RacerX's recirculating 16 bucket dwc "Grow Log"

Discussion in 'Hydroponics' started by Racerx, Dec 16, 2006.

  1. Racerx

    Racerx Registered+

    Im killing some time so I thought Id start my new hydro grow log and share some of the planning. Pictures soon.

    I have been in the process of building a 16 bucket (5 gal) recirculating deep water culture hydroponic system for a while. Only a few weeks left before completion. Its been a large endevoir and I really wanted to share the cost of setting something like this up, especially if you buy the stuff new.

    A little background: The room is 10.5x11.5x8 feet with a closet large enough to fit both the 55 gallon gravity reservoir and the 30 gallon control reservoir (where the water pump sits). We are doing 4 rows of 4 plants. 2 plants from 2 different rows will sit underneith a Lumatek 750 watt digital lamp with an 8" aircooled hood. We bit the bullet and upgraded from 600s to 750s. We actually have 3 750s and decided to stay with 1 600 to see if we can notice a considerable difference in product/weight. I am betting already that it is This gives around 7500 lumens per square foot or 47 watts per square foot. Normally 47watts/sqft is not ideal for such large plants but since these are 750 digitals, its decievingly more then enough.

    So here is a list of everything we needed to complete the room. This doesnt include a lot of other random things such as screws, nails, anchoring hooks for the lights, etc. But it includes the majority and major stuff. As far as the small parts go...there are a few extra parts thrown into the numbers incase anything breaks. *NOTE* Blazeoneup from Cannagraphic is the one responsible for compiling the list of parts needed for the actual hydro system (his own list and recipe on Cannagraphic is for a 12 buckets so its been modified).

    4 x Lumatek 750 watt digital ballasts (240v), with Cool Reflector XL 8" aircooled hoods and 750 watt bulbs
    4 x Lamp Yo-Yos (these are an extra cost but every little thing that is made easier counts)
    CO2 PPM meter/controller (indepedent from the lights controller, but wont turn on during the off hours)
    CO2 regulator
    CO2 tank
    6 socket 240v electrical box (box takes one single 240 connection and turns it into 6 smaller slant eyes. Same as say a CAP MC8 but homemade)
    1/4 horsepower reservoir chiller
    60 pint dehumidifier
    2 x 10" 1100cfm ultraquiet inline fans w/ speed controllers
    500gph water pump
    1 x 85 watt air pump and 1 x 35 watt air pump, diffused into 18 lines total (one for each bucket, 1 for the control res and 1 for the large res)
    25 feet of 8" ducting (You might need more)
    15 feet of 10" ducting
    8" to 8" duct connector (for passive intake)
    100 feet of poly (white/black) plastic
    Hanna TDS pen (already have a pH)
    8", and 10" hose clamps (number depends. Around 10 8" and 4 10")
    16 5 gallon black buckets (if you get white, spray paint them)
    16 5 gal bucket tops (or you can buy the tops with the netpots already in them. My problem with this is that I transplant the netpots so they dont work for me)
    16 heavy duty american agritech 5" netpots
    10L bag of hydroton expanded clay balls
    16 x 8" airstones
    20 3/4" elbows
    20 3/4" T's
    20 3/4" ebb n flow fittings
    26 ebb n flow screens
    4 3/4" shut off valves
    2 1/2" ebbnflow fittings
    24 1/4" straight barbs
    70 7/8" hose clamps
    16 1/4" barbed elbows
    4 1/2" shutoff valves
    4 1/2" end caps
    120' of 3/4 ID tubing
    100' of 1/4" ID tubing
    50' of 1/4" ID tubing
    1 float valve
    3 sheets of 4'x8' foam soundboard (Home Depot)
    waterproof epoxy (not even really needed but nice to have incase)

    Tools (only for building the hydro setup, not including hammers, saw, etc for the room and ducting, etc):
    1x Drill
    1x 3/16" bit
    1x 3/8" bit
    1x 1&1/4" hole saw bit with starter bit
    1x Needle nose plyers
    1x sharp knife
    1x heavy duty scissors

    Total Approx Cost = $5000 (ill give a more accurate price list this weekend as far as individual costs, etc).

    We have to build a seperate small area around the only window in the room, as this is where the room will passively intake cold air from. With this design no one would ever suspect anything by looking in the window because you cannot see anything and it looks falsely deep. This is much safer since the window will be somewhat open (locked in slightly open position). A small CFL turns on once in awhile to simulate someone using the room normally. Ive use this before and its great.

    A 10" fan sits in the attic and exhausts the 4 hoods and another independent 10" fan exhausts the room itself from CO2/heat. 2 lights go inline so there are only two 8" lines into the 10" line. Ideally, the room is going to be so cold that we will need to turn off the aircooling in order to help heat the room. If this is the case, we will move down to only one 10" fan and keep the ends of the hoods open and just draw the CO2 right out of there. This would save energy, make the thing more low key, and simplify things. These days if we dont turn the heater on...the room gets to around 55 degrees or cooler in a matter of hours. Even when its sunny, due to its shady location.

    The clones are starting out in 5.5" netpots and hydroton in 18 gallon Rubbermaid "roughneck" storage containers. There are 6 pots per container, so there are 3 of them. They are all powered by one 35 watt air pump that does 2 large airstones per bucket. This are a ton of bubbles. Water starts slightly above the bottom of the pot. After roots poke, its dropped a couple inches below. Once they hang, down to around 4-5". The net pots are rotated softly everyday to discourage the roots from intertwining because of their close proximity. They will veg for 2.5 more weeks in these tubs until they are ready to go into the big room. This is just enough time to get them rooted without getting them too tangled. There are a few reasons we do this; namely its a space and electricity issue. The clones can only take a little light in the beginning (light sits about 4 feet above the clones at first) so 1 light is plenty to start with. We have a space issue so this allows us to do everything in a much smaller and easier to control closet instead of using the large flowering room and not taking advantage of it. At 2.5 weeks more veg they get transplanted into the 5 gallon buckets for another 2.5 weeks of veg under the final configuration; 5 weeks veg total.

    One week before flowering we turn on CO2. We use a PPM matched with the nutrient PPM. CO2 timing schedule is not 100% yet, depends on how long it takes for the room to get warm, etc. 50mins on and 15 off with venting, is the general plan to shoot for. CO2 goes on until 2 weeks before harvest. 1/2/3 for nutrient grow recipe and 3/2/1 for bloom. Unsure of the Big Bud additive I normally use, as its being argued that if you use a 3/2/1 then the PPM is too high with the Big Bud or the levels of Bloom, etc are not powerful enough if the PPM is within spec. Well see. I pushed 1800 ppm on my last DWC grow and Ive never seen a plant love it so much.

    Thats about it for now. Pictures later today when the camera is charged.
    • Like Like x 1
  2. JackdaWack

    JackdaWack Registered+

    Pics would be great, this hydro sytem u can buy 500 pre made, i think its one of the best.
  3. CaliJay

    CaliJay Registered+

    Hey RX...question...Why not use a timer to shut down the Co2 during lights out? Is it cheaper to get the all in one controller to regulate ppms and shut off power to the monitor?
  4. Racerx

    Racerx Registered+

    Its cheaper...but when your spending this much anyways, why not just do it once and do it right. I dont want independent timers and such...its just asking for problems.

    Here are some crappy pictures to give you an idea of how the operation is started, before being transplanted. This was right after transplanting into the hydroton so the light is very high. Its around 2.5-3 feet above the clones until they start showing a little more roots. The closet and hood is exhausted with a single 6" fan that is heavily speed controlled. The room stays 78 with the door closed, around 70 with it a little open. Humidity stays around 50. The glass on the hood is cool to the touch. I could lick it. =) Water is 68*, and pH is around 5.8 or a tiny bit lower. PPM is 800 (600 nutes, 300 water). Its tap water.

    Ill take some better ones tomorrow night with some pictures of the other equipment, etc.

    PS. The tanks have covers over the top so there isnt any light through the hydroton either.

    Attached Files:

  5. bud luv

    bud luv Registered+


    I want to see.
  6. Weedhound

    Weedhound Registered+

    i want to see the photos of you licking the glass hood.
  7. BlueBear

    BlueBear Registered+

    Licking the glass, sounds like mine. Sounds like a solid set up so far, sure it took quite a bit of work to get it all up and running. One thing to keep in mine, over at IC many folks are trying to use all air pumps outside of grow room when using CO2 for the fact that the pumps will inject CO2 into the root system threw the water and possibly be counter productive. Do you have any thoughts on this?
    What are you placing clones into, RW or strait hydro rocks? If RW do you still allow the water to touch the RW when raising the water level to the bottom of the inside of the net pot when establishing the root system???
  8. Racerx

    Racerx Registered+

    yes the pump sits in an area that is fed cold air and not pulling air directly from the room. Its also high up in the room, not on the floor. The clones were done in Rockwool. The RW sits in hydro rocks in 5.5" netpots. I never saw a need for massive netpots, theres plenty for roots to grab ahold of. At the beginning we put the water level about a half inch above the bottom of the netpot. With all the bubbling action, high water level (the RW is really only a couple inches above the water level at this point), and the wet atmosphere there is no problem keeping the RW wet. The RW sits right below the surface of the netpots, one layer of hydrorocks on top. Once in awhile...if the RW looks really dry I will pour some of the res water through the rocks.

    As of right now, the water is around 1.5" below the bottom of the pots. Every pot has great roots coming out into the water. PPM is around 1000. There is no burning. They have all been topped. Water temp stays around 68. The 6" fan is at about 25% power and the room is a solid 73-75* F with a humidity that roams between 30 and 40 (sometimes getting to 50 when it rains). If I turn the fan on full speed the room goes down into the low 60s. I have the fan on bungie cords, it barely makes a sound. The airpump is far far louder. The hood is about 18" from the canopy. Great green, fat roots. We have about 4 weeks left of veg...which has me extremely excited.
  9. Racerx

    Racerx Registered+

    Picture of me licking the glass as requested. This is with the fan on about 25%. The other pictures are around a week old showing off the setup. Having camera issues. New camera next week, new pics of the big setup.

    Attached Files:

  10. BlueBear

    BlueBear Registered+

    Fantabulous!! I am looking at that same tutorial as well. Any headaches with leaks? Did you change much from the original design?
  11. MisterE

    MisterE Registered+

    I read Blazeonups entire thread as well a week or two ago and it rocks. I am curious why someone doesnt mold in a 1/4" nipple in the middle of what would otherwise just be a 1/2" connector.. certainly be no leaks then :)

    From what I understand, thats the only real vulnerable spot.
  12. Racerx

    Racerx Registered+

    System is leak proof for us as it has been for Blaze. 70 7/8" hose clamps cost about $50...sucks ballz, but for a guaranteed no leaking its nice security. The room is coming along nicely, finishing touches going in over the next few days.

    Definitely the biggest news for us is that we decided to keep our house for an extra 2 months after we move which enables us to veg as much as we could possibly need and do a full 10 weeks of flowering instead of 8. Huge news and I am very confident in our 1.5+ pounds per light. Roots are just busting out like crazy. New camera comes end of this week. Unfortunetly not much pics until then. I am finishing up the growroom build tonight or tomorrow with step by step directions and pictures. I forgot how much I miss walking into a room with 4 huge lights. The 750 digitals are...well they are magnificent. I need to wear sunglasses just to walk into the room and atleast with the eye test...they are far more powerful then the normal 1000 watts our friends use. The hoods we are using are great for about a 4'x4' spread, keeping the light about 12-14" from the canopy. They are 3 weeks into veg...going for about another 4 weeks of veg. If we can get 2 pounds per light Ill be fully satisfied.

    I wanted to mention that the new Can Fan Maxx 10" fan is absolutely ridiculous. Over 1100cfm and except for the sound of the air...its dead silent. Noticebly quieter then our 6"...thats running on a speed controller!!! Its so powerful that if you set it on the ground it will move across the floor and gain a seriously amount of speed. Its setup like a turbine engine, much smaller then the normal inline fan. Pics soon.

    For hanging out lights, we use 10" eyelet bolts that are drilled through the ceiling and into a piece of plywood that goes between ceiling joists. The end result is earthquake proof and gives a good place for the ballasts to sit in the attic. The 10" fan sits in the attic, while the 6" fan for aircooling the lights sits inside the room. Its an interesting configuration we were turned onto by a friend. 4 lights, a U of 6" ducting between all the lights...with the fan between both rows in the middle of the U. I am plain amazed at how well a single 6" fan works at aircooling 4 hoods. The fan pulls cold air from our window box and exhausts it into our attic. The 10" room exhaust only runs 10 minutes every hour.

    EDIT. We also changed out electrical box to a CAP Controller MLC-8. This box takes a single 40 amp 240v connection and turns it into 8 240 connections for 8 1000watt+ lights. However...there is a nice twist. Instead of having one 120v trigger cord to turn the lights on an off, there are 2 which each control 4 lights. This enables us to use one box with 2 different light schedules for 2 different rooms. Saves time, money, and is far safer.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2007
  13. Racerx

    Racerx Registered+

    Forget to address your question Bluebear. Not much was changed except the following. We decided to not run a second gravity feeding reservoir. A single 40 gallon reservoir is plenty and it forces us to change water more often. We got an absolutely insane deal on all of our equipment because of a friend so we have tons of nutrients, etc so changing is not an issue. The obvious design change is 16 buckets rather then 12...but its still 4 rows (just with an extra bucket on each row). We use a nice 350GPH water pump instead of Blaezeonup's 250 or 275gph pump. We use Airstones instead of air diffusers because they seem to produce smaller and more bubbles. We use a 35 watt air pump that is T-ed into 17 connections (one for the reservoir). It is plenty and one 35 watt produces more air then two 24 watts pumps.

    Aside from that, we used regular 5 gallon bucket tops and then cut holes to fit the netpots into them and epoxied them. They are a bitch and a half to get off (practically require a screwdriver although snipping one part helps them get on and off) and are something we are going to change next grow.
  14. BlueBear

    BlueBear Registered+

    Hey Racerx, couple more questions, where did you get your 750's and the cost, what kind of hoods and last, with the fan that is cooling the hoods bringing in outside air if I understood right, do you get any moisture touching the bulbs during rain storms?
    Thanks for all of your answers.
  15. MisterE

    MisterE Registered+

    If your ballasts are up above the joists and under the roof of the house and you get snow and ice on the roof, will you have a big melted dry spot up there? hahaha ;)
  16. Racerx

    Racerx Registered+

    They are digital ballasts. They are cooler then a normal ballast. In the day they get a little hot still, but as soon as evening arrives you can sit your tushy on em.

    We got them locally from a very kind friend. The hoods are Cool Reflector 6". They are fairly large, about 20"x24", with a very nice reflector and a lot of cooling. They provide the 4'x4' light spread we are using in our room. I dont feel comfortable naming a price but they were cheap enough for us to afford em (and spending $5000+ on this room means every penny counts). As far as moisture, air is not being directly drawn from the outside, however we have some screens for whatever they will do. Its something to think about but there are a few twists in the line and a few screens implemented.
  17. MisterE

    MisterE Registered+

    Yeah cool, I have a digital also. It kicks ass.. I dont know why (other than cash) anyone would buy an old standard ballast anymore really. Digitals fire MH or HPS, run cool, run silent, have smoother power delivery, dont degrade every day, and maximize the output of the bulb. I'm keeping to very small personal grow, so all I needed was a 400watt.

    I've had a thermometer placed right up next to my ballast (sits on a high shelf) and it's only 74 degrees or so.
  18. BlueBear

    BlueBear Registered+

    Thanks for the answers RX, keep us posted.
  19. Racerx

    Racerx Registered+

    Here are some pictures of the room from a bit ago. And some old pics of the plants. This is nearing transplantation. The ducting and fan is not hooked up in the pictures. No brand new pics yet.

    Attached Files:

  20. Racerx

    Racerx Registered+

    Ok so I have some changes from the original list of equipment. Here they are.

    -One single 40 gallon reservoir, no gravity fed reservoir (we decided that we'd rather change out the entire nutrient solution once in awhile instead of always topping it off)
    -Cool Reflector 6" hoods instead of the XL 8" hoods (we found that these cool better and the 8" ducts lose to much light out the ends and only a 6" fan is required to cool all 4 750 digital lights)
    -8 socket CAP MLC-8A electrical box (Has 2 trigger cords so that 4 lamps are controlled by one trigger and the other 4 by the other trigger - 2 rooms one box). This is used instead of our homemade single trigger 6 outlet 240 box
    -350gph water pump is enough, 500gph is not needed
    -Only one single 10" Can Fan Maxx fan (not 2) needed for the room
    -6" Can Fan for cooling the sealed lights instead of another 10" (10" was way overkill)
    -Only one 35 watt airpump is more then enough for the entire 16 buckets, 85 watt not required and too loud)
    -32 straight 1/4" barbs instead of 24
    -100 feet of 1/2" OD for feed line
    -120 feet 3/4" OD (not ID) return line
    -100 feet of 1/4" OD (not ID) airhose
    -50 feet of 1/4" OD (not ID) black hose for feed line
    -120 7/8" hose clamps instead of 70 (This is a big deal, because hose clamps cost $0.80 each. Thats $100 in hose clamps)

    Those are the big changes. We were able to reduce costs by over $500 by using the different hoods and getting rid of one of the Can Fan 10" Maxx fans (expensive). The new CAP MLC-8 240 box also allows us to use a single box for 2 of our grow rooms, saving space and increasing safety and control.

    Its been difficult to get everything to be on the same plane, as everything must be exactly the same elevation or the buckets will have different water levels and not drain correctly. We had some nutrient burn from a little to much VitaBoost (wanted to experiment) but they are recovering just fine. More pictures soon.
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2007

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