Author Topic: So I built this thing.  (Read 5532 times)

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Offline Chino

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Re: So I built this thing.
« Reply #140 on: December 07, 2017, 01:24:34 PM »
So what kind of rotation are you running? How often do you have to flush each of those trays?

Scheduling would be 100% dependent on the customer's needs. My planting and harvesting schedule would revolve around how much they wanted and how often. That's the beauty of hydro. I can set up the system to have a fresh harvest every morning if I wanted to rather than having to do a monster batch dictated by the seasons outdoors.

Flushing (cleaning?) out the trays is easy. The water is constantly cycling through them, so they stay pretty clean. You may have noticed in some of my images that there are cardboard squares covering a bunch of the holes. Those are there to prevent light leak. If the insides of the channels are exposed to light while water is flowing, you will have algae buildup. As long as you prevent that from happening, you can go weeks between cleanings. When they do require cleaning, it's simple after harvesting all the lettuce in a given channel. Just shut off the valves to that channel, wipe it down with a paper towel, spray it down with some alcohol to sanitize it, wipe it down again, and wait for the residual alcohol to evaporate. You can have the channel up and running again in less than 10 minutes.

The water reservoir is a different story. First off, there are the pumps. The original design had a single pump controlling the flow of the entire system. I did away with that and designed my own pump system that utilizes two 1000gph pumps working together. When it's time to clean out a pump (once every 6 weeks or so), I can remove one while the other keeps all the water flowing. It allows me to have near 100% uptime rather than having to shut the system down just to clean the pump.

When it comes time to clean the reservoir, that's when things can get tricky. I modified the original design to allow me to trap whatever water is currently in the channels. When the time comes, I can shut down the pumps and prevent whatever water is in the system from exiting. This gives me a window to empty the reservoir and clean it without depriving the crop of water. I kept the original pump that came with the system that was left over and I built a machine that can empty the 115 gallon reservoir in less than 5 minutes. Once it's empty I just wipe everything down and clean it just like the channels. If I'm really hustling, I can get the reservoir emptied, cleaned, and refilled in about a half hour.
So you're not putting any nutrients in the water then? I was thinking in terms of having to flush them once the PH got all mucked up and the nutrient balance was no longer sustainable. That can be a real juggling act. If you're only having to deal with algae blooms then it's going to be a whole lot simpler.

Oh, yeah. I am using nutrients. So far though, maintaining pH really hasn't been an issue. It's checked daily. It's pretty easy to regulate and adjust if need be. It's far easier in the hydroponic setup than any soil grow I've done.

Offline bosk1

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Re: So I built this thing.
« Reply #141 on: December 11, 2017, 12:25:06 PM »
I can see the pic.  I'm really confused that you aren't Black.
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