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Autopots Watering Systems

Poll on autopot failures

Has an autopot (e.g. valve stuck) every failed on you?

  • Yes, a part failed and caused major issues like tray overflows and flooding

    Votes: 6 16.7%
  • No, never had one issue

    Votes: 18 50.0%
  • Had an issue but I think it was operator error (like bad mix of coco medium results in poor wicking)

    Votes: 9 25.0%
  • Had an issue with the overall system (like out of control roots and ever used pot socks/discs)

    Votes: 3 8.3%

  • Total voters
    36

pop22

Frankensteins Lab Leader
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Dec 15, 2013
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It is possible the airdome, if present, could cause problems. I see people getting the biggest and baddest air pumps they can find. This is not DWC, you don't need or even likely want a lot of air. Even a small amount will saturate your medium. Too much air could cause all kinds of problems, root drying, etc. I've seen rootballs with a big hollow space in the middle where air got trapped. You don't want that. I've not been convinced of the worth of the airdome and don't use them, and I've grown some big plants..

Yikes another one? You should contact autopot and explain what is going on. They might know why this is happening. Might be related to the substrate around the airdomes? Or maybe it's not controllable and its random that you have to live with. But if you can get a tip from the company so it doesn't happen again that would be good.

Here is an email contact. Dan just emailed me 10 minutes ago actually. [email protected]
 

lunarman

Auto Warrior
Mar 13, 2017
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I have used expanded clay hydroton in the bottom of the pots in each plant. I had also read that you and hans and others had had good results without them and I had read your interface theory/practice. Since I had no issues with my first two plants, I figured I would use up the bag of hydroton then stop using them. I am all out now lol.
I have an almost full bag of hydroton you can have!!!!! I am never going to use that in my autopots.

I have a big ass air pump. It's got 16 outlets on the manifold and all the air is directed out 6 outlets. I am moving a lot of air to my 6 domes. A lot. And I have no problems with wild roots at this point.
 

pop22

Frankensteins Lab Leader
Gladiators
Dec 15, 2013
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I've re-used the root control discs even with the copper worn off and have yet to get roots into the tray. I think this is caused by roots trying to get to the water blocked by the pebbles in the bottom of pots. I've never had roots into the tray in 2 years time

I may do that. It's embarrassing to admit that I opted to reuse the RCD vs purchase new ones.
I do also wonder if it could be because of too much air directed at the airdome. I did purchase a larger four outlet pump this grow.
Based on your email from the company, I placed the RCD's in the pot upside down, with copper side facing the medium.
That to me explains it as roots that wormed their way around the disc found nothing stopping their proliferation whereas, had the copper been facing dowen they would have met a deterrent.
Thanks @lunarman
 

lunarman

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Mar 13, 2017
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It is possible the airdome, if present, could cause problems. I see people getting the biggest and baddest air pumps they can find. This is not DWC, you don't need or even likely want a lot of air. Even a small amount will saturate your medium. Too much air could cause all kinds of problems, root drying, etc. I've seen rootballs with a big hollow space in the middle where air got trapped. You don't want that. I've not been convinced of the worth of the airdome and don't use them, and I've grown some big plants..
Interesting. I sub'd to a couple of journals that showed that lots of air in to the domes is a great way to grow. In this hobby or business there is always people who do things one way, and other do the opposite, and both camps seem to have examples of great successful grows. So many variable and growing skills and styles out there its hard to say just one way works. That is a good thing IMO. Makes things interesting.
 

Screwauger

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May 31, 2017
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Radical I am.

I just took BBA2 who is suffering the same root overgrowth problem as the crack plant, and transplanted her into a new pot with no air dome and no hydroton.
For what it's worth, brand new (still copper visible) RCD in the bottom of the pot copper side down (other words correct).
I had nearly a rock hard root mass in the bottom 3" of the pot. I am talking solid block of roots.
I radically performed surgery on it, broke up the mass and pulled out the airdome and most of the hydroton.
I placed a fresh couple of inches of coco/perlite in the bottom, watered it in with mild nute solution (RCD inserted correctly).
Placed surgical patient into the fresh pot, and watered slowly with about a half gallon of the same mild nutes.
This plant is in flower and may not survive but this had to be done as I am not babysitting another plant for a month in a bucket with an autopot beside it not in use.
Time will tell. I will keep her out of the tent today in soft light and then put her back to her daily routine tomorrow.
BBA1 is looking nice with about 2-3 weeks till harvest and she and the crack should give me plenty of meds to last.
Thanks gents, we shall see what transpires.
The way that pot looked, I am leaning toward too much air but it would seem others would have had this issue as I am not the first I bet, to blast 7 lpm in there.
 

lunarman

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Mar 13, 2017
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.......as I am not the first I bet, to blast 7 lpm in there.
My pump is 110 LPM and that is divided across 6 outlets. Once I'm done some grows i will take a look at the root mass. But right now I don't have any roots outside the pots. And my copper sides faces up, not down. I have the black disk inside the pot at the bottom, and then the RCD in the tray copper side up to turn back the roots that try to get in the tray. And I use 70/30 coco/perlite. And I covered my airdomes with 100% perlite then the coco/perlite on top of that.
 

Nonpoint

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May 12, 2017
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Would love them but here in Aus we are very limited on resources.
Can only order from U.K and it would take better part of a month to get here! This round will do without them and putchase for next round.
if you have access to rubber and plastic tubing from a hardware store, they are not hard to make your own version.

Even a simple circle with a T to connect the ends would work.
 

Hinson

I like Womerns... especially ones named Mary Jane
Nov 21, 2016
38
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in a cold cold place
howdy there
i was just looking for discussions on the autopot topic because I lost a couple of gallons on the floor of my tent over night. I have 7 plants right now and i just started the water in it ... one valve seemed a little slow to drip so if anything i thought it was going to be dry... but next day when i went to my buddies where it is located at, my socks got all wet and water was completely gone out of the rez. well i went through all of them, and the slow dripping one was fully swamped inside and brimming over. i wiggled and jiggled, and tried to get the thing to sit flat on the bottom of the tray.... i waited an hour before i left after i reloaded the rez. i returned 5 hours later and the water levels in the rez and the tray seem normal now.
the thing that makes me feel most uncomfortable is how the valve parts seem like they should lock in on the bottom of the tray but due to the rigidity of the lines and the water in the tray it seems they like to float around in their space. i was making sure to put the little plates on top of the valve chamber in hopes it would hold them down, but this time i am leaving suspicious valves exposed till my confidence is regained.
this is my second grow with them, the first one was uneventful outside of a rez that got pretty rotten smelling and i think it caused issued with the plants... but i believed at the time that the stink was good for plants ... but i believe i was stupid in the line of thinking, and i will soon have some air stones to set into the rez off my airdome pump and any sign of stink i am cleaning everything out.
I am using the clay balls and soil with airdomes. with the mass of roots in the clay balls on my first grow the roots just really dominate in the tidal zone caused by the valves. but i will phaze them out after i run out or use them for decorative work somewhere outside.

i was wondering also if perhaps the T shaped thing in the tray was supposed to fit inside the curved part on the back side of the valve? i tried to fit it in but didnt want to break the thing... would be nice if it was secured on the tray Just wondering.
 

pop22

Frankensteins Lab Leader
Gladiators
Dec 15, 2013
15,991
50,287
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Northern USA
Yes, that post in the tray holds the valve in place. the tubing I got with my system was fairly soft and didn't affect the valve, but it definitely needs to stay in place, not float! It doesn't take much pressure to get the valve over the post, wiggle it around a bit till it drops onto it. I've never had once move once seated.

Use Hydroguard in the res, it will keep the smell down. Use about 1/2 the recommended amount. I use it even in plain water when growing organically, it also helps supress root rot.

howdy there
i was just looking for discussions on the autopot topic because I lost a couple of gallons on the floor of my tent over night. I have 7 plants right now and i just started the water in it ... one valve seemed a little slow to drip so if anything i thought it was going to be dry... but next day when i went to my buddies where it is located at, my socks got all wet and water was completely gone out of the rez. well i went through all of them, and the slow dripping one was fully swamped inside and brimming over. i wiggled and jiggled, and tried to get the thing to sit flat on the bottom of the tray.... i waited an hour before i left after i reloaded the rez. i returned 5 hours later and the water levels in the rez and the tray seem normal now.
the thing that makes me feel most uncomfortable is how the valve parts seem like they should lock in on the bottom of the tray but due to the rigidity of the lines and the water in the tray it seems they like to float around in their space. i was making sure to put the little plates on top of the valve chamber in hopes it would hold them down, but this time i am leaving suspicious valves exposed till my confidence is regained.
this is my second grow with them, the first one was uneventful outside of a rez that got pretty rotten smelling and i think it caused issued with the plants... but i believed at the time that the stink was good for plants ... but i believe i was stupid in the line of thinking, and i will soon have some air stones to set into the rez off my airdome pump and any sign of stink i am cleaning everything out.
I am using the clay balls and soil with airdomes. with the mass of roots in the clay balls on my first grow the roots just really dominate in the tidal zone caused by the valves. but i will phaze them out after i run out or use them for decorative work somewhere outside.

i was wondering also if perhaps the T shaped thing in the tray was supposed to fit inside the curved part on the back side of the valve? i tried to fit it in but didnt want to break the thing... would be nice if it was secured on the tray Just wondering.
 

lunarman

Auto Warrior
Mar 13, 2017
3,356
9,684
0
howdy there
i was just looking for discussions on the autopot topic because I lost a couple of gallons on the floor of my tent over night. I have 7 plants right now and i just started the water in it ... one valve seemed a little slow to drip so if anything i thought it was going to be dry... but next day when i went to my buddies where it is located at, my socks got all wet and water was completely gone out of the rez. well i went through all of them, and the slow dripping one was fully swamped inside and brimming over. i wiggled and jiggled, and tried to get the thing to sit flat on the bottom of the tray.... i waited an hour before i left after i reloaded the rez. i returned 5 hours later and the water levels in the rez and the tray seem normal now.
the thing that makes me feel most uncomfortable is how the valve parts seem like they should lock in on the bottom of the tray but due to the rigidity of the lines and the water in the tray it seems they like to float around in their space. i was making sure to put the little plates on top of the valve chamber in hopes it would hold them down, but this time i am leaving suspicious valves exposed till my confidence is regained.
this is my second grow with them, the first one was uneventful outside of a rez that got pretty rotten smelling and i think it caused issued with the plants... but i believed at the time that the stink was good for plants ... but i believe i was stupid in the line of thinking, and i will soon have some air stones to set into the rez off my airdome pump and any sign of stink i am cleaning everything out.
I am using the clay balls and soil with airdomes. with the mass of roots in the clay balls on my first grow the roots just really dominate in the tidal zone caused by the valves. but i will phaze them out after i run out or use them for decorative work somewhere outside.

i was wondering also if perhaps the T shaped thing in the tray was supposed to fit inside the curved part on the back side of the valve? i tried to fit it in but didnt want to break the thing... would be nice if it was secured on the tray Just wondering.
That valve has to be snugged on there right. It is a wierd fitting for sure. But once its on the there right you will know because it wont move. The water line tube that connects to the valve will rest/align in the slot in the tray properly. Also you might want to try a test run with water first. Just to check all the connection fiitting don't leak and the valves are functioning properly.

Also recommend you check trays every couple of days. Make sure there is not salt buildup affecting things especially when they have run a while and are feeding to flowering plants. Lift the pot right out and rest it in a container and have a look at the bottom and check your roots are not out of control.

Also I like to clean the res and golf sponge filter when refilling. Give it a bit of a clean.