* This is a contributed article and this content does not necessarily represent the views of IBTimes.
The VIVOSUN Smart Grow System: A Major Shift in Growing Tech
The VIVOSUN Smart Grow System: A Major Shift in Growing Tech VIVOSUN

I have been watching indoor growing technology for almost a decade. There is a stigma attached to it: that it is for growing a certain kind of consumable plant that is currently being considered for legalization across the United States. However, indoor horticulture has been a trend with the value of goods produced in indoor grow centers having increased by $16.5 billion since 2016. My interest in indoor home gardening is right there alongside the growth of the industry, but old fashioned systems like High-Intensity Discharge bulbs always turned me away from investing much time and effort into indoor gardening (although I did use T5 fluorescent bulbs for low light plants--easy maintenance and interesting plants).

When LED grow lights started to emerge as viable lighting my interest was piqued: low heat, high efficiency, and equipment that is subject to Moore's Law. Within just the past ten years, LEDs have shown they are incredibly capable of matching the growth performance of HPS systems (growers' preferred lighting system) and in some cases even surpassing them. What makes LED systems such a special addition to the growing world is that manufacturers have been able to adjust the light spectrum of LED boards by either adding specialized colorations of diodes or by integrating computer chips onto the board and adjusting each diode through programming.

It has been a long time coming, but light manufacturers have just started to release programmable LED systems. This is where I started to get really excited about the potential for LED: if you could control the spectrum, what else could you program? The release of the VIVOSUN Smart Grow System changes the possibilities of indoor growing by magnitudes. Their Smart Grow System includes four new products with, what they say, a few more on the way: The AeroLight, an LED system with a built-in fan; The GrowHub Controller, and the App that controls various tent equipment, and; the AeroZesh, a new programmable inline fan. Let's break down what these are and why they are so important.


The AeroLight

The AeroLight is a new style of LED grow light system, while the LEDs themselves are not a new technology--the diodes are improved (whenever a new system is released you can expect it to have improved diodes) and the board itself is extremely high quality but what stands out in this system is the integrated circulation fan, a small on-board fan similar to what you might find in a high-quality computer build. The idea behind integrating the fan into the system is to, as VIVOSUN puts it, place the fan in the perfect position for the plants, directly from above. The fan itself has a sturdy feeling, a durable plastic, that spins with little friction; it's a special feeling when a "floats" in its housing.

Speaking of housing, surrounding the fan are a number of angled plastic brackets that help direct airflow into and out of the fan by having outward-facing brackets. This helps the fan pull air from above the system and project it down into the canopy. When I tested the fan while running the lights for the first time, I noticed how little heat created by the LEDs actually interfered with the air pulled through the fan.

Placing my hand beneath the fan I could feel a stiff breeze circling about. I adjusted the fan speed to the lowest setting and found it to be gentle and soft, but enough to still be felt and rustle the leaves of my basil plant.

The AeroLight is made of what appears to be a heavy-duty aluminum alloy so while the fixture itself is light, it is sturdy and has a form that reminds me of an American muscle car. It's cool, sleek, and feels reliable. When I place my hand beneath the LEDs they indeed are hot near the board but not as hot as other LED systems I have used. Instead, the heat seems to be spread away from the system and, noticeably, not towards the fan above. It is an interesting design that has fantastic implications for growers since the design seems geared to allowing growers to place the fan closer to the plants while also still providing airflow.

The GrowHub Controller

The GrowHub Controller is its own beast: it is a simple controller with capacitive buttons (that respond to body heat) and is extremely easy to use while the controller is mounted to the tent. Oh, that is a neat feature: the controller has a magnetic plate that can be put on the inside of a tent while the controller is on the outside so the controller can sit comfortably there on the wall of a tent. Pretty cool.

But of course, what is so special about this device is that it hooks up to all of the equipment in your tent and allows you to control them--you can control pretty much everything in your tent: your lights (including light spectrum!), your fans, and even your oscillating fans (especially for the AeroLight). The GrowHub is something really revolutionary for this industry.

By connecting to your equipment the GrowHub gives you a lot of control that hasn't really been possible before and this benefits everyone. If you're a professional grower, you can set all your equipment up in a specialized way for your specific plants, or if you are a new grower you can make adjustments as you watch your plants grow. Overall, the system is extremely powerful and is only limited by your own imagination and attention to detail. I like to imagine it as a remote control for a TV, but instead of changing the channel we are changing the quality of the picture and the light that pours out on the room has a positive impact on the things living there.


The VIVOSUN app is by far my favorite addition to this new style of growing. It takes everything that the GrowHub controller does and expands it to your phone, including all of the visual intuitive abilities that an app has over a physical device: you can take it anywhere, you can make even more minor adjustments to your equipment, you can track and read the information that would only be available to professional growers in most situations. As someone obsessed with data, let me explain.

The GrowHub collects data that is read by any of your equipment (if your equipment has probes and it is connected to the GrowHub system, you'll be able to collect that and store it in "Grow Diaries") and presents it in graphs and charts that are actually quite easy to understand once you have spent some time looking at them. These charts are the foundation for creating what VIVOSUN calls "Grow Recipes", conditions that you preset on your app to have the controller operate your devices. So if you want to turn your lights on at 8AM and have them slowly illuminate to mimic a sunrise, you can do so with the app.

You can also turn on the fan slowly or quickly, or, if something is going wrong, for example, the heat in your tent is too high, you can have the VIVOSUN app signal to the controller to turn on the fan at a certain temperature threshold. This is a game-changer for anyone who wants to spend some time out of town but doesn't need someone to house sit plants beyond just checking them.

What is also exciting is that the VIVOSUN app also has the ability to alert you if there is some major problem with the environment. So, if the temperature in your tent is too high, your app will send you an alert that the temperature has exceeded your threshold, and it will automatically turn the fan on. That is called peace of mind!

The AeroZesh

The AeroZesh is the final component of the system. The AeroZesh is a PWM-controlled EC fan that utilizes a mixed flow design to create high static pressure, improving performance and increasing air volume while reducing noise. It's a powerful addition because it synchs with the GrowHub Controller so growers can have full control over how the fan operates, including its on and off times, its airflow volume, and whether and how it reacts to changes in the environment since it has an environmental probe built into it. Overall, the system would not be complete without it.

It is amazing to see how far growing technology has come since the days of HID bulbs and hiding plants in closets. Today, indoor growing suddenly is a popular hobby across the United States and is starting to become a big industry. It's truly special to see something I have loved for almost a decade turn into a nationwide phenomenon. I really hope that these products will continue to encourage a positive direction in the industry--if other companies keep up surely the future of growing is bright!