Hydroponics phase 2 completed

I recently concluded a couple upgrades to the hydroponics rig.


1) Conversion from constant-flow to fill-and-drain

I read various internet post about some of the benefits of fill-and-drain design over the constant-flow design. Each has its merits, but I like the idea of servicing drained planters, and managing the nutrient liquid when all liquid is in the basin. This is the case when the pump is off in a flood-and-drain system.

To implement this, I devised and deployed check valves as shown in this diagram:


Here’s a close up of a check valve:


For detailed information about this solution, see this instructable.

2) New nutrient management system

The two 5-gallon buckets I’d been using had too low a capacity in both water and flow handling. I replaced them with a 20 gallon trash can from Home Depot. For the plumbing, I constructed a rig (drawing in progress, just below) which is submerged in the can.



Altogether, much nicer to uses maintain

Phase 2 Pic


Note that the aforementioned check valves are denoted by the three yellow drawn boxes along the right edge.

Phase 3 plans

  1. Move the connective plumbing from each planters end-caps to the tops and bottoms of the planter pipes. (See first drawing way above for sample new positions.)
  2. Optimize some of the plumbing on top of the basin.
  3. Experiment with “triple layer” planter pipes to keep light out of the planter interior.

Phase 4 ideas

  1. Add an automatic water refill mechanism. (Toilet float type.) This involves getting pressurized water to system vicinity.
  2. Implement automatic nutrient testing and dosing.


Thanks for reading!

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