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United States Patent Application 20180014374
Kind Code A1
Rhodes; Bruce ;   et al. January 11, 2018

HORTICULTURAL LIGHT

Abstract

A horticultural lighting system and method for controlling same. Lights operating at different peak wavelengths, which affect the color of lights, can be optimized for different plant species during different stages of growth. The present disclosure pertains to a horticultural light, a system of horticultural lights, and a method for controlling light output to optimize different types of plants in various stages of plant growth cycles.


Inventors: Rhodes; Bruce; (Inverness, IL) ; Kolenda; Paul; (Batavia, IL) ; Gheorge; Bogdan; (Oak Park, IL) ; Useinovski; Judet; (West Chicago, IL)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

Hubbell Incorporated

Shelton

CT

US
Family ID: 1000002764014
Appl. No.: 15/645565
Filed: July 10, 2017


Related U.S. Patent Documents

Application NumberFiling DatePatent Number
62360077Jul 8, 2016

Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: H05B 33/0845 20130101; H05B 37/0272 20130101; A01G 7/045 20130101; H05B 33/089 20130101; H05B 33/0863 20130101
International Class: H05B 33/08 20060101 H05B033/08; A01G 7/04 20060101 A01G007/04; H05B 37/02 20060101 H05B037/02

Claims



1. A horticultural light comprising: a housing fixture having an outer surface including an opening; an array of different colored light emitting diodes (LEDs) operating at various peak wavelengths; a current control channel in electrical communication with at least one of the LEDs; a fixture control for controlling light wave intensity of each LED via the current control channel; a fixture firmware to store programmable user input; and a fixture ID to identify the housing fixture in a system of horticultural lights.

2. The horticultural light according to claim 1, wherein the array of different colored LEDs contain one or more infrared (IR) LED, one or more red LED, one or more blue LED, one or more ultraviolet (UV) LED, and one or more white LED.

3. The horticultural light according to claim 2, wherein each of the IR LEDs have a wavelength of 730 nm.

4. The horticultural light according to claim 2, wherein some of the red LEDs have a wavelength of 660 nm, and some of the red LEDs have a wavelength of 634 nm.

5. The horticultural light according to claim 2, wherein each of the blue LEDs have a wavelength of 465 nm.

6. The horticultural light according to claim 2, wherein each of the UV LEDs have a wavelength of 385 nm.

7. The horticultural light according to claim 2, wherein each of the white LEDs are 5000 k.

8. The horticultural light according to claim 1, further comprising a current measuring device in electrical communication with at least one LED color group, the current measuring device detecting current flow to the LED color group.

9. The horticultural light according to claim 8, wherein the current measuring device detects a zero current or current fault.

10. A system of horticultural lights comprising: a plurality of horticultural lights, each consisting a housing fixture and an array of different colored light emitting diodes (LEDs); a plurality of current control channels in electrical communication with at least one of the LEDs; a plurality of fixture controls for controlling light wave intensity of each LED via the current control channel; a fixture mesh network including at least one fixture control; an at least one master fixture control for receiving information from a user and relaying the information to other fixture control(s) in the fixture mesh network; and a plurality of fixture firmware consisting one or more zone control variable, the one or more user input recipe, and multiple preset modes of operation.

11. The system of horticultural lights according to claim 10, further comprising a plurality of current measuring devices, each of the current measuring devices in electrical communication with at least one LED color group and detecting current flow to the LED color group.

12. The horticultural light according to claim 11, wherein each of the current measuring devices detects a zero current or current fault.

13. A method of programming a horticultural light comprising: receiving a user input including intensity level for at least one LED color group; transmitting the user input to a fixture control; relaying information between a network of at least one fixture controls; and based on the relayed information, controlling a wavelength intensity of a light emitting diode (LED) to produce a desirable colored light.

14. The method of programming the horticultural light according to claim 13, wherein the fixture control can be updated via a wireless interface.

15. The method of programming the horticultural light according to claim 14, wherein a master fixture control can receive the recipe via a wireless interface and transmit the information to other fixture control(s) in a fixture mesh network.

16. The method of programming the horticultural light according to claim 14 wherein a fixture firmware can be updated by connecting to an electrical control device via a USB bridge node, including a USB port and antenna.

17. The method of programming the horticultural light according to claim 13, further comprising measuring a current flow in at least one LED color group.

18. The method of programming the horticultural light according to claim 17, wherein the measuring step includes detecting zero current or a current fault.
Description



RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] The present application is related to and claims benefit under 35 U.S.C. .sctn.119(e) from U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 62/360,077, filed Jul. 8, 2016, titled "HORTICULTURAL LIGHT" (attorney docket no. 208272-9275-US00), the entire contents of which being incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Plants are often grown in an enclosed environment so that growers can better control ambient factors that affect plant growth (e.g., temperature, sunlight, and moisture). Cultivating plants in an enclosed environment requires an artificial light source to replace sunlight.

SUMMARY

[0003] Lights operating at different peak wavelengths, which affect the color of lights, can be optimized for different plant species during different stages of growth. The present disclosure pertains to a horticultural light, a system of horticultural lights, and a method for controlling light output to optimize different types of plants in various stages of plant growth cycles.

[0004] Other aspects will become apparent by consideration of the detailed description and accompanying drawings

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0005] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a horticultural light.

[0006] FIG. 2 is another perspective view of the horticultural light of FIG. 1.

[0007] FIG. 3 is a table of LED specifications for a horticultural light according to one embodiment.

[0008] FIG. 4 is a circuit schematic of an LED board according to one embodiment.

[0009] FIG. 5 is a wiring diagram of a fixture control according to one embodiment.

[0010] FIG. 6 is an electrical block diagram of a fixture control according to one embodiment.

[0011] FIG. 7 is a graphical user interface for a recipe application display according to one embodiment.

[0012] FIG. 8 is another graphical user interface for a recipe application display according to one embodiment.

[0013] FIG. 9 is another graphical user interface for a recipe application display according to one embodiment.

[0014] FIG. 10 is a flow diagram of a method for generating a recipe application startup platform.

[0015] FIG. 11 is a flow diagram of a method for launching a recipe application.

[0016] FIG. 12 is a flow diagram of a method for adding, changing, or deleting a recipe in a recipe application.

[0017] FIG. 13 is a flow diagram of a method for Bluetooth initialization and data transmission in the recipe application.

[0018] FIG. 14 is a flow diagram of a method for managing Bluetooth communication in a recipe application.

[0019] FIG. 15 is a communication block diagram.

[0020] FIG. 16 is a flow diagram of a method for controlling a fixture mesh network using a user operated device.

[0021] Skilled artisans will appreciate that elements in the figures are illustrated for simplicity and clarity and have not necessarily been drawn to scale. Illustrations may show only those specific details that are pertinent to understanding the embodiments presented so as not to obscure the disclosure with details that will be readily apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art in light of the description herein.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0022] Embodiments presented herein relate to an array of different colored light emitting diodes (LEDs) operating at various peak wavelengths in a horticultural light. A user may control the light intensity of each LED color group in the horticultural light to produce an appropriate light mix output that optimizes different stages of plant growth.

[0023] One example embodiment provides a horticultural lighting fixture. The lighting fixture includes a housing fixture having an outer surface including an opening. The lighting fixture includes an array of different colored light emitting diodes (LEDs) operating at various peak wavelengths. The lighting fixture includes a current control channel in electrical communication with at least one of the LEDs. The lighting fixture includes a fixture control for controlling light wave intensity of each LED via the current control channel. The lighting fixture includes a fixture firmware to store programmable user input. The lighting fixture includes a fixture ID to identify the housing fixture in a system of horticultural lights.

[0024] Another example embodiment provides a system of horticultural lights. The system includes a plurality of horticultural lights, each consisting a housing fixture and an array of different colored light emitting diodes (LEDs). The system includes a plurality of current control channels in electrical communication with at least one of the LEDs. The system includes a plurality of fixture controls for controlling light wave intensity of each LED via the current control channel. The system includes a fixture mesh network including at least one fixture control. The system includes an at least one master fixture control for receiving information from a user and relaying the information to other fixture control(s) in the fixture mesh network. The system includes a plurality of fixture firmware consisting one or more zone control variable, the one or more user input recipe, and multiple preset modes of operation.

[0025] Another example embodiment provides a method for programming a horticultural light. The method includes receiving a user input including intensity level for at least one LED color group. The method includes transmitting the user input to a fixture control. The method includes relaying information between a network of at least one fixture controls. The method includes, based on the relayed information, controlling a wavelength intensity of a light emitting diode (LED) to produce a desirable colored light.

[0026] Before any embodiments are explained in detail, it is to be understood that the disclosure is not limited in its application to the details of construction and the arrangement of components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the following drawings. The disclosure is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced or of being carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology used herein is for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting. Use of "including" and "comprising" and variations thereof as used herein is meant to encompass the items listed thereafter and equivalents thereof as well as additional items. Use of "consisting of" and variations thereof as used herein is meant to encompass only the items listed thereafter and equivalents thereof. Unless specified or limited otherwise, the terms "mounted," "connected," "supported," and "coupled" and variations thereof are used broadly and encompass both direct and indirect mountings, connections, supports, and couplings.

[0027] It should also be noted that a plurality of hardware and software based devices, as well as a plurality of different structural components may be used to implement the invention. In addition, it should be understood that embodiments of the invention may include hardware, software, and electronic components or modules that, for purposes of discussion, may be illustrated and described as if the majority of the components were implemented solely in hardware. However, one of ordinary skill in the art, and based on a reading of this detailed description, would recognize that, in at least one embodiment, the electronic-based aspects of the invention may be implemented in software (e.g., stored on non-transitory computer-readable medium) executable by one or more processors. As such, it should be noted that a plurality of hardware and software based devices, as well as a plurality of different structural components may be utilized to implement the invention. For example, "control units" and "controllers" described in the specification can include one or more processors, one or more memory modules including non-transitory computer-readable medium, one or more input/output interfaces, and various connections (e.g., a system bus) connecting the components.

[0028] For ease of description, some or all of the exemplary systems presented herein are illustrated with a single exemplar of each of its component parts. Some examples may not describe or illustrate all components of the systems. Other exemplary embodiments may include more or fewer of each of the illustrated components, may combine some components, or may include additional or alternative components.

[0029] FIG. 1 and FIG. 2 illustrate a horticultural light 10. The horticultural light 10 includes a linear aluminum housing fixture 4. In some embodiments, the housing fixture 4 is shaped differently. In the illustrated embodiment, the housing 4 includes accessories 8 (e.g., a male or female connector) to engage a similar housing fixture 4 so that multiple units may be coupled together for a larger illumination area. In some embodiments, the housing fixture 4 has an outer surface including an opening 11, through which an array 12 may protrude.

[0030] Each horticultural light 10 has an array 12 (See FIG. 1) of different LED color groups, a current control channel (e.g., the power converters 32 of FIG. 6) in electrical communication with at least one LED color group, a current measuring device 13 (See FIG. 4) to detect the current flow through each LED color group, a fixture control 20 (See FIG. 6) for modifying light wave intensity of the LED color groups (e.g., based on instructions from a user), and a programmable fixture firmware installed on each fixture control 20. A plurality of fixture controls 20 in a system of horticultural lights form a fixture mesh network (See FIG. 15). The user may specify and store a recipe that contains a specific combination of intensity levels for each LED color group in the fixture firmware. As set forth in greater detail below, a master fixture control receives user recipes and relays the information to other fixture controls via the fixture mesh network. In some embodiments, a communication bridge is coupled to the master fixture control to bridge between various networks which allows for more flexibility. Each horticultural light in a system may be assigned a control zone variable that identifies the location of the horticultural light in the instance that the user assigns different sections of horticultural lights to operate at different recipes. The fixture firmware may store control zone variables, user recipes, and multiple factory preset modes of operation.

[0031] FIG. 3 includes specifications for the LED color groups according to one embodiment, including type, color, peak wavelength, number of LEDs, current, voltage, and power. The LED color groups may be red, blue, while, ultraviolet, infrared, or another suitable color band. The color of a LED depends on the peak wavelength specification of the LED. For example, a blue LED operates at a peak wavelength between 450 to 500 nm while a red LED operates at peak wavelength between 610 to 760 nm. The amount of power supplied to a LED determines the light intensity of the produced colored light. Highly powered 5000K white LEDs may be used individually in "inspection mode" or in combination with LEDs operating at specific wavelengths in "growth mode."

[0032] Despite the limited spectrum, the use of multiple color groups of LEDs in a horticultural light system may be preferable to a system of traditional gas discharge bulbs, such as high intensity discharge (HID) bulbs or plasma bulbs, since LEDs are directly controlled by the amount of current received, providing finer control of the produced light spectrum of the system. Additionally, LEDs are more power efficient and have significantly longer lifespans than most traditional bulbs.

[0033] FIG. 4 illustrates a circuit diagram for the LED board 12 according to one embodiment. As shown, groups of LEDs 16 operating at the same peak wavelength are wired in series in common LED color groups 18, and LEDs operating at different peak wavelengths are wired in parallel in separate LED color groups 18. Since current is the same for elements wired in series, this wiring configuration allows for "dimming" or "brightening" of each LED color group 18 independently of the other LED color groups 18. A current measuring device 13 detects current flow through each LED color group 18. The current measuring device detects a fault in a single LED driver or an LED color group 18, and instances in which a single LED color group 18 receives zero current may be reported or transmitted to the fixture mesh network. Such fault detection provides improved detection of failures especially failures that may not be visually apparent, such as in the case of an infrared LED failure. In some embodiments, the horticultural light has two LED boards 12.

[0034] The fixture control 20 regulates current flow to each LED color group 18 within the horticultural light. FIG. 5 illustrates a wiring diagram for an example horticultural light 10. An AC input voltage 24 is transmitted to a constant voltage (CV) driver 28. The CV driver 28 provides power to a driver PCB 29. An interface 37 is coupled to the LED boards 12 and the driver PCB 29. The interface 37 receives recipes from the user. The interface 37 provides interfaces to other modules to allow the fixture to communicate with other fixtures and outside devices, such as smart phones or other computing devices. In the illustrated embodiment, the interface 37 includes a Bluetooth interface 19a, a radio frequency (RF) interface 19b, and a NXFM interface 19c. Alternative embodiments may provide other suitable interfaces.

[0035] FIG. 6 is block diagram for an example horticultural light 10. In the illustrated embodiment, the CV driver 28 powers a fixture control 20. The fixture control 20 includes power converters 32 and a control module 36 with an interface 37 (See FIG. 5). The interface 37 receives recipes from the user, and the control module 20 transmits a signal to each power converter 32 to supply a corresponding power and current to each LED color group 18. The user has the option to leave certain LED color groups 18 disabled to achieve a more flexible range of light mix outputs.

[0036] FIGS. 7-9 illustrate screenshots of a recipe application 39 for generating recipes, according to one embodiment. As shown in FIG. 7, a welcome page of the application may include a list 40 of user stored recipes 40a. A light-bulb icon 44 may be displayed next to the recipe 40a that is currently applied to the horticultural light(s). A plus sign 48 (e.g., positioned in the upper right hand corner) may allow the user to add a new recipe 40a to the list 40. Selecting a recipe 40a may direct the user to a second page (FIG. 8) to edit the recipe 40a. The user may be prompted to enter a "Recipe name" 52 (e.g., in ASCII characters including upper case, lower case, blank, and underline characters). As shown in FIG. 9, the user may enter in a dim level 56 in percentages ranging from 30% to 100% to set the light intensity of each LED color group 18. After the desired adjustments have been made, the user may choose to "Save" 60, "Cancel" 61, "Delete" 62, or "Send" 63 the recipe (see FIG. 8). Saving may add the recipe 40a to the list 40 of stored user recipes displayed in FIG. 7. Canceling may erase user input information and return to the welcome page. Deleting may remove a previously stored recipe 40a from the list 40. Sending may deliver the user recipe 40a to another user.

[0037] Referring now to FIGS. 10-14, in some embodiments, when the recipe application 39 is launched, the application follows a sequence of events to configure a platform and handle new "events" or user recipes 40a. The application may be executed on a smart phone, tablet computer, or other computing device in communication with the lighting fixture 10.

[0038] FIG. 10 illustrates a flowchart of an example method 100 for a startup platform of one embodiment for loading the recipe application 39. Upon startup, the application loads the forms for a graphical user interface (at block 102). FIG. 11 illustrates a flowchart of an example method 110 for saving received recipes 40a, according to one embodiment. At blocks 112 and 114, the application instance is launched and the variables are initialized. At block 116, the application waits for an event, for example, for the user to select a command via the graphical user interface. At block 118, events are handled based on the nature of the events. For example, when no event is received within a determined time, the application sleeps and automatically saves the current recipe (at block 120). In another example, the application starts up by displaying a main screen (at block 122). In another example, on a wake event, the application resumes from where it was left off by navigating to the last known screen (at block 124) by determining the screen (at block 126). The screen may be the main screen (block 122) or the recipe detail screen (See FIGS. 8 and 9), at block 128.

[0039] FIG. 12 illustrates a flowchart of a method 130 for adding, changing, or deleting a recipe 40a, according to one embodiment. At block 132, a user action is received and the application enters an edit mode (at block 134), an add mode (at block 136), or it returns to displaying the main screen (See FIG. 7) including a recipe list (at block 138). In the add mode, entries are validated (at block 140) for example, based on the configuration of the lighting fixture 10, and may be saved (at block 142), sent (at block 144), or deleted (at block 146).

[0040] FIG. 13 illustrates a flowchart for a method 150 for enabling Bluetooth communication and transmitting information from the recipe application 39 to a paired device. In the embodiment illustrated, the paired device is the master fixture control 20. At block 152, the application determines whether a connection exists. When a connection exists, the application determines whether there is data to send, at block 154. When there is data to send, it is sent, at block 156, and the application returns to the graphical user interface, at block 158. When there is no data to send, the application returns to the graphical user interface, at block 158. When a connection does not exist, the application determines whether the Bluetooth adapter is enabled, at block 160. When the adapter is enabled, the application looks for a paired device, at block 162. When a paired device is not found, at block 164, the application returns to the graphical user interface, at block 158. When a paired device is found, at block 164, the application opens a connection, at block 166, and determines whether there is data to send, at block 154. When the adapter is not enabled, at block 160, the application issue a request to enable the adapter, at block 168. When the request successfully enables the adapter, at block 170, the application looks for a paired device, at block 162. When the request does not successfully enable the adapter, at block 170, the application returns to the graphical user interface, at block 158.

[0041] FIG. 14 illustrates a flowchart of a method 180 for processing and updating transmitted information in the recipe application 39. At block 182, Bluetooth is running and receiving data as a background process. At block 184, the application listens for incoming data. When data is not received, at block 186, the application continues to listen, at block 184. When data is received, at block 186, the application parses the data, at block 188. When the data includes a data package, at block 190, the application invokes the data package, at block 192, and updates the GUI and database based on the data package, at block 194. When the data does not include a data package, the application continues to listen for data at block 184.

[0042] The master fixture control 20 may receive user recipes 40a via a hand-held device (for example, a smart phone), a computer, or another computing device. For example, as illustrated in FIG. 15, a smart phone 68 operating the recipe application 39 transmits information via Bluetooth to the master fixture control 20. In some embodiments, upon being received by the Bluetooth module 19a, the signal is transmitted to the master fixture control 20 via a universal asynchronous receiver/transmitter (UART). The fixture control module 20 uses the recipe 40a to regulate current flow to each LED color group 18 to produce a desired light mix output, as specified in the recipe 40a.

[0043] In some embodiments, only the fixture control 20 to be updated will receive the user recipe 40a and will make adjustments to the light mix output. In such embodiments, the user recipe 40a is not transmitted to the other fixture control(s) 20 in communication with the fixture mesh network 76.

[0044] In some embodiments, using the fixture mesh network interface, the master fixture control 20 transmits the user recipes 40a to other fixture control(s) 20 in the system of horticultural lights in communication with the fixture mesh network. Accordingly, a user may control multiple horticultural lights in different zones to operate under different recipes as opposed to all horticultural lights outputting the same light mix.

[0045] A similar sequence of steps is followed for recipe instructions transmitted via a computer or other computing device. For example, a personal computer (PC) 72 including a fixture control application, for example, the application 39, may send a signal to the fixture mesh network 76 via a USB bridge node (not shown). The USB Bridge includes a USB port and an antenna that transmits information from the PC 72 to the fixture mesh network module 76. When the fixture control 20 connects to the fixture mesh network module 76. Once connected, the fixture control 20 adjusts the light mix output and updates the recipe 40a in the fixture firmware based on the user input, for example, located within a zone specified by the use. Firmware may store one or more zone control variables, one or more user input recipes, and multiple preset modes of operation. In some embodiments, the recipe 40a is stored in nonvolatile memory, thus retaining stored recipe information in the event of a power outage. As discussed above, in other embodiments, a different type of networks 19(a-c) could be used to transmit information from the PC 72 to the fixture control(s) 20.

[0046] Horticultural lights may be controlled individually, a group of horticultural lights may be controlled according to zone specifications, or all horticultural lights may be controlled in unison. If a user chooses to control the system of horticultural lights according to zones, the system performs a test to confirm whether a located fixture control 20 is the fixture control 20 specified by the user. FIG. 16 illustrates is a flowchart of a commissioning method 200 for determining which fixture control(s) 20 in a fixture mesh network 76 to update with a recipe 40a. In some embodiments, commissioning may depend on the type of device that transmits recipe information to the fixture control(s).

[0047] The smart phone 68 or the computer 72 transmit recipes to the mesh network modules 76, 76a, as described above. At block 202, when the message received is addressed to the local host and the destination module is that lighting fixture, the message is processed by that host, at block 204. Otherwise, the mesh network module 76 receives the message and determines whether it is addressed locally or remotely, at block 206. When the message is addressed remotely, it is sent to the mesh network module 76a, which determines, at block 208, whether the message is addressed to it. When the message is addressed to that lighting fixture and module, at block 210, the message is processed by the network module, at block 212. At block 206, when the message is addressed to that lighting fixture and module, at block 214, the message is processed by the network module, at block 216.

[0048] Although aspects have been described in detail with reference to certain preferred embodiments, variations and modifications exist within the scope and spirit of one or more independent aspects as described.

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