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Growtronix System


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  #21  
Old 01-20-2010, 08:32 PM
Amigatec Amigatec is offline
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I plan to buy one on there Top-it-Off Kits, to pump my return tank back to the res.

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  #22  
Old 01-21-2010, 11:54 AM
txice txice is offline
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You might try this kit here, you can build any size Ebb & Flow you want to.

Ebb & Flow Control Kit
Thanks for the link, I'll give it a look.

On a side note about the growtronix in general. You know...the more I look into the system, the more reasons I can seem to find why I don't think it's very cost effective for a hobbyist. I can certainly see the draw for having the automated grow log and such, but even at the discounted price of $730 or so, being able to monitor room temp/humidity and being able to programmatically control two power outlets seems rather unhelpful. That's a lot of money for some very basic automation. And the add-on modules all seem rather pricey as well. I don't know. Perhaps the cost is just scaring me off.
How finitely can you control the power outlets? Could you set up some type of schedule for the outlet to make it mimic an aeroponic cycle timer for instance? Say have a cycle that begins and ends and a certain time and, while the cycle is active, power the outlet is such a fashion that it turns on for 45 seconds and stays off for 3 minutes, and repeats this pattern throughout the cycle?
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  #23  
Old 01-21-2010, 06:23 PM
Amigatec Amigatec is offline
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Yes the trick is in writing the policies. You can turn stuff and off when ever you want. I think the reason the price is so high is because the weed growers will pay that much for it, if they can remotely monitor their grow room.
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  #24  
Old 01-21-2010, 06:27 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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You might try this kit here, you can build any size Ebb & Flow you want to.
Interesting concept. The attached picture is of the way it is supposed to be set up if I am correct, although it all seems overly complicated to me. With 2 reservoirs 2 pumps 2 sets of on and off switches. Also, it doesn't specify, but I would hope it comes with a completely programmable timer. Because it wouldn't take long for the growing chambers to fill and trip the overflow switches. I'm sure that trips the overflow switches and the other pump.

Basically a quick fill and then drain, not necessarily a bad thing but will need many more cycles per day than a system that floods for a period of time (30 min or so) then drains (depending on type of plants and growing medium, exposed roots etc.). This could be a problem unless you had the capability to have as many cycles as you need. If it were able to fill and stay flooded for a while (say 30 min) the current configuration only allows water to circulate through the single inlet/outlet. That wouldn't allow any water circulation while it was flooded. To get that water circulation you would need to flood-drain, flood-drain, flood-drain, flood-drain, many more times a day and most timers don't have enough settings to allow that all day.

I see the inlet lines to the individual plants. To me, placing a overflow line from each growing container back to the reservoir would eliminate the need for all the electronics duplicate pump and reservoir. You could still have as many plants as you want. The only possible reason I could see for doing it with all the extra stuff is, if you were so confined in space that it was not possible to have the reservoir below the growing chambers. That is the only thing needed for the system to overflow and drain without all the extra stuff. The more moving parts, the more there is to malfunction and go wrong.
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  #25  
Old 01-21-2010, 06:34 PM
Amigatec Amigatec is offline
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Here is the whole system.

ebb-grow-bucket-system

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  #26  
Old 01-21-2010, 06:35 PM
Amigatec Amigatec is offline
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But at $575 it is a bit pricey.

I plan to buy more waterfarms and turn into a recirculating system
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  #27  
Old 01-21-2010, 06:37 PM
Amigatec Amigatec is offline
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The kit I posted has the same parts as the E&F controller bucket does.
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  #28  
Old 01-21-2010, 06:57 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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As my pepper plants are getting larget I'm finding it more of a hassle to do nute changes and solution tests in the systems.
Yes I saw this as a problem from the start although you mentioned building a more permanent home for your plants in the beginning, but I was not exactly sure what that meant. I was thinking the system they are in now in was a stepping stone to the final destination. That's why I mentioned they would get way to big for that system. That is why it is important to to me to take into consideration size of the full plant when deciding how to build the system.
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I would love to be able to try and design an entire room from scratch such that I had a central reservour location easily accessible for changes/tests. A single method to cool/chill the water in the reservours, and then the ability to move the solution to and from these reservours to the respective systems....what ever they might be.
Me too, the money is all that's holding me back. I plan to have a greenhouse (size/s to be determined) for plants that need/ want complete climate control. As well as many outside systems for more hardy plants or plants that are in season, and/or plants that I can help along the way in the off season.
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I want to expand/improve my setup I have now, but I don't want to keep doing it peicemeal and end up with a bigger mess to fix than what I already have now.
Ya, nothing wrong with that. We always want to improve what we have.
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  #29  
Old 01-21-2010, 08:24 PM
Amigatec Amigatec is offline
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The problem with a center reservoir is that if you get a fungus infection, it will affect the whole garden. Also plants have different nutrient requirements.
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  #30  
Old 01-21-2010, 08:49 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Here is the whole system.
Yes the commercially built system is very expensive and is not worth the money to me. As long as you can place the 5 gallon buckets above the reservoir there is no need for the extra base reservoir and everything inside it.

5 gallon buckets $2.50 x12= $30
32 gallon trash can for reservoir $10 (WalMart issued)
Black vinyl tubing $20 for 40 feet. (although the the blue vinyl tubing from a hydroponics store will work the same and might be a little cheaper)
"T" connectors for vinyl tubing $.50 ea x12 $6 (I always have extra)
Through holes for inlet $2 ea x12= $24
Through holes for overflow $2 ea x12= $24
Pump $45 (300 to 500 gallon per hour, with vertical height of up to 8.7 feet) I got it at Lowe's
Timer $15
Miscellaneous P.V.C. fittings and tubing $40 (that's probably overkill)
Both black and white spray Paint to light proof and then reflect light $.99 ea x30= $30 (although brush on paint might be easier and cheaper for that much painting, your finger gets tired)

Total about $240 or less for me to build. Well under half the price, and many less moving parts that can fail (pump and timer are the only moving parts).

You possibility may need a 40 gallon reservoir for 12, 5 gallon buckets. There will always be a small amount left in each bucket when drained, and the growing medium will take up some space. Also you wont be filling it all the way to the top either. All in all probably wont need more than 2 to 3 gallons of nutrient per 5 gallon bucket. However you do want some reserve nutrient as a buffer. If you want the larger 55 gallon drum like the commercially built system, you can get a 55 gallon rain water collection barrel for about $60. Although I would use 2, 32 gallon trash cans with a siphon hose between them (8 to 10 foot piece of garden hose), making sure both ends of the hose are waited down so there is no interruption of the siphoning action. This also allows you to split it into two different smaller systems later, if you get another pump.

This is one of the designs that I am planing to build. I am also planing to put the complete directions with all the little details like connecting the through holes to the vinyl tubing and P.V.C. to run back to the reservoir in pdf. form on my website. I also plan to show how to run this design as both Flood and drain (ebb & flow), as well as in a drip system.
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  #31  
Old 01-21-2010, 09:01 PM
Amigatec Amigatec is offline
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The system I want to build the plants will be a floor level, with the res beside them. I will have to find a way to pump the return solution back to the res.
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  #32  
Old 01-21-2010, 09:30 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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The system I want to build the plants will be a floor level, with the res beside them. I will have to find a way to pump the return solution back to the res.
If it's not possible to set the plants on a bench or something with a short wide reservoir below it. You can always build the same system I mentioned with the addition of the extra smaller control reservoir with the Ebb & Flow Control Kit in it like the commercial system. Although water circulation will still be a problem if it doesn't have the capability to have a lot of on/off cycles. Just flooding the system until it fills then draining it right away, and doing it every 15 min or so, otherwise they will be sitting in basically still water until it drains. I'm not sure if you are referring to the system you were building for your peppers in another thread. I can possibly come up with a better solution if I know the specifics.

It looks like with the Ebb & Flow Control Kit you will still need to buy both pumps. It seems like the kit turns on and off the second pump with the switches but not much of anything else for the $80. You still need to buy both reservoirs and pumps in addition to the $80. Either way the plants need to be slightly above the ground or the second pump will run dry before it drains all back. That's what the second set of switches is for (best as I can tell), to keep that from happening. This still leaves a few inches of water in the buckets with the plants. This will mean that the plants roots will inevitably be sitting in water as they get bigger.
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Last edited by GpsFrontier; 01-21-2010 at 09:43 PM.
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  #33  
Old 01-21-2010, 09:35 PM
Amigatec Amigatec is offline
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I plan on using Bato Buckets, with a drip hose in each backet and drain the system into a PVC pipe. The PVC would run to a small container that would pump the solution back into the large res.
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  #34  
Old 01-21-2010, 09:53 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Originally Posted by Amigatec View Post
I plan on using Bato Buckets, with a drip hose in each backet and drain the system into a PVC pipe. The PVC would run to a small container that would pump the solution back into the large res.
I guess like a dutch bucket system with a bucket in another bucket, and then the smaller bucket will be a few inches off the ground to allow it to drain into the P.V.C. and back into the reservoir. Anyway the return line is below the bottom of the growing medium. I will need to do some thinking and drawing but I might be able to figure out how to do it with just one pump and one or two one way flow valves.
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Last edited by GpsFrontier; 01-21-2010 at 09:56 PM.
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  #35  
Old 01-22-2010, 01:22 AM
watercatwn6535nd watercatwn6535nd is offline
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Default floats

just hook your pond pumps to fsih tank floats. i have a old system that used bathroom toilet floats there totally adjustable for height if you by the new style and no big floats any more on them.

sound so me like what you should be doing is a deep water system with just air stones in it and no pumps its the best system by far and almost no faluire possiblity. just use plastic totes i like the 30 gallon ones. cut a piece of foam that is 4 inches thick to fit in the tote and hole saw spots for net pots to fit in the foam. drop in one $9 wally world fish air pump and now your plants are floating so teh water level is always perfect and you just add water as it needs it to keep it full.

You just cant get a bad grow out of this system.
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  #36  
Old 01-22-2010, 05:40 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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This is just a rough idea at this point, I haven't had much time to check on using different materials and to refine the whole concept, as well as any testing. The image is a also just a rough picture because I didn't want to spend a lot of time on it in case it's not something you can use.

When the pump turns on, the water is pumped into the top reservoir. As the water rises in the top reservoir it flows down the open drip system to the plants. The simple float in the lower reservoir is gravity feed from the top reservoir. This will insure that the water level in the lower reservoir wont get to low and run the pump dry. If the drip system doesn't drip fast enough, the overflow from the upper reservoir to the lower one will make sure that the water level will never back up and get to high in the top reservoir. As well as help make sure the pump will never run dry also.

The simple float in the top reservoir is attached to a fresh water line to keep the water level correct (sorry I forgot to show the fresh water line in the image). This can be a water line directly from the pluming or a gravity feed line from a third reservoir. A third reservoir could have just fresh water or a diluted nutrient solution to replace what was used by the plants and/or evaporated. In either case you wont need to check the system daily and it could be left untended if you go on vacation.

The simple float is just an open and close valve like the ones found in a toilet tank and in swamp coolers. There are many different designs of these float valves. I haven't been looking around for them, but those are the two main uses I know for them. Also, it's not in the picture, but I would design the placement of these float valves so they don't actually go through the wall of the reservoir, but sit inside the reservoir instead. That would make it more adjustable in case you want to use the reservoir for other designs later. How to do this would depend on the actual float valve used but the base would need to be heavy enough to stay put underwater.

The adjustable height P.V.C. tube is just a short tube with a couple of elbows, this makes it easier to set at the right height. This should be placed at the height of the water level you want the drip system to start flowing at. The simple float should at this level also. This way when the pump turns on it will start flowing through the drip system right away, and when it turns off the float will make sure the water level does not drop below this. Other than the 2 float valves the only moving part is the single pump.
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  #37  
Old 01-22-2010, 08:31 AM
Amigatec Amigatec is offline
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I like the idea, but after looking at it, I have a way to improve on it.

Use the top res to top-off the bottom res. Use the bottom res to water the plant with. Run the pump to the drip lines, and as the bottom res empties the top res via the float will keep it topped-off. This way the pH/ppm in the top res will always be right and should keep the pH/ppm in the bottom res correct.
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  #38  
Old 01-22-2010, 08:49 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Originally Posted by Amigatec View Post
I like the idea, but after looking at it, I have a way to improve on it.

Use the top res to top-off the bottom res. Use the bottom res to water the plant with. Run the pump to the drip lines, and as the bottom res empties the top res via the float will keep it topped-off. This way the pH/ppm in the top res will always be right and should keep the pH/ppm in the bottom res correct.
Good idea, your absolutely right.

That will also make it less complicated and eliminate the float in the top reservoir, as well as the need for the P.V.C. overflow from the top one to the bottom. It will also eliminate the need for the adjustable height P.V.C. tube, and it will eliminate the slack in water level between the bottom reservoir and the top reservoir before it actually starts flowing trough the drip system. As well as any need for a fresh water line from the pluming and/or a third reservoir.

The only potential drawback I can see is in the bottom reservoir not circulating water with the top one. That could have an effect on the nutrients as they are being used by the plants. You wouldn't have that buffer water like in a large reservoir feeding the plants. It would be more like a reservoir with just enough water in it run the system and adding fresh nutrients back as it's used up. You could from time to time however take water from the bottom reservoir and hand pour it into the top reservoir and let the float in the bottom one replace back what you displaced. Basically hand circulating it, to better dilute the depletion the plants using the nutrients they need and leaving the rest of the nutrients in the small/bottom reservoir.
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Last edited by GpsFrontier; 01-22-2010 at 08:53 PM.
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  #39  
Old 01-22-2010, 09:06 PM
Amigatec Amigatec is offline
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I was thinking on this again, and the way to fix that would be to add a T and valve to the line coming from the top on the pump and run some of the water back to the top res. You could use the valve to regulate the flow to the drip lines. Just make sure the return line is above the water level so it doesn't back flow and overfill the bottom res.
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  #40  
Old 01-22-2010, 09:11 PM
Amigatec Amigatec is offline
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The other thing is with the return water flowing back to the top res, it will help with adding O2 to the water. I could make some kind of diffuser to go on the end of the hose.

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