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By Peat

Aeroponic AeroGarden Conversion...

OK, next mad project... convert the AeroGarden into a proper aeroponic unit...

This is how I want to build it. I have no idea if this will work, leak, flood my house or grow stunning plants quicker than hydro...

 

Blue Print

Blueprint

The parts...

1. Sicce Nova (flow adjustable) water pump, 250-800 lph (66-211 gph), 13mm diameter water outlet pipe.

    Edit: this pump was found to heat the water up too much, trying another one! (Sicce Mi Mouse, 30 to 300 lph (7.9 to 79 gph) ).

    Edit2: this pump works a treat, it does not heat the water up and the spray is much more gentler - sorted!

2. Rigid plastic pipe, 13mm diameter.

3. Various 'T' pieces and pipe end caps, 13mm diameter.

4. Air pump (for water bubbler), already have this from before, it's a Rena 400 model. I will attach a cylindrical air stone to this.

5. Two types of sprayer to see what works best - the green one has 360 degree spray pattern and a small spinner, the brown one has two 180 degree fixed spray outputs.

Pump and both types of sprayer   Sprayer patterns from both sprayers   Undergoing testing...  Sicce - Mi-Mouse Water Pump

The Build

1. Remove the AG water pump and central column from the AeroGarden to free up the space, the column is only held on by one screw.

2. Cut two sections of rigid plastic pipe, each 5½ inches long, I used a very sharp knife for a clean cut.

3. Measure and cut another section of pipe to go onto the water pump. This measurement will vary depending on your model of pump, you want the sprayers to be just below the top of the AG lid once it's clicked into place.

4. Assemble all the pieces, pipe, 'T' piece and ends as per diagram below.

All pipes pieced together   End caps and 'T' piece

 5. Drill 4 holes in the pipe and screw in the 4 sprayers, 2 in each side and equally spaced.

Final assembly, complete with sprayers

6. Mount the whole assembly in the AeroGarden, put on the lid and check the bar runs centrally in between both sets of pods.

 Fully assembled

7. Check the operation of the device, I have fitted an optional cylindrical airstone at the front to provide an injection of extra oxygen to the water. Once it's all going, then the task of checking for leaks begins... It will leak from the back, because of the hole left by the AG pump and also from the front lid - both solved by using some duct tape to seal the problem off. I have not tried different ways of doing this yet, work in progress...

In full operation

 

Due to the aeroponics system, the possibility of the sprayers getting blocked is increased. I would recommend you put the water pump in a fine micron mesh bag (which you can buy in aquatic shops) that can filter any debris from the plants, wayward roots etc. Failing that, you can use some panty hose which acts as a good filter.

 

 

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Ginger
Ginger's picture
User offline. Last seen 1 hour 36 min ago. Offline
Joined: 2008-06-23

Very cool! I trust 13 mm is the diameter, not the length, right? Where do you get this pipe, and what's it made of? Is "sprayer" a hole drilled in the pipe, or something more elaborate?

Oh - and how did you determine (what was it? 300?) gallons per hour on the pump?

Very excited to see how this one goes!

Peat
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User offline. Last seen 2 years 26 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2008-10-27

The pipe is 13mm in diameter and is made of rigid plastic,  the sprayer is a proper aero sprayer (I have ordered two different types to see how they go). These aren't misters, they have a tendency to block, the sprayers are far better blockage wise - but not really true aero which works with fine mist, too expensive for this application.

Each sprayer is rated at a certain LPH (GPH), the pump must be strong enough to encompass them all, and then have enough pressure left to get over the backpressure... The one I wanted would not fit in the AG, I've had to go for a lower pressure model (Sicce Nova 250-800 LPH, or, 66-211 GPH).

 

Peat
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User offline. Last seen 2 years 26 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2008-10-27

Parts are in... Yay, broke my middle finger last week - not so yay... 

Manual dexterity has dropped through the floor, it's difficult to rig all this together now, holes to drill, pipes to cut etc. Maybe some delay with this project, until the finger has recovered enough to be pain free! I'll have put this to 'pending' for now, this is so annoying.

 

Ginger
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User offline. Last seen 1 hour 36 min ago. Offline
Joined: 2008-06-23

Feel better soon!

How much did those sprayers & stuff cost, btw?

Peat
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User offline. Last seen 2 years 26 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2008-10-27

Just a little under £40, what's that with you, about $57

The pump was the major part, the sprayers a very cheap.

 

BB (not verified)

Sorry to hear about the finger, how are you going to express yourself at football games or in traffic? Did you slip in the snow?

That's a really small pump for the output, very nice. I wonder if the rotating sprayers will last long, is there any advantage to them over the constant 360* ones? I bet you'll have to beef up the pump filter or put one inline.

I used to have the ultra fine misters around our back patio for summer cooling and they worked well but needed tending often even though I had a 12" long microfilter inline. A little soaking in vinegar did the job when they clogged with minerals. How much bigger are these sprayer's orifice?

Anyway, can't wait to see how your project comes out.

Peat
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User offline. Last seen 2 years 26 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2008-10-27

Yes, slipped up in the first snow for years! Not used to the stuff.

I was unsure what type to buy, so I bought both to see how they got along, quite liked the idea of the rotating ones. I was my intention to get hold of a proper filter type bag to put the pump in, keep those sprayers clog free. Haven't found one yet so in the interim it's the old pantyhose trick - not mine before someone says anything.  I will sneak a pair out of my girlfriends draw when she's not looking...

I'll build one pipe with the green ones and one with the brown ones, I can interchange the two and sort out the mineral deposits as and when.

The sprayers have quite a small orifice, I don't know how small until I get them running - I've seen neither in action, once more into the unknown...

 

Peat
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User offline. Last seen 2 years 26 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2008-10-27

Just been doing some sprayer comparison.

The brown ones don't do 360 as I thought, they only spray out at polar ends - it's a sort of flat spray pattern. The green ones are really cool, they throw water off everywhere and are much more interesting. It's a shame this 'snapshot in time' can't show this, perhaps I need a video clip of it.

Anyhow, I think the green ones are my favourite and I'll go with these. And I did get soaked!

Ginger
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User offline. Last seen 1 hour 36 min ago. Offline
Joined: 2008-06-23

I have to disagree, Peat. That is a very cool picture!!! I love the way the water droplets are captured in their arcs!

BB (not verified)

Agree, that is a great picture. Are those droplets going to be small enough for your aeroponic experiment?