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Old 07-05-2011, 11:21 AM
Freshwater Freshwater is offline
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: San Diego, California
Posts: 63
Default 4th of July Update -

I received a P.M. from a new member asking me to show how the drip return to res. system works...

I hope you can help....I have checked out your system and others who have built dutch bucket systems, but no one seems to explains the details of how the pump system works. I plan on having the nutrient drain back to the reservoir. So how do I do that with the pump
system? I understand the pump can be set on a timer so send nutrient to the buckets, but how to get the drained water back to the reservoir?

Thanks for your help,

With the "Bato / Dutch Bucket" drip system that T'Mater and myself run, there is a small built in drain system that you can mount onto a 1 1/2 inch PVC pipe. The drain system has a siphon elbow that mounts inside on the bottom, pulling nutrient from the bottom of the built in 1/2 gallon reservoir in the bottom of the bucket. You simply mount your PVC pipe, mark the location you want your buckets at, then drill a 3/4-1" hole on a center-line. The buckets rest on the pipe, with a 3/4" nipple that goes into the PVC pipe.

One end is capped off, and the pipe slopes down slightly to allow drainage, the other end has a small manifold to bring both pipes together...

The black tubing is for the NFT system not the drip... The drain pipe then goes to the right back to the reservoir.

Past the small R.O. unit, and back into my new 45 gallon reservoir. (Up from the old 32 gallon that's on the right...figured I was only getting 28 gallons or so out of it.)

Notice how the return lines, air lines, Electrical... all enter at the very top of the res. allowing for maximum amount of nutrient I can hold. I'm guessing 43-44 gallons.

I used the idea I got from reading GPS's post on building your res. into the ground. Keeps it cool in the summer, and buffers it in the winter.

I run two pumps, one for the upper tier, one for the lower tier. Watering schedule is dependent on your type of media you grow in, as well as weather conditions. I run Pearlite, which gives me very good drainage and maximizes how often I can give the plants nutrient.

Last year I ran Pearlite, Coco, and clay pellets, and could only water 3 times a day...the media retained too much moisture.

Now I water 14 times a day, one the hour from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. for 3 minutes a cycle. Only during daylight hour. The plants do not get nutrient after dark. This maximizes the amount of fresh nutrient the roots are receiving, as well as the amount of air the roots receive.

Bonus with this type of system, built in 1/2 gallon reservoir in the base of the Bato buckets, if you have a pump fail...or accidentally turn off your timer (just saying it could happen ) the plants will not lack nutrient. I did this on a hot day, and didn't catch it until the next morning. I found no stress to any of the plants. No nutrient for 24 hours = no problem.

The 1/2 gallon internal res. is turned over every "on" cycle, the main res. is turned over 3-6 times a day. The pumps put out roughly about 15-20 gallons per run. I need a minimum 10 gallons in the res. to run a full "on" cycle. (Due to it being a return system.)

Timers for this type of system are expensive, thought I was going to need a 200 dollar timer until I found these HB800RCL -- Intermatic, Inc. Online Store

Hope that helps,

T'Mater...feel free to add anything if I missed something.

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