ESTABLISHMENT OF COMPUTER-BASED ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROLS

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  • 1 Lockheed Missiles & Space Co., Inc. Sunnyvale. CA 94088-3504

The use of computerized environmental control systems for greenhouses and plant growth chambers is increasing in frequency. Computerized systems provide the potential for more accurate environmental control, while at the same time allowing changes to be made more easily than with hard-wired mechanical control systems. The ease of changing allows switching sensor types, relocating sensors and resetting control parameters without significantly affecting the overall system design. Another advantage of computerized control systems is that they provide a method for recording environmental data as they simultaneously implement their programmed control algorithms. This data can subsequently be transferred to other computers for further processing and analysis. Computerized controls also support the possibility of implementing environmental control based on either mathematical models which simulate plant growth, or on actual monitored plant performance data such as nutrient uptake or leaf temperature. This paper discusses in detail these and other advantages of using computerized environmental control systems, as well as describing the problems and disadvantages associated with their implementation and use.

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