Tuning Technology

86%

of cultivators say that having control over the spectrum of light used in the different areas and stages of their facilities is or will become a necessary part of growing cannabis over the next few years.

Significant questions remain regarding the best way to efficiently apply different light spectrums to maximize plant growth, development, mineral nutrition, and metabolism.
While there are many complicated internal reactions happening within the plant that we still don’t yet fully understand, there are specific responses that have been well documented and show promising results for the future of manipulating spectral recipes. The good news is that spectrum tuning is and will remain a large part of the cannabis related research being conducted across the world. At this stage, having control over the spectrum is simply a tool in the cultivators toolbox, with an exciting future of unlimited possibilities.

LED lighting, via spectral tailoring and tuning, intensity control, and light distribution control, can enable an unprecedented level of control over the growth and economics of controlled environment agricultural (e.g., green house or indoor), particularly when other aspects of the growth environment (temperature, irrigation, humidity, CO2levels, etc.) are also enabled for control. These new levels of control enable reduction in the use of water by more than 90% and reductions in use of chemicals in the plant growth process such as insecticides and plant growth regulators.
P. Morgan Pattison et al.

When considering overall lighting efficiency, how well the spectral content of the light aligns with the cultivation’s needs, followed by how well the spectral content is delivered to plants (Scynce LED uses proprietary secondary optics to achieve maximum results here) are two of the most important factors. A 2017 study from the Department of Plant Biology at Mendel University in Brno concluded that, “White light that emits a full spectrum of light affects [cannabis] plant growth and development better than blue/red light.”

There are a few ways that “tuning the spectrum” can work in practice:

  • No Control: where each light is a fixed spectrum. Multiple lights, each with a different spectrum, can be employed here.
  • Knob Control: where each channel has a turn knob, meaning that every fixture has to be adjusted manually.
  • Wired Control: where the facility must have wires run to every light.
  • Wireless Control: where a Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or Mesh technology is incorporated and all lights must be constantly connected creating heavy radio traffic within the facility.
  • Wireless Control with On-Board Memory: where lights are sent commands via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or Mesh and these commands are stored in each light so that they operate autonomously and can maintain their commands even after a power interruption.

Traditionally, spectrum tuning required a different power supply (driver) for each channel or color of light that required adjustment. New innovations have now made it possible to use a single driver and push all of that power into a single color. For example, the Raging Kale is a 250 watt veg light that has a cool white and a warm white channel. Full power spectrum tuning allows you to run the light at a 50/50 mix (125 watts) of each channel or push all that power (250 watts) into just cool or warm, or any blend in between. This new technology truly puts the power in the grower’s hands as they no longer have to sacrifice power and total light output in order to adjust the spectrum to their needs.

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