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Quantum Board and Chip On Board

The rapid pace with which technology moves have not left any industry untouched. The same holds true for grow lights. Grow lights have evolved from high intensity discharge (HID) to light emitting diode (LED). A number of new developments have taken place within LED grow lights over the years. Two of these developments are Quantum Boards and chip on boards (COBs).


What is a Quantum Board?

Horticulture Lighting Group have frequently been attributed with the original design of Quantum Boards. Quantum Boards are large circuit boards that have hundreds of mid-power LEDs mounted to it. The LEDs are connected together in series to form strings. The strings are then combined in parallel configurations to make them compatible with common high-powered constant current drivers. The difference between Quantum Boards and older design LED grow lights are the efficiency gains from newer surface mount (SMD) LEDs.

Mars-Hydro Quantum Board
Mars-Hydro have released Quantum Boards recently.

What is a Chip On Board?

Chip On Board (COB) LEDs are basically multiple LED chips bonded directly to a substrate to form a single module. The chips can be mounted to take up less space, allowing the highest potential of the LED chips to be obtained. Therefore, COBs appear more like a lighting panel than multiple individual lights, as would be the case when using several SMD LEDs mounted closely together.

Quantum Board and COB Comparison

A quick comparison of the most important aspects between Quantum Boards and COBs is provided below.

Quantum BoardsCOBs
More efficient than other lighting technology.More efficient than blurple, but not as efficient as Quantum Boards.
Better heat dissipation, eliminating the need for extra fans.Typically requires fans or very large heat sinks.
Provides a more uniform PPFD spread.Provides superior canopy penetration in a smaller coverage area.


LED grow lights have come a long way and have been outperforming traditional grow lights in terms of efficiency for years now. Quantum Boards have taken LED grow lighting to the next level. The original Quantum Boards were made with Samsung LM561 chips exclusively, but other chip manufacturers, like Epistar, have been able to provide the same level of efficiency at a lower cost. The Epistar chips are used in the Mars-Hydro TS series Quantum Boards, allowing for a competitive price and the same trusted 3 year warranty.

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Cannabis extracts in detail

Cannabis concentrates – and cannabis extracts – come in a range of product types, forms, and consistencies. The source material from which the final extract is derived as well as how the concentrate was extracted determines the purity and chemical composition. This post is a summary of part three of the four part series from Leafly. The summary of part one and two can be found here. We love using Leafly for strain related info and more!

The different types of concentrates that are popularly vaporized or dabbed by consumers looking for a potent and refined cannabis product will be discussed. We’ll also explain how they’re made through a variety of extraction processes.

How cannabis extracts are made

Solventless and Solvent-based extraction are the two main methods for cannabis extraction.


Commonly used by commercial extractors looking to create large volumes of extract. They use chemical solvents like ethanol, butane, propane, carbon dioxide, and others to strip essential oils (i.e., cannabinoids and terpenes) from plant material. Purging is the process of removing solvents from an extract. Using a still is a good way to remove solvents from your products.

Food grade ethanol is a solvent that is safe for consumption and can be used to make a tincture and negate the process of purging altogether. Variations in solvent-based extracts can be attributed to the solvent used as well as the purging methods used in the extraction.

Cannabis extracts with food grade ethanol

Hydrocarbon Extracts (or BHO)

Hydrocarbon extracts are often simply referred to as BHO, short for butane hash oil. These concentrates are created using pressurized chemical solvents like butane and propane to strip the essential oils of cannabis from plant matter within a closed-loop system. Hydrocarbon extracts are usually vaporized through a process known as dabbing.

CO2 Oil

CO2 extracts use carbon dioxide under extreme temperature and pressure to strip essential cannabis oils from plant material. A common solvent used for pharmaceutical extraction and other processes like decaffeinating coffee is carbon dioxide. CO2 extracts are commonly packaged as vape cartridges or as applicators used to refill cartridges. A process known as distillation is often used to further refine CO2 extracts.


A raw or crude extract may still contain many terpenes, fats, and lipids. However, it can be further refined to contain only essential compounds like THC and CBD in a process called distillation. Good, clean distillate usually tests up to 90% or higher in total cannabinoids.


Solventless extraction uses mechanical techniques that utilize pressure, temperature, and filtration to concentrate the essential compounds from the plant material. The tools used to create solventless extracts, like hash and rosin, are relatively accessible and safe to use at home.

Dry Sift

A collection of refined resin glands that have been mechanically separated from the cannabis flower using a series of fine mesh screens is known as dry sift or dry sieve. It’s essentially a refined form of kief.

Ice Water Hash (Bubble Hash)

Created by agitating cannabis buds in ice water, then filtered through fine screen bags. The highest quality ice hash is often called full melt or ice wax. Full melt ice hash can be dabbed. Lower quality grades are commonly pressed into rosin, smoked like a traditional hash, or reserved for infusions.


Extracted using pressure and gentle heat to squeeze the resinous sap from cannabis flowers, Rosin is a dabbable solventless concentrate. Rosin is an accessible form of extraction that can be done at home.

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Cannabis concentrates, oils, and extracts

Cannabis concentrates, oils, and extracts offer many unique benefits that you won’t find from smoking flower. From easy, precise dosing to clean and refined flavours, concentrates focus on the ingredients in cannabis that matter most. This post is a summary of part one and two of the four part series from Leafly. We love using Leafly for strain related info and more!

Definition and types of concentrates

Cannabis oils, concentrates, and extracts—these all serve as umbrella terms under which sits a warehouse of different products: vape oil, hash, tinctures, dabs, CBD oil, and every other product dreamed up by cannabis chemists.

An oil, concentrate, or extract is any product derived from cannabis flower that is processed into a concentrated form. However, each type of cannabis oil is unique.

Smoking flower may be great, but not for everyone in all settings. There are many reasons to explore the many options—and medicines—offered in extract form:

  • You don’t have to smoke extracts. Most consumers choose to vaporize or ingest concentrates for a smoke-free dose.
  • Cannabis oils are efficient. It takes less product to achieve the desired experience.
  • Extracts are refined. Essential oils and cannabinoids are separated from plant material to create a smooth, clean* inhale when vaporized. *Use food grade ethanol to ensure your extracts are clean and safThus, w.
Cannabis concentrates with food grade ethanol

Here’s a brief list of broad extract types :

  • CBD oil refers to non-intoxicating products that are popularly used to treat a variety of medical conditions. It’s most commonly sold as a tincture or in capsule form.
  • THC oil refers to intoxicating oils that are also popularly used medically, but also deliver euphoric effects. THC-infused oils come in many forms, but the most popular are solids that can be vaporized (called dabs), tinctures, and capsules.
  • Ingestible oils refer to activated oil that you can consume with food/drinks or in capsule form.

Concentrate options

A concentrate can provide a euphoric high, gentle relaxation, or non-intoxicating symptom relief—it all depends on its ingredients.

  • High THC concentrates will provide a potent and euphoric high.
  • An equal mix of THC and CBD will provide a balanced and gentle high .
  • Therapeutic relief without the high can be found in a high-CBD, low-THC product.

Making sure you get what you are looking for at the right dose is easy with a tCheck. The most popular cannabis concentrates are listed below.

CBD oil

CBD oil is a cannabis concentrate abundant in the non-intoxicating compound cannabidiol (that’s the full name for CBD). Offering benefits without the smoke and high, consumers commonly reach for CBD oil when seeking relief from stress, anxiety, pain, inflammation, or another condition that may potentially be treated by CBD.


Look closely at your cannabis flower and you’ll see a dusting of crystal powder over every nook and cranny of the bud. This is called kief, and it’s created by the plant’s resin glands (called trichomes). Packed inside these tiny, sticky crystals is every reason we consume cannabis: THC, CBD, terpenes, and all the other compounds that harmonize to produce a strain’s effect.

Vape oil

One of the best starter items for the cannabis-curious is a portable pre-filled vape pen—a simple setup that requires just two things: a battery and an oil cartridge. Easy to use and dose, vaporizer pens deliver an adjustable dose of vapor with just the click of a button (simpler yet, some simply activate when it senses you inhaling).

You can make your own using The MagicalButter Machine and vegetable glycerin.

Rick Simpson Oil (RSO)

RSO is also referred to as FECO, THC oil or simply cannabis oil. In 2003, a man named Rick Simpson treated his skin cancer using a homemade cannabis remedy. The therapeutic compounds are drawn out of the plant by soaking the cannabis in pure naphtha or isopropyl alcohol. A dark liquid is left behind after the solvent fully evaporates.

Isopropyl alcohol and similar solvents that are not safe for consumption need to be removed completely to avoid poisoning. Thus, we recommend using a still to remove solvents, which also allows for the reuse of solvents. A safer and easier option is to use food grade ethanol with The MagicalButtter Machine to make a tincture first.


Tinctures were the most common form of cannabis medicine in the United States before prohibition. A tincture is a liquid concentrate procured through alcohol extraction, which pulls out many of the plant’s beneficial cannabinoids.

Ingestible oil capsules

With precisely defined dosages, ingestible cannabis oil capsules or pills allow you to consume cannabis as you would any herbal supplement. Filled with CBD, THC, or a combination of various cannabinoids, capsules can offer a predictable experience by providing specific measurements of whichever compound appeals to you. Make sure you get the right dose by using a tCheck to measure the potency of the product first.


With a history stretching back thousands of years, the tradition of hash (or hashish) remains alive and well. Traditional methods of hash making involve packing the plant’s resin to create compressed, smokable chunks that typically sport THC contents between 40-60%. For comparison, cannabis flowers generally express 15-25% THC.

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Grow light efficiency

The topic of a previous post was Photosynthetic Active Radiation (PAR) and Photosynthetic Photon Flux Density (PPFD). PAR is the band of wavelengths between 400 nm and 700 nm. PPFD is a measure of the photons hitting the plant. This post will focus on another important measure for deciding on a grow light, grow light efficiency.

PPFD is a measurement of light intensity within the PAR wavelengths and is measured in µmol/m2s1. The efficiency of a grow light on the other hand is measured in µmol/J. Sometimes written as umol/j, μmol/j, umolj-1 or PPF/W. Grow light efficiency is also referred to as photosynthetic photon efficiency/efficacy (PPE). Thus, µmol/J is the amount of micromoles of photons produced per joule of energy used.

The power draw of a light is measured in watts and watts is the joules consumed per second (J/s). Therefore, if you know the wattage of a single light source and the Photosynthetic Photon Flux (PPF) value, then the efficiency of the light can be calculated. For example: 1 100 µmol/s and 500 W is (1 100 µmol/s) / (500 J/s) = 2.2 µmol/J.

More is more

Philips lighting launched a series of grow lights in 2017 with an efficiency of 3 µmol/J, showing the world what is possible and what efficient lighting will be available in the near future.

A PPE of 1.5 umol/J is considered efficient. Anything above 2.0 umol/J is considered very efficient. For comparison, many (high pressure sodium) HPS fixtures on the market have an efficiency of 1.3 umol/J or less, with some of the best HPS grow lights approaching 1.7 umol/J. The best ceramic metal halide (CMH) grow lights have an efficiency of just under 2.0 umol/J. HPS and CMH efficiencies will increase in the near future, but LED efficiencies will increase at a more rapid rate.

Mars TSW-2000 LED Grow Light Efficiency South Africa
The Mars-Hydro TS series lights have a PPE of 2.1 to 2.35 µmol/j

Grow light efficiency importance

Efficiency is why wattage does not matter for determining the light intensity of an LED grow light or any grow light. More efficient grow lights will emit more useful light while drawing fewer watts.

Efficiency may not be as important to some growers. Indoor farmers with a large operation should care about efficiency more than smaller growers since a difference of less than 1 umol/J will have a huge impact on their electricity consumption. The cost difference for an average home grower between a semi-efficient and very efficient LED grow light may not be a huge factor, but as most growers do care about their electricity consumption, every watt being pulled from the wall is important.

The higher the PPE value, the more effective the light fixture at converting electricity into photosynthetic photons and the less energy is consumed to achieve required PPFD values (light levels).

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tCheck vs Competitors Cost Analysis

We did a cost analysis for doing cannabis potency testing with different products and services available in South Africa. tCheck easily offers the best value for money for the home grower or edibles chef.

The data is based on readily available information:

Product/ServiceInitial Cost
Cannabinoid Analysis Test KitR2 515
tCheck + Flower and Concentrate Expansion KitR8 000
NAFSR1 035
Fields of Green R1 350
GemmaCertR60 000

The services provided will never be suitable to a small scale operation and a tCheck has a lower cost per test from the first test. Services will not be not be considered further due to the increasing cost per test as shown in the figure below. The figure also shows that the initial cost of the GemmaCert is orders of magnitude more expensive than any other products.

tCheck South Africa

The GemmaCert has a better cost per test than the Cannabinoid Analysis Test Kit the after about 200 tests and starts to come close to the tCheck above 300 tests.

tCheck South Africa

The comparison is on cost only and does not consider functionality or features. Make sure you get the features you need at the right price.

From seed to sale, tCheck will tell you the potency

Thousands of cannabis professionals are testing their infusions, flower, and concentrate with tCheck.

  • Move fast – 60 seconds to test your infusions. 5 minutes to test your flower and concentrates.
  • Spare your wallet – Knowledge shouldn’t be expensive, tCheck is an affordable solution.
  • Start testing in mins – Designed for everyone, tCheck is easy to get up and running.

Collect live readings of your sample in minutes using the tCheck and your phone. Test infused olive oil, coconut oil, alcohol, or butter for THC, THCa, or CBD. Properly test flower and concentrate potency using the flower and concentrate expansion kit. Each item included has been carefully selected to ensure the highest level of testing accuracy.