For saving space and soil, this method also has several
other benefits, including no soil-borne diseases, no
weeds to pull and no soil to till, run-of-the-mill side
benefits of soil-less gardening.

Smart-pump Set

The Autopot Smart-pump Set

A pump is used to generate and maintain a working pressure of 10psi in the tubing delivering nutrient solution to the growing modules. Three methods of nutrient dosing are available to work in conjunction with the pump.

Smart-pump Set

A. Manual method – as shown in diagram A page 29. Nutrients are mixed into the water of the larger reservoir tank manually. Topping up with fresh water and adding of nutrients is carried out daily. A larger capacity tank would require less frequent topping up.

B. Venturi method – as shown in diagram B page 29. Water in the 50 liter reservoir tank is kept at constant level by the ball valve connected to mains water supply. When the pump operates, water is drawn from the nutrient bottle and a proportion of the nutrients is sucked from the tanks into the delivery lines.

C. Electronic doser method – as shown page 27 photo of doser and pump set on the bottom right. Nutrients are dispensed into the reservoir by gravity via the two solenoid valves operated by the electronic doser to maintain a preset nutrient concentration.

A low cost 12-volt pump works perfectly with the Smart-valves. It starts pumping when one or more of the Smart-valves open to allow nutrient water into the growing trays. Once the last working Smart-valve closes, the pump will immediately stop pumping. The pump works only when necessary, that is, only when there is a need to refill a tray as dictated by the Smart-valves. Hence, the system is extremely energy efficient. In actual operation, the pump works intermittently - busiest during the heat of the day when nutrient demand by the plants is the highest and quietest during the night when nutrient demand is the lowest.

The power required by the pump is 12V 4 amp DC. The system can be powered from a car battery, a transformer or a solar panel. A Battery is a good insurance against temporary power failure. In areas where power supply is a problem or unreliable, the gravity tank is the best option. The cost of installing the pressure switch pump systems is cheaper than the gravity tank method.


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