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New to Hydroponics - Want to Build a System With a Budget of $650


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  #21  
Old 05-06-2013, 05:18 PM
FalseFlash FalseFlash is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fintuckyfarms View Post
Just google it but there are a few different ones out there that will do the same thing.
Tried to, the only one I found is $19.95 for 6

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  #22  
Old 05-06-2013, 06:47 PM
fintuckyfarms fintuckyfarms is offline
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This person just used twine.... There are lots of options
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  #23  
Old 05-06-2013, 08:24 PM
FalseFlash FalseFlash is offline
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Twine seems good. Got to get more pipe tomorrow, messed up on one of the cuts.
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  #24  
Old 05-08-2013, 12:32 AM
FalseFlash FalseFlash is offline
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Update:

I got the main pipes connected, drilled the holes for the pots, and dug a 4ft hole for the 55 gallon barrel. Now I just need to connect to pump and drain.

I'm going to have a flow control valve connected to the drain to allow me to control the amount of water that stays inside the pipe.

The system don't look "pro" but I think it will work. Might be a day or two before I can do anything else because of storms. I was working in some rain today.

This winter I will be able to make a better one since I have an idea on how to do it now. Next time I don't think I will glue it, big mistake when I mess up.

Overall I got I believe 58 holes.
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Last edited by FalseFlash; 05-08-2013 at 12:35 AM.
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  #25  
Old 05-08-2013, 01:11 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Ya, you always want to dry fit everything together first. How do you plan to run the pluming that a cock valve will be able to control the water level in the pipes. Weather the pump is running or not, the cock valve can only adjust the amount of water flowing through it (not control water height unless you open and close it manually every cycle). If it's in the fill side, water will still siphon back to the reservoir through it until the water level is low enough that it begins to suck in air. If it's in the overflow side, it will only restrict the water flowing back to the reservoir. Thus cause it to back up in the pipe while the pump is on, and possibility overfill. And when the pump is off it will still siphon back into the reservoir through the pump until it's low enough that it begins to suck in air. Water level in a hydroponic system is usually adjusted by the height of the overflow and flood line openings (cheep and easy), and the height of them is easily adjusted as your plants grow.
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  #26  
Old 05-08-2013, 01:46 AM
FalseFlash FalseFlash is offline
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I see what you're saying. I guess I will need to figure out how to make an overflow pipe.

Searching google on how to do it, I know nothing about plumbing lol

Last edited by FalseFlash; 05-08-2013 at 01:54 AM.
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  #27  
Old 05-08-2013, 02:28 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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You probably wont find anything useful Googling it. A overflow is simple, but depending on where you need/want place it in your system, and what materials you plan to use (vinyl tubing/PVC tubing etc.), the type of system your building (NFT, Flood & drain etc.) will determine the best way to do it. For instance if you want the line to go through a curved surface like the side of the tubing, that will present the problem of getting a flush fit without some type of curved rubber gasket or permanently gluing it in place. But if you place it in the end caps that have a straight wall, it's easy to get a flush fit, as well as good seal with just an o-ring.

If you have any pictures or drawings of the system your building, and where you want the fill and overflow to go, we can help easily you with it. Here is a link to a system I built using the same ADS tubing: Third system. You can see I went in through the end caps because that provided a flat surface. I didn't make the overflow adjustable in that system, but there are easy ways I could have. And you don't necessarily need to use the same bulkhead fittings I did. You can also use a male and female PVC adapter, and o-ring to make your own. In my experience I would suggest to make sure your overflow is at least twice the size as your fill line. Water goes in under pressure from the pump, but only goes out under gravity.

You can always compensate by regulating the water pressure from the pump a couple ways, and may need to anyway. But I've learned to just make sure the overflow can handle the volume in the first place. It saves a lot of headaches. So if your water fill line is 1/2 inch. I would use a overflow of 1 inch, or two 1/2 inch outlets.
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Last edited by GpsFrontier; 05-08-2013 at 05:27 AM.
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  #28  
Old 05-08-2013, 04:51 AM
fintuckyfarms fintuckyfarms is offline
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Sorry about the glue thing, I forgot to tell you not to. I never glue mine so I can take it apart to clean and store it. If I have a drip I use a rubber band as a gasket.
To regulate the water level I just twist the end cap. So with the bulkhead on the edge and not in the center of the pipe, if I want the water level high, I put the drain hole at the top of the pipe. If I want it lower for overflow problems, I just twist it sideways till it stops overflowing. If I need to clean it or pull out some roots (tomatoes) I just pull it off. Simple solution and its worked great for two years. GPS is correct with the drain size, mine is roughly twice the size and I put a diverter on the pump line so it sprayed back into the nutes and aerated them more.
Raking my brain for more, but mine is still in storage and apparently I'm getting old. Plus it's finals week for the master gardeners program I am taking. I will try to make a how to sheet on my systems when I get more time and put them on my web page.
You should be able to save your system by leaving a couple of inches on the 90s and using couplers. Might not be pretty, but it will work. Might just need new end caps if ya glued those.
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  #29  
Old 05-08-2013, 05:51 AM
FalseFlash FalseFlash is offline
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Here is a quick 5AM example of my system.

The two pipes by the two sides use T's. And the pipe for the drain is made for a smaller pipe, I believe 2 inches.



And yes, it's all glued sadly.

Last edited by FalseFlash; 05-08-2013 at 05:53 AM.
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  #30  
Old 05-08-2013, 06:31 AM
FalseFlash FalseFlash is offline
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Damn, I just tested it with a hose. There is a slight bend in the middle of the pipes that's causing it to gather at one end. No matter how much I try to level it the system just won't work right.

I guess I went too cheap on the big pipe.

Is there a way to fix this so I don't lose $380?
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  #31  
Old 05-08-2013, 07:03 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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OK thanks, that drawing helps me understand your layout. Your downward overflow (I assume that is the overflow) is unconventional in it's placement. But installing a overflow with that design and in that spot is still quite simple. I will need to take a few minuets to think about how I would make it easily adjustable, and get back with a drawing tomorrow. It wont be hard or expensive, still cheep and easy. I just need to make a few drawings to see what works best in my head.

One question though is where the line pointing down for the overflow is. Do you intend to use a "T" connector to do that? Or are you trying to install a flexible line there that would need to be sealed? My suggestion would be to use a "T" connector. From that you can easily adapted a flexible line if that is what you want to use, or a solid PVC line as well. Also using a "T" connector will give you a place to connect and make changes if you wish to in the future. Not to mention give a place to attach a fitting to a flush surface on a end-cap that is much easier to do.

Also I still don't know if you are going to run it a s a flood and drain, or NFT system. I'm assuming it will be a flood and drain system at this point. That makes a difference in the overflow height, as well as angle of the "T" connector for the overflow. I can come up with a plan to make it interchangeable from a NFT to a flood and drain design as well if that is needed. Making the flood and overflow lines adjustable gives that option as well.

Also I don't know if you are going to use baskets, or fill the tubes with growing media rather than just the baskets. That will make a difference because you will need a screen to hold the growing media back if the tubes are filled with growing media. Again, not hard to deal with, it just makes a big difference in the design and function.
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  #32  
Old 05-08-2013, 07:13 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Sorry I just saw this post after I already posted.
Quote:
Originally Posted by FalseFlash View Post
Damn, I just tested it with a hose. There is a slight bend in the middle of the pipes that's causing it to gather at one end. No matter how much I try to level it the system just won't work right.

I guess I went too cheap on the big pipe.

Is there a way to fix this so I don't lose $380?
Do you have a picture of what you are talking about? I don't know if you are talking about bowing in the center from weight, or leaking from cut holes that aren't in a straight line. Bowing is easy to fix with the right support and leveling, and is cheep compared to using slightly more rigid PVC. But holes that were cut uneven cant be fixed without lowering the water level in the tubes so it doesn't rise above the lowest point of opening. Even 4 inch scheduled 40 PVC will bend under minimal weight, You need to build a suitable support system regardless what pipe you choose to use.

Why spend more money on scheduled 40 PVC, and it isn't even light proof yet. Costing you more money to light proof, and it still flexes under weight anyway. The only pipe that wont flex is steel, and that's unstable for hydroponics. Even the very expensive schedule 80 PVC will flex in 10 foot spans with no support in the middle.
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Last edited by GpsFrontier; 05-08-2013 at 07:35 AM.
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  #33  
Old 05-08-2013, 08:36 AM
FalseFlash FalseFlash is offline
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I will be using this as NFT with net pots. The pipe is like bowing upwards.

Also, I was a bit off on the drain, the line should of been on right before the pipes in the center. Sorry about that, I only slept 2 hours or so.

Here is a picture, not the greatest picture but it will give you an idea. You can defiantly tell I had no idea what I was doing lol
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  #34  
Old 05-08-2013, 08:44 AM
FalseFlash FalseFlash is offline
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If it comes down to it maybe it could be converted to a flood and drain if it's too bad?
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  #35  
Old 05-08-2013, 10:22 AM
FalseFlash FalseFlash is offline
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Okay, I got it a bit more level. The valve is not going to work like you said, its deeper on one side and shallow on the other where the valve is.

I'll wait for your reply before I do anything else.
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  #36  
Old 05-08-2013, 01:07 PM
fintuckyfarms fintuckyfarms is offline
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It is easy to convert, Just need a timer, some medium like pea gravel or perlite and a different drain. Guess I thought you were going for something closer to what I did. BUT I have learned that the more mistakes you make the more you learn so don't feel to bad. GPS Frontier is awesome and should be able to come up with something.
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  #37  
Old 05-08-2013, 04:09 PM
FalseFlash FalseFlash is offline
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-see bottom post-

Last edited by FalseFlash; 05-08-2013 at 07:44 PM.
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  #38  
Old 05-08-2013, 07:47 PM
FalseFlash FalseFlash is offline
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Good news, I got the system working with the help of my dad and grandfather.

I'm able to control the water level with the valve you seen in one of my other posts. That is great since I really didn't know where to start for the overflow pipe.

Since it's on grass I may need to adjust the level often, this winter I will build a compact version in a grow tent in my basement.

I will post some pictures most likely tomorrow.
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  #39  
Old 05-08-2013, 11:43 PM
fintuckyfarms fintuckyfarms is offline
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Happy Dance!
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  #40  
Old 05-09-2013, 04:03 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Good to hear you have things leveled out. I have been out all day running errands, and didn't get home till about 9pm. So I haven't had time to come up with much for you yet.

Since you have everything glued together, it's basically imposable to make changes. I can't really tell from the pictures the angles where your tubes are bowing. But I think a lot of it may be due to the construction methods. Especially if they are bowing sideways, rather than downward. For a design like that, all the pieces would need to be cut exactly to the same size. and everything be measured and precisely installed. So all the spacing is exactly the same with any tube that it runs parallel with. If not, it will cause that kind of bowing. It would give the same effect as the tubes being all cute to different sizes, then the ones that were longer would begin to bow as they are compressed to fit in the same space as the shorter ones. An 1/8 inch off on one side can result in more than a inch or more off on the other side. Then forcing them together will bow the tubing to make it fit.

But now that it's all glued together the easiest and cheapest thing I can think of is to to to try and straighten them with 2x4's. fintuckeyfarms did something very similar to her first system. She ran a straight 2x4 underneath it and attached the tube to it. You can see it in the pictures she posted in this thread. You can use anything from zip ties to duct tape to strap the tubes to the 2x4's.

Fintuckeyfarms bowing was due to supporting only the ends of the tubes, rather than spacing it for the weight in the center of the tubes. So her bowing was downward. Sideways bowing needs side supports/splints. I made some drawings to show you what I was thinking. It probably won't look the prettiest, but it should be much cheaper than starting over.

With an NFT system the way you designed it, it will be very important to have all 4 tubes angled exactly the same. Unless you plan to have a separate water line for each of the tubes with plants, the water wont drain to all 4 evenly otherwise. Even if it is perfectly level, and you only have one water line to flow water through all 4 tubes. The tubes closest to the water line will get most of the water, simply because water will go downhill the first chance it gets.

You may consider a irrigation manifold like this one Orbit 4-Port NPT Irrigation Manifold with Filter, to split the one water line into 4 lines. You will need a couple extra adapters to get the vinyl tubing from the pump to connect to the threaded manifold, but their not expensive. That size line (1/4 inch) coming off of the manifold to the system should be fine for a NFT. You are just looking for a thin layer of water flowing by at the bottom of the tubes in a NFT system.

However you will need to adjust the water level higher in the tubes until the roots are long enough to reach the thin layer at the bottom of the tubes. I'm not sure if you have that worked out or not, and it would be nice to see some updated pictures first in case you made changes that would affect my ideas. I see your downspout is facing down, I can think of a simple adjustable overflow with the way you have that set up. But I will need to make a drawing to explain it clearly though. I don't have time to do so right now (it's 1 am), but I can do it tomorrow, and have it posted by late tomorrow evening if your still interested. I'm not sure what you have worked out so far.

PS.
I hate to say this, but another drawback to having everything glued together the way you do is that it will be imposable to get the root systems out, not to mention to clean and sanitize the inside for your next grow. You always want to think about how you will be able to do maintenance when building your systems. You want to be able to maintain your plants while they are growing. You don't want to need to kill your plants in order to fix an issue that may come up. It costs money to build them, so you'll want to use them over and over. So it's very important to think about maintenance. You saw the thread on the peas I grew, I attached a picture of the root mass that was inside. That picture doesn't even include the roots I cut out with a knife to get the baskets out.

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Last edited by GpsFrontier; 05-09-2013 at 04:25 AM.
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