My HPA thread was getting way to long, so I decided to start a new one for my next experiment in hydro - Air Atomized Aeroponics, or AAA or AA depending on who you ask.
However, so far its not going to well, so this thread may be really short!
I can on;y do this if its relatively cheap. I need to replace the main pump and some other small items if I want to continue with HPA. That was going to cost me somewhere around $150.
I can get an ultra quiet air compressor for about $120 on Amazon. Everything else I need I can scavenge from my HPA build - except for the air atomizing spray nozzles.
The very few people who have been doing AAA for the last several years have all banded together to keep the nozzles they use a super secrete. They refuse to tell anyone but the members of their group anything about which ones work and which ones dont. Well, the only thing that has been said is that you’re going to have to spend $100-$300 per nozzle. They are perfectly happy to brag about how great their grows are. They are also quick to tell anyone who asks everything they are doing WRONG - except which nozzles to buy that will actually work.
Im not going to say what I think about people like that, but its not flattering.
Anyway, thats waaaay outside my budget range. I have been casually looking for cheaper AA nozzles that might work. There are a bunch on ebay for $12 to $50 that look a lot like the $$$$ ones. Most all seem to come from China. You can get the same ones on Amazon, but for more $$. The advantage to Amazon is easy returns if the nozzle doesnt work and it gets to me in under a week instead of 3 to 6 weeks. So I ordered one for $22 from Amazon that sounded like it might be worth playing with.
I decided to try the fan shape first. I think I can get halfway decent coverage of the mist with two of these - one on each side of my chamber.
The other key aspect of this nozzle is its a siphon type - at least thats the claim. More on that later. That means it will siphon the nute water from a holding tank in the root chamber. The other options all involve pressurized nute tanks or a gravity feed. Siphon is what I want.
I had major issues on my HPA grow with controlling PH, and algae growth. The PH issue was at least partly due to my well water. When ever it get agitated, stirred, aerated, shaken, or just looked at too hard, the PH goes UP. A LOT!
So, I would really really dont want to have to pump nutes from my rez into a pressurized holding tank. The pumping and pressurization will surely cause me more PH headaches.
A siphon feed will be the least disturbing to the nute mixture between the time its forst mixed and when it gets sprayed onto the roots. It will also be the simplest, most reliable in all other respects and the cheapest way to go.
So I ordered one of those nozzles and hooked it up to my very very noisy shop compressor - and it doesnt work. It refuses to siphon no matter what I do. Instead of having suction at the water inlet port, it has pressure equal to the air pressure being fed to the nozzle. Any liquid will need to be pressurized or it will never spray.
Im pretty sure they sent me the ‘pressure’ version that requires the liquid be pressurized instead of the ‘siphon’ version. So, it is on the way back to Amazon. I should have the replacement in a few days and will see if that one works.
Fortunately, I have two or three months before it cools off enough so I can start my next grow. Lots of time to experiment.