Automation & Monitoring - What about the little guy?

An essential item in any large grow operations arsenal of tools is some form of grow environment monitoring and control system making it possible to manage and maintain large operations. The benefits these systems bring to name but a few are improved yield, higher degrees of efficiency, reduced down time and detailed information about what is going on. These systems on the whole are usually outside of the price range for your average home/boutique grower and smaller grow operations.

This was the exact problem we faced when trying to find something on the market that met our criteria:

  • Affordable
  • Future Proofed
  • Remotely Accessible
  • Secure
  • Easy to use

Needless to say there was nothing that ticked all those boxes and so having tech backgrounds we set about creating a product range and services, initially just for ourselves, which did meet all the criteria. After posting pictures of what we were doing we started to get approached by a number of people with an interest in purchasing the devices. We now have a growing, pun intended, client base in the UK who have been using our products for the past 18 months to 2 years, we have been using them ourselves for close to 4 years. Yup there have been a number of iterations based on customer feedback and our own experiences.

A common topic on most podcasts and when you speak to growers in general is the importance of having the right growing environment for your plants, in fact it is often mentioned as being the most important element to get right. It does not matter how good your lights, nutrients are etc… if your temperature and humidity are off your plants will suffer. So being able to tell what is going on over time with temperature and humidity really does help in being able to spot potential issues and deal with them before they become serious problems.

Our 1st products to market are our temperature and humidity sensors, theMinder and theMinder+. These both come with two sensors attached on leads available in 2.5m to 10m lengths (sorry metric measurements), one sensor is an ambient air temperature and humidity sensor and the other is a waterproof temperature sensor. The waterproof sensor can be used to measure the temperature of your grow medium, water/nutrient reservoir or as a 2nd ambient air temperature sensor. Data from the sensors is recorded every 30 seconds which gives a very detailed and granular view of what is going on over time. Each sensor unit requires a 5V 1Amp MicroUSB power source, most Android phone chargers work perfectly for this (part of our aim is to reduce the amount of clutter by reusing what people already potentially have).

The data is sent through to our cloud hosted platform and is view-able there from any device with a web browser and internet connection. This makes it possible to keep an eye on what is happening from pretty much anywhere in the world, freeing you up from having to be within close proximity of your grow operation. It also means that @growopowners and @mastergrowers are able to keep tabs on their operations out of hours. Our alerting system keeping people informed of any issues straight away.

Included in the price of the units is the following:

  • Current Readings
  • Calculated VPD
  • Min/Max/Average for the past 24hrs
  • Up to 7 days of rolling historical data charts, these range from the 2 hr to 7 days of displayed data.
  • Email alerts

For those looking to have more data available we do offer additional data packages at £25 a year for a rolling 3 months of historical data, so it would be £50 a year for a rolling 6 months and £100 for 12 months of rolling data.

We want to give everyone in the grow community the ability to take advantage of having access to meaningful and accurate data so that better decisions can be made and for this to not only be in the realm of the big players or those with deeper pockets.

We will be launching our controller unit in the coming months, we have it out with a number of early adopters doing testing and validation for us, which will bring high end automated functionality and benefits which rival some of the bigger and more expensive solutions out there.

If you have any questions regarding our products and services then please do get in contact and we will be more than happy to assist.

The P&L Grow Systems Team

Some examples of our current charts and data available to all clients using theMinder or theMinder+