Agrowtek GrowControl GC-Pro Controller Questions & Answers
Do I need a computer to use GrowControlTM?
No! GrowControlTM can be operated via the touch-panel interface (optional.)
How do I connect GrowControl to my PC?
GrowControlTM is equipped standard with a serial port (rs-232.) The optional Ethernet port allows the controller to be connected to your local network and accessed via an IP address. Multiple PC's can access a controller connected via Ethernet.
Can I connect to a USB port?
Yes, you can connect the controller to your PC's USB 1.1/2.0 port with a "RS-232 to USB converter." Available with the control system or purchase your own. These converters require software drivers which emulate a serial COM port. Select the correct COM port in the GrowControl software.
What is the maximum distance to my PC?
The maximum recommended distance for serial communication is 50 feet. (50 foot extensions cables are available from Agrowtek.) The standard limit for Ethernet devices is 300 ft (100m.)
Can I send E-mail alerts?
Yes, GrowControlTM software allows you to send email alerts for a variety of avderse conditions.
Do I need Windows®?
Windows® is required to operate the GrowControlTM software. Agrowtek's software has been tested and designed to operate on Windows® XP, Windows® Vista, and Windows® 7 (32/64bit.) You must have the Microsoft® .Net environment installed.
Can I access the GrowControl software from the Internet?
Yes. If your controller is connected via Ethernet, you can map your ports to access the controller via the internet. If your controller is connected via the serial port, you can use a remote connection software such as
Windows® remote desktop, PCAnywhere, Remote Administrator, etc. to access the software running on the connected computer.
How does the data logging feature work?
The touch-screen provides 24-hour trend graphs on-screen for each sensor reading. To log data to a file, a PC is required to operate to GrowControl software. Sensor readings can be tracked for up to 24-hours on the live trending chart and you can store up to your hard-drive's capacity by logging to .CSV (comma separated value) files. CSV files can be viewed and plotted in any spreadsheet application including Excel® and OpenOffice.org. Log files can be added to continuously, or a new file can be created daily at a specified time.
What if my computer crashes?
GrowControlTM will continue to operate according to the settings you provided it even if your computer crashes, gets shut down or is otherwise interrupted. The control system operates completely independently of your PC.
What if the power goes out?
If the power is interrupted to the controller, GrowControlTM will re-start and continue operating where it left off when the power comes back on. An internal backup maintains the program settings and continues to run the real-time clock to maintain the proper time. Built-in hot-fire prevention will keep lights from being damaged due to hot-fire.
How are sensors connected and what are channels?
There are two sensor ports available with 4 channels each. A climate sensor uses 3 channels for temperature, humidity and light and 4 channels if CO2 is added. The hydroponic kit only uses 3 of the 4 channels for pH, EC and temperature.
What is the maximum sensor cable length?
GC-Pro sensor cables can be extended up to 2000 feet from the controller. Inexpensive 15, 25, 50 & 100 foot extension cables are available from Agrowtek. Sensor signals are immune to noise or loss over vast distances.
Can I change the display units?
The controller can be configured to operate with temperature units of °C/°F, conductivity units of mS/cm2, uS/cm2, TDS ppm (500/640/700 factor,) and the aux inputs can even be custom scaled to any industrial 4-20mA sensor to monitor and control nearly any parameter!
How do I control equipment?
The GC-Pro comes standard with twelve (12) 24VDC outputs. These outputs can be connected to Agrowtek's RX/CX series of relays and contactors for safe, reliable control of line-voltage loads. Alternately, relays can be purchased to be wired directly into your existing electrical infrastructure.
Do I need an extra power supply?
The GC-Pro has provisions for an alternate 24VDC power supply to operate the output devices. This is necessary when the controller is wired to devices other than Agrowtek's RX/CX relays or AgrowDoseTM dosing pumps.