Reservoir build HELP!

Discussion in 'Aerogardeners' started by L.A, Apr 1, 2017.


    L.A New Member

    Hello lovelies!

    I have been reading threads on this site for about a month now to learn from experts who have been doing this for a long time. This is my first time growing and I wholeheartedly value the knowledge on this site. I am now popping my cherry and asking for help!

    A little background information: this is my first grow and currently in week 3 from seed. I wanted to go with an aeroponic system (please, keep any negative comments about doing aeroponics with the first grow, kindly to yourself). I am not switching from aeroponics, I am looking for advice. It's a high pressure aeroponics system with 3 nozzles for 6 plants. It is currently set up the wrong way. I am using a 125psi diaphragm pump attached to three nozzles. The system works by pumping water from the reservoir through a solenoid into one side of the pump, through the other side and into the nozzles and then back to the solenoid (closed system). However the pump is ABOVE the reservoir. This is a big no-no in order for the pump to prime properly - the pump needs to be LEVEL with the reservoir. Hence, my pump wouldn't work today - I've been trying to fix this problem for the past five hours!

    So here's my question: I'm trying to make a hole at the bottom of the reservoir bucket to put a "hole-through" to go to the pump (water intake). This means I can make the pump level with the reservoir so it can prime properly. I've gone through two buckets and I can't seem to make the hole water-tight. It won't leak with a little bit of water (ie. a test in the tub) but with 5G of leaks. I used a half inch drill bit to make the hole, pushed the "hole-through" attachment in and tightened the washer. I tried ou-narural the first time but then when it leaked I reconfigured and the second attempts put Teflon tape around both hole..still leaky. I've tried two different types of plastic - thin and thick. I've tried to Google this question with no-avail. Any help would kindly be appreciated as I am currently keeping the plants alive by hand-misting them!

    QUESTION: I am kindly looking for help on how to make an aeroponic reservoir NON-LEAKY. What the heck am I doing wrong?

    Atomizer Well-Known Member

    Diaphragm pumps are normally self priming. An airlock in the output side can cause it not to prime as can an airleak in the inlet side. Why are you using a solenoid on the inlet side? Come to that, why are you using a solenoid at all unless you have an accumulator? ;)

    If its hooked up as i envisage, the output of your pump runs thru the nozzles and back to the inlet of the pump, perhaps via a tee located between the solenoid and the pump inlet. What were you thinking ? ;)

    Ditch the solenoid, attach the ends of the nozzle manifold to the sides of a tee and hook the middle of the tee to the output of the pump. Run a tube direct from the pump inlet into the res.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2017

    L.A New Member

    Thank you so much for replying! So I am using a Mistking system to get started and the suggested setup is to have the solenoid on the inlet side. I believe it creates "zero-drip" in the nozzles when the pump shuts off. No accumulator, so I hope the set up above makes sense. My understanding would be without the solenoid the nozzles would leak when the pump shuts off.

    Yes. I believe that is exactly what you are envisioning. Let me see if I can figure out how to post a picture on here. Haha.

    I like the idea you suggested about ditching the solenoid, however, when the pump shuts off and looses pressure, the mist out of the nozzles will get bigger, no? That's why the solenoid is there..."zip-drip".

    Atomizer Well-Known Member

    The solenoid wont do anything to prevent the residual pressure in the tubing, pump diaphragms etc from driving the mist run on. Thats why anti drip nozzles have a ball and spring inside them to cut the flow off right at the nozzle itself. They are the next best thing to having a solenoid on every nozzle.
    A solenoid on the inlet will simply trap the residual pressure in the circuit when the pump shuts off. If air leaks back into the loop via the nozzles when the pump is off, the air will be pulled/pushed into the pumps inlet when it turns on because its the path of least resistance (compared to a tiny hole in a nozzle). The result will be similar to having an airlock in the inlet tube. The difference is.. that "bubble" can travel through the pump and head straight back to the pumps inlet rather than being pushed out of the nozzles. That bubble could seriously mess with the priming ;)

    After looking at the mistking system a little closer. i`m thinking their zipdrip valve may be a simple "normally open" solenoid which closes to prevent flow when the pump starts and opens to ditch the manifold pressure when the pump stops.
    While this method will work to prevent drips, its expensive, needs power and is still not as effective as using anti drip nozzles. AD`s will maintain a positive pressure in the manifold (min 30psi) when the pump stops, where the zipdrip solenoid just dumps everything back to 0psi. The anti drip nozzles typically wont start misting until they see at least 60psi so the pump only has to pressurise the manifold from 30psi to 60psi, at which point the AD springs compress and all the nozzles start misting instantly.
    The mistking pump has to pressurise the manifold from 0psi. The nozzles will begin spraying as soon as the pressure is sufficient to run them, which could be a little as 20psi so the mist quality suffers. If you have a lot of nozzles there will be a delay as the nozzles nearest the pump will start spraying first, robbing flow and pressure from the rest. Anti drip nozzles just sit and wait until the manifold is pressurised and then they all open at once ;)

    Here`s some AD`s in action, (27 secs in) each bank of nozzles in the gh is triggered by a seperate solenoid, the AD valves on the individual nozzles do the rest. The nozzles are netafim coolnets with 4 bar ADV`s which open at 58psi and close at 28psi
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2017

    L.A New Member

    Thank you for the long reply! I love learning.

    Everything I said about the solenoid is correct. But I forgot to mention that the nozzles themselves contain one-way valves to help with the anti-drip effect. Not that I have tried, but it says on their website that you can't blow through the nozzles because they are one-way. I believe this is what you are describing above?

    What you said about the solenoid and air bubble makes sense. I never thought of it in those terms so I REALLY appreciate the time you put into writing that post. From my understanding the "air bubble" isn't that much of a concern because the nozzles have the one-way valve. It could still happen however, because after time I assume the nozzles will degrade and the one-way valves will become less efficient. Just my assumption. Then the air bubble in the pump could happen causing it not to prime properly. Correct?

    I am not sure what type of solenoid it is. I didn't even know there were different types. Perhaps now knowing the nozzles have a one-way valve you think differently? Maybe the same? I really don't know. I don't even think I know at what pressure the nozzles open at. There are 4 nozzles all together. It makes logical sense that the first nozzle would have more pressure than each succesive nozzle. But how relevant is this with only 4 nozzles? I could see maybe at like 6+ nozzles there might be a significant difference...although the company does say the Ultimate system can run up to 10 (more with the Advanced). I simply don't know. I don't see a difference with the naked eye?

    So I was going to say that with ANY pressurized system wouldnt the first nozzle always have more pressure than each successive one. But I feel like the answer to this question is the solenoids? Are they the things that keep the pressure between each nozzle? And talking solenoids by the nozzles, not by the inlet of the pump ;)

    I am always looking for more information and places to dig for information. Thanks for the video. It's actually super fun to watch and kind of soothing, no? Always looking to upgrade but my BIG thing is micron size. I'm willing to listen to whatever as long as we are talking about micron size. My opinion is that it is one of the biggest factors, if not the biggest. The nozzles in the video look good. Are they the ones you use - what micron size do they spray?

    Atomizer Well-Known Member

    If they are anti drip nozzles, the solenoid is unnecessary and even detrimental to the overall performance as it negates the function of the anti drips by dumping the manifold pressure back to zero. The AD`s effectively turn all the nozzles off instantly while they are still under pressure, AD`s are similar to using a solenoid on each nozzle but without the expense or power requirement. Each line of AD equipped nozzles in the vid operate as a single unit, without the AD`s they`d lose the instant on/off response and they wouldnt get the uniform bank of mist as the nozzles wouldnt open and close at the same instant, it`d be more like a wave :)

    The difference between an AD and a solenoid is the AD`s opening and closing pressure is set by the spring strength. It takes more force to compress a spring than to decompress it, so the opening pressure will always be higher than the closing pressure, typically around double. A solenoid isnt pressure sensitive, its either open or closed and has a response time of around 20 milliseconds.
    There are 2 types of solenoid, the most common is "normally closed", when the power is off..its closed preventing flow. The other type is "normally open", when the power is off.. its open allowing flow.
    I use anti drip netafims and hypro`s outdoors, hypro`s indoors, supplied by accumulators and solenoids. They all do a great job. When it comes to droplet size and ultimate control you have to use AA nozzles. They are the only type of nozzle that is capable of maintaining a constant and controllable level of mist/fog with controllable droplet size range.
    Ideally you want 5-80 microns, to give an idea of size, 40 micron droplets will fit through the holes in this mesh with room to spare.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2017
    Redoctober likes this.

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