Building aeroponic system and full automation


#1

Hi, I’m Jeff and have been experimenting with aeroponic strawberry for year round strawberry. MN hard winters their is a lack of fresh clean strawberry at a ok prices.

I have my own lab that I can control heat and a/c, co2, RH, lights and ventilation.
I run every thing on a PLC/HMI with solid state relays. i have power back up units.
I run air at 80psi and water at 40 psi i have a 4ft by 8ft grow table.
i keep my ph at 6.0 and EC at 0.6 or 300ppm water temp at 68f
I keep my air temp at 68f, co2 700 to 600ppm , RH 55 and light on 12on/12off
my sprayers are on 2sec off for 2mins. about 30ml per spray

I would like anyone’s thought on this project- always looking to improve and meet people doing the same thing. their is a great need.
Ill post some pics of my current project. I planted 8 day ago which is the last pic.

![IMG_2070|666x500](/uploads/mit/original
/2X/b/b76c46d380cfdd1c15752d3e7795c5b41a8e76fa.JPG)


Aeroponic design guideline roundup
Can I grow strawberries with a PFC(v2)?
Choosing appropriate nozzles, pump or other related components for High Pressure Aeroponics
#2

Hey, Jeff! Welcome to the community, it seems theres quite a few of us experimenting with Aeroponics right now!

Could you provide any drawings of the plumbing configuration you are using? It looks like there is some sort of accumulator, so I assume this is using a diaphram pump of some sort?

I’m very interested to see how this works for you, is this your first time with HPA?


#3

Here is a drawing, hope it is what your are looking for.
I have only worked with HPA.
This is the first horizontal planting I have done. I started out doing vertical HPS
i have been learning a lot about HPS on my own but would be nice to talk with others and gain new views.
I do have pic of my vertical HPS also.

DIAGRAM.pdf (244.8 KB)


#4

Hi Jeff
Nice looking system. Its hard to tell from the pics but as the nozzles have a water and air connection i suspect this is AA aero rather than HP aero :wink:


#5

Thanks
I do use compressed air 80psi and water at 48psi


#6

Hi Jeff
80psi seems pretty high to me as the most i run is 45psi on the pressure fed and 25-35psi on the syphon fed nozzles…My pressure feds would generate a seriously loud hiss at 80psi :wink:


#7

Yes it is high but I need it to cover a 4ft dia
Per nozzle
It makes good water droplets at 30psi air
But I need it to have a big coverage area
The sound is not bad at all


#8

I`m not sure why your nozzles dont provide sufficient coverage at the lower pressure. Most twin fluid nozzles should be capable of throwing mist at least 6-8ft horizontally. I had a friend who fired the mist directly downwards in a chamber which resulted in none of the larger droplets making it back up to the top, he had to run much higher air/water pressures and use longer misting durations (aka add more uummph) to compensate for what was, in fact, a nozzle location issue :wink:


#9

Which way do you have your nozzles pointing?
What plants have you growen in your unit?


#10

I couldn’t agree more with your first post. Thanks for the drawing, that is helpful. The more pictures/drawings we can compile as a community the more we can help each other learn, so I appreciate you sharing. Part of my goal in this community is trying to take these complicated systems and scale them down to their simplest form (without compromising effectiveness) so as to make them easier for an individual to get started learning. I’d appreciate knowing more about how you got started and where you have studied/found resources. Also, what you would recommend as a “starter system” that have to to study and learn? I find its very difficult to find any concrete data or well documented systems/guides, that being said the more I learn the more interested I become. I apologize if my questions seem naive, but I really do appreciate your advice. :slight_smile:

If you search the forums for “aeroponics” you will see several conversations about systems. @Atom has done his best (and shared some amazing insight/examples of his systems) to teach us but to many of us aeroponics is still rocket science.

First of all, what the heck is AA aero? I assume its using compressed air as well, but I’d appreciate a definition.

When you say “vertical HPS” how does that differ from HPA? Also, I’d love to see that design as well, I’ve seen a few on YouTube with barrels.

What kind of solenoids do you use? I recently bought one off Amazon and was very disappointed, yours look like brass maybe?

It looks like you have some sort of control system? Did you design it yourself? Most of us are using Raspberry Pi’s or Arduino’s for controllers (Food Computers).


#11

It depends on the chamber but they always point into space with the longest dimension. I use 2 nozzles on opposing walls with an 8 x 4 x 1.5 deep chamber. The nozzles in that chamber are pressure fed flat fans so the height and angular orientation of the mist plume can be altered to suit the plant type. Low level mount with horizontal fans for shallow rooting plants, mid level mount with vertical fans for plants with more extensive root systems.
I have another large chamber (700L) equipped with a single nozzle that provides unbelievable mist control.

AA is air atomised or air assisted, HP is high pressure. AA nozzles can be pressure fed or syphon fed, the former require a seperate pressurised air and liquid supply. The latter requires only pressurised air which draws liquid into the nozzle by venturi action. Just to make it interesting, syphon fed nozzles can also be gravity fed from an elevated reservoir, controlled via a solenoid :wink:

The liquid side for a pressure fed nozzle can be generated by a pump.pressure switch, accumulator, adjustable pressure reducer solenoid combo (hardware heavy and fairly expensive option) or the way i do it, fitting a 2nd air regulator to the compressor to pressurise nutes in 19L stainless cornelious kegs which are fed via an adjustable pressure reducer to the solenoids feeding the liquid side of the nozzles. Sounds a lot more complicated than it is ;).
Tip: corny kegs can provide a chilled nute supply by locating them in a fridge or freezer controlled by an external stc-1000 thermostat.


#12

I’ll be making a YouTube clip showing my current project soon.
Try and answer your questions
With links to all the company’s I buy my equipment at


#13

How is this coming? My strawberries are getting close to being mature - interested in seeing your build/getting an update.


#14

Thank you for asking.
I need to make a clip how my project works
But here is a pic I took two days ago seascape strawberry plants running 8hrs light on


#15

I would love to see a full video clip. I saw your other post and it sounds like you have a very advanced system.

I’m curious if you plan to utilize any of the OpenAg software or what you are using now for automation. Also extremely curious about the HPA system and how it works with strawberries.

Last question, why are you using such a short (8 hrs) light cycle?


#16

thanks for your comments.
I’m using a short light period to see if i get the same lb per plant has 12hr light cycle. one study that was paid for by NSA was doing a 12hr vs 10hr cycle. they found that the same lb/plant was the same. the different was 12 hr had more flowers smaller fruit vs 10hr was less flower bigger fruit. to i look at this for costs. less labor and power to get same results. also if i plan on doing solar power i can run my light during day time only.

im trying to get a video clip up …its a learning event for me lol
i have not used the Ag software not sure wear to get it. i do not use raspberry pi. i use a PLC and HMI which is they are made for exactly what we are doing. ( why re- invent the wheel)

the plants love the HPA system running fast growth rates and use 0.09% water compared to what a person would use in the field
I need to make some improvements, do to having problems with air turbulence 25% of plants not getting enough water. Im making vers 4 which will solve that problem.
also i found making my own fertilizer is better and cheaper for strawberry


#17

here are some links where i get my equipment
https://www.automationdirect.com/adc/Shopping/Catalog/Programmable_Controllers/CLICK_Series_PLCs_(Stackable_Micro_Brick)/PLC_Units/C0-11DRE-D
https://www.automationdirect.com/adc/Shopping/Catalog/HMI_(Human_Machine_Interface)/C-more_Touch_Panels/C-more_Touch_Panels_EA9_Series/C-more_EA9_Series_Touch_Panels/EA9-T6CL
https://www.automationdirect.com/adc/Shopping/Catalog/Sensors_-z-Encoders/Level_Sensors-a-Controllers/Flowline_Ultrasonic_Level_Sensors(Non-contact)/Software_Configured/DL10-00
https://www.automationdirect.com/adc/Shopping/Catalog/Process_Control_-a-Measurement/Solenoid_Media_Separated_Process(Pipeline)_Valves/DVM-2BC1B-24D
http://www.arozone.com/en/products/diaphragm-pumps.html
http://www.exair.com/en-us/Pages/default.aspx


#18

Wow! I have so many more questions. I hate to bother you with all of them, is there somewhere else (another forum/website) that you have documented your work or are copying an existing system so I can catch up?

  1. Could you please provide a link to the study regarding 12 hr vs 10 hr light cycles. What you are describing makes perfect sense, in the past I’ve just pinched off strawberry flowers if the plant produced more than about 8 at once. This yielded much larger results. You may find this resource helpful: https://cals.arizona.edu/strawberry/Hydroponic_Strawberry_Information_Website/Supplemental_Lighting.html

  2. If video proves to be too much of a burden just a folder with a bunch of pictures would be helpful! (Especially if you provide material links like you did below).

  3. Here is a link to openag_brain which is the primary software stack running on the V2 Food Computers. I don’t know how much it would apply to what you’re doing. Are you running drain to waste, or recirculating? If you’re just going to waste then a lot of the automation controls for the reservoir will not apply. It sounds like you’ve already got the environmental control down as well: https://github.com/OpenAgInitiative/openag_brain

  4. What do you use to mix your own fertilizer? I’m interested not only in the formula, but where you source the individual compounds.

  5. These are some really nice controller components! The pump I’m especially interested in for air atomised aeroponics. The link you provided wasn’t a specific model, do you have one that you prefer?

Thanks,
Peter.


#19





https://youtu.be/

here are some vid clips. not very good but maybe gives you a better ideal.
i did miss say some things several times in the clips lol


Where are you building your Food Computer?
Aeroponic design guideline roundup
#20

questions are good.
First, I have only the documents and notes that i have made/learned from my projects. what i did was i saw a need in are community for fresh and reasonable price produce. so i looked up what is the best way to grow food. Aeroponics came up. then i was thinking why are not a lot of grows doing this if it is so good. so i made a list of the problems with aeroponics and started to solve each one. i is frustrating at times because if some goes wrong their are no to few people to help me. so in sort everything is self taught and a dream. lol

  1. here the link to the study with seascape plants and time length.
    http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/research/2010/100503MitchellStrawberrie.html

4 the fertilizer is use is 8-12-32, MgSO4 and CaNO3 which is all solid and i make them in to a concentrate (1gal makes 100 gal) and pump them in to the mixing tank
https://hydro-gardens.com/

5 http://www.arozone.com/en/products/diaphragm-pumps/compact-pumps/1-4-non-metallic.html


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