Phototron If you are interested in pot this is a must read

I just wanted to give anyone who is interested in pot to get a chance to read this. It is very interesting and I can attest that this was for real. I only got one grow out of mine because of where i was in my life at the time. I really wish I could get one of these now.


I read thru the whole thing and think it would be good background reading for anyone who is interested in pot. I think this is very early in the phototron’s life cycle as when i had mine you didn’t send in stuff to him. that part was gone. but it is the same unit. But the manual that explained all about how pot grows was exceptional. I know that the people around here now do not believe what he wrote, but it is true. I had to keep temp of moss and of air in tron around 90 degrees f and that would keep it from turning male. he said that all plants are female and you can stop them from turning male by keeping the temp up. I remember this because i got an empty refrigerator shipping box to put the phototron in and cut a door in it to keep the temp up there. you started trimming when the third set of leaves showed and you took off one of the leaves to start the branch growing from the side that you didn’t take. you kept doing that the whole time and took the other leaf off from where the branch grew when the branch got to be an inch or two. I had skunk #1 and Hawaiian that i had sent to Amsterdam to get mailed into the states. When i harvested the skunk 3 months later i got two and three quarters of an ounce dried from a plant that was about about `15 inches tall. there was an eighth of an inch between nodes. and it took me less than five minutes a day to trim it. The Hawaiian took up the whole rest of the tron by the time i finished.i got 3 ounces dry but it should have gone flowering for a while yet because they were small buds and they were not ready but we were leaving on a trip to Texas and they had to be harvested. It took 4 hours every day to trim the damn Hawaiian. there was less than a half an inch between nodes on that damn plant.
Anyone who grows a sativa in a tron is a sadist or masochist or one of those things lol. I have traveled a lot for work and have smoked for 50 years. i am an old boy scout. i swear i am not exaggerating. i have never smoked or seen pot that compares to that skunk. I said earlier that there were so much trichomes on the skunk that they were balling up in pea sized balls. I backed away from that because i read up about trichomes (didn’t know to check them for harvest back then just harvested because i had to) and didn’t see how it could be that they would do what i saw, but when i see trichomes balling up in pea sized balls again then i will know that i have pot as good as i grew in the phototron. That is part of my goal in starting again and finding i can’t do phototron, trying to duplicate it or get close to it again.
this guy is not bs’ing. what he did is real. as i remember… the guy who designed the phototron did his doctoral thesis on marijuana. it doesn’t say that in the article, but the article is an anecdotal example of growing using the phototron, not about the guy who designed it per se.


Just a few corrections and observations on this guys phototron experience. (i’m going to shoot some holes in his stuff). You started off with 6 seeds or seedlings and you would keep taking out the lesser plant until you had only one plant left. I got away with two in mine because the skunk was so short, i am not kidding, the Hawaiian took up every other available space in the tron. If i had the situation to try again, i would put three skunk (or any other indica) and grow them thru flower, you would have plenty of room and would get about ten ounces every 3 months. You did not at any time top the plant. I could see the top of the skunk, but i had no idea where the top of the Hawaiian ended up even when i harvested. He said his plant was three feet tall, couldn’t be, the tron was three feet tall, but my Hawaiian could have been 15 ft tall inside there wound around ten times lol. The Phototron used three u shaped twisted florescent grow lights (twisted flor allowed 20% more light. the distance from one side to the other side was only about 15 to 18 inches if i remember right, but that was 30 years ago. I am not going to try to replicate that, but i would think that someone who was astute at growing in hydro might be able to get close to something like this.

btw, I do realize that that was then and this is now, i am reading and submerging myself in this knowledge available to me to get me back to growing good herb. I just wish that you guys were around for this back then, because even a neanderthal can grow pot in a phototron


Interesting! I’m going to have to do some googling and see what it looked like. That was an expensive unit in 1994, but I’m surprised it didn’t catch on or be duplicated later.


In reading other comments on some sites, lots of people didn’t get it to work for them… things like “Bill gave it to Jim cause he couldn’t get it to work. jim gave it to pete who couldn’t get it to work, i think it’s in john’s garage now.” I knew nothing about growing pot and was not very good at plants in the house. but i followed directions diligently and got the best pot i’ve ever smoked or seen. that is why i’m so interested in finding someone who has the original manual because of all the facts about how marijuana grows. @Loneviking btw, it cost me around 900 bucks total in late 80’s when i got mine but i bought the center light and a couple other accessories.

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Dude, I just pulled out my old Tron. It’s been in storage for 32 years. I have all the original literature, that book you were lookin g for, I have it!
I had just bought a restart kit before I put it away!
Man, was I bummed to find out the company is gone.
You are right about it being an amazing grow system. I think it was just too complicated.
Anyway, so, I have the original growing medium, the svagmum moss and the starter nutrient bottles. I have. Not yet opened those to see if they survived. But, since the labs are no longer around to support that system, I am thinking I probably want to use something else.
The question is, can I get that amazing growth without the lab services. Can I provide the nutrients on my own without the lab analysis? You seem to have done well with it. Where you able to get new budding cycles out of yours?
I haven’t done anything yet with the kit. I just pulled it out. I am going to wash it all down and get it all cleaned up.
I was thrilled to find your story on here. I look forward to hearing from you. I will be happy to scan and send you the instruction manuals if you are still interested.


howdy @Zubenal, welcome to the forums! lots of great folks on this site with a wide range of knowledge. we are not allowed to give each other our personal data on this site so you won’t be able to send me a copy of the manual. what you could do is start your own thread and copy and paste each page. you might have the same manual that i had but i honestly doubt it. when i had the phototron you did not send them anything to check. i have seen three different manuals from the phototron in the last two years and none of them were the one that i had. the way i can tell that it is the same is that there were bad hand drawings to show where to trim off sun leaves to get the branch to sprout out the other side of the stem. i did not get new budding cycles out because i only did one grow in the tron and had to cut even that one short because of going on a trip with the family. the manual that i had was not so much complicated as specific. i followed their instructions exactly and that is why it worked well for me. if in your manual it says that you have to send them in a sample then it is not the same manual because that was not in the manual that i had. but yes, you can grow pot as fast as that was grown just by doing hydroponics. i do not grow hydro because i am growing for quality and taste and have been told that if you want the best taste then you need to grow in soil. seeing the pics on this site it is amazing how fast and how healthy hydro plants are. if you are new to growing be aware that hydro is a “right away” responder to whatever happens to the plant. if you over nute your plants in hydro you will see it right away whereas with soil it takes a while for problems to show. i don’t know what they were checking when you sent your stuff to the lab, if you have the manual that says what it was that they were checking i’m sure someone on here could help you figure out a way to do that part yourself. there are some real great growers on here. i’m not one of them yet but i’m learning lol. if you want to use the tron you probably could but i suspect that the nutes will not be any good anymore, 30 years is a long time for shelf life. i paid about 1200 dollars for mine back in the late 80’s but i bought the extra light and all the whistles and buzzers lol. can you imagine what that would cost in todays dollars ? lol if you are serious about growing pot and want to try to get the tron up and running it would be neat to hear about your new experiences with it but you don’t have to do it that way to grow great pot. here is a link to my 4th grow if you are interested
Monk’s 4th: 3 chem dog and 3 gorilla glue… oops it’s not a link, just the title of the grow. it is in beginners grow journals and search for it in there. i would suggest to you to read thru the forums and find a strategy to use for your grow now. one thing i will say about growing pot now is that the most important thing is the lights. do not buy any lights without talking to @dbrn32 . he is the on site lighting guru here and he really knows his stuff… i look forward to seeing what you got going on and any help i can give i will! good luck and happy growing!

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I am thrilled to hear back from you. I was excited to see your journal on trying to use the Tron.
Yea, the system I bought into was where Demarco had created a “fool proof” grow system where he had it totally monitored. He knew the chemistry of the start materials, including the grow medium, and he sent the nutrients. So, he put the system in my hands to get it going. My job was to notate carefully (Ill post the logs they sent for me to keep. which as a stoner I didn’t keep) and my job was to send in two samples. The fist one was on day 30 i think. They analyzed what was sent back and since they knew exactly what was started with and they then saw what was being consumed they could send back a formula specifically for whatever I was growing. The next sample would be the one that was from an established grow and they could determine again, what was being consumed, and they send back a two year supply of nutrients.
It was a super controlled scientific set up. One of the instruction books, on the back page there is drawing of a tron with plants coming out of it saying, “If the plants could send in the samples they would”.
Im blown away by what you report because the documentation I have makes it pretty clear that this was what Demarco was trying to put together, and yours, an early version, he was not setting up this way. This tells me that I dont need his labs. I am encouraged.
Mine is a Phototron II. I purchased it in 1990.
My scanner is not working right now. As soon as I get it up I will post some of the documentation. I was smart enough to keep everything. There is some cool stuff here.
I want to use the Tron for two reasons. One, I have it. Two, it does fit nicely in the house. It is there and it is convenient. I am not out to do commercial growing. I would love to be able to get what Demarco had tried to get mine to do, that is, to produce a Bud harvest, then revert back to growing then bud it out again. It was suppose to do this over and over pretty much indefinitely. And, each harvest would produce more and better bud! A heady promise.
Like I said before, I suspect it fell apart because it was, as simple as it was, it was complicated, especially for a stoner!!!LOL
Thanks for your suggestions. I will start my own thread. (I am going through a horrible family crisis. My youngest brother 55, had a massive stroke. He was healthy, vibrant an amazing soul. He had a bicycle tour company in Tuscany. This is all happening in the last couple of days, so…I am distracted. I am working on hatching a plan to sneak into Italy, so. this project, while I am super excited about it, is going to be a slow start.

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slow is better, just comparing to the rest of life! i don’t think your’s is the same that i dealt, but it doesn’t make it wrong! i am so sorry to hear about your bro, but life is what llife is. no matter where you are life is what it is! too bad the dumbass’'s who run both our countries don’t get it… keep on keeping on!

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I never got very good production from one. Crops were ok. Buds were way to fluffy. If you just want an 1oz or 2 it may have been worth it. I liked them they were ok for the time. The idea was great. Just didn’t produce what I needed. Now days with the LED set-ups as good as they are. Hang a little hlg-100 rspec it would probably be better now.

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yea, now i have seen 4 different manuals and none are the one i had

So, I am really curious about how you where instructed to set it up and then add nutrients.
Did you use the sphagmum moss?
What do you use now?
I am kind of leaning to do the grow hydroponic.
I will get that manual scanned. I’ve had a lot on my plate, including scan software that won’t work. That’s been driving me nuts for a week.
Then, there is my brother I told you about. He remains in a deep coma. Ugh.

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prayers for your brother bud! don’t bother scanning the manual, it is not the one i want. the spagnum moss was still a part of it. the manual that i had gave specific instructions for everything. and i followed it exactly and it worked great. i had skunk #1 and hawaiian in mine and the skunk was about a foot tall and weighed about 2 and a half ounces when i harvested. it had pea sized balls of trichomes on it and took me 5 minutes to take off the leaves that i was supposed to trim each day. the hawaiian took up the whole rest of the inside of the tron and took me 4 hours a day to remove leaves. the hawaiian didn’t get to proper finish because i had to shutdown the tron as we were going on a 2 week vacation. at that time i didn’t know about amber trichomes and when to properly harvest but the skunk was incredible.

i grow in super soil because i want the taste and flavor. plants respond slower in soil than in water. if you are going to grow hydro then you have to be on top of things because the plants respond real fast to anything done when in water.

One reason I am leaning to water is because it is my impression that its easier, once your set up. I came across a guy PhilCuisine who is doing great with water in the Troy.

I was concerned that since the lab is no longer available could I get a killer grow in the tron, in the moss.

I like your mantra, Slower is better.

So, when the transfer first came out you were on your own to grow. Did they supply soil? I bet they supplied nutrients. I suspect the provided a decent grow guide.

Yea, the water grow is probably how im going to grow.

Do you have trouble getting or keeping females?

Does keeping everything at 90 degrees keep them female?

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i get all my seeds from ILGM. and i only grow fem seeds because i’m growing in tents and don’t want to waste time with reg seeds.

the phototron came with the moss and nutrients, two kinds, one for veg and one for flowering. manual was very specific and i put my tron in an empty refrigerator box so that i could keep the heat up at 90 degrees. the folks here say that that temp is too high and one of my tents runs at about 79f and the quantum board tent runs at about 70. i have not had a single male running feminized seeds.