Long time lurker, first time poster here. I have been researching aeropoinics for a few years now and recently built what i consider a primitive aero unit and started my first grow. I wanted to post it here for some feedback. I hope this thread serves as a place for people (me inculded) to learn how to improve their setups. I have started my first grow and wanted to share my progress so far. my goal is to build a fully automated aeroponic unit, or the more trendy term, “food computer.” I would like to have one setup that works for all plants, by just changing the nutrient recipe.
Below is a rough BOM of the hydraulic components
- Seaflo pump - 160 psi diaphragm booster pump,
- kicks on at roughly 80 psi and kicks off at 120 psi
- Seaflo Accumulator tank - set to ~110 psi
-Adjustable Pressure release valve - from McMaster set to 140 psi
- 1 gallon reservoir tank - where i take water temperature and put nutrients
- i am using GH flora series at the recommended hyrdo levels
- 3/8 push to connect fittings and tubing
- Dripworks low flow red misting nozzles
- 12 VDC stainless solenoid valve, located close to the nozzle for precise control
- i want to switch to DC but just haven’t yet
For the controls, i am using a particle photon. I pick this controller for the ease of use and in my opinion it serves this better than an ardunino would. The controller is pushing data to google sheets. The data its pushing is ambient temp and humidity (dht11), water reservoir temp, and nutrient chamber temp. I am manually taking PH and EC because I just haven’t put the time in to find a cheap reliable pair of sensors for this.
My first grow:
I ordered some Jalepeno seeds offline, and germinated them in four rapid rooters until they sprouted (about 7-10 days). I took removed two of them with surgical precision and the other two i left in the rooters, surrounded them with hydroton and placed them in the unit. One of the two i removed from the rooters died almost immediately, the other is doing just fine. I am using distilled water bought from the local store. It’s not ideal i know but its doing decent so far. I initially filled up the one gallon tank with 0.75 gal and the appropriate nutrients, I topped off the tank when it gets low, but do not add more nutrients. I am also running drain to waste. I do this about 5 times them i re-add nutrients when they get low (under 100 microS). I have re mixed nutes two times in those the last two weeks. Just in the last few days I have had roots poke through the netpots but i do not see any of the desired hairs on the roots just yet. I think this has to do with the temperature of the water/ nutrient chamber. It is hovering around 70-75 degrees. its operating at around 80-120 psi.
- is drain to waste really beneficial? I found that i am using a lot of water, just over 4 gallons in since the start
- Does anyone recommend EC or PH sensors that are fully submersible and reliable long term?
- when starting the system i have to purge the air to get the pressure to rise, are there valves for this? a check valve comes to mind?
- is RO really worth the huge price and other difficult requirements? (pressurized inlet and drain tank)
- i am misting 3 seconds on and 10 minutes off and seems like its doing just fine. should this change based on time of the day and/or ambient conditions?
I look forward to you guys tearing this apart in the spirit of constant of improvment of course.
here are some photos