Its time! The three lucky winners are now in the chamber of…growth! I decided to start off with a positive attitude
It might have been better to wait a few more days, but Im tired of waiting and Im worried about the root health with that much algae on the perlite. Plus, Im in a show no mercy mood, so in they went. I kept the largest two plus the whirlly bird with the whorled phyllotaxy.
IIRC I think @Sebring said these Earth Lover take about 90 days from the first true leaves. Im not 100% on what a true leaf is - is that what I have now or the next set with all its fingers?
Anyway, Im calling this day 1.
Im starting out with a timing of 1.2 seconds ON x 20 seconds OFF. That should keep the roots nice and wet during the transition period while they adjust to the new environment. EC is 0.7, PH 5.8. Still running Jacks of course.
Some environmental notes for my reference.
Rez temp = 66.4F
Root chamber temp 71.7F (Im keeping it a degree or two warmer this time)
Tent temp 78 F, 47% humidity
4 PSI air.
Grow room temp - 67F
Lights 87 watts, aprox 14"
No big changes. The roots are starting to grow out from the net pots. There are fuzzy hairs, but also a good bit of smooth - which is what I want right now. I want to encourage the roots to grow down for a while so they dont immediately head for the nozzles and try to swallow them.
The babies up top look fine but are not growing much yet. This matches the pattern Ive seen before. The roots need to get established and used to the new system, then the tops will take off - hopefully!
Great job!! I just went through your first AAA thread and want to try to make a sytem. How is your pump regulated and connected to the accumulator tank? Could I connect an air compressor and use the built in pressure regulator, and then connect to an accumulator tank and solenoid with a t? And then have the other end of he solenoid connected to the air and fuel siphon valve?
I am delighted to find another person wanting to try AAA!!! Obviously, you are a person of hi intelligence, great moral fiber, outstanding character, completely dedicated, focused, and ready to give it all you’ve got no matter what. We wont dwell on the fact that you also must be willing to be a cold blooded killer of baby cannabis plants, who doesnt turn away from torture when necessary, and …an utter fool to consider trying this technique
Welcome to the club!!! Its not a big club, but now its growing
I have to warn you though - if you turn out to be obsessively neat and/or organized, you might get banned, but pretty much anything else goes!
Here is a pic of how my compressor is connected to the rest of the system. Its basically exactly as you say.
On the far right is the main pressure gauge for the built in tank.
Moveing left, the next thing is the pressure cut-off switch - the black box. That switch controls when the compressor kicks ON and shuts OFF - the hi and low pressure limits of the compressor. It also has the safety pressure relief valve and the master ON/OFF switch. You will want to change the settings on the pressure switch so that the compressor turns ON at the lowest possible air pressure, and cuts OFF at the highest safe pressure. Dont exceed the mfg ratings.
Normally, these are set to turn ON at maybe 80 PSI or so and cut off around 100. I have mine set as far as it would go so it turns ON at around 50 PSI and OFF at near 100. Thats the widest range I can get from this switch. More is better in this case as far as the range from hi to low. Wider range makes for fewer ON/OFF cycles and more time between cycles.
Next is the pressure regulator. This sets the air pressure that feeds into the rest of the system. You probably wont want touse the one that comes with the compressor. The regulators that come with most compressors dont work well at all at very low pressures. I have mine turned UP as hi as it will go. In this case, around 100 PSI again.
Then the air goes into a T that feeds off to my accumulator tank and one leg goes to the air solenoids. If your compressor has a large enough tank, you may not need an extra air tank. The extra tank does two things. It allows for more time between the compressor cycling, but it also means the compressor will run longer when it does kick ON.
My compressor only came with a 1 gallon builtin tank, so I added the extra 5 gallon accumulator tank.
That schematic does not show the second regulator I am using to set the final 4 to 8 PSI that the nozzles like.
I also have 200 mesh filters in the air and water lines. The one in the air line is to protect the solenoids from dirt, etc causing them to leak. The one in the water line is to keep crap out of the float valve in the siphon tank. if it stuck in either position that would be bad.
Now it your turn. Tell me about your plans for your setup. Im especially interested in what you plan for a root chamber. I happen to think thats the single most important part of the system.
Thanks for the help! I am definitely getting a clearer understanding. I am going to need some adaptors from the compressor and tank to quick connect fittings. What size accumulator tank do you recommend? For each root chamber, I want to use a 55 gallon water reservoir standing vertically, covered with insulation, and equippied with drainage. I am still deciding on where the sprayers will go. I want to use 3 or 4 delavan nozzles per chamber. I have a 4x4 space to use for everything.
What size air tank you need will depend on the compressor you are using, and the total number of nozzles, and the size of the root chambers.
My root chamber is close to 55 gallons, so your looking at a system 4 times the size of mine.
Im not clear on some of the details though - are you wanting to put all 4 drums in that 4x4 space? What size are your drums?
Some things you will want to think about…
You will need/want to be able to reach into all the root chambers, so good access from all sides will be important. This has been my single biggest problem. I just dont have a large enough grow room. You will need to clear roots away from nozzles, as well as just look to see how its going. You may also need to get in there to service a nozzle or fix a leak, trim roots, etc. Think about what its going to be like trying to do those things after the plants are half way up to the lights and nothing can be moved…
Next - and very very important - is heat. You need to be able to control temps in the root zone very precisely. Too cold and growth slows down. Too warm and you get root rot. Large swings either way and you get stress. The ideal temp is right around 68-72 F. If your drums are inside the grow tent, NO amount of insulation will keep them cool enough.
If you look at my drawing again, you will see that the root chamber is OUTSIDE (actually below) the grow space or tent. The temp averages in the upper 70’s to low 80’s in my tent when lights are on, and low 70’s when off - which is where you generally want it to be for the plants - BUT - thats way too hot for the roots. The spare room Im growing in varies from the low 80’s in summer to the low 60’s in winter.
My root chamber is actually an over sized fabric pot. The fabric does two critical things for the roots. First, it breaths, which allows fresh air to get to the root zone. This isnt really critical with AAA as you are blowing in fresh air every time the nozzles fire, but that ability to breath also allows the chamber to be cooled by evaporative cooling in the summer months.
All that mist collects in the fabric, and when it evaporates, it lowers the temps inside the root chamber by around 7 to 10 degrees on average. The cooling is so effective, I actually have to have a heater to keep the root zone warm enough unless its really warm in the main room.
Right now, my room temp is 67 deg F. The tent is at 82F and the roots are at 70.9F and cooling down. The heater just shut off. It will kick on again when the temps drop to 68F.
Your drums will not provide any similar cooling. Any heat that gets in will stay inside. In fact, if you insulate them, they will just warm up and stay at or above what ever the grow room temp is.
You can try cooling the rez, but then you will be trying to spray cold water onto hot roots = stress. Plus, by the time the water gets to the nozzles, it will already be warmed up to the same grow room temps, so chillers wont help either.
The root zone really needs to be outside the grow space the plants are in - or separated from it enough so they can be at very different temps.
Some people dont believe this, but putting an ice chest inside a warm oven is not a good way to keep your beer cold Insulation only slows down the transfer of heat - it does NOT stop it. If your drum is sitting in a room that is at 78 deg F, then the inside will get to 78F at a minimum. Any radiant heating effects may drive it up even more.
I had another thought but the new hash I just sampled is kicking in and I lost it…
I am really stoned, but I remembered what I forgot to mention - I used 1/4" tubing and fittings for most of the air system. Id recommend you go at least 3/8" for better flow. I was seeing pressure drops with the 1/4". You might even want to go with 1/2" from the compressor to a 4 way manifold, then drop down to 3/8" to each drum. You could then go 1/4" to each nozzle, but Id still stay with 3/8". Its not much more $$ and has a much larger cross section/flow rate.
Thanks for the line information, I will go for larger air lines. I want to use two 55 gallon chambers for the 4x4 space(two plants) so 6-8 nozzles total. They will be vertical standing reservoir tanks with the lids drilled with netpot holes. I was thinking about using another tee to attach two solenoids to the air line. Each solenoid would control the sprayers for one chamber. The sprayers would be fed from one or multiple siphon tanks. With the root temperature issue, I will either spray 64 degree water or cut off the bottoms of the chambers and replace with air pot fabric. I will need to study this problem more because I did not think about it initially. Currently winter is such that I may need heaters to reach the proper temperature.
Thanks for the help! I feel ready to experiment, and if I lose a crop, at least I will learn a lot!
food for thought: if you had space for a volume tank, you could also add that to your air tank setup/supply so that you add to your volume at the same PSI as the main tank you had before thus having even less on/off run times of compressor. You could also buy a separate pressure switch that can go to a wider range of PSIs (grainger is my bestest friend irl); swap out the current pressure switch you have with non-factory one.
Ah, that gives me a better picture of what you intend to do. I hope the following makes sense - I just took some of @ReikoX Ghost toof stuff and its kicking in hard
I think I need to go over the root chamber details a little more for you. The info is scattered all around, so I will try to put it all together here.
The roots need to stay cool relative to the plants - 68-70F ±
They also need to be protected from drafts and light. So, the chamber needs to be light proof and protected from air leaks during the OFF times. Any air leaks or drafts (around net pots, any openings, access hatches, etc) will disperse the mist much faster, and lower its normal hang time. They can also trigger air pruning. At the same time, the air from the nozzles needs to have easy way to exit the chamber or you build up pressure and might pop a net pot out or cause some other issue.
So, light leaks, air leaks and cooling/heating are the three main issues.
If you just cut off the bottom of the drums, and add fabric pots, that section will need to be enclosed to protect from light - the fabric pots let a lot of light through.
Is there any way you can separate the growing zone - where the plants are - from the root zone? Just cutting off the bottom of the drums to add fabric wont really solve the heat problem or light problem all by itself.
Its not real clear in my drawings, but I have two completely isolated zones. The plants are in the tent which sits on top of my work bench. The bench top is covered in a layer of 1" foam. In the center of the tent, I cut a 24" hole all the way through the table top and the foam. The fabric pot is in that hole and hangs under the bench top and extends down almost all the way to the floor. I have a catch basin under the pot to collect runoff.
So, my plants are growing in a normal tent that allows them to stay in the hi 70’s to low 80’s at all times.
The root chamber is OUTSIDE of the tent and only has to deal with the normal room temps in my spare room - low 60’s winter to mid 80’s in summer.
You need the two zones isolated as far as heating/cooling because there will be times when you are heating the plant zone, but need to cool the root zone, and vice versa. Plus, there is the light and draft issue.
As I said before, you cant really control temps if the root zone is inside the grwo space. I dont think its a good idea to try spraying cold water on the roots either. That will cool the roots down very well - probably too well. I think it would be kind of shocking to have 60 deg cold water sprayed on you when they really want to be at 70F to grow well. They will be much happier if the environment is more uniform and NOT going from 70 deg air to 60 deg shocking cold water, then back to 70 deg air.
Some other details that you may have missed is that the area under my work bench is completely enclosed by more of that 1" foam insulation. The enclosure isnt perfectly air tight though. I want it to breath, so I left gaps here and there - low and hi - so that fresh air circulates through. Thats important for the evaporative cooling to work best and aeration. Its also a VERY damp area and I dont want anaerobic bacteria growing. Every time the heater kicks ON, it heats the air, which exits through the upper holes and fresh gets drawn in through the lower ones. These gaps/holes are all positioned and baffled so that little to no light gets inside.
So I have a fabric chamber inside a foam box with a heater and some holes in it.
The evaporative cooling will only work if the temp and humidity is lower on the outside of the chamber than it is inside the chamber. The mist gets the fabric wet, but the humidity inside the chamber is at or above 100% at all times, so the only place the water can evaporate to is outside. As that water evaporates, it carries away heat from the inside of the chamber.
BUT - if the temp is too hi outside, no heat is transferred and it stays hot inside. The water will evaporate as long as the humidity is low enough, but the heat loss is balanced or negated by the heat going back in from the hi temp outside. Its like trying to run an air conditioner while the heater is on - net result is not good.
Long story to say that if there is any way you can separate the grow zone from the root zone, it will work much better. It might even work if you can just enclose the fabric pots in a box, then feed in cool air from outside the grow space. You will want to regulate the air flow and the heater from an Inkbird type controller that can switch a fan and heater ON/OFF as needed.
Just the foam box by itself wont work if its completely inside the grow zone. You need to be able to get that heat out of the space.
Thats pretty much exactly what we have been talking about. The accumulator tank in this case is really just an additional air storage reservoir.
If you can find a pressure switch with a wider ‘spread’ from cut ON to cut OFF pressure, that might be a good idea. We only need maybe 10 PSI feeding to the final regulator, so its perfectly fine to let the main storage tank run down to much lower pressures before it kicks ON again. That will reduce how often the compressor runs. The trade off is that it will then run longer to fill the tanks back up. I chose not to do that mainly because of budget. I spent the money on a lower pressure regulator so I had fine control of the final feed to the nozzles. Most air regulators dont have fine control down at 5 PSI.
Ive been thinking I will see if I can make space to plumb in my other (very loud) air compressor as a back up. The plan will be to plumb it in so that the 5 gallon tank on the other compressor is always connected to the system. That will almost double the available air storage. I will leave that compressor OFF unless the quiet compressor fails. That way I will have a back up while I repair or replace the quiet compressor if it has an issue.
Ideally, I would use a pressure switch to automate the switch over if pressure drops below a certain level. Im still debating how to do that. I think I need some sort of latching pressure switch, but Im trying to think of a simpler way that is still reliable.
The problem is space. I need to figure out how to fit 110 pounds of crap into the 80 pound box that is my spare room
almost forgot - thats a good idea. Ive also been thinking it would be good to have more than one siphon tank incase one of the float valves plugs up or sticks. It would be nice to also have a water level sensor, and/or alarm, but thats outside my budget range for now.