Electronics for Indoor Farming

With global population growth, there is increasing concern over the sustainability of ecologically friendly farming. Farmers are now adopting innovative technologies for improving the overall efficiency of farming. Among them, the Internet of Things or IoT shows a greater promise with real-time, wireless, and remote sensing, monitoring, and control of indoor farming conditions and operations, such as humidity, moisture levels, soil pH, temperature, and lighting.

Most of the functions mentioned involve complex combinations with farmers often struggling to combine LED lighting, wireless communications, actuators, and sensors with control and mobile applications for gathering the optimum information, analyzing it quickly to generate the appropriate response, and acting upon it. Even for the technologically proficient, implementing existing product offerings is a challenge for deploying a low-power, scalable, cost-effective, reliable, and secure system.

Arrow Electronics, in combination with eInfochips and Analog Devices, offers an end-to-end, one-stop solution for the above problems in the form of the Grow House Evaluation Kit. Their starter kit has the best of technologies, including power management, converter, and signal conditioning from Analog Devices. The kit comes with sensors for moisture and pH, wireless connectivity, LED lighting with a dimming facility, along with remote accessibility via a cloud-based dashboard. All these are available on the iOS and Android platforms.

The Grow House Evaluation Kit is a smarter way to set up indoor farming operations. With wireless connectivity from Silicon Labs, LEDs from OSRAM Light Engine with dimming and color control, the cloud-based dashboard provides remote accessibility for moisture and soil pH levels through ruggedized connectors from Amphenol.

The soil-monitoring node included with the Grow House Evaluation Kit uses leading-edge technologies from Analog Devices. Included in this soil-monitoring node are the power and analog solutions for measuring the pH and moisture levels of the soil with high accuracy for maximizing crop yield.

The IoT gateway included with the kit is based on a platform from Qualcomm 96Boards. The LED node in the kit features the ability to control the color output, intensity, and the UV spectrum of the custom light engine.

Pre-certified ZigBee modules from Silicon Labs implemented with the IoT gateway provides custom control of the LED and Soil nodes. Arrow Electronics offers mobile applications compatible with iOS and Android platforms for configuration and control of the LED and Soil nodes. Arrow Electronics also offers a light engine with OSRAM OSLON Square high-power LEDs, along with design files for customization, but the LEDs are only for demonstration.

Those looking for the complete Growhouse Platform need to order three nodes independently for configuration of the Growhouse. These are the LED Node, IoT Gateway, and the Soil Node.

Vertical farming operations benefit extensively from digital transformation solutions from Arrow Electronics, thanks to their advances in technologies involving sensors and connectivity, and easy access to cloud infrastructure providing cost-effective operations. Although timer-controlled pumps, lighting, and fans do help in farming, digital transformations such as those provided by the Growhouse Platforms go far beyond the simple methods. A digital grow house based on the Grow House Evaluation Kit enables this transformation in the easiest way possible.