Mars Hydro TS1000 grow light controlled by ESP32

I recently setup a small grow station for basil, tomatoes, flowers (no nothing you smoke!) and so on for my wife and kids to have fun with. Of course, since the Mars Hydro TS1000 can be dimmed via an RJ11 port, I want to do so using ESPHome!

My first struggle is to pinpoint whether the TS1000 uses 0-10V or PWM as there appears to be no technical information online. The light I purchased has a Mars Hydro branded LED driver which I’ve read is different from the MeanWell branded one the old version used to use. If nobody knows, I guess I can open the box that has the dimmer knob to see what signal is injected into the driver using a scope.

Since I suspect it is just 0-10V, I purchased the DFRobot DFR0971 which uses a DAC (GP8403) supported by ESPHome and can output 0-10V.

The other issue is that I cannot find the pinout of the RJ11… so I guess I will really have to open the box to reverse engineer it. Anyone know?

In reality, a simpler solution would be to use the Qubino 0-10V dimmer as I have done in my non smart 5000 lumens workbench lights that only work with 0-10V dimmers… but I did those when I was not familiar with ESPHome. In those lights, I used a comparator that turns off a relay that I use to cut power to the LED driver so that setting the dimmer to 0% actually turns the light off. I might have to do this with the TS1000 as well since the lowest dim percentage is 10%. Or… I will just use the S31 plug in outlet (converted to ESPHome) to cut power to the light.

Open to feedback as I have only begun trying to figure out the best approach, and I will share my results.

Cut an end of a rj11 wire and strip. Plug it into the output port when it is control mode, you’ll be able to see which wire is hot. Most grow lights will take both an analog or digital signal. There is no schematic on the transformer?

Ah, I take it that the output port controls a daisy chained light based on the dimmer knob of the first one. I did not know that, I thought it was just a pass through from something you connected to the input port.

The driver doesn’t give any useful information. Brown/Blue is likely what goes to the LEDs and Purple/Pink is out mystery 0-10V or PWM signal.

Based on this post I just found @Rattykins mentions it is 0-10V. That makes it a lot easier as I don’t have to move the light or the scope to get this figured out. I’ll do what @Mikefila suggested and just look for a 0-10V with a DMM. Worst case I can open the little box up there as it should be pretty easy to figure out pinout by looking at the PCB.

Edit: Forgot to ask… since you said most lights can take both analog and digital, is there any benefit of one over the other? Accuracy of the control is not really meaningful here as I would be guessing the setting anyway.