Let’s talk (hydro) automation


#1

I’m encroaching my second week of flower on my first batch of babies. As much as I love the process of tending to the little guys, what I’ve come to realize is that this whole process could probably be made a lot lower maintenance if you’re okay with spending a little money and time upfront.

I come from the world of aquariums and vivariums. In this world, the idea is to have as much of the maintenance be handled through automation (whether biological or mechanical). I’ve noticed that a lot of the same principles could, in theory, be implemented into hydro growing.

Automatic pH controllers would make our daily struggle with pH a lot more manageable. Auto top-off mechanisms would make water evaporation, nutrient depletion, and root rot a thing of the past by bringing pH’d nutrient solution into the system from a reservoir and maintaining the water at a desired height.

A lot of this would probably require a RDWC system or for multiple plants to be in a larger DWC reservoir instead of individual buckets, but in the end it may be worth it to ensure a pure and consistent grow that can be easily modified and maintained.

The concept is really as simple as our humidifiers, heaters, light timers, etc. Set it and just check in to make sure it’s still working.

Does anyone take advantage of systems like this? If so, could you talk about your experience? If not, could we talk about why not or how we could?

Best,
Mark


#2

@merlin44 does. Although most of the components he uses would be out of reach for most. Both in cost and getting setup properly, would require an industrial electrical background and a few jr college courses bare minimum.

There are certainly more greenhouse specific choices that are easier to use. But I’m not sure if anyone using them.


#3

Your reasons are exactly why I started using hydroponics. I still appreciate growing in soil but I do it on just a much smaller scale right now. I’ll probably start a grow journal pretty soon but I just invested in a flo n gro riptide system. If you look up Current Culture H2O it literally uses their same components but at 1/3 of the price. The only thing I can tell is actually different is the slightly different net pots. I can’t post links that aren’t from amazon so I’ll just say google “flo n gro riptide”. I just check my ppm and ph daily but other than that it’s a res change every 2 weeks and the system is basically fully automated.


#4

There is a platform on ledgardener forums in the work called Kiasmos that I think is adapted toward automation. I havent checked on it in awhile. But when I last seen it was doing well.


#5

I have a General Hydroponics DWC bucket and controller/reservoir system. Inexpensive. About 20 gallons. Uses a float valve to maintain water level. Perfect for SCRoG. Perfect for 7-10 day trips from home. Not sure on the PH device. I have kept soft coral tanks before and always set my PH manually. Trust issues. I am curious how those work…


#6

Thanks for the tag @dbrn32.
I use industrial automation equipment to control my small grow operation. I am only partially automated because the expense of taking it to the level that you suggest @Sirmark is prohibitive for me, as a personal grower. I only use the automation equipment that I have because it was free and I already have the ability to wire it and program it.