Build It: Simple Cardboard 8xCFL Stealth Closet Grow

Discussion in 'Do It Yourself' started by Slocketman, Oct 3, 2010.

  1. #1 Slocketman, Oct 3, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 4, 2010
    I'll try and write all this up eventually, for now I'll just have this picture dump and try and explain some stuff before each photo

    Here's what it looks like on the outside, my closet 18" or so or extra space to the left and right inside that extends past the doorframe, perfect for closing off into a nice little growspace.

    Some Specs:

    Dimensions: 18" x 18" x 52" (9.75 cubic ft.) 24" vertical space between top of pot and highest the lights can be put up
    Exhaust: 24V 0.40A 108cfm PC fan to pencil holder carbon scrubber
    Intake: passive
    Lighting: 8 x 100W CFL (184W true usage)
    Pot: 7.5 gallon Rubbermade Clever Store tote

    To Add / Change:

    - mylar or other reflective on the walls
    - lightproof the clear pot

    [​IMG]

    Remove the clotheshamper and what's that?

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    I've cut up the thickest/stiffest cardboard boxes I could find (usually have lots lying around), measured very carefully, and taped them into place to form this "box" (really it only has a top and door side, it uses the walls for 3 sides).

    [​IMG]

    The bottom half of the door can open separately for easy access to work without moving everything each time. Here you can see the passive intake with light trap, the door seal, overwater catch pan, pot, and temp/humidity sensor.

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    Better look at the half door.

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    Ignore the weird cardboard V, it was a bad attempt at a reflector that won't be used.

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    Top of the box with door seal, powersupply for the PC fan and DIY carbon scrubber (http://forum.grasscity.com/do-yourself/569506-diy-carbon-filter-compendium.html).

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    Light set up, would need two more CFLs to make the full 8. Also note the holes drilled around the edges of the pot for LST, those extend around the entire rim.

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  2. #2 Slocketman, Oct 3, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 4, 2010
    Another shot of the lights and hanging method. I have two hooks screwed into the wall to hold some parachute cord for the lights. One end of the cord is fixed, the other I can undo the knot and retie at any point desired to adjust the height of the lights.

    Again, ignore the weird cardboard V, failed reflector. It wouldn't be hard to stick something else reflectve over those CFL's though, it just needs slits through the sides to allow the cord to pass through.

    [​IMG]

    Powerstrip has the lights and PSU connected, I could also add a small wall-mounted fan to circulate air inside the box and help the plants develop nice thick stems. This particular thermometer (from Walmart) keeps a high/low temperature and humidity memory, so I can see the extremes and try and fix any large fluctuations.

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    These wooden posts just sit on the top of the baseboard, just high enough for the drain pan (again Walmart, an oil pan) to slide under and catch any extra water that may drain out of the holes in the bottom of the pot while watering the plants.

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    Shot of the air intake / light trap. Made of cardboard and black duct tape, I cut a hole in the door and fit this into it.

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    It's kind of hard to describe, but I taped long rectangular pieces of cardboard at different heights inside this to keep light from having any direct path through. The entire inside is also covered in black tape. I could have taped that flap down but it doesn't have any light leaks just sitting how it is in the previous picture.

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    Behind the closet door is where the power comes in, here's the digital timer to set 24/0, 12/12 or whatever the desired light cycle is. (another Walmart item)

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    Ignore the speaker wire :)

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    Lighting setup, yeah I need two more bulbs. Make sure to use a mix of 6500K (veg) and 2700K (flower), or your spectrum of choice.

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    Here are the different parts that make up the lights: (home depot)
    - PC power cord, cut off end and connect with wire nuts to:
    - 1x double lamp holder (ceiling fixture style light, it would usually have a glass shade directly below the lights and be screwed to the ceiling)
    - 2x bulb socket to socket & 2x edison outlet adapter
    - 4x edison outlet to bulb socket adapter
    - 2x double bulb socket adapter

    Combine them like shown and you get 8 lights. I've got a mix of 100W (equivalent) and 60W CFLs but it could be used safely with all 100W equivalent CFLs (23W true x 8 = 184W total draw, fixture is rated for 660W).

    [​IMG]
     

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  3. #3 Slocketman, Oct 3, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 22, 2010
  4. Most impressive set up. I use the same carbon scrubber design ;). the only thing i can think of is the actual pot (tub) you're using. It's my understanding that you want something opaque (or close to it as possible). I don't know for a fact if this is an issue in soil grows though.

    Keep it up. I'd love to see what you do with it. :D
     
  5. You're right, I should probably tape the pot up to keep light from getting in. It's not nearly as bad in soil as hydro, but it'd still be better off covered.
     
  6. Very impressive!
     
  7. How many plants would you get out of that? (beginner here, learning as I go)
     
  8. In that area, I would put just one plant, with lots of topping and LST, probably a screen. That's the way I have it set up though, with the one 7.5 gal. pot. It could hold multiple smaller pots if you wanted to do a few different plants.
     
  9. Do you have a way of hiding the wires coming out of your closet? IMO that's a serious point of weakness to anyone looking even remotely closely. I lucked out and had a socket in my closet, but one idea I had was to wire a surge protector directly into the wiring from the light socket (and use a very low-wattage system)..... Otherwise great setup, especially with the laundry basket in front!
     
  10. I could do that pretty easily, I actually already had a cord routed the the closet feeding a flourescent hung on the underside of the shelf, to light it up in there. I could use that instead to hide the wiring, or at least explain it.
     
  11. fantastic setup man
    One question though, how does the door stay closed? I'm building my own box right now and I can't really think of a way to keep the door closed.
     
  12. It's press fit, when I cut the door out I made it just a bit wider than it needed to be so it fits tightly between the wall and door jamb. You can see the door jamb in the last few pictures of the first post, when the door's closed it overlaps about 1/2" of the wood there.

    I didn't get it perfect, so the top half of the door is a bit looser than the bottom, you can see it hanging open a bit when the bottom door is open. The top half of the door has an overlapping tab to the bottom half though, for keeping out light leaks and so the bottom half of the door can help keep the top closed.

    If it wasn't such a good fit I would probably put some sort of swiveling latch across the door jamb to hold the door closed. Will probably need to do this anyway as the door is opened/closed more & more. Something as simple as a small rectangular flat piece of anything sturdy screwed to the door jamb would work.
     
  13. using cardboard is a fire hazard
     

  14. Oh ok, I figured it would have to be a similar system to that since it is cardboard. Thanks for the advice. I'm almost done with my growbox :D
     
  15. looks like a refridgerator! :) haha but nice work looks sturdy and durable. cant wait to see a plant in there!
     
  16. Nice setup bro, I'm looking to do something similar maybe. Anyways I needed to know how much were your lights and fixtures from depot? I'm on a budget so any info will be great.
     
  17. for your exhaust what size fan is that and what size ducting? i was looking at doing everything with a 120mm fan and some tutorials i saw about adding a duct and for carbon filter
     
  18. you're going to burn your crib down with that bro... wire nuts and black tape inside a cardboard box = fire. my point is would you have that setup in that closet with all them clothes without the cardboard? false sense of security cuz that cardboard is nothing but a fuse trust me... i was in the fire protection field for many years, its not worth your safety!
     
  19. #19 Slocketman, Oct 22, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 22, 2010
    All the little adapters and bits aren't as cheap as I'd like, I've got links and prices here:
    http://forum.grasscity.com/do-yourself/676434-build-simple-8x100w-cfl-lighting-unit.html#post8472561
    Last time I checked Amazon it was $31.45 for everything except the bulbs and PC power cord (but who doesn't have an extra one lying around somewhere?)

    I don't have any ducting, my exhaust fan is mounted directly to the box, with the carbon filter mounted directly to the fan with a short flange. If I was using ducting I'd go with a different type of fan, standard axial computer fans are no good at generating static pressure to push air through ducts.

    I had thought about this too with the cardboard, worried about potential heat issues. I've been running tests, so far with all bulbs on I don't get over 80, and I could easily cool the room down to lower ambient temperatures.

    Realistically, aren't wire nuts used in every outlet and light fixture in your house? They're what electricians use to join the romex wiring that runs inside walls, right?

    I don't think I'd feel any safer if the parts were made out of wood instead of cardboard, I can't imagine a situation where the cardboard would spontaneously catch fire and wood somehow wouldn't. It's definitely still a concern, I just don't think it's a problem unless I go randomly spilling water all over electrical connections. I can take that whole light fixture and set it directly on cardboard or paper, and it doesn't get nearly hot enough to cause problems.

    Now, I'd never think of putting a MH or HPS light in there though, that would definitely be asking for trouble.

    Any other cardboard users out there? Should I be more worried about this?
     
  20. yes bro indeed they are but they are all enclosed in the wall box to contain any sparks from loose or bad connections from setting the place ablaze. plus walls are drywall and 2x4's, a little more resistant to fire then cardboard. dont get me wrong i like your setup its deff stealthy just your wiring is a bit scary lookin is all and the cardboard thingy lol. maybe make your top and front panels out of drywall?? mount a electrical box on the inside of the lid, add outlets to it and plug your lights and other stuff into the outlets?? just a thought.;)
     

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