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Arduinos in the grow room: My project

odam2k

Well-Known Member
Yah, new toy coming! Tomorrow I should get my new fan/can filter. I was looking at the diy thread, but decided to go ahead and just order one. I have a 6" fan/can with a 12' duct and a fan controller coming. I figure it should border on doing the job, and if it's not quite up to it, a second unit can always be added.

So hopefully that tell tale smell will be gone!
 

Latitude17

Well-Known Member
I have a 6" fan/can with a 12' duct and a fan controller coming.
I was surprised (?) at how much my filter affected air flow. I naively thought it would be more like a furnace filter when purchasing mine (VivoSun 6" Kit) and the cfm dropped to almost 1/3. I've been considering a cube made of carbon filters you can pickup at the local home store for HVACs, but have no clue how well they're going to control smell. Sounds like a fun experiment!
 

odam2k

Well-Known Member
I was surprised (?) at how much my filter affected air flow. I naively thought it would be more like a furnace filter when purchasing mine (VivoSun 6" Kit) and the cfm dropped to almost 1/3. I've been considering a cube made of carbon filters you can pickup at the local home store for HVACs, but have no clue how well they're going to control smell. Sounds like a fun experiment!
Looks very similar to the one I ordered (6" kit)

I did find an unboxing video of the 4" version of this kit, but really, nothing else, not even any reviews. Fingers crossed I don['t need a second one too soon...
 

odam2k

Well-Known Member
Also have to switch nutrients, when I went to the grow shop today they said the stuff I had been using was no longer being made... it was the cheapest stuff there, so perhaps this is a good thing, I don't know.. It was premixed, so no "part A and B" just one for grow and one for flower...

Anyhow, I am trying Nutrient Plus, it has two part formula, or an A and B for Grow, and A and B for Flower... It's nearly twice the cost of the old stuff, I never really paid any attention to the nutes before, so lets see if I see any difference.

I also picked up a new bottle of Wilsons Roots gel just in case my old one had become contaminated. If I have time tomorrow, I have 3 really nice looking plants to take cuttings from, gonna do em all in peat pellets, maybe 18-24 of them...
 

Latitude17

Well-Known Member
Looks very similar to the one I ordered (6" kit)

I did find an unboxing video of the 4" version of this kit, but really, nothing else, not even any reviews. Fingers crossed I don['t need a second one too soon...
I've got the 4" kit too, it's good for a 2x4 tent...that's really about it with the carbon can filter attached. :confused:
 

odam2k

Well-Known Member
Hopefully the 6" will do my whole room, I plan on just letting it keep cycling the air through, so not exhausting externally. It should be able to keep up without being on high all the time... Worst case, I'll just run the fan only and blow it all out the window. We're on the top floor of an 8 story apt building, so I'm not too worried about the smell outside, I just don't want it drifting through the apt, or worse, into the hallway...

I'm also going to try to hack the controller so I can control it from the arduino... worst case, with a servo just to turn the dial. Too bad there isn't an MQ-420 sensor :)
 

odam2k

Well-Known Member
@odam2k haven't had a chance to catch up with your project but I am looking to do something similar. Currently just tracking tent temp, water temp and humidity And sending data to the cloud. Next will be to add pH monitoring and some solid state solenoids for some fans and lights.

Nice to see this! Good luck. Can't wait to pick up some good tips here.
Welcome Dro

Glad to see someone else getting in on this, what an exciting way to pass the time waiting for our plants to grow :)

Happy to have you along...
 

odam2k

Well-Known Member
Ordered yesterday, all set up and running today...

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I was surprised at the size, it's bigger than I thought it was going to be, and powerful! Even with the duct and can on it, it still sucks, er blows... lol...

I'm just gonna run it like that, recirculating the air, and see how it does...
 

Dro

Well-Known Member
@odam2k and @Latitude17 first of all: thank you so much for the last 3 hours of amaizing "geeky full of data and topped with a ton of ingenuity" entertainment. I truly enjoyed reading every comment here!

As fellow tinker/diy/toker I want to say that I am amazed how we all come down to very similar approaches.

In my case, I am running a hydroponics deep water culture (dwc) set up and growing cannabis for the first time. After finding very expensive monitoring/ logging data options out there I decided to make my own using wemos d1 mini, a bread board, dht22 and some ds18b20 waterproof sensors. I did this mostly out of necessity to feed my OCD/ADD brain with data and be able to see the status of my plants while away (I am currently on vacation for 2 weeks). Now the little devil on my shoulder is asking me to do more things and get down to fully automated growing. I think with hydroponics this is easier to achieve than soil but I still need to get several growths under my belt before I can make that jump. I feel at the end, the grower is the most important part of this and no matter how much automation we do, we can't take the grower our of the equation. We can only make the grower more powerful with data :)

Obviously our philosophies may be very different on how we get from point a to point b as well as our levels of knowledge but I love the fact that we are all growing an amazing plant and using our resources to make it better. Who said cannabis makes you dumb? Lol

Fyi. I have blynk, I love it and use it often especially for my Xmas lights. For my current monitoring I opted for adafruit free servers and gui/io set up. Mainly because I can download my data at the end of every week and save it as a csv file and because it was pretty easy to set up. I feel if I move to full automation I will have to rely on local servers and no cloud support.

Great work everyone! This is a good Friday. Can't wait until I get back from vacation and put in place more changes. You guys have inspired me!

Cheers
 

Latitude17

Well-Known Member
Hi @Dro!

...and some solid state solenoids for some fans and lights
Watch your amp draw on the solid state solenoids, they're sexy, sleek, and quiet ... like a ninja ... but often sold in the < 3A range for Arduino compatible rigs.

Mainly because I can download my data at the end of every week and save it as a csv file.
Blynk made the Reports widget for this very scenario and it has some nice frequency options :)

I'm just gonna run it like that, recirculating the air, and see how it does...
Interesting idea, @odam2k. If it does a good job at scrubbing the odor, I may move my setup back in their tents.
 

odam2k

Well-Known Member
Well, the wife said she could still smell the plants when she went into the grow room, but I can't smell them any more... That was about 6 hours of running on medium speed. She has a pretty sensitive nose, but this thing really is making a difference, wish I had invested sooner in one. (Talking about fan/filter kit)
 

odam2k

Well-Known Member
Quick update on the stainless steel rod based moisture sensors. (I call them DIY-3)

One of them has been reporting something weird.... Two of them are working perfectly, I couldn't be happier...

Let's have a look at the graph... First, 1 Day, second one is 1 Week.

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From the first graph, you can see that approximately 4:45pm the values ramp up, rather noticeably... Again, at approximately 4am, they drop, again, abruptly...

On the second graph, you can see that this happens every day, right on schedule...

That's the schedule for my lights in the flower area.... How weird is that? My lights come on at 4am and off somewhere around 4:45pm (I need to fix that, my timer has some extra tabs pressed) so it's detecting darkness I guess.

It get's weirder still! This sensor is in my Veg tent, with 24 hour light!

So, it seems that in our experimentation, we've discovered how to build a REMOTE PHOTO DETECTOR that can see through the black/white plastic sheeting of my veg tent...

I need to trace the wiring etc yet, make sure it's hooked up where it's supposed to be, but it sits right next to the other two DIY-3 sensors that are working perfectly....
 

odam2k

Well-Known Member
@odam2k and @Latitude17 first of all: thank you so much for the last 3 hours of amaizing "geeky full of data and topped with a ton of ingenuity" entertainment. I truly enjoyed reading every comment here!

Great work everyone! This is a good Friday. Can't wait until I get back from vacation and put in place more changes. You guys have inspired me!

Thank you for the wonderful description :) Enjoy the rest of your vacation, look forward to seeing more of you when u get back!
 

odam2k

Well-Known Member
I need to trace the wiring etc yet, make sure it's hooked up where it's supposed to be, but it sits right next to the other two DIY-3 sensors that are working perfectly....
It is wired correctly, in the proper port... This is strange... Guess tomorrow I'll try swapping it with another of the new ones and see what happens... is it the probe or the connection on the arduino?
 

odam2k

Well-Known Member
Starting to think about air conditioning, even though we won't be needing it for a while yet, but when we do, I have a feeling it will sneak up on us.

Last year I bought a 5000 btu window unit which was perfect for the grow room. Small enough to not pop the circuit breaker when the lights were on, and still able to cool the room nicely...

Then, new management in the building, and suddenly no more window air conditioners. They cite safety, so if you are above the ground floor, you cannot hang an air conditioner outside your window, except over your balcony. They just don't want them falling all the way to the ground! I sort of have to agree on this, it's very easy to mount a unit so that it's not secure... I mean, for the most part, you set it up, and once it's plugged in, you ignore it till it's time to take it out for the winter....

Anyhow, I absolutely need to have an air conditioner in the grow room, so I started reading about the portable units that just have a hose to the window... 3-4x the price, and not very satisfactory results...

The best solution seems to be modifying the window unit to work without sticking out the window...

There are tons of DIY threads on the net, some for grow rooms, some for server closets, some for bus conversions and mobile homes... They all have a common theme, build a box around the air conditioner to remove the heat from the "outside" end...

Anyhow, after watching a few videos, and reading more than a few comments, I have a plan...

I will build a shelf that sits level with the bottom of the screen in the window... Even with the sill.... The A/C will sit flush against the screen so that the air is exhausted straight outside, just like it was sticking out the window...

The back, around the grill, will be sealed to a piece of plywood covering the open parts of the window, so to seal out the weather.... Just like a regularly mounted window unit, but NOT pushed out the window...

As it sits like that, it would work, but it would suck cooled air from inside the room through the side vents on the A/C to cool the condenser, which would be a waste, it just needs outside air. So, build a box around the "middle section" of the unit, leave as much room on the sides and top between the unit and the inside of the box to allow for maximum air flow... In the plywood covering the rest of the open window, cut a hole, and using a flange, connect a short piece of flexible ducting to draw outside air into the box. This is where a duct fan could be used. I've seen mods where it was not needed, but this unit is gonna get a pretty good workout over the summer, so I think it worth spending the money...

Now to tie it into "Grow By Wire", I am going to use the A/C unit which has the IR Remote... That means, I can have the arduino flash an IR led and have it control the A/C unit! :) Last year, in addition to the thermistors in the room, I had one in the a/c vent, to measure the output temp, and I also have one outside the window to monitor the outside temp. This year I'll have control over maintaining a desired temp rather than just blasting it and hoping for the best. I'll also add a few thermistors inside the box to monitor the exhaust temp, make sure the unit doesn't overheat.

Not sure when I'll get started on this, it's still too cold to work with the window open :) I will budget for a fan now though, I suppose a 4" would work just fine...
 

Latitude17

Well-Known Member
You thinking something like this? Once you figure out how to handle the condensation/run-off, I think you're on to a pretty cheap solution.

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odam2k

Well-Known Member
You thinking something like this? Once you figure out how to handle the condensation/run-off, I think you're on to a pretty cheap solution.
Yes, except it looks like that only extracts the hot air, and doesn't supply outside air to cool the condenser, you can see the vent on top, which will draw air from the room. So for all the cool air it makes, it uses it to cool the condenser, and blow it outside... In fact, his exhaust hose relies on the air conditioners cooling fan to pump all that air through the hose... I'm pretty certain he'll find that this setup isn't going to work very well...

Since I'll push the unit up against the screen, I'm hoping the water will run off into the window frame, where water would collect on the window just inside the screen... I wonder, the water should be pure right? Like distilled water... Perhaps I should collect it in a bucket, and use it for watering?

It will make a lot more sense once I do it and take pictures...

This is probably one of the best videos I found...

Check out part 2 as well... She discusses what didn't work, and how they fixed it...


 
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