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Cooling Nutrient Water Outdoors


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  #1  
Old 07-30-2015, 02:09 PM
Stan Stan is offline
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Default Cooling Nutrient Water Outdoors

For the past couple years I have used coolers as my nutrient reservoir and would add frozen bottles on those hot days. The past few days have been in the 90+ and I can't keep up with the frozen bottles to keep the temps down.

I have covered my coolers with the sun screens you would usually put on the windshield of a car and it has helped somewhat.

I was wondering if anyone has ever used stainless steel cooling coils? I would attach it to a hose and would run cold tap water through it till the coils got cold in hopes of bringing the temps down? Could this work? Anyone have any other suggestions that might work? This is my set up but I am using a much larger cooler than the 1 in the pic.
http://www.hydroponicsonline.com/for...ead.php?t=2035

I was thinking about buying this.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/1313092...lpid=82&chn=ps


Last edited by Stan; 07-30-2015 at 02:12 PM. Reason: added info
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Old 07-31-2015, 04:25 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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You plan to continuously run tap water through the tubing? Unless I misunderstand you that's going to waste a lot of water. Theirs a much better way to run it without wasting nearly that much water, and not waste much at all if you use a timer or rig up a temperature switch. The only water lost is just what's lost through evaporation. As well as be able to get the water cooler than standard tap water.

As for the steel coils. Those being for making beer, I'm sure they are food grade and would probably be fine. But I can't say for sure that they won't react with any of the mineral salts or pH of the nutrient solution. While metal is a better conductor for heat transfer than plastic. I would personally use poly tubing. Polly tubing is standard in the geothermal industry, wont react for sure, and way cheaper. That stainless steel coil is a total of 20 feet worth of tubing for $40. While the heat transfer with poly tubing isn't as good as metal, the fact I can get 700 feet of 1/2 inch poly tuning for about $45, and much more feet for 1/4 inch tubing. That more than makes up for the slower heat transfer with way more surface contact (50-100+ times more).
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Old 07-31-2015, 10:29 PM
Stan Stan is offline
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Tap water would be hooked up to timer. It would only be used on days where temps are above 90 but that could change. This years been the worst for me with at least 18 days of 90+ and most of them have come consecutively. When temps are down around 85 which is the norm where I am all I need to do is put a gallon bottle or 2 of frozen water in the reservoir and I'm good for the day. This year I couldn't keep up with the frozen bottles of water.

The wort chiller I was thinking about would only be put in the reservoir when my area has multiple days of 90+. If it were to work fine when it's that hot I might end up keeping it in the the reservoir but lessen the amount of times the tap water comes on.

I will look into the poly. Thanks for the feedback!
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Old 08-05-2015, 05:18 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Hello Stan, I don't know where you'll be able to find a (automatic) timer that will be able to turn on and off water flow from a faucet. That is withough't essentially using a sprinkler system controller and inline water line relays. Even so, most sprinkler control systems wont have more than 2 on/off cycles per day. But if you do find a timer that just screws onto a faucet or hose, and that can automatically turn on and off the water supply as many times per day as needed, let me know. I have been looking for a device like that for quite a while, and I have two applications I would like to use it for. One is for a high pressure aeroponic system, and the other is similar to a patio misting system used to cool down your back yard patio, but used on crops to cool down the air around the crops, as well as raise humidity levels around the plants.

Anyhow, I don't know if your interested or not, but I made some quick drawings of how I would use coils to cool the nutrient solution. It uses the cold water from a home made swamp cooler. I call it a reverse swamp cooler, because the point isn't to cool the air, but just to use the by-product of a swamp cooler, the cold water in the swamp cooler's reservoir.

Basically you would either build your own swamp cooler, or modify a small one you already had so it had a larger reservoir (like a 20-32 gallon trash can as the reservoir). The water coming from the swamp cooler will be around 64 degrees Ferinheight. You use a small pump to pump your nutrient solution through the coils, and submerge the coils in the 64 degree water. You can run it 24/7 withough't wasting any water.

The only water used in the reverse swamp cooler system design (besides what's needed to fill the swamp cooler's reservoir) is what evaporates when the swamp cooler is running. You can easily use a regular timer so the swamp cooler doesn't need to run all the time. But if you want to get even more efficient and automated, I'm working on a system that will turn on and off the swamp cooler based on the swamp cooler's reservoir temperature. Essentially it will use a basic household thermostat with a remote sensor to turn on and off the swamp cooler based on your settings like it does with your air conditioner.

Anyhow I attached the drawings I made of the reverse swamp cooler system design. While there are a thousand ways to build your own swamp cooler, my design uses 4 inch ADS tuning for the body, and either a inline duct fan, or other high velocity fan to pull the air through the tubing and across the swamp cooler cooling pads inside the tubing.

Their are a lot of ways to configure it. But the design is always the same.

1. Swamp cooler cooling pads are inserted inside the 4 inch ADS tubing. I would use the straw like Aspen pads. Their the cheapest, but they also absorb and hold water best ensuring the whole pad is soaked and the complete surface area is wet.

2. Water lines are installed above the cooling pads so the water drips down the pads soaking them.

3. A inline duct fan (or other high velocity fan) that pulls fresh air through the tubing and across the swamp cooler cooling pads. It's important that the fan is on the exhaust side so it pulls/sucks air through the system, rather than on the air inlet side trying to push air through the system. The tubing is 4 inches, but a 6 inch inline duct fan would probably cost the same or maybe even a little less. Though a small 9 inch high velocity fan would probably be even cheaper. If the fan is larger than the tubing, you may need to use a ducting coupler to connect it to the 4 inch ADS tubing.

4. There is a water trap at the bottom as a air lock. Just like your sink has a water trap to make sure sewer gasses don't fill the house. The swamp cooler water trap makes sure that no air comes up through the overflow back to the swamp cooler reservoir. That way all the air flows through the tubing and across the cooling pads as intended.

P.S.
The reverse swamp cooler design in yellow is just one configuration. The other one shows the same basic design, but with a couple extra tubing parts can easily be configured to pull air in from both tubes rather than just the one. That reduces drag on the fan, as well as cuts the air velocity/speed across the cooling pads in half. Thus making it more efficient. With some more tubing parts, you could easily configure it to have 4 air inlet and cooling pad tubes, and the same one fan pulling the air through it.

Also you don't need the cooling pad tubes to be long, 1-2 feet should be fine. The standard thickness for a swamp cooler cooling pad ranges from 3/4 inch to as thick as 8 inches for the real expensive master cool pads. So 1-2 feet thick should be more than enough. Just cut it into strips the right length and roll it up and slide it in the tubes. However don't pack it in so tight that it blocks too much air from coming through it.
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Last edited by GpsFrontier; 08-05-2015 at 05:30 AM.
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  #5  
Old 08-07-2015, 12:02 PM
Stan Stan is offline
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GPS, thanks for all that great info. I will really have to look into the plans you drew up to see if I'm able to do this in my yard. Wish I didn't have so much concrete in my backyard otherwise I would just dig a hole and put a 55 gallon pickle barrel in the ground. I might just break up a small area to bury a barrel or 2 cause this year has been the worst temp wise. Luckily for me it cooled down a little this week but still have the rest of August to go.

I was looking for an on/off timer for a water hose so far haven't found 1 but heard from 2 people i talked to that they believe their is 1 on the market but didn't know who sold it. If I find 1 will post it here.
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Old 08-07-2015, 08:14 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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I don't know where you live, but your temperatures are mild compared to me. I'm in Arizona and our daily temps are around 110 F. I just hope our daily temps go below 90 by Halloween this year. Last year I was still needing to use the window air conditioner in my bedroom window the week of Halloween.

I haven't done an extensive online search, but the only ones I've seen, and all the timers they sell here at Lowe's and home depot you have to set manually every day like a standard oven timer. We even have one of them because when my mom waters the trees, she always forgets to turn it off.

For the two applications I need them for, I want them to cycle on short quick cycles, as apposed to going on and off by temperature. I can use a cycle timer to turn it on and off, but will probably wind up using a sprinkler water line relay as the water line open/close solenoid. But because they run off of low voltage, would also need a ac/dc converter to convert the 110 AC voltage coming from the cycle timer into 12 volt DC voltage.

P.S.
Please excuse the spelling in the drawings, I can't spell worth a dam and the paper tablet doesn't come with spell check. Also let me know if you don't understand any of it, I just did it free hand and it didn't come out looking to good, not to mention I don't know if you can read it very well. I plan to make some 3D drawings in the future and put complete design plans online on my website when I have time to do it.
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Old 08-13-2015, 09:35 PM
Stan Stan is offline
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I'm located just outside of NYC. We've had a couple of continuous 90+ degree days with high humidity to go with it. Luckily this past week it cooled down to low 80's during the day and mid 60's at night as my plants have recovered. The problem will start again on Saturday and we will have 90+ degree days till late next week.

With the cost of some of the things I've looked into I might end up just buying a freezer box and freeze a bunch of gallon jugs of water for use on those consecutive days when it's scorching. The coolers I use as reservoirs are pretty good once I put in a frozen gallon or 2 of water. Wish their was an easy and cheap way of cooling the reservoir on those type days.
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Old 12-01-2016, 08:02 AM
shillamus shillamus is offline
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Default Bumping this to the top

Hey folks.. Bumping this to the top so I can read it

Thanks Stan.. Hope to meet you soon.

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