system is a state-of-the-art control system, designed for single-zone grow tents. The Tent-X offers users control of both the environment, lighting and the irrigation, in one single controller. The system is very comprehensive with many sensors and control output devices that can be used to manage the grow room automation.

Trolmaster Tent X TCS1 grow room controller

The Trolmaster lighting adaptor must be added to the controller to output the 0-10V dimming signal to the LED grow lighting. The Trolmaster Tent X controller can control grow light on/off times, sunset and sunrise dimming, dim down at high temperatures. 

You can also precise PAR intensity at canopy level with the addition of a Trolmaster Quantum PAR sensor. The controller is compatible with MIGRO, AC Infinity, MARS Hydro, Spider Farmer and other brands with 0-10V DC control.

AC Infinity controller 69

The AC Infinity controller 69 is a grow room controller that can control most of the devices and environment parameters in the grow room. It comes with a temperature and humidity sensor as standard and has a broad range of ACInfinity devices it can connect to and control.

AC Infinity Controller 69 grow lighting controller

The AC Infinity 69 controller can control most grow lights on the market, not just AC Infinity products. It has a range of lighting adaptors that ensure it is compatible with most grow lighting manufacturers such as MIGRO, Mars Hydro, HLG Vivosun etc.

The AC Infinity controller 69 can control grow light on/off times, sunset and sunrise dimming, dim down at high temperatures. The controller is compatible with MIGRO, AC Infinity, MARS Hydro, Spider Farmer and other brands with 0-10V DC control.

 

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