Main Cabinet Evolution

Here is my main grow cabinet, shown just after receiving a bunch of work. This pic is about 60 days old, & was taken the first day that I put it back into action. I’ve made a few more changes & adjustments since then, but here is how it was when I started using it after performing most of the upgrades:

It’s a built-in closet with internal dimensions of 24" deep, 28" wide, & 84" high. Very similar to my old Mills Pride C-13, but with more head-room. I’ve grown in this space a number of times before, & there were some issues that I wanted to address. Some of the main improvements shown here are as follows:
-Added 1/2" R3 foamboard insulation to everything but the door.
-Added 250w electric panel heater to door.
-Relocated charcoal filter & fan from front left corner, to just below the ceiling. Fan is moved out of the cab & into the adjoining storage cab.
-Removed existing shelf near top of grow space to make room for charcoal filter.
-Caulked seams, applied fresh latex sealing primer & flat white latex ceiling paint.
-Upgraded to LED light from HID light. ( Ignore the pink insulation “stilts” on the light, I accidentally installed the eyehooks in the ceiling a half-inch off-center to the left, & am pushing it over with the “stilts” to center it, until these plants are done. I will probably do slider rails in the same style as my mini cab, instead of single eye-hooks, when I re-do it.)
-Upgraded to thermostatically-controlled day/night fan controller (had been using a dial-a-temp), added the DIY humidifier & controller, oscillating fan below the canopy, upgraded the surge protector, upgraded from mechanical to digital timers, added two bluetooth thermometer/hydrometers - one near the canopy, one near the ceiling.
-Added a new 5-gallon bucket setup, each with an internal aerated circulation pump & also a 10" air bubble stick going across the bottom. Old setup was a 4 gallon tote with just the aerated circ. pump. (Note- this cab is best at running one bucket & one plant, but I want to test these new buckets out, & I want to try some training techniques & had some other reasons to run two buckets & four plants anyway. In the future I’ll do one-plant/one-bucket with the 5-gallon, & I also found a 7.5 gallon tote that I want to try.)

Original air intake filter/ light-trap, unchanged:

Original Vortex VTX400 in new location:

Original lights on stand-by:

Pump & manifold for air bubble wands :

Controller & plugs for DIY humidifier. Still need to vac those leaves out of there :

These plants spent too long in 4" nursery pots in my veg cab as I was working on this cab, & were root-bound & a bit nute-locked by the time it was ready. I unraveled the roots & pruned ~75% of the roots off when moving them into the net pots. The one in the front left had really fine roots, & more than I wanted just tore off as I was attempting to unravel them to prune them, so she got a little shocked & clamped down for about 5 days. I wanted to try some LST training clips, so I ordered some, & made my own out of plastic until they showed up.


looks good to me

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Thank you!

A couple days later, I installed my ‘new’ larger screen.

This screen is cobbled together from a couple other frames, & consists of pieces of my original frame that I’ve been using since my first grow years ago. I was originally able to move it straight from my C-13 into this space with no mods, & it fit perfectly. Now I had to reduce the width by 1" after adding the insulation. I was also able to increase the depth by about 6", since my filter was no longer in the front corner. So even though I lost a bit of overall box footprint due to adding the insulation, I gained a lot of screen space by moving the filter. The old screen size actually worked pretty well with the HID light due to its footprint having a sharp cutoff beyond 18" front-to-back anyway. The new LED has better overall coverage, so hopefully it can utilize the bigger screen. Fresh wire screen was installed, once I had cobbled together the bigger frame.
I also moved both of my sensor wires to a single hanging cable, just to clean things up a little bit. I’m still fiddling around with sensor placement to this day, so you’ll see them occasionally moving around in the pics.
The oscillating fan was moved to the ‘empty paint can stand’, & the humidifier moved to the ‘stack of insulation stand’.

The light is set to 25% power on the veg channel, pulling about 40w from the wall, & the plants are seeing around 400 ppfd (iirc) at the height in these pics.

I had topped these plants when installing my home-made LST clips, & I figured I’d use the screen to do some ‘top-down’ LST training:

About five days into running this cab, I raised the light & turned up the veg spectrum power to 50% (light pulled 80w from the wall). I maintained around the same ppfd, but with more even coverage.

I also replaced the bungee cord with a chain to hang the carbon filter, & added a 4" A/C axial fan & triac speed controller, as I noticed a ‘big’ difference in heat & humidity between the top & canopy levels of the cabinet. Due to the springtime ambient conditions at the time & the fact that the light was turned down & not making a bunch of heat, & the exhaust fan was not running very often, the box was actually running cooler & more humid at the top compared to the canopy-level, & a couple times when it got cool at night, it hit the dew-point at the top of the cab & I would get some condensation starting to build up on the screws holding the insulation to the walls (thermal bridging - the rear & right walls of my cab are exterior walls). The fan helped a little with the humidity build-up, but setting my humidifier control to a drier target helped the most, if I knew it was going to be a warm day/ cool night type of deal. The fan does help to even out temps & humidity from top to bottom, so it stayed. Once this grow is done, I’ll go back in there & make some sort of proper stand or hanger for it. It looks a little janky right now, but it is safe & good enough for now.


Four days later & my LST clips arrived, so I installed them. Also started to prune a bit. Accidentally broke a branch off a couple days earlier, oops.

Checked my notes & just to correct myself, the plants were seeing 330 ppfd with the light lowered & set to 25% power. Then when I raised it & turned it up to 50%, they were seeing 400ppfd.

Three days later:

Day after that:

I’ve never pruned this aggressively before. But this should help me to see what I am doing & to get everything to the screen at around the same time.
I also raised the net pots out of the holes & pruned off all of the roots hanging further than an inch below the bottoms of the pots.

Five days later & nearly all of the main tops have reached the screen. I adjusted the light to 12" above the frame & increased the power to 75% on the veg spectrum. I also made sunshields for the temp sensor for my fan controller & the Thermpro bluetooth thermostat/ hydrometer sender. Probably should add one to the humidifier controller sensor too.

Also one thing I forgot to point out in my last post was that I had removed the LST clips at that time, only because it was time to remove them. Also you can see how the trunks grew differently around my two different styles of DIY clips. The ones in the back were made from plastic shaped like a C-channel, & the trunks stayed in the channel & are more narrow. The ones up front were ‘flat-C’ shapes that I made out of pvc pipe, & the trunks were able to grow out more.

Nearly the same pic as above, but around 12 hours later. I wanted to see the whole screen, so I could make a plan.

Plant placement isn’t ideal. They are set a little far back due to space limitations, but I saw that ahead of time & am not too worried.
SCROG plan:

With the light at 75% veg spectrum power & 12" above the screen, I took a rough edge-to-edge PAR map at screen height, with the door closed :
375 500 545 530 410
480 650 666 650 490
365 475 536 475 365
Also I don’t think I noted it, but I run 24/0 in veg.

Another four days & it started to need regular pruning. Res were changed a day earlier & PPM was raised by 30%, so the leaves were reacting a little, no worries:

I kept training & pruning for the next five days to get to here:

These next few are five thru seven days later, getting ready to flip:

I also cleaned up the humidity sensor wiring & moved the sensor to see how it would work in a different spot, & added an oscillating fan to the wall. The fan looked like a piece of junk so I bought one to try, & if it seemed like it was going to be OK, I’d get another for the other side. It’s powered through a USB 5V DC + 120v AC power wart, which is plugged into one of the cycle timers. I have the oscillating fan under the canopy running off of the wart also.

The light has been plugged into the other timer in preparation for the first dark period. It is still at 75% veg spectrum only, pulling 120w at the plug. This is too dim for enough dli at 12/12, but there was some uncharacteristically warm weather approaching, & I was behind on my air conditioner situation for a few days.

After four or five days into flowering, I realized that the humidifier could be turned off/ removed. In its place I added a second oscillating fan below the canopy. I also went with a second oscillating ‘wall’ fan. All oscillating fans are plugged into the wart on the cycle timer.

At six days into flowering, my A/C situation was rectified & the heat-wave was down anyway, so I turned up the veg spectrum to 100%, & according to my notes I set the light height to 14 3/4 inches above the canopy, & my PPFD in the center was 777. At 100% veg spectrum, the light was pulling 160w from the plug.

A week into flowering (the next day), I turned on the bloom spectrum & set it to 25%. This added 15 watts to the lights draw, IIRC.

A couple days later & I turned up the bloom spectrum to 50% (light is now drawing 190w). This is a little early for 50% bloom spectrum according to the light manufacturer (they suggest going to 50% at the start of the second week of 12/12), but I felt like I needed a little more PPFD.

Also, I added some vent-holes to the sunshade on my Thermpro bluetooth.

Oops this should say third week & not second week.
Here is how the manufacturer suggests implementing their bloom spectrum:
Week 1 (of flowering) 0%, Wk2/3 25%, Wk3/4 50%, Wk5/6 75% Wk 7/8 100%
I started ramping it up to 50% a little earlier, at the risk of exacerbating stretch.

Anyway, here they are after two weeks of flowering & a res change to start setting the nutes to a flowering ratio.

Here they are five days later:

I’d been having some gnats & other bugs flying around in there, hiding & munching on my leaves, so I added the yellow stickies. Luckily they stayed out of the roots thanks to SM-90. Gnat source turned out to be the soil of a houseplant in the room, so I treated the houseplant directly with skeeter dust.