We like questions. We like talking about our products and what they do, and how they work. If you don’t find answers to your questions – ask online below or give us a call. In the Nashville area – come see us.
The control bucket itself and a bulk head fitting. Many customers have existing systems and components to use. Your local garden supply store will have a selection pumps, fittings, buckets and media. We can certainly supply everything you need – freight and logistics has become such an expense that it makes it easier to purchase local.
Bulk head fittings provide a water tight connection going through the wall of the control bucket. They are available in 3 tubing sizes. 1″, 3/4″ and 1/2″. Most bucket systems use 3/4″ tubing. The fittings are readily available and the grommets used to secure fittings in the grow buckets fit well with curve of the buckets.
Our control bucket is large enough to put up to 12 bulk head fittings on. One bulk head fitting can connect to many buckets using tee’s. The more buckets on one connection (bulk head fitting) the slower water will fill and drain from each bucket.
Flood and Drain, also called Ebb & Flow is the most common. We support Deep Water Culture (DWC) and create a Managed Deep Water Culture (MDWC) system. Using the Intelligent Bucket Controller for bottom feeding Rockwool Cubes or inserting fabric grow bags in buckets allows for the use of Coco Coir or other media.
The MDWC approach allows the grower to pull or drain all of the water from the DWC containers back to the reservoir. The solution can then be replaced or adjusted for ph and nutrient concentration before returning or refilling the buckets. This even allows a DWC grower to flush plants and roots. Be sure to add aeration to the buckets when using for MDWC.
Bottom feeding allows for the soil / media to absorb water and nutrients and wicks upward. The buckets will fill to the specified level. Time is allowed for the wicking to take place and then the bucket is drained.
The controller will work with most every size bucket. 2 gallon, 3.5 gallon, 4 gallon and 5 gallon buckets are common and all work well.
The maximum depth of water the controller will allow is 12″. In a 5 gallon bucket 12″ will bring the water level high enough to read a clone / seedling in a Root Riot or Rockwool cube.
We like 5 gallon buckets for the large root systems tomatoes and hemp plants can have.
If you choose smaller buckets, remember to change the settings for a max water depth – we don’t want to over flow or flood the shorter buckets by accident.
There is no limit on the number of buckets that can be connected at one time. The limit is with the size of the reservoir. How much nutrient solution do you have available? If each bucket needs 4 gallons to reach the seedling / clone in the top of the basket – 12 buckets x 4 gallons/bucket means a 55 gallon drum would support 12 buckets.
If the plants have large root systems – less water per bucket means more buckets. Putting 48 – 2 gallon buckets works with 1 gallon of water and a 55 gallon drum.
When you power up the Intelligent Bucket Controller is has a default depth / time of Flooding for 30 minutes to a depth of 8″ and then draining for 4 hours. Small plants with limited root systems may need more frequent flooding. Everyone seems to have or develop a timing schedule that works for them. Starting with 30/240 seems to work for most plants. When you connect with your smart device you can change the settings to your preference.
Yes. The Intelligent Bucket Controller is a complete network and website and does not require a connection to the internet to work and to allow you to control your system. You connect to the wireless network (wifi) the controller makes available that only allows you to monitor and control the system, while you are within about a hundred foot distance.
If you choose to connect the controller to the internet – by telling it how to connect to your existing wireless network – you will have the ability to use the cloud based site (free) to monitor your system from anywhere in the world.
The Intelligent Bucket Controller is a complete network and website. When you connect to it you will have the option to setup and connect to your existing wireless network. You simply tell it the SSID (name of network) and the password. The controller will connect automatically.
Standard Networking Protocol does not allow a network name to contain the space character. Unfortunately many of the low cost routers allow for spaces in the SSID and most phones, tablets and computers have given in to be compatible. The Intelligent Bucket Controller is strict – it will not work with a SSID that contains a space in the name.
Connecting to the internet allows your Intelligent Bucket Controller to push operating information to our cloud based web server. The cloud based web server allows you to use your web browser from anywhere in the world to see your systems operating information – cycle, temperature, time, etc… This basic service is included at no additional charge or monthly fee.
Connecting to the internet is an option and is your choice. Many growers don’t have internet available or simply don’t want to connect. You pick.
Bucket growers talk about a Syphon that can allow the buckets to overflow. The Syphon Breaker prevents this.
Allow me to explain. We use the expression Gravity Is Our Friend to make this system work. But… When you have a reservoir that is full – say a 55 gallon drum – the water level is about 36″. The maximum water level in the buckets is 12″. Gravity and the flow can continue to push water from the reservoir.
How? When the Fill Pump (pump in the reservoir) turns off – the pressure pushing down on the water in the reservoir – the water can continue to flow or syphon from the reservoir into the buckets. Now Gravity is Not My Friend.
How to Prevent. A Simple Fix, we punch a small hole at the top of the fill line (inside the reservoir) and put a small fitting and tube (3″ piece of 3/16″ tubing). When the pump is running a small amount of the water flow is returned to the reservoir. When the fill pump is turned off. Any flow continuing is very small and air is now sucked in through the small tube. No More Syphon. Hence the term – Syphon Breaker.
The Intelligent Bucket Controller is the center of a building block based system. Many growers have existing systems or the components to assemble a system. The controller works with as many buckets as desired, any size and any configuration.
Why not sell the complete system? Flexibility for growers and the high cost of logistics. The future is here. Freight cost is crazy.
A basic 4 bucket system – requires a reservoir (55 gallon drum), a fill pump, a drain pump, 4 – 5 gallon buckets, net pot tops, grommets for fittings, fittings (tee’s and elbows), and tubing. A 12 bucket system only required the addition of buckets and fittings. A 48 bucket system – more buckets and a bigger reservoir.
We do sell basic systems in store. Shipping requires a pallet and truck freight. We are happy to quote complete systems – just ask.
We encourage you to visit your local hydro store for components – or better yet ask them to supply the Intelligent Bucket Controller as well. We love working with stores.