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Thread: DIY Reverse Osmosis - For Small Scale Grower - Cheap, Portable, & Effective

  1. #1
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    DIY Reverse Osmosis - For Small Scale Grower - Cheap, Portable, & Effective

    thanks pipedream
    OK, so before the flames start to roar, I admit it. Itís not a true R.O. unit. However, if you are taking the time to check out this post, then it might be just right for you. So hereís the storyÖ

    I often felt that I was caught between two worlds. The world of the micro-grower, who buys a gallon of distilled water from time-to-time, and that of the serious farmer who relies on a steady supply of good water and often uses a true Reverse Osmosis filtration system to provide it. If youíre familiar with my set-up, you know that I run 6 very small bubblers in a continual staggered harvest. As such, I really need decent water, but not all that much. Additionally, because of health issues, it is often difficult for me to drag home several gallons at a time from the store. The cost of an R.O. system, compounded with its installation, storage, and upkeep really wasnít warranted. However, who wants to pay a buck a gallon to buy water? Not me for sure.

    Now donít get me wrong, a true R.O. system is fantastic. When working properly, it not only removes all suspended and dissolved solids from the water, but it also eliminates many pathogens. The fact of the matter is I really donít worry about the pathogens. Why would I worry about sterilizing my water when Iím just going to pour it into a reservoir or planting medium thatís exposed to the open-air on a full-time basis? Iím more concerned with eliminating the suspended and dissolved minerals so that when I add my own salts, I know exactly what my plants are getting and I can track by TDS or EC readings just what they are using. With my home tap water running about 300 PPM, before I add nutrients to it, there is little chance for me to know whatís going on with my plants and be able to adjust their bath accordingly. So I needed to come up with an alternative, and this is my solution.

    This is my totally portable and very easy & cheap to build and maintain water filter.


    There are many different water filters available at the home centers, and when my search began, I tried a bunch of them, and researched the specs on even more. Their main problem was that they were designed to make your water taste better, not remove minerals. Many of them are charcoal based. In fact, if I took a TDS reading after the water was processed, there was often little change. Then one day while looking for a bottle of H2O2 I'd left in my garage I spotted something and got my idea. Sitting in a plastic bucket were my sonís car washing supplies, and right on top was the ďMrClean AutoDryĒ carwash system. Itís really a ridiculous contraption, and we all had a good laugh after he won it at work. The idea of the unit is that after it sprays a ton of soapy water on your car at high pressure, you flip a switch and rotate a nozzle and it sprays clean water on your car to rinse it off. However, you can let this clean water air-dry without wiping it and its guaranteed not to leave water spots. So I say to myself ďall water spots are, are residual minerals taken out of suspension and out of a dissolved state. And if the spots are gone, then so are the minerals.Ē Well it was just a simple matter of checking the output of the unit by taking a TDS or EC reading to confirm what I believed. I was right, the cheap-ass cartridge filter inside the unit was doing a great job, and almost everything had been removed.


    From that point on, a screwdriver, a little glue, a scrap piece of metal, and 15 minutes of work was all it took to complete the project. With the exception of the metal bracket, everything you see was reused from inside the unit. Granted itís totally reconfigured, but all of the pieces you need are in there. In fact, if you donít mind looking at the stupid thing, and you donít mind feeling like a dweeb, you could probably use it right as it is without any modifications. However the shape and design is really a PITA so invest 15 minutes. All of the tubes have o-ring connections and need no glue, theyíre ďplug-n-play.Ē You can get rid of my metal bracket by attaching the associated tube with silicone. But before you do consider this. That first tube (shown on my finished filter) below the green connector is a must! It contains the flow restrictor / pressure reduction valve. Without it, your device will blow apart and get you soaking wet. I speak from personal experience. When you open the original unit, you'll find it in a different area. Other than the restrictor, how you configure it is up to you. When you open the unit, youíll be surprised just how many different tubes and connectors are available for your use.



    So hereís the bottom lineÖ The unit with a starter filter can be found on sale for well below 20 bucks USD. And even less if purchased online. A replacement filter runs about $4 and takes exactly 1 second to change. According to the manufacturer, replacement filters last about 3 to 4 times as long as the starter-filter. So far, I ran about 20 gallons of water thru a filter and there has been no increase in TDS in the output. If I get another 5, my cost per gallon will be less that 16 cents and require no lugging of water jugs from the store. Not too shabby!

    When I did the test pictured here, my meter had not been carefully calibrated. That's why the distilled water shows a few PPM. Or it might be that there were still remnants of the Bennigan's Monte Cristo jelly still left in my "borrowed" cups. Either way, the numbers speak for themselves. Fifteen PPM is more than good enough for me to start with.
    Look, I know this isnít for everyone. But for those on a budget, and those with smaller requirements, itís a great alternative. Hope you found this of interest. If you have any questions or comments, Iíd love to hear them
    Budwiser likes this.

  2. #2
    420 Member vspec's Avatar
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    Re: DIY Reverse Osmosis - For Small Scale Grower - Cheap, Portable, & Effective

    lol, i think its gold.

    The DI stage in typical RODI installs is what gets you over the line, however ive got to hand it to you. Its certainly using your noggin. If its within an acceptable margin that your testing for & your happy with it - then half your luck. The $$ you save can go to something else.

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    420 Member Saturn's Avatar
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    Re: DIY Reverse Osmosis - For Small Scale Grower - Cheap, Portable, & Effective

    Great post and Idea.


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    Re: DIY Reverse Osmosis - For Small Scale Grower - Cheap, Portable, & Effective

    nice! +reps

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    420 Member Saturn's Avatar
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    Re: DIY Reverse Osmosis - For Small Scale Grower - Cheap, Portable, & Effective

    I like the idea so much I went and bought one off Ebay for 12.95 shipped.

    Question: Why take it apart? Can't you just run it through the device into your source?

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    Re: DIY Reverse Osmosis - For Small Scale Grower - Cheap, Portable, & Effective

    Quote Originally Posted by Saturn View Post
    I like the idea so much I went and bought one off Ebay for 12.95 shipped.

    Question: Why take it apart? Can't you just run it through the device into your source?
    that's whaqt it says...you donít mind feeling like a dweeb, you could probably use it right as it is without any modifications...not sure why he even took it apart...LOL

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    420 Member Saturn's Avatar
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    Re: DIY Reverse Osmosis - For Small Scale Grower - Cheap, Portable, & Effective

    ..........and I can still wash the car/bikes with it.... <----funny lil guy...

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    Re: DIY Reverse Osmosis - For Small Scale Grower - Cheap, Portable, & Effective

    Quote Originally Posted by Saturn View Post
    ..........and I can still wash the car/bikes with it.... <----funny lil guy...

    I swear I have one of these units in the garage somewhere...LOL

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    New Member Tyrone Hamilton's Avatar
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    Re: DIY Reverse Osmosis - For Small Scale Grower - Cheap, Portable, & Effective

    Nice!! +reps

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    Re: DIY Reverse Osmosis - For Small Scale Grower - Cheap, Portable, & Effective

    Great post!

    I'm going to have to see if these are available in Canada. I have a big old Polar Bear water distiller but it takes 20 hours to distill 10 USG and with the high cost of electricity around here it's about the same price to buy RO water @ $3.49 for a 5 USG jug.

    +Reps for the excellent post!


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    Re: DIY Reverse Osmosis - For Small Scale Grower - Cheap, Portable, & Effective

    Quote Originally Posted by LabRat420 View Post
    Great post!

    I'm going to have to see if these are available in Canada. I have a big old Polar Bear water distiller but it takes 20 hours to distill 10 USG and with the high cost of electricity around here it's about the same price to buy RO water @ $3.49 for a 5 USG jug.

    +Reps for the excellent post!

    Hey labrat......Canadian Tire - Mr. Clean AutoDry? Pro-Series customer reviews - product reviews - read top consumer ratings

    just paste this in google and search for pages from canada...not sure where you are but there's all kinds on kijjiji and craigslist...Mr Clean AutoDry

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    Re: DIY Reverse Osmosis - For Small Scale Grower - Cheap, Portable, & Effective

    ^^ for the links ledtester! Never thought to drop into the Canadian Tire on Thurs when I was up to the city. No cash at the moment anyhow but I'll check out those links.

    5 Stars for the great thread!

    C'ya L8r


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    Re: DIY Reverse Osmosis - For Small Scale Grower - Cheap, Portable, & Effective

    [QUOTE=ledtester;1027819]thanks pipedream
    OK, so before the flames start to roar, I admit it. Itís not a true R.O. unit. However, if you are taking the time to check out this post, then it might be just right for you. So hereís the storyÖ

    Dude, once again, I'm pleased to meet another who can think outside the box. Ingenuity is the mother of invention. You've made my list. ***** stars.

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    420 Member Saturn's Avatar
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    Re: DIY Reverse Osmosis - For Small Scale Grower - Cheap, Portable, & Effective

    I have tested mine and it works better than the OP results.

    PPM's down to 04 from 230, ph down to 5.96 from 7.5

    The hard water seems to magnify the nutes mixed in.

    I can double my nutes and still be where I was for PPMs since the source now has very little in it.


    Oh, all I did was hook it up to my hose, I didn't take it apart. Works fine just the way it is and I can wash my car with it if I feel like it..........................naaaahhhhh No car washing for me.

    Edit: The temps of the water are cold (52degF) so things might change a bit once up to 70deg.

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    Re: DIY Reverse Osmosis - For Small Scale Grower - Cheap, Portable, & Effective

    Outstanding!!!!!!

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