A Methodical First Medicinal HID Grow

Discussion in 'Indoor Grow Journals' started by NeilDaGrass, Feb 3, 2014.

  1. #1 NeilDaGrass, Feb 3, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 3, 2014
    Hello all.  I'm new to the forum and an amateur indoor grower
    I live in a temperate state that has legalized medicinal marijuana.  I've recently obtained my certificate and I plan to grow my own stuff legally.  
    I've grown up with an outdoor vegetable garden all my life.  I've ran a couple of successful stealth CFL grows where I grew about a half ounce at max, but this will be my first HID grow with purpose made equipment.
    My goal is high quality with a modest budget.  Ideally I would like to grow a pound, but I will settle for 12 ounces of cured product.  Complying with the terms of my certificate, this means 6 plants in flower.  If I can get 2.7 ounces per plant I can achieve my pound goal.  If I get 2 oz per plant, I make my minimum.  Either way, this will be an excellent learning experience as I dip my toes into some serious indoor gardening.
    I'm learning from a few good friends and merging their styles with my own.  Plus the aid of the internet.
    I'll be keeping this post going as a record for me to look back on and to maybe help others looking to graduate to a larger grow, but I'll definitely take some advice too.

  2. My Amazon Order: (all prices with shipping)
    -Earth Worth Grow Tent 48x48x78 $202
         I chose this tent because of the amount of ventilation options it comes with.  I chose it because of the good reviews, and the information like how thick the material is, how much weight it can support etc.  I chose 4x4x6.5 specifically because of the amount of room I have available.  I read up on some pretty decent grows in a space this big, and the price for the tent was right
    -Hydrofarm Active Air 6 inch In-Line Fan 400 CFM  $79
         I chose this one because of price and positive customer reviews.  I was really hoping to be able to get out of spending this much on a fan but I read enough to learn that trying to use a booster fan would end up with more noise than airflow, so I decided to go big and get a controller to dial in the flow.
    -Fan Speed Controller  $19.75
         I chose this because it comes from the very same manufacturer of the fan and seems like it will work well.  It came with mixed reviews though..  We'll see.
    -Apollo Horticulture MH/HPS w/ Digital Dimmable Ballast - Air Cool Tube Hood Reflector Set with adjustable hangers and timer  $184.70
         I knew I wanted to go HPS for flower, but I was debating on going flourescent for veg.  I tried finding cheaper set ups on Craigslist but quickly realized that people were selling used, half decent equipment for almost the same price as new.  Also, going HPS for flower means I have to invest in the same infrastructure anyway.  Ultimately I chose this set primarily because of price, however it has a lot of good features with it.  It comes with a cool tube reflector to keep temps under control better in my tent and a dimmable ballast.  They also sweetened the deal with hangers and a timer.  I already have a digital timer from my previous grows, but cant hurt to have another.
    -AccuRite Indoor/Outdoor Temp/Humidity meter $27.20
         I chose this one because it has a remote sensor and you don't have to open the tent to see the conditions inside it.  I wish it recorded max/min but thats the trade off I guess
    -General Hydroponics GH1514 Ph Control Kit  $16.15
         A lot of people don't care enough about their water and a lot of issues can arise from poor water quality.  I've seen some bad things happen due to nutrient lock up from poor PH.  I plan on using teas and high quality reverse osmosis water to minimize problems.  I plan on getting my water from these 5 gal vending machines at the local Kmart.  Cheaper than investing in an RO filter myself.
    -iPower GLDUCT8C Ventilation Ducting Fan with Pair of Clamps, 6-Inch  $20.15
         I went to Home Depot to find 6'' ducting but all they had was the insulated type - and for much more money.  Ultimately this was the best deal.
  3. It was kind of a sad day, because the original plan I had for my set up involved our 3rd room in the house.  Unfortunately the layout meant that I would have to put the tent on top of a heating duct.  Since I'll be using MH and HPS bulbs I'll need to minimize heat in the tent already, and I'd rather not cut off heat to that room, so it wasn't going to work.
    The jam room is perfect.  My drums took up slightly more space, 5.5' one way and 4' the other.  Theres a window less than a foot away from where the tent will be so come flower time I will be venting purified air out of it with minimal duct work.
    But drumming for me is like skiing or hiking for most people.  It's what I do to releive stress, chill out and get some excersize.  I've been learning how to double bass lately and I've really made progress. 
    However, I have to put that on hold for the moment.  The initial investment, although minimal for many, is significant to a regular middle class guy and I'm not willing to fail at an investment that relies only on my paying attention.  It's important that I do this project the right way, compromizing as little as possible.
    I'm primarily concerned about safety and security.
    Second I'm concerned about cleanliness.  I feel that the quality of a bud is directly related to what has been attacking it, what it's been sprayed with and what other irregularities have caused harm to it.  I have a barn that has a great spot inside where I could easily grow twice as much with little difficulty.  However the barn has a dirt floor and with my large outside vegetable garden, I don't want to give common pests an ideal climate to propogate in.  If I can avoid spraying my plants with pesticides, I will attempt at any cost.  Spider mites are some voracious bastards around these parts and every grower knows them well.  It has been said that around here you have to expect them and learn to live with them, but I will try damn hard for prevention.  
    Third I'm concerned about quality.  I've already cut my teeth on inexpensive CFL grows.  Time to really put some effort in.
    Soil grow because I have a full time job and can't respond instantly to problems that arise.  Also I have no room for a learning curve with hydro AND a grow this large and risk losing a crop.  Again, too much invested to fail.
  4. Safety and security... Get some nice big dogs.  :)
  5. #5 NeilDaGrass, Feb 3, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 3, 2014
    Got my first shipment in!
    First I packed the drums and vaccuumed the place.  Then I opened the box for the tent.  It's not very stealthy packaging.
     The tent comes with one page of instructions, front and back, labeled just like ikea or walmart furnature in alphabetical order.
    I started to take out the poles and organize them and realized already that they had sent me one unmarked piece, four pieces labeled G even though two of them looked completely different.  There were no parts labeled E and there were two actual G's even though it only called for one.  Also, B and C were interchangeable and could be labeled the same.  I'm pretty sure whoever assembled this tent was high himself..
     All of that was fine though, but one peice labeled 'B' should have been labeled 'A'.  These peices fit into each other to create the 78'' uprights.
     I've just sent an email to the seller, but I noticed that I just bought their last tent of this type, and the website listed on the instructions doesn't exist any longer.  Well son of a bitch.
    Contacted the seller through Amazon.  They say they are 'looking into it'.  Meanwhile I'm set back at least a week.

    Attached Files:

  6. Us guys don't need no stinking instructions.
  7. Tips for assembling a grow tent:
    -If it's your first time assembling one, don't get full of hubris and think it will be a 15 minute job.
    -Space limitations where you are build the thing can change your plans in a minute.
    -Have help available.  You will most likely need it unless you've built a few.
    -Bring a leatherman or multi-tool.  Some of those push down clips are too rugged for just a thumb to deal with.
    Assembling a grow tent is much different than a camping tent.  Similar principles (tube frame holding up fabric), but much different delivery.  
    I'm very impressed with this tent.  Its twice as thick as I thought it would be.  I was expecting something as thin as a camping tent.  What I got was something as thick and rugged feeling as a backpack.
    Even though I didn't have the correct piece I assembled the rest of the frame using a curtain rod, a zip tie and duct tape to secure the upright.  
    I wanted to put it together to become familiar with it and make sure it would fit.  It was close..
    One of the holes where the clip stuck out was too small.  I reamed it out with my multitool and squished the clip down as much as possible.. holy shit it worked.
  8. #8 NeilDaGrass, Feb 3, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 3, 2014
    I wanted to start before this but life got in the way.  I ordered my equipment Jan 21'st.  I received my order and tried to build the tent on the 25th (Thanks, Amazon Prime!)

    My new peice came in yesterday morning right before I had to leave for work.  Brutal.
    That makes it 6 days from discovery of the problem to the fix.  I've realized that I need to factor in the failure of others into my plan and timeline.  
    Setting up tent
    There is a separate bottom piece that comes out... It didn't accurately describe that it was separating into two pieces, so in my small room I went through great lengths to open the entire thing to realize that there is no bottom connected.  
    Scratch that..  After more great lengths of me stuffing my frame into that bottom portion, I realized I'm supposed to put it in the damn bottom of the tent after it's built.  These instructions could be just a little more specific!  I have never seen a grow tent in person before, so it was my first experience with working with one.The wife had to help me get the fabric around the frame.  It made everything go by about an hour faster than it would have been without her and I probably would have ripped the damn thing trying to make it work. By the way, the thing comes ZIPPED UP!  I only had it unzipped partially while trying to put it together and although it made for a temporary frustration, the wife and I just put the upper portion of the frame inside the tent, stood up the fabric and then connected the frame.  It worked, although slightly more difficult than assembly would have been if I realized it wasn't fully unzipped..  Oh well, life lesson learned.
    I felt it mandatory to listen to music while setting up my room.  I have a diverse collection, so I chose Reverend Horton Heat, Westside Connection and 311, as they are definitely the most weed friendly musicians in my collection.
    Ultimately this tent feels heavy & rugged.  Way more rugged than an outdoor tent, not like a tarp at all.  Very impressed.
    I don't know what these fabric straps are for - they aren't listed in the instructions..  They also aren't sewn very well.
    There is plastic sealer that looks like scotch tape on the inside of the bottom piece.
    Shots of all the venting possibilities:
    100_3847.JPG 100_3848.JPG 100_3849.JPG 100_3850.JPG
    100_3853.JPG 100_3854.JPG
    What I assume is where the hardware will hang from
    It came with some small zip ties and I have an extra larger one on hand because you never know when it could be handy
    Here's how the removable floor pan attaches
    Now that it's done, and I'm high, I suddenly realize that this was the only part of the project that came with instructions.  Now comes the real stuff - with no directions!
  9. I opened up the box for the tube and reflector
    100_3860.JPG 100_3863.JPG
    The blue is a plastic film used to keep the reflector protected during shipping.
    The reflector comes in 4 main peices: Tube, reflector body and two side panels.  You have to bolt the side panels to the reflector body, then attach the tube to it.  After, there are two cables you attach that will then attach to your hangers.
    Close up of a corner with 4 bolts
    I attempted to assemble the light, but hit a snag.  The fixture requires about 16 bolts and nuts.  I have 16 bolts and about 10 nuts.  My second experience with problems arising outside of my control.  Kind of frustrating, it's another day that will go by before this thing is going.  Luckily I have a hardware store up the street that will be open tomorrow (closed today on Sunday)
    I can't wait till I live in a spot where I can have dogs!  Until then I've only got a couple of firearms..
    I wish I didn't need them!  I've never attempted this sort of thing before and I'm a little bit of a perfectionist so I tend to read read read and read again.
  12. I got the same tent you have. They have instructions just poorly written. You posted a photo of them. I had no issues setting mine up. Sucks that you did. It is a good quality tent and those straps are for holding the tent together when disassembled. I did notice that it could use Velcro spots attacked to hold vents open. Other than that is a great tent. I just started a indoor grow journal growing amazing strains. Come check it out. You seem to be on the right path so far. It's exciting to watch it come together. Congrats.
  14. 100_3897.JPG
    Todays music: Clutch
    Todays beer: PBR

    Went to the local hardware store (twice - make sure to count properly before leaving) and bought replacement nuts for the ones that were missing out of the reflector hardware.  I also picked up a couple of extra bolts just in case.  The nuts and bolts were size 8.  The bolts were 15 cents a peice and the nuts were 9 cents.  
    Heres an shot of some of the reflector hardware.
    In the top of the picture you can see that the assembly is only held together by a tiny bolt and nut.  I don't want to lose these peices in the process and I don't want these bolts backing out.  So I bought lockwashers and threadlocker. The threadlocker is good up to 300 degrees F, and with the fan on while the light is on, this should be plenty.  On the right side of the picture you can see the bracket that hold the ends of the reflector together with some bolts put through it.

    So, total the fix cost me $1.44.  I splurged & spent an extra 75 cents on back up bolts and $2.97 on lockwashers.  The threadlocker was the biggest expense, a whole $7.99.  All in all, 14 bucks for peace of mind is worth it.  

    The little peices of syrofoam are really annoying, and I didn't want to turn on my light and melt a couple of peices to my new reflector (or the tube) so I just hit it with the dust buster to clean it up.
    When attaching the cable hanger for the reflector I added a flat washer to the outside so the screw wouldn't dig into the cable.
    Completed assembly of cable
    I'm impressed by the rope ratchet hanger.  It's sturdy and has a 150 pound max rating.
    It's got little gear like teeth to secure the rope.  It's not 100% smooth but way more convenient than a chain.  Just make sure to lift up on the reflector at the same time & don't put a ton of downward force on the tent.
    One small problem.. the carabiner that came with the hangers are too small to go around the pole that it attaches to
    I went to my camping backpack and grabbed two cheap larger carabiners that had nothing better to do
    They saved the day, and another trip to the hardware store
    So the reflector is hung.  I don't have a bulb in it yet.  I just wanted to familiarize myself with the setup.
    One thing to mention:  Calculate your light hight appropriately.  Expect your lights to hang down.  This one hangs lower than a foot from the ceiling.  A little lower than I thought but it shouldn't get in the way too much.
    Questions for anyone who's read this far.  Can I put the bulb in while it's hanging, or should I take it down?  I'm told I should wear gloves while doing this too, right?
  15. #15 NeilDaGrass, Feb 7, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 7, 2014
    Tip: When sprouting, get your shit in gear because things happen faster than you may want them to.
    I decided to sprout some bag seeds as a test control against the high quality seeds I have coming - and these are probably a good 3-5 year old seeds as well.  I haven't seen seeds in my weed in a long time.  Finally people aren't being so lazy and are picking the males out of their grow.
    I just fold a paper towel in half, then lightly soak in warm water.  Then I put the seeds on half of the paper towel and fold it over on top of them.  I do this on a small plate and then cover the plate in plastic wrap to keep in the moisture.
    There were two more sprouts, both had a tap root longer than an inch.. Your supposed to plant them before they get quite that long, but I planted them anyway to see if there is any real difference in the plant.
    Mixed my soil in a bucket.  For the bag seeds I used some crappy Miracle Grow soil I had laying around.  For my high quality seeds it will be fox farm and all organic
    Don't try to mix or amend your soil while in your little containers.  You will get frustrated easily, primarily if you have to wet the soil.  Water tends to just skim right off dry soil and go straight out the bottom of the cups and just flow out of the holes in the bottom.  Get a nice big bucket and dump the soil, amendments and water.  MIx thoroughly and then scoop into the individual containers.  

    -Large mixing container big enough to hold the material for all containers
    -A scoop tool. either a small spade or even a soup spoon will work, depending on the size of the pots you have and the amount of time you've got to invest
    -The drain pan that will be around your pots.  This is important but often forgot.  White will reflect the light back up to the leaves.
    -Water pourer
    -Thing to poke holes with (if necessary)
  16. Here's a side project.
    I started building this over a year ago but life got in the way.  Its a flourescent light cabinet that is meant to be a stealth way to grow.  After learning that flourescents are not the best to flower with I abandoned the project.  But now I'm reviving it to be either a sprouter/cloner or even just an indoor vegetable garden.
    100_3914.JPG 100_3915.JPG 100_3916.JPG 100_3917.JPG
  17. Opened some more boxes today
    My biggest fan:
    100_3922.JPG 100_3923.JPG 100_3924.JPG 100_3925.JPG
    Heres the hardware it came with
    And the instructions
    100_3930.JPG 100_3931.JPG
    My fan will be connected right to the light for now.  On the end of the light there are a couple of wires that were long enough to potentially get pulled into the fan, so I zip tied them down.
    Heres the fan controller
    The mounting holes had a peice of paint in the way.  I just pushed it back with the screwdriver,
    Brackets installed
    I had nowhere to mount this fan to even with the brackets installed.  So I remembered the cable hangers from my light set up.  My reflector came with eyelets on top plus the cable hangers, so I decided to take the cable hangers off and use them for the fan.  Right now there are zip ties holding the fan up, but I've ordered more ratchet hangers and I'll replace the ties when I get them in.
    100_3947.JPG 100_3951.JPG 100_3952.JPG
    Closeup of the cut ducting.  I used metal duct tape on the ends to ensure everything was neat.
  18. #18 NeilDaGrass, Feb 7, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 7, 2014
    Opened the box for the ballast.  Man, what a thing of beauty!
    100_3935.JPG 100_3936.JPG
    Heres the feet if you aren't installing the ballast on a wall (I'm not)
    It's purple and chrome.  Very nice
    It was around this point that I accidentally dropped my screw driver.. It poked a hole through both peices of tent..  What a stupid mistake.  Hopefully it wont cause any issues later on.
    Routed the wires for the fan and light
    Some funky connectors here... It came with two wires, only one seemed to fit the fixture/ballast set up.  Not sure what the other is for, but I'll hold on to it
    100_3955.JPG 100_3956.JPG
    Tagged my wires so I don't get them confused
    Heres the hub of electricity.  The white thing is an old computer surge protector.  I picked it up at Goodwill for like 5 bucks.  Well worth the peace of mind against a surge.
    100_3963.JPG 100_3964.JPG
    Installed the bulb
    My humidity/temp gauge
    Switched on for the first time!
    In the first shot you can see my remote meter for the temp/humidity gauge.  In the second you can see my parsley and green onion's I'm also growing.
    100_3957.JPG 100_3967.JPG
    My little walmart fan to stir the air - $7
    That's it for now, but ladies and gentlemen, we are in business.
    For maximum safety I will be having my lights come on during the night when someone is home, and off during the day.  This will also help reduce the potential for someone to notice my grow when I'm not here.  In the spring I'll be flowering and will be ducting out of the window.  By having this grow off during the day the fans wont be pushing out any aroma.
  19. I'm running the lamp at 50% while they are seedlings.  5 of 6 have sprouted so far.  My fan is on 10% and keeping temps in the tent equal with the room around it.
    Lights on for two days (18 hrs)
    Avg Temps: 73.6
    Avg Humid: 42.6
    Avg Temps: 73.4
    Avg Humid: 22.8
  20. One thing I forgot to mention was that this fan moves some AIR!  I've only got it on 10% (I bought the controller with it) and it is cooling my 600 watt MH bulb (which is switched to 75%) without difficulty.  If this thing was on full blast it would sound like a vaccum cleaner in the other room, but it's mostly from the air it's moving.  At 10% it sounds like a running air conditioner.
    At first I had it set up so that it would draw the air from inside the tent.  I forgot to leave a vent open for intake and I turned it on.  It pulled the inside of the tent about 6 inches inward until it was pulling the external flaps inward so much I could hear the velcro separating.  That's some POWER!  Good thing I hit the switch before anything bad happened, but lesson learned.
    I'm having no real heat issue at all at this point.  Outside my house the temparatures have been a steady 20F degrees for about a week.  34 degrees has been the highest in quite a while and has dipped to like -5F degrees at night.  Our house is set at 65 for most of the day, then at night we have it set to 70.  The room temp has been a steady 72 avg and my tent a steady 74 avg.  So I built a quick intake.  Didn't even need a clamp to hold it on, the vacuum from the fan really did the work.

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