Complete design of the personal food computer (and possible alternatives of some components)


Hello :slightly_smiling_face:

I live in UAE and I’m trying to make the Personal Food Computer for a project. Right now I’m at the first stage which is acquiring all the components. I’m using the BOM found on the OpenAg GitHub page, but the problem is that I can’t find all the components on sites that ship internationally, and I don’t fully understand what everything on the BOM is for and where it goes. I checked out the CAD files, but not all of them are viewable on Autodesk Viewer, and not all the components are included. I was just wondering if there is a drawing that shows the entire Food Computer and where every component in one drawing.

Also, where can I get the LEDs listed or what other kind of LED can I substitute them with? And these are the other components I can’t seem to find:

  • Hose clamp 17/32" to 39/64" ID
  • Brass Barbed Hose Elbow, 90 Degree Angle, 0375" Hose ID, 1/2 NPT Male End
  • Rubber washer feet
  • Rubber grommets
  • Heat exchanger (this isn’t on the BOM but in the instructions on the website. Is any heat exchanger okay to use? They didn’t have any specs anywhere.)
  • KipKitt’s Chiller Compressor

As for some other components that I don’t understand where they belong:

  • 12V 300W PTC Heating Element (can I use any other 12V 300W heating pad)
  • EX120 Single Fan Radiator (if the chiller compressor is used for cooling, what is this used for? I also don’t see it anywhere in the instructions or the build video)
  • XSPC Ion Pump/reservoir combo
  • ASCS Small Active Aqua Air Stone Cylinder
  • 1/2" DC12V SS304 Motorized Valve,Electrical Ball Valve CR-02

I apologize for asking so many questions, but I’m trying to understand where everything goes and what it does before I start ordering components :persevere: I just feel like there are missing pieces in my understanding of the PFC system, and I’m trying to fill the blanks. I would be grateful for any help I get :grinning:


This might help:

Also, this thread has lots of pictures of the build and components:


Thank you :grinning: that answered a lot of my questions.

I’m currently trying to figure out what lights to use. Can any regular LED strips be enough, as long as we have enough of them in the right colors? Like for example, these are some that I can find:

I see a lot of people using grow lights, but those are hard to find here. The ones that I can find are 1m long, which can’t even fit in the PFC, so I’m trying to find alternatives :persevere:


Or something like this perhaps:


My experience with strip lights is that they don’t have enough intensity to really be of value. That being said I can’t speak to the quality of any of those specific links.

Here’s where I’ve discussed this topic previously:

There’s some good discussion going on as well on this thread if you really want to get into building your own variable spectrum lights:

I’m biased to the GE Brightstiks that we use on the $300 Food Computer (check the BOM) I think they provide an excellent solution for >$20. You won’t have the control and variable spectrum, but you’ll actually produce plants and have enough intensity!

Lastly, I just reached out and hopefully we can get some insight into what OpenAg recommends us V2 users install for lighting:


I’m going through the discussions. Although I don’t understand everything, I’m slowly learning.

Regarding the lights you used for the $300 Food Computer, I have a few questions. How much PAR does it give? (Also, do I need a PAR meter?) Is it full spectrum? Is it better to use full spectrum, or is blue and red okay? Do I need different lights for different plants, or are there specifications that work for most plants?

I know I’m asking a lot, but I’m really new to this :persevere: I’m sorry


You do not need a PAR meter ($300+) investment. Those lights generate about 265 umol of light (with mylar enclosure) at the top of the reservoir inside of the $300 PFC.

It is full spectrum.

Blue/red is ideal for energy efficiency, although the problem is they tend to be more expensive in the initial purchase. If you want to try that, look at the lights used in the V1 Food Computer.

The key thing to realize is there’s a solution that works, and then an ideal solution for each plant. I won’t pretend to know the specific light recipes that a plant desires, and if that’s the area of research you’re interested in perhaps start a thread asking for advice on that specific cultivar’s lighting requirements. There’s variance in light quantity, and light quality, for example: tomatoes require much more light than basil. They also will grow larger with blue light, and then when switched to a redder light produce larger more flavorful fruit. Lettuce, since it doesn’t fruit, is content with just a full spectrum light, and will grow just fine, even if’s not “ideal”.

If you want to get started growing with very little capital investment, I suggest full spectrum COB’s.

You can always improve from there and will have spent less than $20, compared to some grow lights that can cost thousands of dollars.