Has anyone else tried the mirror trick on their Aerogarden?

Discussion in 'Aeroponics' started by Hank Alvarez, Oct 8, 2010.

  1. #1 Hank Alvarez, Oct 8, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 8, 2010
    I'm only a hobbyist who grows his own meds but I was inspired by a lot of the complaints I read about of us not having enough light to do the job with the A/G's. When I discussed this with my electrician friend he had a fit because the set up I rigged not only looked like a snake pit but it was a wireman's nightmare with all the outlets in the room filled and some had octopuses.

    I bought A/G's upgrade kits with the taller arms and hoods with three higher intensity CFL's but I too was ready to toss my A/G because I was only getting buds on top. The fan leaves were shading too much of the plant for efficient blooming below. Then I remembered a little physics about the angle of incidence equaling the angle of refraction and decided to give it a try.

    I mounted mirrors; one behind and one on each side and it really worked bitchin' but when I elevated them to the height of the planting deck things really started to improve. Right now, my mirrors are supported on, or probably more honestly they're teetering on stacks of books next to and behind my A/G's but they're proving my point that you can reflect the light back up that you already paid for and get improved results.

    What I plan to do in the next week or so is to acquire enough 6" by 6" wood beam to elevate the mirrors more securely. That'll put them at the same level as the planting deck. I'll ask a friend to cut the beam into pieces conforming to the length and width of my A/G's and then cut a groove in them that will support the mirrors more securely then what I presently have. What do you think?

  2. Post a photo of it, I'd like to see it
  3. like the concept, but i thought mirrors absorbed light. Would mylar be better?
  4. Mirrors will cause hotspots. Mylar will diffuse the light some and prevent this from happening and give you the light reflection that you are looking for (and should be cheaper excluding freebie mirrors).
  5. #5 Hank Alvarez, Oct 10, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 10, 2010
    What I don't like about Mylar is that it has to be mounted to the wall. I'm working on a computer table I bought at Wal-mart. Size wise it's perfect for everything I'm doing with my two A/G's. I thought about Mylar but frankly I was afraid of mold growing behind it on the wall or on the back of the Mylar.

    There may be some reduction of reflected energy with the mirrors but it appears to be minimal and I don't know how you'd tilt the Mylar but I'm sure that if there's a will there's a a way. I already had one mirror so I only had to buy two smaller ones for the sides. I ripped off my wife's wire platter display frames from her china hutch and those seemed to position the mirrors perfectly to reflect the light back up at just the right angle to illuminate the lower portions of the plants. All I can tell you is that since I arranged the mirrors I've had a lot more flowering on the lower portions of my plants and I've had no need for additional lighting.

    Maybe when I get my buddy to do the wood cutting for me I can get a decent camera to shoot it or have a friend photograph it. They got my SLR along with some of my tools when they stole my truck and frankly the technology in the new cameras scares me enough that I haven't replaced my old camera. The CS insurance company wouldn't cover it either. My wife has a little point and shoot electronic camera that's supposed to take great pictures but it doesn't when I use it. Perhaps because I'm half blind? I also have no idea how to post the pictures. I don't have a degree in computer science and at my age I don't really want one.

    The directions are simple: arrange the mirrors and mount them even with the height of the planting deck. I'm using a lot of old books right now and it's a little shaky but it works enough to prove my point. Tilt the mirrors back at the top so that they literally light up the lower portions of your plants. I moved the A/G's far enough away from the wall behind them to lean the biggest mirror against it. I'm seriously considering mounting a fourth one in front to do the same thing. If you were a Boy Scout: remember the solar wienie cooker project? Try it and hopefully you'll get the same results I did.
  6. You can hang the mylar like a curten around it. use pvc and make like a plant hanger but in a sq. then just hang the mylar from it! :)
  7. Koi:
    Please tell us more. The only real concern I have about the mirrors is the weight of the glass as I've already broken one small side mirror. It only cost me about fifteen bucks to replace but I was vacuuming glass shards out of the carpet for days. I can see where Mylar on a PCV frame would weight considerably less with less danger of breakage and possible injury but how would you be able to adjust it to the appropriate angle of reflection? Everything I've seen in PCV has 45 and 90 degree angles. Please tell us more as I think you have a big improvement on my idea.
  8. OMFG seriously?!?!
    just get a piece of cardboard cut to size and tape mylar to it:eek:
    so simple no??
  9. Greenwatcher: Sounds good but after a mold problem I had a few years ago I'm leery of cardboard or wood or anything related to those two substances around my Aerogardens. I think there's a lot more humidity there than most of us realize.

    The idea of attaching it to a PCV frame intrigues me because I'd have air flow behind it and there's less chance of mold getting an opportunity to establish itself.

    I'm thinking of stopping by my local hydroponics store today and picking up enough Mylar to to cover a couple of PCV frames I can put together with the pipe and elbows I already have from my outside garden. I'm already thinking about punching a hole the corners and attaching the Mylar with tie wraps. I haven't had any mold issues with plastic.
  10. Well another way you can do is use poly. I prefer over the Mylar. You do not use it like mirrors where you end up directing light as someone previously posted about sometimes burning the plant. Being white it reflects the light equally over a larger area. Basically your making a grow room.

    which ever you use take the material drape over the top and used something like safety pens of if you want you can sow it real fast. hell you can even use glue if your using Mylar. kinda like making curtains! lol

    If you want to make more secure, I advise, Do the sides too. With the Mylar just be careful to not pull it too hard and rip it.
  11. Sounds like a great idea. Are you doing it now?
  12. at this moment no lol have I yes, But I actually have a tarp I used for it! an extreamly white reflective tarp! :)
  13. What about using plexy glass or lexon and using spray adhesive or tape. In a way creating ur unbreakable mirrior that wont mold. I think your gonna need more support with the mylar. :smoke:
  14. Good Idea, but very pricey!!
  15. thats funny I thought I was the only one to use mirrors... but yah I use a series of mirrors to increase the amount of light, it works phenomenally!!

    and all that crap about hot spots is bullshit! I believe it was just a gimmick made up by the people at the mylar company..
    I mean seriously WTF is a hot spot anyway? if anything its a superior light source because its colder then the light coming of the HID's
  16. That's what I thought too... wtf??? It's mylar, its as thin as paper... just tape it or glue it to cardboard... cheap, safe, easy...

  17. You don't want to use mylar like a shower curtain. It's crinkly and it'll make a constant noise with fans blowing it around. If you'd end up with mold on cardboard, you don't have enough ventilation... and you can either correct it or risk moldy buds too...

  18. Rigomortis and Koi:
    I think there must be a lot of different ways to do it but the mirrors worked for me and lit up the lower portions of my plants with the same light I already paid for. I'm not discounting the Mylar or any other reflective surface. As far as the hot spots are concerned I agree with you, that sounds like bullshit. You would need a magnification of some sort and it hasn't happened. With the mirrors I get buds all the way down to the planting deck. I really think it's worth trying.
  19. I have nothing to really agains mirrors, Depends on the type of light, can depend a lot on burning or not. The only issue with a mirror is size, weight, price. all something to factor in as part of your deschion. Loki7 Agree with the mylar, That was one of the reason why I brought up the other. can get creeses in it really easy. But if you do not have a full room to work in, you have to use what you have.
  20. Koi: the only light I'm using is the three flat high intensity CFL's that came with my A/G upgrade kit. What I originally had rigged was a couple more CFL's aimed at the lower portion of my plants that I set up when I saw what I thought was the problem. My electrician friend didn't approve and it did look like a snake pit.

    You're right about the weight of the glass and I'm sure that's what caused it to slip out of my hands and shatter into a million pieces when it fell to the floor. I was just luck I didn't get cut. I thought my ideas of the 6" X 6" grooved blocks would work but the idea of framing some Mylar of other light weight reflective material and aiming it at the base of the plants seems much more practical. I'd hoped to have it done by now but my boss has loaded me up with more work and I probably won't be able to get to it before the weekend.

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