Page 4 of 6

Re: Stealth wardrobe

PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 5:38 am
by teetee
FINALLY after weeks of delays, I planted 4 Pineapple Chunk seeds (Barney's Farm) in the DWC, and all is running smoothly.

Allow me show you around, but before I do, check the title of this thread again..... 'Stealth Wardrobe'.

Let me tell you now, there's no such thing as stealth if you are going to be serious about this.
You can buy lovely pretty cabinets, they look like office or bedroom furniture. "Nice", you might think, "no one's gonna guess I'm growing weed!"

Well they are mate... they're gonna see the ducting, the countless bottles of nutrients and additives plus the buckets and water tank (mine's STILL not arrived yet), they will hear the noise of an extractor fan, the 6 fans in the Helios, 2 water pumps, 2 HUGE air pumps running 4 air stones, a water cooler, and in my case a portable air conditioner - also with a load of ducting hanging out of it.

Stealthy it ain't baby. Tidy - yes. Concealable in a short space of time (15 mins) - yes.
Stealth in this case is the ability to switch everything off and make the room look normal in a reasonable amount of time.

So anyway, welcome to my grow room...

Lots of stuff to see. It's at a funny angle because I wanted to show you the water cooler at the left side of the cabinet, the CO2 tank is behind that. I will attach the regulator and thread a CO2 resistant hose through the opening at the top of the cabinet to deliver the gas (I plan to do a separate thread about CO2). You can see the portable air conditioner in the bottom right of the picture.

Inside the growing chamber, not much has changed, I tidied up the cables for the T5s by running them down instead of up, and attached the Bluelab Guardian pH/temp/EC monitor to the right side wall. I have a 6 plug extension cable on top and also one underneath the unit (I am waiting for a tray to put the bottom extension cable into to protect in case of a flood).

On the inside right wall at the back, just under the fan, is an Ozone generator. It knocks out 200mg/hr, so I have it on a timer running 5 mins twice an hour. I won't use it until I have to. I'm hoping this will reduce or eliminate the smell of weed from the extracted air. The air is extracted outside, but I don't want the neighbours smelling it when they open their bathroom window!

Also on the inside right wall at the front, I attached a metal pole running from top to bottom, this is to clip a 3" circulation fan to, allowing me to adjust the height easily.
Technology eh!

The DWC unit is all plumbed in with water and air lines going in the left side.

Here's a shot inside the DWC with the 2x Hailea 60L/min air pumps and 4 Aqua Angel air stones in action...

The air pumps are surprisingly less noisy than I thought. The main noise is a low hum, and the lovely rushing, whooshing sound of the bubbles. Those 2 pumps are quieter than the one pump I had before! As LEDDWCRigger pointed out,the cheap pumps have loose components inside them.

The DWC is sitting on some polystyrene, but I am getting some 3" acoustic foam to use instead. I'm also getting some acoustic foam for the 2 air pumps, sitting on top of the unit, behind the Ecotechnics temperature and humidity controller and Carbon dioxide controller. The CO2 controller has a tennis ball sized spherical CO2 sensor and the temp controller has a microphone shaped temp and humidity sensor, both can be seen hanging down into the growing chamber.

There are a couple of problems with the Ecotechnics controllers. Firstly, there is no capacity to set a lights off temperature. I would have expected that as standard.
Secondly, and this is no fault of theirs, but the CO2 controller has a light sensor in it, to allow it to dose CO2 only when lights are on. I positioned the CO2 controller outside the growing chamber, so It could not tell if lights were on or not. I didn't want to rip the controller off and reposition it inside, so came up with the idea to have a little light attached to the inside of the door. the light would share the same plug socket and timer as the grow light, so that when the Helios is on, the little light illuminates and is detected by the CO2 controller.
I rigged up a halogen light and transformer - (the kind of thing they use to underlight kitchen units etc), but it got so damn hot, I could feel the heat through the wooden door.
Luckily the all round good egg, and electronics Wizard, Godzilla came up with a beautifully neat solution, and made me a little LED light running off a USB cable, which I could plug into a socket using an old iPhone charger. It runs super cool, and is going to last for ages, plus it's in keeping with the spirit of this forum, LEDs rule!!!
Cheers again Godzilla mate, here's how it looks...

When the door is closed, this is how it looks...

So the res temp is at 23, ambient temp 27 and RH 58%, the seeds are planted in rockwool and clay pebbles (which I ph balanced for a week at pH5.7), and the mighty Helios 6 is running 3 lights at maximum height for a bit of warmth. The 4 pots are positioned in the centre of the DWC and are getting a light bubbling of very weak nutrient. 58 Litres in total. Once I'm using regular nutes, I will drop the res temp to 18 degrees.

I'm using RO water, and so I have used House and Garden pH osmosis stabiliser at 1ml/L to buffer the RO water, and added Vitalink Plant Start at 2ml/L, adjusted pH to 5.8 then added 3ml House and Garden Drip Clean.

Lets see how this goes. Ambitious, I know. Should have germinated a totally different way - I know. The res is too big - I know. Could have used a tent, I know. Could have been less technical - leave out the CO2 keep the nutrients simple, I know. Should have used air pots - I know, dammit. This is how I visioned it in the first place, if it works, GREAT. If not, I learned a few things on the way.
What I set out to achieve was a high end self contained unit to grow top quality high yielding weed for personal use in the shortest possible time, with the ability to dial in most, if not all of the parameters for success. I'm not here to make whopping great trees (as much as I'd like to), space is limited and I'm aiming to do lots of training etc to spread out my canopy and kind of SCROG it. I might get another smaller cabinet to grow a mother, or use as a grow chamber, keeping this one for flowering. That's for the future, let's just concentrate on actually getting something after all this effort and expense.

I really believe in jumping in head first in at the deep end. I know that there's quite a few of you out there willing to keep me afloat, thanks for your help and advice so far Geezers, and keep an eye out for me, eh?
I'm rambling now cos I'm baked, so adios.

Re: Stealth wardrobe

PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 6:35 pm
by godzilla
Good stuff TeeTee , you cabinet looks amazing, very tidy, well thought out, great work!!!! You are right of course, stealth and DWC are pretty difficult to achieve. Even more regular growing is difficult to stealth when you take into account all the eqpt. Still, the ability to make it look perfectly normal quickly is the next best thing.

Now, I wonder if its not possible to rig that whole lot up so if someone enters the room the power cuts off to the cabinet. IE we figure something you goto do before entering the room and all is normal but if someone enters without the magic signal it cuts itself off and kills all that noise immediately. re-engage 10mins after intruder left? hmm....

I can see you've learned a hell of a lot already, you are enjoying it also. i reckon you will get to good results out of that cabinet, maybe it will be immediate maybe not but its definitely on its way. with a little help from some of the guys on here, im sure you will ride over any issues that raise their ugly heads :-P

you aim high and that's admirable. its pretty far from the average joe setup that's for sure!!! that's one thing about this forum i like, maybe not be huge right now but everyone is doing something *exceptional*
ah - glad the led lamp worked out well, fits nice and looks the part with the rest of your kit :)

Re: Stealth wardrobe

PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 6:40 pm
by godzilla
lol very nice bubble photography also, you must have a very nice camera. looks like the pump/stones combo you got really means business!

Re: Stealth wardrobe

PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 8:02 pm
by teetee
Cheers Godzilla, glad you like it. Must be nice to see your handiwork in place!

You make me laugh... even to contemplate having an intruder shut off is totally thinking outside the box (or grow cabinet). I can imagine a whole series of flaps, pulleys and strings all working together Heath Robinson style to make the room look normal again.

I agree, this forum is quiet, but loaded with top quality input, a far cry from some of those sites where everyone just takes the piss out of each other, or people who just don't have a clue typing out pages of false information. I've seen things on this site that I would never have imagined possible, and that's why I like it.

Trying to get those pics was funny, the room's so small, I had to hold the camera up against the wall opposite, using a mirror to see what was going on in the viewfinder. I had a smoke in between my teeth and I was trying to keep out of the picture. I can be so fucking lazy, the tripod is just 10 feet away.

I spent half the night playing around riding the pH rollercoaster, so in the end, I drained the tank and started again.... good practice I suppose. This is going to be fun and games!

Re: Stealth wardrobe

PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 8:21 pm
by ledbud
wooooooooow coming nicely teetee bro.
very pro set up. you will grow some big fat buds bro,
forum will get bigger, we are nice family and like you said we got quality growers and tec info.
we got Godzilla as tec guru and LEDDWCRigger is also very good guy to get info from.
I am really happy to be part of this nice family.
:-P :-P :-P :-P :-P :cool: :grin:::: :grin:::::

Re: Stealth wardrobe

PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 9:30 pm
by teetee
Cheers for that Ledbud mate. If I could get any where close to the quality of your buds, I'll be well pleased. Thee's no way I can compete with your yield though, you grow monsters man!
I'm very happy here too, I'm excited to get started again... apart from my Wife, you lot are the only ones I can talk to about this shit!

Re: Stealth wardrobe

PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2013 8:48 am
by LEDDWCRigger
Yes, "stealth" and DWC is difficult. Especially with external growing boxes.

I wanted to clarify a bit further on my point of those silver ones being noisy little buggers, and show you how to fix that issue.

The Noisy Thing

Al these things are are really transformers, magnets, lever arms, and valved pumps. There was also the potentiometer controlling the pump volume, but that was removed long ago for another project. Our largest source of noise comes from the poor build between transformer coils and the magnets attached to the ends of the lever arms. Note how that top magnet is a couple mils closer to the transformer coil. When that moves back and forth from the alternating current, it makes contact with both the coil and the plastic housing, creating a very loud BUZZ. This is further evidenced by the sheer amount of rust covering the magnet (from where it knocked steel off of the transformer coil and stuck, then it oxidized.)The solution to this is fairly simple, bend the magnetic 'head' back a bit so that it is parallel to the transformer coil, and not off-kilter like it is now, so that it does not make contact with the transformer coil or the plastic housing. Another solution would be to put a couple of new mounting holes in the transformer coils itself, and move the transformer itself further away by a couple mils. While this directly reduces the pumps strength, it will drastically reduce noise levels.

The second source of noise was the pump control board wiring that I mentioned being gone. It hung loose inside of that housing, so it would vibrate against the plastic housing and make noise. Simplest solution, glue it in place, or if you plan on running the pump full bore (like I will with this one) just remove that control circuitry altogether and wire a power cord directly to the transformer (polarity is not a consideration in this scenario, so just solder the wires on and plug it in!)

I'll be getting this pump into service soon, and I shall make a small video showing you how much quieter it is when given a couple of minor modifications.

Good helping with this box, Godzilla! And thanks for the kind words, all of you.

EDIT: Not two minutes after I hit post, one of my aquarium air pumps (again, a cheapo silver one!) started going BUZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

So I took this one apart and got a picture to demonstrate the power control wiring just being loose in there.

Another Noisy Thing w/Power Control

Re: Stealth wardrobe

PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2013 10:08 am
by teetee
Thanks for that great post LEDDWCRigger.

I thought I would open my old silver Hailea airpump.

Exactly the same as yours, but there was 2 of your units bundled into my one. When I pumped the arms, the black rubber diaphragms made a little "EEEK" noise, and when you pump a couple of arms repeatedly, it sounded like a load of excited mice!

On a serious point though, although the pump was very well sealed, there was a little water inside. That could only have been back pressure as I put the pump on the floor next to the DWC during testing, and did not use non return valves. I am sure, slowly the pump would have taken on more water/nutrient, and one day POP! Very stealthy, not!

My new pumps are sited above the cabinet now, and I've got nice chunky non return valves in the DWC.

That probably explains the rust in your pump?

You see, this is what I like about this forum, thinking outside the box. I would never have thought to open the old pump and see inside. Every day an education!

Re: Stealth wardrobe

PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2013 10:24 am
by LEDDWCRigger
The rust in my pump is due to the humidity levels around the fish tank causing oxidation of the metal that gets knocked off of the transformer coil when the magnet rubs. Since the pump intakes the air immediately around the tank, it gets quite a bit of humidity, even with the filter pad on the bottom side. The way these pumps are built, water can't easily backflow (the construction of the air valve tends to prevent backflow due to air pressure in the line, but that EEEEK sound of yours might hint at a leak there.)

See the hole in my pic on the bottom air valve housing? That's the intake section. Right there is where the one-way valve is located. You can test it out by putting your mouth to it, blow into it, then try to suck out of it. If you can do both, then it's been damaged, likely due to a breach in the valve itself. If you can only breathe into it and not suck air out of it, then the valve is working perfectly fine. Most pumps these days are built this same way, with use in a water environment in mind, so the one-way valve already acts as a check valve of sorts (though not the most efficient one!)

Re: Stealth wardrobe

PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2013 9:04 pm
by teetee
I'm pretty happy today. On saturday morning I planted 4 seeds, this morning (monday), I woke to see 2 of the seeds had sprouted and were already poking up through the rockwool!! 2 days!!!!!

Gentlemen, meet 2 of my babies...



I'm bloody impressed, that was 2 days from seed to sprout! I didn't soak the seeds, I just put them in rockwool and clay pebbles which had been sitting in pH 5.7 water for a week. The DWC is running House and Garden drip clean, pH stabiliser and Vitalink Plant Start. There's been slight displacement of the rockwool plug in the 3rd net pot, and possibly also in the 4th pot. Hopefully by tomorrow morning they will arrive.

Down to my last smoke... gonna have to traipse halfway across town tomorrow, which I'm not happy about. Roll on Feb (when I reckon I will have cured my first harvest, hopefully).