Hydro tree V3

Hydrotree V3.0

Initial thoughts 

Idea is to move the Apple tree that is currently growing in the V2.0 to a new home. Build a hydroponic system that has sensors for temperature, humidity, light, water temperature. Wanted the system to also have a grow light so that it would not mater if it is the dark of winter or if the system is placed somewhere that has little to no sunlight. I read that plants enjoy air circulation. So also a fan will be added.

I used the same parts as in the Hydro Spinach for the brain. That project did not grow anything anyway. Spark core with all the same sensors. Also including a camera that I do not know how to use yet.

System needs three types of power. Mains for the grow light and hydroponic systems water and air pumps. 12V for the fan and 5V for the Spark core.
See the picture as a rough outline on what it is meant to look like.


Whip out the tools 

Started off with the base where I would put the Spark core and power supplies. Had some kitchen counter top board left overs from a friend. It is sturdy and will make a nice frame for the base. I cut out a teardrop shape cos I thought that would look nice and be functional at the same time. At the narrow end of the drop I plan to put the backbone that runs all the way up to the growlight assemply. on the "fat" end I wanted to house the electronics. it is sized to fit nicely under the pot.

I cut out two pieces of the kitchen top in the teardrop shape. I plan to make them the top of it and the bottom of it. Between I will use 20mm insulation foam to make the layers walls. Used it in V2.o and it was easy to work on. Bit dusty but so what.

After cutting everything out I used two by two as pilars so that the foam construct does not need to take the weight of the pot full of water. cut the foam shapes to fit between the wooden frame. One side made a nice little door to give me access to the electronics.


Electronic brain

Started to fit the electronics I noticed that I can't fit everything into the base. I could fit the air pump and both power supplies but not the spark core and relay board. Only solution is to use some plastic installation boxes outside the base.
I fitted these just behind the base and the spark core is now outside just hanging about.

For the top I used a wooden frame and a grow light. 180mm computer fan. All mounted and run the power for the grow light through the relay so I can cut it for the night.


Final touches

One problem I been having is the actual apple tree requires support to grow up. I think it is due to the fact that there is no soil for it to support itself from. I could just run a line from the top to the base and have the tree lean on it. But that would not be central and would make it painful to change the water. I had a brilliant idea of suspending a wire from the top through the same hole the tree is growing in into the pot. Now fixing it to the bottom of the pot would be hard as I want to have the pot removable for cleaning and maintenance. I tied a rock in the other end of the wire. Now the thing is suspended in the water and hanging with just the right tension. Clever.

Now all is ready and running. Wonder what will be needed to be done later when the tree gets bigger. We will see...

Here it is the ready made one... Ok Ok I need to do something to hide the cable hell but other then that... Nice hu?