Frequently Asked Questions
1 What is GroLab™?
GroLab™ is a versatile and powerful grow controller, that provides the tools to fully monitor, control, analyze and automate all the aspects of any agricultural grow.
GroLab™ can handle a wide variety of operations, like lighting, climate regulation, irrigation, nutrients dosing, pH correction, tank management and security (like floods, droughts, smoke and motion detection).
The GroLab™ modular architecture ensures the capability to work with any environment regardless of its size, type, growing medium or growing system.
The system is fully configurable through an easy-to-use software and even includes remote control, notifications, IP cameras support and analysis tools.
One of main GroLab™ goals is to be a system that can be used by any kind of grower in any kind of grow.
2 How does GroLab™ works?
GroLab™ is a modular system composed by distinct modules: GroNode, PowerBot, TankBot and SoilBot. Each module has its own capabilities, that can be combined to fulfill the requirements of any grower.
GroNode is the core, it is responsible to control the other modules, one GroNode supports up to 4 PowerBots, 4 TankBots and 4 SoilBots. GroNode analyze all data from sensors/devices plugged on the modules and then acts/notify based on the user instructions. Those are configurable through the GroLab™ Software and stored on the GroNode, that will continuously keep doing his tasks.
PowerBot is a all-in-one power supplier, capable to automate the basic elements like temperature, humidity, air flow, lighting and irrigation.
TankBot is a tank management controller, it can control the irrigation, nutrients dosing, pH correction and tank management tasks.
SoilBot is a substrate analyzer, that completely monitors the plants substrate regardless of whether it is soil, rock wool, coconut or a recurrent dipping of roots in water.
The grower is free to choose which GroLab™ modules wants to acquire, the best part is that he can expand the system at any time in the future.
3 How to install GroLab™?
GroLab™ was designed to be plug-n-grow system.
You only need to open the package containing the GroLab™ modules, choose the preferred location and place them, plug the power supply cables, antennas and the desired sensors/devices to the GroLab™ modules.
Apart from that you just need to plug the Ethernet cable on GroNode and connect it to a router, PC or other access point.
Install GroLab™ software on your PC, open it, type GroNode’s serial number and authenticate with credentials.
After those steps you are ready to fully use GroLab™ system.
4 What are the average GroLab™ system installation and configuration times?
The installation and configuration times are always related with the number of GroLab™ modules you acquired and desired sensors/devices to plug on the modules.
However, using GroLab™ Starter Kit (composed by GroNode and PowerBot) as reference, the approximately average times are: 20 minutes to install and 30 minutes to configure.
This means it will take less than 1 hour to fully install and configure GroLab™ Starter Kit.
5 What to do if I have questions or difficulties while installing/using GroLab™?
GroLab™ is specifically designed to be easy and intuitive in its installation and usage. But we know that every grower is different and have its own learning curve.
That’s why we offer for free a wide variety of video tutorials, manuals and other support materials, that proved to be enough for the majority of our customers, being able to set everything in less than 1 hour without any assistance.
However, if those materials are not enough, we have a specialized support team that will gladly help. If you have any questions or need help do no hesitate on contact us for one of the following e-mail addresses:
Our team assist each user in a completely individualized way, offering help in all aspects related with GroLab™. We also offer assistance through GroPedia.com, our anonymous social network where users can share their experience with our system.
6 Why choose GroLab™ instead of other grow controllers?
GroLab™ system is capable to cover all the aspects of any agricultural grow.
Climate regulation, lighting, air flow, fires and floods detection, irrigation, nutrients dosing, pH correction, tank management, IP camera surveillance, notifications and remote control are just some examples of the GroLab™ capabilities.
Thanks to the GroLab™ modular architecture, it is possible to adapt GroLab™ to any environment regardless of its size, type, growing medium or growing system.
In addition to all of this, Open Grow™ is a company that counts with specialized teams that daily dedicate themselves to improve the GroLab™ system. Constantly retrieving users feedback to provide the features they want.
GroLab™ system includes automatic updates feature, that allows the users to receive free updates not only for the GroLab™ Software but also for all GroLab™ modules. Giving access to new features without the need to buy the equipment again.
GroLab™ never stops growing.
7 Is it required to have third-party devices to make GroLab™ work?
GroNode, the core unit of GroLab™ system, is a powerful computer that is capable to continuously execute hundreds of instructions by its own. This means, it is not required to have other third-party devices to keep GroLab™ working*.
However, to configure or perform detailed analysis it is required to have a PC with GroLab™ Software installed. After performing the configuration or the desired analysis, the user can close the software and shutdown the PC. Everything will keep working the same way, 24 hours a day.
*Note that GroLab™ is a grow controller, so obviously you will need to have growing devices (lamps, pumps…) in order to control/automate them.
8 Does GroLab™ works with my grow(s)?
GroLab™ was designed to scale and adapt to any type of growing environment, whether it is a small grow-tent/room or an industrial one, with several areas and grows.
GroLab™ offers a wide variety of features that can be freely combined, we do not force growers to follow a fixed path or a configuration preset, this means growers can literally play with the system the way they want.
Believe it or not, GroLab™ system can even be used to automate other areas outside the agricultural growing domain, like aquariums automation.
Open Grow™ is a company that challenges the automation world, if you have a peculiar system that you think GroLab™ can’t fit in please challenge us back. Open Grow™ will surprise you.
If you have any questions or want to discuss how GroLab™ system can help you, do no hesitate on contact us for one of the following e-mail addresses:
9 Is GroLab™ compatible with other manufacturers equipment?
GroLab is a versatile grow controller designed to not force the user to follow a fixed path or to use a specific equipment.
In this way, for the electrical devices we guarantee full support for 230V/120V devices when using the PowerBot and full support for 12V/2A devices in the case of using TankBot, regardless of the manufacturer.
When talking about sensors, TankBot is fully compatible with any kind of switch sensor, it also supports any kind of pH and EC probes that uses BNC connection.
10 Which modules do I need for my grow?
You will always need one GroNode. It is the GroLab™ system core unit.
Then you can choose up to 4 modules of each type: PowerBot, TankBot and SoilBot. The modules you will need are always related with your requirements.
For climate regulation, lighting, air flow or irrigation based on 230VAC devices, we suggest PowerBot. It can control up to 4 230VAC outlet (2300W per outlet and in total) and is equipped with a air temperature/humidity sensor.
For advanced irrigation (like one water tank feeding several grows), nutrients dosing, pH correction and tank management tasks based on 12VDC devices, we suggest TankBot. It can control up to 4 12VDC outputs, supports 4 switched sensors (like smoke/motion detector and water level), air/water/substrate temperature sensor and pH/EC probes.
For plants substrate monitor and flood prevention, we suggest SoilBot. It can monitor up to 4 substrate’s moisture and 2 air/water/substrate temperature. Also provides 2 flood detectors that you can place on the flood risk zones.
The combination between different GroLab™ modules, provides even more options to the growers. For example:
– PowerBot combined with TankBot, extends the possibilities when automating the irrigation system and tank drain/refill tasks. Allowing to control 230VAC and 12VDC devices, like water pumps and solenoid valves;
– SoilBot combined with TankBot or PowerBot, allows to automate the irrigation based on the substrate moisture, avoiding water waste and improving the plants health;
– PowerBot, TankBot and SoilBot combination provides the tools to create security measures to detect/prevent floods, fires, intrusions, device damage, etc.
GroLab™ system, regardless of the modules, provides remote control, e-mail notifications, deep data analysis, IP camera support and cloud features.
We tried to cover the majority of the possibilities offered by GroLab™ modules. If you need additional information or require different automation/control features, do no hesitate on contact us for one of the following e-mail addresses:
Note that Open Grow™ offer distinct GroLab™ Kits with our suggested modules combinations. However, you are free to acquire the modules separately at any time.
11 What is a GroLab™ Kit?
GroLab™ Kit is a product that contains GroLab™ modules. We created those kits to provide an easy way to acquire GroLab™.
Currently there are 5 distinct GroLab™ Kits:
– Starter Kit includes GroNode and PowerBot. Usage examples: climate regulation, lighting, air flow and irrigation;
– Doser Kit includes GroNode, TankBot and some third-party peripherals. Usage examples: nutrients dosing, pH correction, irrigation and tank refill/drain;
– Soil Kit includes GroNode, PowerBot and SoilBot. Usage examples: same as Starter Kit usage examples plus irrigation based on substrate moisture, substrate temperature regulation and floods prevention;
– Hydro Kit includes GroNode, PowerBot and TankBot. Usage examples: same as Starter Kit plus Doser Kit usage examples;
– Pro Kit includes GroNode, PowerBot, TankBot and SoilBot. Usage examples: combination of others GroLab™ Kits usage examples.
Note that GroLab™ Kits are our suggested modules combinations. However you are free to acquire the modules separately at any time.
12 How much power can I control with PowerBot?
PowerBot has 4 universal outlets that supports up to 2300W (per outlet and in total). However, it is possible to extend it without the need to buy additional PowerBots.
You can connect external electrical contactors to PowerBot, allowing it to control up to 4 groups of devices with unlimited power.
13 Do I need to have GroLab™ connected to the Internet?
No. GroLab™ system can fully operate locally.
To access GroLab™ system through GroLab™ Software, you can choose to plug the GroNode’s Ethernet cable directly to PC, router or other access point.
Internet connection is completely irrelevant for GroLab™ core features, it is only required if you want to use remote control, e-mail notifications and/or cloud features.
14 Is GroLab™ a secure system?
GroLab™ has several layers to protect your data, in addition to the credentials needed to access GroLab™ Software the system also requires credentials to access GroNode. This means that if your PC gets compromised the GroLab™ will stay safe.
E-mail notifications are also secured, GroNode uses a private server as a redirection point to send notifications, this way the IP can’t be linked to your location.
Remember that GroLab™ can operate without Internet connection, using it that way entirely hides it from the world.
15 What is the maximum allowed distance between GroLab™ modules?
GroLab™ system is composed by different module types: GroNode, PowerBot, TankBot and SoilBot.
GroNode is the system’s core unit that communicates with all the other modules through a wireless network.
When placing the modules on your growing area(s), you should take in mind the distance between GroNode and other modules. For the majority of environments, our advice is to not exceed 100 meters without obstacles and 25 meters with obstacles.
Anyway, its always recommended to try it out by yourself. For that, place the modules close to GroNode and turn them on. Then with GroLab™ Software keep checking modules connectivity while moving them away from GroNode. This way you can discover the maximum distance for GroLab™ modules on your growing environment.
16 Can I use GroLab™ without a router?
Yes. You can plug the GroNode’s Ethernet cable directly to your PC or other access point.
Also it is not required to constantly have GroNode’s Ethernet cable plugged. You just need it to access the system, to perform operations like configuration, monitor and analysis.
17 I want to use my home network but the growing area is too far from the router. What can I do?
The obvious answer is to acquire a longer Ethernet cable. However, if this solution does not suits you, there are other options. A Wi-Fi repeater with Ethernet port is a great example, just configure it and then place it close to the GroNode. After those steps just connect GroNode’s Ethernet cable to the repeater.
Anyway, if you need additional help or information, do no hesitate on contact us for one of the following e-mail addresses:
18 Is it too complex to manage multiple growing areas, grows, GroLab™ modules and peripherals?
GroLab™ system allows you to configure up to 4 growing areas with 2 grows each. This can be made through GroLab™ Software, that provides several options to match every grower needs. Those options allows to set the area/grow names, start dates, day/night cycles and (un)share tank between grows. It also allows to easily assign sensors and devices to the area/grow, by a intuitive drag-n-drop feature.
After configuring areas/grows it is possible to completely forget about modules, devices and sensors. With the General Overview section provided by GroLab™ Software, you can control and analyze all your areas/grows in real time. It also provides an easy and fast access to IP cameras, charts and power consumptions.
These features remove all the complexity, keeping all the information organized and accessible with just a couple of clicks.
19 Does it make sense to acquire both TankBot and SoilBot when using soil, hydroponics or other growing system?
Although it seems that SoilBot is for soil and TankBot for hydroponics, that is not so.
TankBot is a tank management controller, it can control the irrigation, nutrients dosing, pH correction and tank management tasks.
SoilBot is a substrate analyzer, that completely monitor the plants substrate regardless of whether it is soil, rock wool, coconut or a recurrent dipping of roots in water.
Combining both modules allows to automate the irrigation based on the substrate moisture, avoiding water waste and improving the plants health. At the same time this combination also offers extra security, allowing to create protocols against droughts and floods.
20 Where can I buy TankBot compatible items? (EC probe, devices, sensors...)
21 What platforms does GroLab™ Software supports?
Currently GroLab™ Software supports from Windows 7 to higher versions.
We are working on a multi-platform application compatible with Android, iOS and Mac OS.
A first version of this app will be available by mid-2018 for all GroLab™ users.