@dbrn32, that is exactly correct but the overhead for keeping the sensors calibrated and all that goes with that, along with cost makes it not likely for me. The programming is trivial, as you point out.
Ya, I definitely think it’s cool but too rich for my blood.
@dbrn32, I wish some equipment manufacturer would provide the instrumentation and I would go crazy with this!
Automation is not just a job, it is a real blast! So why not apply it to this new hobby.
If anyone has some ideas to try or want help doing something like this for their own fun, let me know.
Just be ready to spend $$$ for any significant automation effort.
There are some very low end PLC’s out there that might work but many of them lack the analog inputs required which means that the instrumentation will cost more and you have less flexibility in how you program the system
You can use a pomp for each pot, connected to a sensor to water each pot separately, this is the easiest way to do it, i guess
Or a better equipment to do something like I said above…
Just a thought
If your softener is running correctly it won’t add salt to your system.
@M4ur That would certainly work but the fewer moving parts the better and solenoid valves are much cheaper than pumps. A single pump supplying a manifold with a valve for each plant is what I have envisioned. Excellent thoughts. The sensor sends a zero to 3 volt signal to the processor, that signal value is inversely proportional to the moisture level in the soil. My tests have shown that soil that is saturated with water results in 1.2 vdc and soil that is ready for water is about 1.8 vdc.
RO and distilled water move very easily so added to your media it would get pulled down to your media’s ph very quickly. The more solids, the harder it is to move as we’ve all seen.
@Myfriendis410, it doesn’t add salt per se, it does result in elevated sodium levels in the water, however. There are folks that claim that the increased sodium is bad for most “fresh water” plants. There is about a 10% difference in EC from the treated vs untreated water. No detectable taste or anything. The ion exchange process is where the sodium comes from.
Yep… That will work better but you need to know a few things so that I said easiest way
RO or distilled water has no salts in it to buffer the pH, so it will start around 7.0 but soak up CO2 from the atmosphere and get more acidic. If you kept it in an airtight container it would not change. Adding a tiny bit of acid or base will change the pH a lot. Tap water (particularly Colorado River water or well water) has tons of salts in it that buffer the pH a lot. Won’t change much from dissolved carbonic acid. You have to add a lot of acid or base to change the pH. I use Colorado River water and have to add a teaspoon of standard food grade vinegar per gallon to get it down to 5.8.
The other thing you could do with automated watering is just use recirculated nutes in coco coir. Then you just pump it into the pots once a day and collect the runoff to recirculate. You don’t have to worry about over-watering or individual dampness sensing because excess nute solution just drips out the bottom of the pot. Very easy to use a standard cheapo timer to turn on the pump right when the light comes on.
If you use advanced nutrients ph perfect line you will not need to ph the water and that will or should solve your problem @merlin44 should eliminate all the over thinking
Thanks for the post, I will look into that @WillyJ.
Well i was reading this and just thought about it for a minute…I use the ph perfect line and I ph nothing…if I do ph it will mess things up…I hand water but @Screwauger uses a continuous feed system and he also ph’s nothing using these nutes…and I believe for what your trying to do these nutes will be what you will want to use and would definitely be cheaper than buying sensors and keeping them calibrated and all would be more of a pain in the a$$ @merlin44
Great points all, @WillyJ. Will certainly make my system easier to maintain and deliver consistent results. I don’t want the system to any complex than necessary.
I tagged you into my thread and you can see how my grows with these nutes are going and I’m sure @Screwauger will do the same for you…he is having outstanding results and his system is autopots…
@WillyJ, I saw that, thanks. I will follow along.
Use the advanced nutrients ph perfect and enjoy your grow!
Thanks been using them results are great
@merlin44 Yes. We use the Grow and Bloom which are both 2-part, so four bottles.
I use this even though they make a coco formula it has been proven to not play nice with my hoses and hydro set up.
Some of the supplements have a shelf life. @WillyJ buys the base nutes in gallon jugs, for my small operation 2-3 plants I have been able to complete a grow on the liter sized bottles (give or take a few ML’s)