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Author Topic: LED indoor plant growing project  (Read 26455 times)
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Have made a Spectroscope.
It's similar to something like this:
http://www.euhou.net/index.php/exercises-mainmenu-13/classroom-experiments-and-activities-mainmenu-186/178-a-home-made-spectroscope

What I wanted to know, was about any strong blue or red within the 1W LED output. Of particular note, that the LEDs are only being driven to around 80% of their rated brightness, if that.
Turns out that there is quite the strong blue component to the light :)
I may well build another, a bit better and a bit bigger, but this has been really useful for explorations of the types of lights around here, having never used one before.

Here are a couple of pics, of the results and 1 of the little spectroscope itself.


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There are now 5 trees !  :D

Looking at the line, going along the middle of the grow area and looking at spacings, nearly every seed has germinated.
That's pretty cool, though i've no real idea what we'll do with them yet. Am thinking of individual grow pots when the weather warms up. Perhaps near windows for good warm weather and then LEDs for the winters.
Maybe some kind of Bonsai would work.




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A post to follow a conversation with Chet.

Techponics is one name that's been given to a ferris wheel type of device,  that rotates and dips plants in a water bath as it goes.
Motor driven, the device rotates continually at an ultra slow speed.
A strong light source is housed in the middle of the unit, such that light is perfectly equidistant to all plants.
Seedlings are contained by mesh wire, which replaces soil and so allows the plants to hang upside down during the turning cycle.
As the plants grow, they further embed themselves within the wire and that offsets their increased trunk and foliage weight.
Apparently, they grow stronger, sort of like being within a strong wind would do.
It appeals as a space related growing idea, not just to save space, but to grow up there outside the Earth.

More info:
http://www.gizmag.com/volksgarden-hi-tech-hydroponics/12915/
http://www.treehugger.com/lawn-garden/hydroponic-ferris-wheel-optimizes-growth-the-omegagarden-video.html
https://4hydroponics.com/hydroponics/rotate
http://inhabitat.com/the-green-wheel-is-a-nasa-inspired-rotary-hydroponic-garden/

A picture from the gizmag website -



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I suppose those Ferris wheel systems are geared towards a specific market. :o
I can't imagine a more efficient use of the light ,very nice indeed.

1300 watts,  I wonder what your system would do in this configuration ?
plus a dip in a special frequency pool to boot...



   
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If anywhere outside Colorado and a couple more places, it might be wise for law enforcement to check fairground rides lol
"Sorry. the ride is out of service, that's why there's a bunch of weeds growing on it"

Spendy stuff, $3000 typically.
I like your idea though, SSG the heck out of it and use the flyback to light the LEDs !
A good old fashioned gearbox would take care of the size of the wheel and speed of rotation. Pretty sure that a bit of wood, few metal tubes and some kitchen pan cleaning pads would go a long way to cost savings :)
Correct me if wrong, but isn't the point of the Energenx bike wheel kit having a fan, to improve performance and make use of the rotor spinning ? seems ideal for a repurposed use.
I'd probably have a go at a mini version, except i'm not a fan of seeing seedlings drop a few feet out of their holders. It would take some good scrutiny of how the root holders are made.



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Mark
if your findings are accurate , Growing food indoors year round is
a reality for even the poorest of folk,I see this as a compliment to
Rob Mason's work.[sun driven water pump]

and then we add these wheels to harvest even more  of the light,maybe they don't even have to turn [water tubing arteries]? I've seen hanging tomato plants ...
  Finding an appropriate crop would be important ,perhaps tomatoes are not nourishing enuff?
Mr.Caribbean was mentioning a plant which yielded much benefit [nutritional] ??

I find this a very exciting path to investigate...
Growing food indoors on a USB out put.... :o

I think upside down and sideways should be the next experiment in your Wee forest
 Will your WEE Orchard thrive if inverted over the Top in some way?
 capturing the light that is lost to the ceiling...or out the side??

thinking outside the Box.... perhaps a sphere instead of a wheel...?

Hydroponics has always intrigued me ,[growing with out soil] ,but the power needed makes it a rich mans Gimmick ,

not anymore....


seems a home run to me  O0

   
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It's turtles all the way down
Re: volksgarden

If you do the math, at 1300 watts of input power, there would be only certain crops you could grow that could pay the utility bill and make it worthwhile. If you have an electrically heated home, on the other hand, it might make some sense.

If everyone used one of these, nuclear plants would be popping up all over to provide the needed power.

The sun is free and "green"......why I have a greenhouse and use the sun to dry my clothes.


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Mark seems to be having success with 2-3 watts input [with a Frequency
enhancer too] in a completely dark environment ..
worthy of investigation and review.
   
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Thanks for the kind and supportive comments Chet :)
One thing to point out has just been raised and that's why i'm editing before posting.
The bedroom where these plants are has no natural light. We cover the windows in winter heavily, to reduce heating costs. So the only light these plants have had is from the LEDs. Most rooms will likely not have that situation and may further be helped with any lanky growth condition, caused by lack of light striking low down leaves.
The system uses USB, 5V at around 500mA.
Extra lighting is in the form of 1x 2.5W LED bulb as my reading light, which is 180 degrees facing away from the plants. The other is a 13W CFL as my wifes reading light. The plant lights can't even be seen from where she is (that's also why there's a pizza box on the right side in photos lol). It's about the same as growing in a box or wardrobe.


As a jump start for climates that have short growing seasons, it's completely ideal. Also, if there's a wish to simply try out anything from anywhere. If your growing area is indoors and likely warm all the time, then there has to be some fun factor with knowing that a palm tree can grow in Alaska lol
Or, up there in the Northern States, you could vacation in Nevada, bring back some sand and a cactus and keep on growing it !
  
I do see this going forward as a pre-season starter method, as the cheapest way of germinating and growing ready for outdoor planting. One reason for the USB powering is its ease of setting up for anyone to replicate, including me !
The LED cost is tiny and that helps too. Absolutely no need for 3W versions for such uses.
Mr. Carribean is well placed to do trials, with being in an apartment etc...I hope he does :)

One idea is to water from above, where normal gravity would pull water through hydroponic plants and down into soil as the horizontal section. On its way, it would could pass through all manner of angles, watering all as it went. A good point is that these LEDs don't get warm in any way and, beside the connecting legs, they are 100% waterproof. With heatshrink around the legs, they could get rained on all day !
I may try a couple of seedlings in Brillo pads...will have to watch a couple of how-to videos first though.

Also, the wheel idea could be done outside just as readily. Geared to use a wind turbine to revolve, lit by the sun, watered by the clouds. Put the thing on wheels and everything is there for compact area growing.


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It's turtles all the way down
It is difficult to do "controlled" experiments with plants as Cleve Baxter and others have pointed out.

A double blind study although better, might also have "leaks".


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I agree about Cleve Baxter....it's been mentioned that my treating plants more like pets, may be a factor in some experiments.
Best bet, really, is to have several people of all growing experience conduct experiments. The only link being of a USB cellphone type charger for power and LEDs.
Heck, make it a challenge, with prize money for the best systems. Might be a good school or Uni contest.

I'm aiming at going for solar power and 2x Li-Ion batteries. that way it's all free with having the parts here.

Another route may be microprocessor control of lighting cycles and LED intensity. Adjusting the programming with increased results for lights on/off, different colour LED setup cycling and fit a moisture sensor. Just practical things.
Saw a video today of an aquaponics system, where the guy had his plants hooked up to the internet !...the sensors would send him emails if the plants were dry  ???



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Another lemon seed was found in a salad today...so it's gone in to the spot where No.6 would have been, if the original had germinated.

"I am not a number, I am a free man!"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nW-bFGzNMXw
A prisoner within the white foam box ?
Anyhow, this will be No.6, as a tree, if all goes well :)


Short vid of the planting technique, not that there's anything special to it and, unfortunately no large bouncing ball anywhere in the video.


[youtube]f0RgkY6a3tw[/youtube]


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What ever happened to....


Yesterday was planting day :)
Back outside, after their winter LED foray. The trees are also now in their own pots and have been placed near to a south facing window. Of note, on the right is 'Number 6' but he's not Number 6 !
That guy popped up only a week or so back, but not where the other seed was planted.


Lessons learned include:
Plants will happily trundle through a winter with substantially less lighting costs than would be expected.
White LED's are beneficial and need not be 3W or higher.
Super bright white 1W LED's can be driven at much lower power and produce an effective warm light, plus expected longer life.
The whole system can run from a regular phone charger and support many plants.
LED's should not be drastically moved once in place - these guys shed leaves afterward and grew leaves in very different places after the change of positions.
LED's should be close to the top of plants, bright green healthy shine dulls with distance.
Plants will become lanky if light is shaded from lower leaves.
Watering with regular rain stored in gallon jugs is perfectly fine.
No chemical additives need be introduced at all during outdoor or indoor growing !    



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In Indiana a company is running big time with "pink" LED's
which ones do you owe the Koala ?? :o [sorry different topic  .........

http://cleantechnica.com/2014/05/10/philips-and-green-sense-partner-for-led-farming-rd/
   
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Blue  8)

So pink, being white and red, does give credibility to the whites that were used over the winter.
Good good.
I should really do some building now, before winter is even close, to get a system ready.
What i'm going to do, is to put whites and reds close together, simulating the pink.
Blue will be interspersed, with green lower down, on 20AWG wire, such that they can be positioned where needed to limit lanky growth.
No idea what is to be kept growing or planted from seed though. This year has seen monsoons and other ridiculous weather, the upshot being that only the peppers and trees are really around this year.
Must say about 1 comical addition though. I was eating a salad a couple of weeks ago and after finishing it, noticed that a tomato seed was caught in a tooth. I picked the seed from the mouth and planted it  :D

Attached is a pic of it now....

 


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Wow slider are you growing lemon trees, that might take a while. They look ok, good job.

I usually grow tomatoes for experiments but they have problems of their own.

I conducted an experiment with galvanic cell current through the soil and a directed pulsating LED light powered by another galvanic cell, but the experiment failed to produce any solid results.

I was thinking of redesigning a similar experiment with more subjects. More control subjects and more test subjects, I gotta keep it simple and remove as many randoms as possible unfortunately indoor space is restricted here while outdoor space is much. I did buy some long planter pots to go along a wall. I'll read back to refresh and have a think about what I can grow. Weather might be ok to germinate some tobacco, I'll have to check out the forecast.

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Yep, the lemon and mandarin orange trees are going well.
No idea which is which yet lol. We may well try to Bonsai them.
But, there was a disaster about a week ago, when one of our cats attempted to climb out of the closed window !
It knocked the whole lot onto the ground and we lost 'Number 6'. That was the little tree, that was, well, number 6 of the seeds to pop up under the LED's. It literally was lost. I picked all the soil up and replanted them and such, but No. 6 was nowhere to be found. Got a feeling that I know where the cat stood !

Found another cherry tomato seed stuck in me gob today on eating a salad...so planted him in the same pot as the other :)
No chemicals of any type will be used, in common with all planting here. Rainwater for watering, collected in gallon jugs.
The only additions are grass mulch and tree leaves from the back yard.

Lidmotor had an experiment going with 'Phylis' some years back. he had a magnesium firestarter and a piece of copper in a pot, with a phyllidedrum (sp?) plant. Blocking oscillator attached. When the LED would begin to fade off, he would water the plant.
There are concerns of metals though, in my opinion and some plants will be hardier than others.
I would suggest a well built uA constant light oscillator, powered from multiple metals rods, in a section of soil sectioned off by a piece of plastic. If the separator is just below the top soil line, then the plant water should still be able to cross through, but any galvanics induced metals seepage will be contained.
The big problem, one of which i've only ever partially sorted, is that of summing galvanic cells that share an electrolyte - as in, all the metal pieces in the same ground. Only 1 negative needs to be in the ground, all the oscillators can connect to that same piece, but have their own positive metal. All oscillators will output individually like that, but not summed...and I need to return to that problem  ???

If outdoor space is easy to work with, then you could do worse than mounting things on a sun facing wall (I have no idea where the sun is in Australia lol). Especially if your wall stays relatively warm in winter, from house heat.
Some plexi, a pop bottle or similar, covering small plants, will help with watering them in dry times.  
As to indoors....I grew the trees in my bedroom !




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As an update to all this....

The tomato TREE is 8ft tall  ;D
About a dozen of those mini type are now growing on it and 1 of them has just to turn red. All rather bizarre for the end of November. Pollination is possible without a second plant, noticed with peppers too, just the tip of a paintbrush or similar to go from flower to flower.
Within the vid is an update on the actual trees, a couple of which have grown really well.

Some stuff is now under LED's for winter.
This year sees approx 80 LED's of red/white/blue as the system that is taking shape....all running off the same cellphone USB charger (700mA).


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UflZNG0ceEU
(2mins 55sec)


(@Peter - we seem to have lost embedding of videos ?)


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As an update to all this....

The tomato TREE is 8ft tall  ;D
About a dozen of those mini type are now growing on it and 1 of them has just to turn red. All rather bizarre for the end of November. Pollination is possible without a second plant, noticed with peppers too, just the tip of a paintbrush or similar to go from flower to flower.
Within the vid is an update on the actual trees, a couple of which have grown really well.

Some stuff is now under LED's for winter.
This year sees approx 80 LED's of red/white/blue as the system that is taking shape....all running off the same cellphone USB charger (700mA).


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UflZNG0ceEU
(2mins 55sec)


(@Peter - we seem to have lost embedding of videos ?)

Posted on the video Mark

I think the big tree is a lemon, crush a leaf and see if it smells of lemon :)

regards

Mike 8)


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It's no lemon Mike, it's really a very nice...ohhh  ;D

Hey good idea about the leaf, will try that.
I think, therefore, that 4 are lemon trees and 1 is a Mandarin orange tree.



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@Mike - yep, smells of lemon :)

Must pass this along.
It appears that cross pollination has resulted in a fresh type burner of a pepper.
Over the few years now of these same original batch of peppers being side by side, perhaps also keeping them going over winters, has resulted in those small looking traffic light peppers shown in the video.
I'd blamed the very heavy rains and flooding of earlier in the year, for their lack of usual growth.
Only, they're not dwarf traffic lights !
I decided to try the one that's now turned from green to red. Expected a nice enough mild pepper taste.
Bit the end of it and, ashamedly ran straight to the kitchen bin to empty my mouth LOL
Hiccuping, the whole bit  :D

What they are, are big Habanero's !


Shown in the pic are a regular Habanero top left, then the new guys.
UK 2p coin and USA 25c coins for sizes.


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Not bragging or anything... oh who am I kidding...
Picked these yesterday. First time I've grown spuds.
   
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Very nice Jim !
You can now go all overunity on life, by planting just a few when they sprout and getting another similar batch.
I had a large plant pot on a windowsill back in England, the potatoes would sprout, grow to about 4 or 5ft tall, flower and underneath were more potatoes. Nothing pollenated it. i just cut the 'tree' down, removed some of the spuds and it kept going around and around for about 2 years before I moved property!!! i mean, it's ridiculously overunity isn't it  :D

Same thing going on with the tomato seed that was caught in one of my teeth. No bees, kept indoors and look at the crop LOL, over 2 dozen Cherry types with most approaching full size now.
We had to go to Minnesota for about a week, because unfortunately my wife's dad passed away. Replanted the tomato tree in a 5 gallon polystyrene cooler and filled it with soil, leaves and got it well watered. Came back the other day and all is fine...it's mid December !

All of this is the link for indoor growing under LED's.
Your potatoes would carry on fine, with no cycle to worry about, if theres good light and the ground stays warm.
Yield is increased, pests are non existent and if you use solar and batteries with an efficient lighting system, free all winter. Genetic defects, through none varied plant pollenation don't seem to have figured, but may.



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Today saw the moving of several plants, from the spare room to the bedroom for LED wintering.
Amazingly, with no heat in that other room, even the tomato plant is still going. There's a heater in there now, to see if the behemoth can make it to New Year. About 3 dozen tomatoes would be about a week away from matured, if it was summer.

In the warm room now are the following:
Approx 10 x Habanero and bell pepper bushes
An apple tree - grown from a pip
An mandarin orange tree - grown from a pip
A weed thing that we think may be a foxglove
4 x lemon tree - 1 of which is 3ft tall and to be given away to a guy with a heated greenhouse
3 x cactus

LED amounts can be gauged in the attached pic.
34 x red 3mm
40 x blue 5mm
15 x white 5mm
7 x 1W white - nowhere near full power, but a nice warm output
2 x Harbor Freight warning triangles - one of which has several white LED's removed and replaced with blue

LED power source:
2x 500mA cellphone adapters, the Harbor Freight red triangle lights caused a dimming with only 1 adapter in use, so they have their own. Those have no circuitry, but 1 of them does still have its factory functions circuit (for red, white and flashing red).



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Pic here for Chet.
It's February and the tomato tree is still going. It's produced 4 dozen tomatoes and is flowering again.
Will probably produce another dozen when I wash the window !



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