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Thread: Utter noob looking for buying advice

  1. #16
    Product Reviewer Ian Bastage's Avatar
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    Re: Utter noob looking for buying advice

    I originally was going to use 4 x 5G tubs. Cheap & the net lids are cool. My reasoning behind bins is:

    It allows me to have approx. 22G of water in the system for stability of pH & nutes. 4 x 5G + a 5G res would be less – maybe 15G before root growth? My past life fish tank experience taught me that a big tank is far more stable than a small one.

    It allows me to cluster the plants around the core light area better than 4 x 5G which would have to be staggered in a 2 x 4 tent leaving 2 out of 4 out of the prime light area. Doubling the light would work as well but that is not in the budget this time. And of course, one plant alone or 2 plants would be best for light but we all want more. Right?

    This plan drops the plant base by 4 inches, so more for growth.

    It will require 3 ½” pots (system level mandated) so I will have to fab support as required. I will also use mylar-covered acrylic sheets on top of the modded tote top surface for extra support.

    Much simpler plumbing hookup. 3 totes with flat sides are much easier to plumb to. This is an upstairs bedroom & leaks would be a disaster. The idea of barbed connectors & grommets on a cylinder gives me hives. I am sure Home Despot can supply whatever I need to securely feed PVC lines to straight-sided hard plastic totes. ½ or ¾ lines with 2” return. And thinking it through, I might put a float shutoff for the pump on one of the grow totes to prevent overflow if the filter clogs. But it is not like I won’t be inspecting all of the time anyway . . .

    Thanks guys.

    The final layout (for now)


  2. #17
    420 Member gr0w's Avatar
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    Re: Utter noob looking for buying advice

    Just gunna throw this idea out there. Put a couple shut off (ball valves) on both the return and feed.
    Also use a union on the pvc incase you need to remove one of the totes or reservoir.

    I also see a lot of people use 1 1/2" pvc and use big grommets and silicone.

    Or these work well too
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  3. #18
    Product Reviewer Ian Bastage's Avatar
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    Re: Utter noob looking for buying advice

    Quote Originally Posted by gr0w View Post
    Put a couple shut off (ball valves) on both the return and feed.
    Also use a union on the pvc incase you need to remove one of the totes or reservoir.
    You were reading my mind.

    Quote Originally Posted by gr0w View Post
    I also see a lot of people use 1 1/2" pvc and use big grommets and silicone.
    Exactly what I want to avoid.

    Thanks.

  4. #19
    420 Member of the Month October 2010 & September 2017 TorturedSoul's Avatar
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    Re: Utter noob looking for buying advice

    Quote Originally Posted by oldbastage View Post
    The idea of barbed connectors & grommets on a cylinder gives me hives. I am sure Home Despot can supply whatever I need to securely feed PVC lines to straight-sided hard plastic totes.
    If you can't find what you need, just ask for "bulkhead connectors" - they should show you something threaded, with gaskets, that makes a sandwich (lol) with your tote's wall as the inner layer.

    Quote Originally Posted by gr0w View Post
    Also use a union on the pvc incase you need to remove one of the totes or reservoir.
    Very useful things, unions. For anyone that doesn't know what they are... picture your plumbing system. Even if it's something like threaded galvanized water line, if you want to remove a section of pipe (etc.), you can't just start twisting that pipe; trying to unscrew one end just acts to tighten the other. That big center section (on metal unions, it's shaped for a wrench to hold it) gets turned and then you have separated your pipes. We used to sell them at the hardware store and people would wonder why they needed such a thing. I guess it's like wall sleeves, lol, if you need one, you'll know (too late )....
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  5. #20
    New Member Hype's Avatar
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    Re: Utter noob looking for buying advice

    Quote Originally Posted by oldbastage View Post
    Hmmm. I could easily switch it to an undercurrent configuration if it is considered superior. I do like the concept of good water circulation. Do you have to change the water as often?

    For now, one single tote. With a 4 plant limit, I figured that one 27G tote will have as much water & root room as 4 x 5G buckets. And the simpler the plumbing, the better imho.

    Yeah, I was unsure & I have read about potential root lock in the basket due to too much water from the drip. Maybe bring it in low in the basket? I was following Tulip’s DWC tutorial from 2010.

    Good point. I can easily screen the return from the grow tank & insert inline if I go to undercurrent.

    Agreed. I am still learning all of the terms . . . and I have heard to rinse it well.


    Yeah, the light decision. There seems to be a massive amount of information and misinformation about comparing LED lights. It became clear that it is not just a simple wattage decision.

    The Viparspectra R900 is my #2 choice. When you start comparing specs (I know, I know . . .) they are very similar lights. 418W vs 362W consumed. 90 x 5W Bridgelux/Epileds vs 80 x 5W Epistar. 90 degree vs 100. Virtually the same size. Very similar PAR diagrams (although no competing diagrams are the same distance so you have to extrapolate a bit). The only real difference is the LED config. The V uses a lens in front of the LED to disperse while the M uses a reflective cup (which they claim is superior tech & they do use this same config on their spendy Cree models). The slightly better dispersion on the M seems to bear this out. The price difference is $30, so negligible. M has a warehouse in-country while V is across a border, so it simplifies service if needed. And M will give me a slight combo deal on tent + light.

    As you can see in the diagram, the light (red rectangle) is nicely centered on the grow space (yellow tote lid with 4 x 3 ½’ pots)



    Thanks all for the questions/suggestions. Keep them coming. I will digest & probably ask some more.
    Hi been reading you're posts & I'm doing roughly same set up, but just haven't got the plumbing done yet.
    Wasn't sure how to go about it but looking at you're diagram it seems pretty straight forward..
    Have you used that setup yet?
    If so how did it go?

  6. #21
    Product Reviewer Ian Bastage's Avatar
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    Re: Utter noob looking for buying advice

    No. It’s all bought & still in boxes but I am getting there. My back/spine issue flared up & has slowed me down. Plus I had to change a heating duct location & I am also running a waterline into the grow area to make water filling much easier. Give me another 2 weeks & I should have it running finally.

    I have revised the plan with 2 x 12 gallon bins with 2 pots each in the tent & 1 x 17 gallon external reservoir. Now it is a true undercurrent with an external ‘pull’ 250 gph pump. 2” flow lines with a ½” return. I will cut out a portion of the top of each bin & use a Plexiglas panel with the pots in place (so I can easily peek inside).



    I have some fem Purple Kush seeds from Crop King for the first grow. I am fixing to grow 4 plants in a SCROG. Probably too many but I will be attempting topping & some training.
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  7. #22
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    Re: Utter noob looking for buying advice

    Quote Originally Posted by gr0w View Post
    Just gunna throw this idea out there. Put a couple shut off (ball valves) on both the return and feed.
    Also use a union on the pvc incase you need to remove one of the totes or reservoir.

    I also see a lot of people use 1 1/2" pvc and use big grommets and silicone.

    Or these work well too
    I suggest getting these flexible connectors, rather than unions.



    I'm not sure what they're called, but can be found at any home depot or lowes.

    Accomplishes the exact same thing as unions, but they cost ~$3 rather than ~$11. Can really add up if you use more than a couple of them in your build.

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    Re: Utter noob looking for buying advice

    Quote Originally Posted by TheOrchard View Post
    I suggest getting these flexible connectors, rather than unions.



    I'm not sure what they're called, but can be found at any home depot or lowes.

    Accomplishes the exact same thing as unions, but they cost ~$3 rather than ~$11. Can really add up if you use more than a couple of them in your build.
    I think they are called PVC couplers. I just bought a 6" one for 12 bucks for my scrubber

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