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Automated FC Build Complete! (pix inside)


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#1 Jrotten

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Posted 29 February 2016 - 02:59 PM

First let me say what I did, for the space I have, could have been accomplished with a large tub and the humidifer, fans, pump, light and controls.  A tub laying around with everything hooked up to it was not really something I wanted.  While what I have built I would not call stealth, it is discrete and that was what I wanted.

 

Second I would like to thank Microbe77 for his documentation on his greenhouse builds.  I leaned heavily on his design.

 

Essentially this is a plastic storage unit that has been converted to house all the control features as well as the fruiting chamber.  I used R5 and R4 foam panels to insulate the upper fruiting chamber section.  I considered just lining with plastic instead, but my thinking is the insulation should prevent a temperature differential on the wall thus preventing excessive condensation.  The insulation board is also very convenient for cutting and is easy to work with so I didn't have to attach it to anything, but rather I just overcut each section and forced it into place so that it supported itself during construction.  Instead of plastic I opted to use 60mil TPO to line the walls and floor.  It is a commercial roofing product so it should be much more resilient to things getting dropped and allow for some pretty rough treatment when scrubbing. The ceiling I just troweled on caulk. I like the all white as well.  It feels cleaner and should make spotting issues easier.  Deck screws with washers were used to fasten the TPO through the foam to the plastic container itself and spray adhesive was used to get a bond between the TPO and the foam insulation boards.  (Note, spray adhesive will eat foam, but the panels are lined with a thin sheet of plastic making it easy enough to use the adhesive.  Elastomeric caulk that allows for 70% expansion at the joints was used for the lining joints and screws, again durability was the goal.  These items are much more expensive than I would have chosen to use if I was buying them solely for this project, but I had scraps left over from a project.  Supporting the whole thing I (very roughly) roughed in a shelf to support the whole thing with 2x3 fencing rails and OSB screwed directly to the walls of the unit where the plastic was thicker.  The shelf is sloped caddy corner to allow drainage.

 

I used wire shelving from a home improvement store and just cut the single shelf to make three shelves.  They are supported with clips and deck screws into the plastic unit's walls, and cut down a metal tub and screwed shelf brackets in the front.  the metal rods are held in place by the shelves themselves and just rest on the floor of the fruiting chamber.  This allows the shelves to be rotated at the back easily so that I can clean the fruiting chamber easily.

 

I used a piece of dripedge to make a nice lip for the perimeter of the unit.  This allowed me to simply use a piece of the foam panel cut to fit over the opening.  Velcro seals the whole thing and makes the whole front panel removable, again for easier handling of trays and cleaning.

 

Light is provided by a simple LED fixture.  After all the TPO was in place I just traced out for the fixture, cut out the TPO and foam, drilled a hole in the OSB shelf to run the wire down and then mounted the back piece, wired up the fixture, put the cap back over, and then caulked the whole thing up so that water will not get inside or behind.  The LED fixture never heats up that I can feel with my hand or a temperature probe beyond the ambient temperatures so I am not worried about issues having it sealed up.  

 

Two holes were drilled in the bottom, one is for the plumbing of the humidifier unit and the other is for the wiring for the fans and a drain.  The bottom shelf is slanted caddy corner so at the highest point the humidifier enters and at the lowest point the drain sits.  The humidifer is made of a 5 gallon bucket, a 12v small squirrel cage style computer fan, a length of hose and a 5 head fogger unit from house of hydro.  I tried a cheaper single disk fogger unit, but it's mist output could not keep up with the fan, ultilmately providing very little humidity.  The 5 disk unit provides enough mist to probably humidify an entire room.  It is almost instant, making the humidifier itself incredibly efficient.  Improvenments to be made are to replace the accordion style hose I have now with a smooth wall hose which will be cleaner and less maintenance.  I used a simple flexible pipe joint with hose clamps to connect the hose to the bucket which has a hole cut and small plumbing piece threaded to it.  No caulk was necessary for that.  

 

Air is handled through the drain where again a plumbing fixture was threaded through the hole in the floor (osb shelf).  I have a high capacity aquarium pump providing continuous fresh air and I wired up 12v computer fans to make sure air is circulating at all times and the fresh air outlet is being well mixed.  I just used CAT5 scraps cut down and spliced into the computer fan leads to get the length of wire I needed.  Splices were simply taped.  The drain has a "filter" consisting of wadded up polyfill to allow for some air to escape, water to drain through, and provide an adjustable seal for the air line and wiring.  This should prevent spores from exiting the fruiting chamber.

 

 

Humidity is controlled using an Ink-Bird prewired unit (IHC-200).  The sensor wire was run into the humidifer and through it's hose to minimize cuts in the fruting chamber.  The sensor is then suspended with a wire tie from the bottom of a shelf.  I have the humidity set to 96% RH and to kick on at 95%.  The reason for this is that the humidifying unit is so efficient, despite the speed of the humidity controller at registering humidity changes, It still pushes to 100%.  The unit has an alarm when humidity is too high that cannot be turned off.  An alarm coming from my fruiting chamber is not very discrete so this minimizes that.

 

Controls are handled with a digital timer for the light.  It is set to come on for 1 hour 8 times a day, basically every 3 hours.  The circulation fans run nonstop and are just powered by a spare PSU from an old computer that has since been used for parts.  The air pump runs non stop and should provide 1 air exchange every 45 minutes when the chamber is full and 1 exchange every 1.25 hours when it is empty.  Again the Ink-Bird IHC-200 controls the humidifier.  Temperature is presently not controlled, but I do have a unit that I can use.  I intentionally left the bottom uninsulated so I could mount some type of ceramic heat bulb in the controls section if I find sometime in the future I want to heat the fruiting chamber,

 

I have a small tub that has been making some short fruits in a dub tub which I attribute to a lack of humidity.  It has been placed in the fruiting chamber along with a tub that has yet to pin.  I will use these as I check things out and soon will be placing some larger trays in the fruiting chamber.

 

That's it.  Now it's time to test it out and run it through it's paces to see how it performs!  The whole thing took about a week to build, but all in all maybe 15 hours of actual work.

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#2 prof_it_e

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Posted 29 February 2016 - 03:14 PM

Aaargh... this going to make whatever the hell I do for an FC look woefully inadequate. Good job!


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#3 Jrotten

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Posted 29 February 2016 - 03:28 PM

Aaargh... this going to make whatever the hell I do for an FC look woefully inadequate. Good job!


Thank you, but I think a plain old tub with perlite, misting and fanning is completely adequate, I just don't have a good place for that. One tub for jars is about all I can discretely accommodate and I'd like to do away with that if I can. The downside here is I am now stuck with exactly this much fruiting room. The good part is I can get 4 large baking pans or 12 6 quart tubs in here so it's not too terribly cramped.
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#4 Microbe

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Posted 29 February 2016 - 05:54 PM

Dang man, between mushroom runs, outfit that build with some other gear, you can run some green shit, looks like one of those diy stealth mj grow boxes. I like it!

And no you will not get same the results as you would with a tub of perlite, misting and fanning, unless you dont have a job or are rich and can sit there all day and tend to it, but thats no fun.

You get this thing(hard for me to call it a greenhouse) dialed in, your going to see a freaking major diffrence, assuming all the processes leading up to fruiting are inline and executed properly.

Great job man!
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#5 CatsAndBats

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Posted 29 February 2016 - 06:15 PM

Goddamn dude! Purrfect! Can I send you some stuff to fruit? ;) good job!


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#6 Jrotten

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Posted 29 February 2016 - 07:11 PM

So I figured out how to adjust the calibration on the humidity controller which allows me to work around he "too high alarm" does anyone with greenhouse experience have a recommendation for humidity levels? I've seen everything from 90-99% recommended.

#7 Jrotten

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Posted 29 February 2016 - 07:40 PM

Thank you everybody for the kind words. There is still a way to go to see if it performs well, but so far it seems to hold humidity without making a mess, and it stirs the air inside. I keep thinking that modding an old deep freeze would be quicker and easier. I know those things get thrown away all the time.

#8 CatsAndBats

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Posted 29 February 2016 - 07:48 PM

So I figured out how to adjust the calibration on the humidity controller which allows me to work around he "too high alarm" does anyone with greenhouse experience have a recommendation for humidity levels? I've seen everything from 90-99% recommended.

 

Lower to initiate pins, then higher when they fruit, Tons of FAE, I put a fan right through an opening that comes on 15min of every hour.

 

Thank you everybody for the kind words. There is still a way to go to see if it performs well, but so far it seems to hold humidity without making a mess, and it stirs the air inside. I keep thinking that modding an old deep freeze would be quicker and easier. I know those things get thrown away all the tim

 

I've been looking for one, for a pasteurization machine though.


Edited by catattack, 29 February 2016 - 07:48 PM.

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#9 Jrotten

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Posted 29 February 2016 - 08:23 PM


 
Lower to initiate pins, then higher when they fruit, Tons of FAE, I put a fan right through an opening that comes on 15min of every hour.
 
I'm hoping the constant air circulation without dropping RH will handle initiating pins so that I can have trays at different stages happily coexisting.
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#10 CatsAndBats

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Posted 29 February 2016 - 08:48 PM

Is there something for water collection? I apologize if I missed it. I blame the blackberry kush.


Edited by catattack, 29 February 2016 - 08:50 PM.

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#11 Jrotten

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Posted 29 February 2016 - 09:28 PM

The bottom is sloped and it has a drain in the bottom stuffed with polyfill to catch spores and slow down air. There will be a bucket below that but right now my buckets are all spoken for. The great thing about insulating it and using the mist maker is that the mist is dry even though it is supersaturated and you can see it. The insulation means there is no temperature differential on the walls so they don't really get wet. Similar to the inside of your fridge or freezer. Being in an unconditioned space, tonight will be a good test to see what cooler night time temperatures means condensation wise. I have a remote weather sensor that tracks temps so tonight I will see how constant the temperature stays.

The front has a 3" lip forming a bowl at the bottom and using commercial roofing products to line it all means it would hold that volume of water if need be.

I should add that the lack of condensation makes the humidity much more stable because the walls aren't sucking water out of the air via condensation.

Edited by Jrotten, 29 February 2016 - 09:31 PM.

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#12 Microbe

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Posted 01 March 2016 - 05:23 AM

65-75 until your pins are in and then bump up to 85 until harvest.

After harvest put back in and crank it up to 90-95 rh for a few days then drop back down to 65-75 and push out a subsequent flush(again raise the rh ince pins are in).

Edited by Microbe77, 01 March 2016 - 05:24 AM.

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#13 meyer

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Posted 01 March 2016 - 05:48 AM

Well done sir! I am excited to see what you fruit out of that, really looks clean and professionally made.

Good luck to you, post pics of your first fruits, BTW, what are you planning to grow / fruit first?

#14 Jrotten

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Posted 01 March 2016 - 11:13 AM

Currently I have either b+ or gt in there. It was my first time with growing and nothing got labelled. Whatever has survived to bulk out is what is in there. I have AA+ colonizing grain, some pan Cambo Goliath that just went to a tub, some pan Hawaiians that may make it to trays, and some LC that seem to be going well of pan Cambo Sandoz and more AA+. It may be too cool for the pans still though.

QUESTION: if you put RH at 65 to initiate pinning, 95 to recover between flushes, and 85 for fruiting, hoe do you handle having trays at different stages?

#15 Jrotten

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Posted 01 March 2016 - 01:38 PM

Well I am proud to announce that the first phase of testing is showing a big improvement.  To test out the affect of the chamber, I had a dub tub I that was fruiting.  The first few fruits I pulled last week were nice and meaty, but all short.  So I put that tub in which had quite a few pins formed.  The fruits pulled yesterday were very underwhelming: small, not dense, just not impressive.  Those that are maturing today are 40-50% larger.  I will wait a few more hours then harvest everything beyond a pin.  This is looking more and more like a very worthwhile endeavor and something I will definitely need to learn how to maximize it's potential.  I'm super thrilled with these results.

 

Thanks again to the community and Microbe77 for all the knowledge and documentation that has got me this far!

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#16 Jrotten

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Posted 02 March 2016 - 10:57 PM

Well today I found my Achilles heel: my humidifier is too efficient. It takes about 5 seconds to bring the fruiting chamber to 99% and the humidity controller just doesn't work that fast. What this means is I can't do 65% because the humidifier shuts off but the humidity controller keeps climbing.

My first attempt to correct this is going to be to triple the FAE. I can go as high as 4 exchanges an hour when the new pump comes in. This way I can at least get a mean humidity lower than 94+ % RH
And I don't think you can have too much FAE.

The second thing I'm going to do to try and and get more precision control is to reduce the flow of the humidifier's fan. There are two ways I could do this easily enough. One, I can simply switch out to a 5v power supply which slow the fan down. It may come to that, but I think a more elegant solution is to slow the flow by building a small enclosure for the fan and filter the air. My available options are Tyvek and filter disks. One or the other should do the job.

I think both of these will ultimately improve all phases of the fruiting chamber, but I might not have gone the extra mile had I not been forced.

As far as fruiting goes, my build appears to be a smashing hit but if it turns out the constant air flow within the chamber isn't enough to induce quality pinsets, then precision control of the humidifier is surely required.

The new build will be AFC b.2 and if I get the kind of harvest I want off the first tubs to live their whole adult lives in there, or any of the pan trays fruit, I will dub it AFC 13.37 in honor of my favorite version of Slackware at which point I will also list all the exact pieces I used.
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#17 Jrotten

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Posted 03 March 2016 - 10:08 PM

This tub was started on misting and fanning for a few days before being put into the chamber.  I'm pretty excited about this pinset.  It's head and shoulders over the first.  I think I'm improving as a grower and the fruiting chamber improves the quality of the fruit 100x.

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#18 Jrotten

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Posted 04 March 2016 - 03:04 AM

Today I got the humidifier filtered. Just cut the bottom out of some gladware and siliconed it to the bucket kid over the fan. Then cut out the middle of the lid. A piece of Tyvek between the lid and the container then makes a decent filter. Slowed the humidifier down just a hair. I still have to get the FAE pumps filtered. I'm not sure what material I want to use. Right now I'm getting 3 full air exchanges an hour empty, so loaded I could be pushing 4. Playing with pans and with summer just a few months away, FAE is going to be critical, but so will keeping things clean. I'm blown away with the quality of the fruits which now take longer to fully mature but they are DENSE and easily 3-4 times as big as they were previously.
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#19 Jenniferjupiter

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Posted 09 April 2016 - 11:23 AM

Your FC is beyond what i could even imagine!  I am considering turning the little green plastic green houses I have for plants into a FC. still doing tub grow for now.. the weather is cold here and inconsistent. I'm glad you posted the link to this, extremely inspirational! albeit very intimidating for a non mcgyver like myself. lol. I look forward to reading about your progress and insights! Where do you keep this bad boy in your homestead? Looks like a great addition to a basement!


Edited by Jenniferjupiter, 09 April 2016 - 11:24 AM.

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#20 Jrotten

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Posted 09 April 2016 - 01:15 PM

Your FC is beyond what i could even imagine!  I am considering turning the little green plastic green houses I have for plants into a FC. still doing tub grow for now.. the weather is cold here and inconsistent. I'm glad you posted the link to this, extremely inspirational! albeit very intimidating for a non mcgyver like myself. lol. I look forward to reading about your progress and insights! Where do you keep this bad boy in your homestead? Looks like a great addition to a basement!

It sits in the garage where it used to house odds and ends. Padlocks closed. The temperatures generally stay 67-78. It is screwed to the wall over an electrical outlet and the back is cut out so there are no wires or anything leading to it. If someone happens to be in my garage it's just another storage cabinet.




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