LED GROW-LIGHT SYSTEM
1. A LED grow system with a LED grow-light canopy comprising liner LED light bars, wherein linear LED light bars include LEDs that are modulated along light emitting surfaces, such that the light density emitted near two end portions of the light emitting surfaces is greater than light density emitted at central portions of the light emitting surfaces.
A LED grow-light system is disclosed. The LED grow-light system includes dual-layer grow-light canopies with linear LED light bars to provide upward and downward lighting in a central illumination area. The LED light bars are preferably configured to move up and down relative to a grow bed through stepper motors attached to the grow-light canopies and vertical pole structures for supporting the grow-light canopies over the grow bed. The LED light bars include modulated LEDs, or LED arrays, to provide uniform light distribution over the grow bed while maintaining grow-light canopy footprints that are similar in size to the grow bed.
- 1. A LED grow system with a LED grow-light canopy comprising liner LED light bars, wherein linear LED light bars include LEDs that are modulated along light emitting surfaces, such that the light density emitted near two end portions of the light emitting surfaces is greater than light density emitted at central portions of the light emitting surfaces.
- 8. The LED grow system of claim 8, further comprising sensors for providing environmental data to the control module, wherein the environmental data is used to control light emitted from the LED grow-light canopy
- 9. A LED grow-light system canopy, comprised of LED light bars that are substantially parallel with respect to each other in a linear direction, wherein each of the LED light bars has a arrays of LEDs arranged along a light emitting surface, and wherein the LED light bars automatically move up or down relative to a grow bed.
- 15. A LED grow-light system canopy, comprised of LED light bars that are substantially parallel with respect to each other in a linear direction and automatically move up or down with respect to a grow bed, and wherein the linear LED light bars include LED arrays modulated along light emitting surfaces, such that light density emitted near ends of the light emitting surfaces is greater than light density emitted at central portions of the light emitting surfaces.
This U.S. patent application is a continuation-in-part of co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 16/501,389, filed on Apr. 3, 2019, and titled “LED GROW-LIGHT SYSTEM” which claims priority under 35 U.S.C. § 119(e) from the U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 62/761,710, filed on Apr. 3, 2018, and titled “LED-GROW LIGHT SYSTEM.” This application also claims priority under 35 U.S.C. § 119(e) from the U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 62/764,091, filed on Jul. 18, 2018, and titled “DUAL-LAYER LED GROW-LIGHT SYSTEM.”
U.S. patent application Ser. No. 16/501,389, filed on Apr. 3, 2019, and titled “LED GROW LIGHT SYSTEM”, provisional patent application Ser. No. 62/761,710, filed on Apr. 3, 2018, and titled “LED-GROW LIGHT SYSTEM, and provisional patent application Ser. No. 62/764,091, filed on Jul. 18, 2018, and titled “DUAL-LAYER LED GROW LIGHT SYSTEM”, are all hereby incorporated by reference.
The invention relates to LED lighting systems. More particularly, the present invention relates to dual-layer LED grow-light systems with uniform light distribution to a central illumination area.
A grow-light or plant light, is an artificial light source, generally an electric light, designed to stimulate plant growth by emitting a light appropriate for photosynthesis. Grow-lights either attempt to provide a light spectrum similar to that of the sun, or to provide a spectrum that is more tailored to the needs of the plants being cultivated. Depending on the type of plant being cultivated, the stage of cultivation (e.g. the germination/vegetative phase or the flowering/fruiting phase), and the photo-period required by the plants, specific ranges of spectrum, luminous efficacy and color temperature are desirable for use with specific plants and time periods.
Grow-lights are used for horticulture, indoor gardening, plant propagation, and food production, including indoor hydroponics and aquatic plants. Although most grow-lights are used on an industrial level, they can also be used in households.
According to the inverse-square law, the intensity of light radiating from a point source (in this case a bulb) that reaches a surface is inversely proportional to the square of the surface'"'"'s distance from the source (if an object is twice as far away, it receives only a quarter the light) which is a serious hurdle for indoor growers, and many techniques are employed to use light as efficiently as possible. Reflectors are thus often used in the lights to maximize light efficiency. Plants or lights are moved as close together as possible so that they receive equal lighting and that all light coming from the lights falls on the plants rather than on the surrounding area. Therefore High Intensity Discharge (HID) lights are often used.
Common types of HID grow-lights include fluorescent grow-lights, Metal Halide (MH) grow-lights, Ceramic Metal Halide (CMH) grow-lights, High Pressure Sodium (HPS) grow-light, and Combination MH and HPS (“Dual Arc”) grow-lights. Because of the improved effectiveness, energy costs, and longevity, many grow-light systems now utilize LED technology.
LED grow-lights are composed of light-emitting diodes, usually in a casing with a heat sink and built-in fans. White LED grow-lights provide a full spectrum of light designed to mimic natural light, providing plants a balanced spectrum of red, blue and green. However, the spectrum used varies. White LED grow-light are designed to emit similar amounts of red and blue light with an added green light to appear white.
One shortcoming of currently available LED grow-light systems is a rapid die-off in light density, and/or light intensity, from the central portion of an LED light canopy towards the outer edges of the LED light canopy. One solution would be to make a LED grow-light canopy that is substantially larger that the grow bed being illuminated by the LED grow-light canopy. This solution however is not satisfactory because of the increased footprint and inefficient energy consumption of the grow-light system. Currently available LED grow-light systems, are also not well suited for providing vertical light canopies for vertical grow beds. Furthermore, the LED grow-light canopy generally needs to be manually raised or lowered to accommodate the growth of plants or change lighting intensity above the grow bed within a central illumination area.
The present invention is directed to a dual-layer LED grow-light system. The dual-layer LED grow-light system includes grow-light canopies that maintain a small footprint and provide uniform lighting above a grow bed to the central illumination area. The grow-light canopies include a number of LED light bars, that are preferably elongated linear LED light bars, arranged in parallel on the canopy support structure. Each of the LED light bars include LEDs, or arrays of LEDs, arranged along a light emitting surface. The light emitting surfaces of the linear LED light bars collectively illuminate a grow bed positioned relative to the grow-light canopies.
The LEDs utilized in the LED light bars of the present invention can include LEDs emitting light having any number of wavelengths/colors, or combinations of wavelengths/colors, suitable for the application at hand. The LEDs utilized in the linear LED light bars can be tunable to change light emitting profiles and can also be dimmed to change the intensity of light emitted from individual LED light bars or collectively from all of the LED light bars.
In accordance with the embodiments of the invention, the operation of the grow-light system and/or position of the grow-light canopy is controlled by a control module. The control module includes a computer with a micro-processor and memory. The computer is configured to run software stored on the memory and implement grow-light protocols or programs. The grow-light protocols or programs can be dynamically modified in response to environmental feed-back from a number of sensors located on or near LED grow-light system. The control module can, for example, control the intensity or density of light emitted, the distribution light emitted, and/or the wavelength of light emitted from light emitting surfaces of the LED light bars, to comply with a grow-light protocol or program suitable for the vegetation being cultivated and also preferably control vertical positioning of the grow-light canopy, such as described below.
In accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention, the grow-light canopy provides substantially uniform light density and/or light intensity over the a central illumination area of a grow bed by reducing the light density and/or light intensity die-off at outer edges of the light canopy. Light density refers to a summation of photons emitted of all wavelengths over an area, and light intensity refers to a number of photons emitted for a selected wavelength over the area; light density and light intensity can, in some cases, be used interchangeably. Luminous flux (in lumens) is a measure of the total amount of light output in all directions, while luminous intensity (in candelas) is a measure of beam brightness in a particular direction. This application is generally concerned with luminous intensity of light that reaches a grow bed positioned below a grow-light canopy. However, it is understood that for unfocused light, luminous flux and luminous intensity are generally proportional to each other.
To reduce die-off of light density and/or light intensity at outer edges of a grow-light canopy, the present invention utilizes LED light bars with spatially modulated LED configurations. For example, LEDs, or arrays of LEDs, are spaced or positioned along the light emitting surfaces such that distances between adjacent LEDs, or arrays of LEDs, are sequentially reduced, when moving from the center portion of the light emitting surface of a LED light bar to the two end portions of the light emitting surfaces of the LED light bar.
In further embodiments of the present invention, LED light bars with physically modulated LED configurations are utilized, wherein larger arrays of LEDs are positioned near end portions of the light emitting surfaces of LED light bars, and smaller arrays of LEDs are positioned near center portions of the light emitting surfaces of the LED light bars.
In yet further embodiments of the present invention, LED light bars are spatially modulated within the canopy, such that separations between adjacent LED light bars is greater near outer edges of the grow-light canopy than separations of the LED light bar near the center portions of the grow-light canopy.
In accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention, linear LED light bars, or a portion thereof, are configured to move up and down relative to the grow bed. The linear LED light bars, and the portion that is configured to move up or down manually and/or automatically, respond to control commands from a controller module and/or feedback from the grow-light, sensors. The positions of the linear LED light bars relative to the grow bed can be controlled from a wireless control or a remote computer to execute grow-light protocols or programs. The positions of the linear LED light bars relative to the grow bed are preferably controlled through stepper motors attached to the LED grow-light canopy, which move up and down along vertical canopy support pole structures of the LED grow-light system.
Each of the LED light bars 101, 103 and 105 include LEDs or arrays of LEDs 111/111′/111″, 113/113′/113″, and 115/115′/115″, respectively. The separation between adjacent and sequential LEDs or arrays of LEDs 111/111′/111″, 113/113′/113″, and 115/115′/115″ is uniform, as indicated by the arrow D1 and D2. Also, the parallel separations of distances between adjacent LED light bars is also usually uniform, as indicated by the arrow S1 and S2. The light canopy 100 described and illustrated in
Referring now to
Preferably, the grow-light canopy 201 and/or the LED light bars 203, 205, 207 and 209 move up and down, as indicated by the arrow 211. In a lowered position 202, the LED light bars 203′, 205′, 207′ and 209′ can emit greater intensity of light onto the grow bed 231. Preferably, the light canopy 201 and/or the LED light bars 203, 205, 207 and 209 move up and down by stepper motors 221 and 223 that are attached to the grow-light canopy 201 as well as attached to vertical pole structures 225 and 227 supporting the grow-light canopy 201 over the grow bed 231.
Still referring to
In continued reference to
In accordance with another embodiment of the invention, the distances W10 and W11 between the light bars 611/611′ and 613/613′ are adjustable, and the distance H1 between the top light canopy 601 and bottom light canopy 603 are also adjustable. For example, the light canopies 601 and 603, and/or the light bars 611/611′ and 613/613′, are coupled to one or more stepper motors, or any other suitable mechanism, that is capable of adjusting W10, W11 and/or H1 in accordance with the lighting needs of the vegetation 605 being cultivated. In addition, the positioning of W10, W11 and H1 can be adjusted manually.
The present invention has been described in terms of specific embodiments incorporating details to facilitate the understanding of the principles of construction and operation of the invention. As such, references herein to specific embodiments and details thereof are not intended to limit the scope of the claims appended hereto. It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that modifications can be made in the embodiments chosen for illustration without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. For example, the grow bed can also be configured to move up and down automatically. Moreover, multiple layers of grow-light canopies, with downward or upward illumination, and/or grow beds can be utilized when suitable for the application at hand.