Gavita EL2 Master Controller - Complete Lighting Control System
Ditch your Contactors and Get Access to a Ton of New Features!
The Gavita EL2 Master Controller represents a huge step forward for indoor lighting systems. Now you can replace your contactor / timer set-up by communicating with your ballasts directly via controller cables. The Master Controller system switches up to 80 ballasts from a central point and comes with an easy-to use interface and a clear display. You can even split the 80 ballasts between two rooms in alternating 12/12 cycles. If this wasn't enough, the EL2 comes with a host of features that will increase safety, eliminate inrush current and lower the chances of experiencing botrytis (rot).
- Gavita - bringing lighting control systems into the 21st century
- High-contrast OLED display with simple, easy to program interface
- Daisy chains up to 80 Gavita E-Series Ballasts using controller cables (RJ9 to RJ14)
- Tackles inrush current issues when running multiple lights
- Plug and play – very easy to install
- Controls output levels in 10 watt increments from 50% to 115%
- Switches 2 rooms of up to 40 lights on alternating 12/12 cycles
- Sunrise / Sunset' mode eases plants from night to day (and vice versa)
- 'Auto-dim' mode automatically reduces lighting output in high temps
- 'Auto-shutdown' mode helps to ensure safe growing at all times
- Equipped with two temperature sensors
- Can be set up to send text messages to your phone
- Controls 2 x (ECM) external contactor modules
- Calibration facility for temperature probes
1 x EL2 Unit, 2 x RJ9 to RJ14 Cables, 2 x Temperature Probes, 1 x Power Cable
Recommended additional purchase:
How the Gavita Master Controller Works:
The Gavita Master Controller switches up to 80 individual lighting systems from a central point. These 80 lights can be running in the same room or split into two rooms of up to forty lights on a staggered 12/12 cycle. The Gavita Master Controller offers additional features that weren't previously possible with traditional contactor / timer switching systems. It works by sending information to your ballasts directly via controller cables. Compatible ballasts, like the Gavita Digistar 600e, are supplied with RJ14 sockets to create a hard link between the ballast and the EL2 itself. By communicating with ballasts directly, this does away with the need for contactors and timers altogether. Instead, ballasts can be connected to a continuous power supply. This new system opens up the door to a host of new features.
The output levels of up to 80 ballasts can be raised or lowered manually in seconds with the Gavita Master Controller. The EL2 will even adjust light outputs automatically if heat levels in the grow area get too high, thanks to its 'auto-dim' setting. A temperature probe hangs in the canopy area away from direct light and feeds information back to the Master Controller. The Master Controller then uses this information to reduce the output levels of your lighting whenever necessary, ensuring that temperatures never stray above the optimal range (25°C to 28°C). You'll never have to worry about fruits and leaves getting heat-stressed or burnt ever again! And you'll have the peace-of-mind that your grow room is operating safely. The EL2 also has an auto-shutdown feature that shuts off lighting completely when temperatures reach your chosen setting, making it one of the safest options available.
Seasoned growers know that replicating plants' natural conditions as closely as possible is the key to successful indoor gardening. In the outdoors, the transition from light to dark (and vice versa) is very gradual. However, when using a contactor and timer, lighting switches on and off almost instantaneously. The Gavita Master Controller's sunrise/sunset feature takes care of this issue by easing the light levels up and down gently. You can even select the length of time that you'd like the lights to take to do this. The possibility of experiencing botrytis (rot) is then greatly reduced. If lights switch on suddenly, it takes a little while for the temperature of plant matter to reach an equilibrium with the temperature of the air in the room. During this period, the colder outer edges of fruits and leaves make contact with warm air. When warm air hits cold surfaces, condensation forms, and this causes big problems! Moisture sets into delicate areas, triggering botrytis (rot), which can devastate entire crops. By doing things gradually, you'll greatly reduce the chances of this ever happening.
The Gavita EL2 also deals with issues to do with inrush current – a problem that particularly effects growers running multiple lighting systems, as ballasts tend to cause a spike in power when they are first switched on.
The Master Controller comes with RJ9 to RJ14 controller cables that utilize low voltage control currents to interact with ballasts. The RJ9 end plugs into the Gavita Master Controller and the RJ14 end plugs into a compatible ballast, like the Digistar 600e. Digistar E-Series ballasts come supplied with RJ14 to RJ14 cables, so that you can connect the next ballast in the chain to the previous ballast.
The Gavita EL2 Master Controller has two channels - 'main' and 'aux' (both have a separate RJ9 port). The 'main' and 'aux' channels control up to 40 ballasts each. You can use the two channels to control two different rooms if you wish (in which case you will need to use both of the supplied temperature probes – one for each room). This is referred to as 'inverse' mode. Inverse mode is used during the flowering cycle and staggers lighting schedules over twelve hour periods - twelve hours in one room and then twelve hours in the next room. The most common way to use the Master Controller is in 'follow' mode, where the 'main' and 'aux' channels run lights in the same room on the same lighting patterns. In this case, you'll only need to use one temperature probe.
The EL2 can also be connected to two external contactor modules via signal cables, so that you can control additional equipment, like CO2, heaters, plasma lights, etc., based around your lighting patterns. ECM port 1 switches equipment on when are lights are running on the 'main' channel. ECM port 2 switches on equipment while lights are off on the 'main' channel. This functionality allows you to switch equipment on and off inline with your lighting schedules for both the 'follow' and 'inverse' modes. You can use this feature to run other forms of lighting, such as the Gavita LEP range, that don't have a variable output and cannot be adjusted inline with your other ballasts.
Using the Gavita Master Controller:
Read the manual very carefully before setting up the control system. A copy is included in PDF format in the 'attachments' section above this description. The basic principles are the same, but the EL2 controls double the number of lights, so please bear this in mind.
Mount the EL2 in a suitable area using the supplied mounting plate (diagrams are included in the manual which illustrate this process clearly).
Decide on how you wish to use your Gavita Master Controller. If you wish to use it in 'follow' mode with all of your ballasts in a single room, you'll only need one temperature sensor. If you're running it in 'inverse' mode with your ballasts split across two rooms, you'll need two temperature sensors.
Hang the temperature sensor around the canopy area, away from direct light (which can effect readings). Plug the end of your sensor into the T1 socket located at the bottom of the Gavita EL2. The temperature will then be displayed on the EL2's screen. If you are running the controller in 'follow' mode (with two rooms) repeat the process for the second temperature sensor, plugging it into the T2 socket.
Make sure that the power is turned off at the mains and screw your lamps into the E40 sockets on your reflectors, then connect your reflector cables to your ballasts. Ballasts can be powered directly from the mains supply. When running multiple lights, we strongly advise using the following power distribution units.
Locate the power output switch on your ballast and set it to 'external'. This will ensure that the output level of the ballast is controlled by the Gavita EL2 Master Controller. Plug the RJ9 end of your controller cable(s) into the first RJ9 port on your controller and plug the other end (RJ14) into the port on your closest ballast. If you are running two rooms in 'inverse' mode you'll need to run two of these cables: one cable to each of the closest ballasts in each room. Your other ballasts can then be 'daisy chained' together. Compatible ballasts are supplied with RJ14 to RJ14 cables and each ballast has two RJ14 ports. Connect one end of the RJ14 to RJ14 to the spare port on your first ballast and connect the other end to the next ballast. Up to 40 ballasts can be daisy chained together in this way on each channel.
There are two (ECM) ports on the unit. These ports are used to connect to (separately available) external contactor modules, used for switching other items of equipment, such as CO2 distributors. ECM port 1 controls equipment during the 'lights on' period for the main channel and ECM port 2 equipment that you wish to use during 'lights off' period on the main channel. This process is explained in more detail in the PDF manual, found in the 'attachments' tab above this description.
Once everything is set up correctly, connect the power cable to the Gavita EL2. Turn on the power at the mains supply and hold the left arrow key for three seconds to reset the unit. The unit can then be programmed according to your requirements. The interface is very user-friendly and clear, fully illustrated instructions are included in the manual.