Your thoughts on my DIY RDWC hose/pump sizes and plumbing methods pls

Discussion in 'Hydroponic Growing' started by Sweet_green, Feb 5, 2011.

  1. I've been doing research and reading guides on RDWC, but I've come across some inconsistencies that I'm hoping to clear up here. Basically to do with hose and pump sizes and plumbing methods. I want to avoid unequal flow rates(drain and fill) among my buckets, as well as them overflowing due to too big a pump or too small return lines.

    I've heard a few people say 1/2" return lines are too small, and caused their buckets to overflow(maybe the main reason to put pump on return lines?). I've also heard people complain about uneven nutrient distribution because they plumbed it wrong.

    I've seen some videos online where people have a 10 or so line manifold thing that connects to the water pump(sticking up out of rez), and gives equal flow out of each line. I can't seem to find those online, so if anyone could help me find those, that would be sweet. If I can't get one of those, then this is what I'm thinking of doing;

    Water pump will feed a 3/4" hose out(my supply manifold) which will have T's connecting to 1/2" lines running to buckets. I'm hoping the 3/4" manifold will hold higher volume, causing all the 1/2" lines to flow the same amount, even to the buckets farthest from the pump? How big should the pump be for that?

    Then I'm thinking the return lines should be 3/4" feeding into a 1" return manifold? Will gravity cause them all to drain equal, even the buckets farthest from the rez?

    Or should I put the pump on the return lines, and let gravity feed the supply? That might create a more even flow?

    All thoughts and ideas wanted! Thanks guys
  2. #3 Dirtbud, Feb 6, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2011
    I always let gravity flow. I don't use drip, strictly recirc, and the water lines enter the top of my container/planter opposite side as the return and just sit suspended (in hopes to gain some extra o2 from agitation). Depending on how large your system is and how many gph your pump will do will be the factor of how long it takes for whatever you put in your rez to completely cycle.

    Also stay away from any submersible pump. It may work but will warm the water and be bad. I found a cheap inline pump on ebay does like 320gph $12

    ...And use 3/4in barbs. Just get a 15/16 drill bit and that will allow the 3/4 barb to thread in. That is my 2 cents anyway. If it helps I use half inch tubing on my pump and 3/4 on the return. I have yet to encounter any problems with improper recirc (I from time to time measure out of my totes to make sure it matches the rez)

    The distance should not make much a difference because so long as you are filling each container they physically have to circulate. The way mine works, the last in line circulates to the one before it and so an and so forth until it circs to the rez. So if you do a configuration like this, be sure to take into account for extra recirc time.

    Here is a rough of how mine is setup. The blue line is water pump from rez (made this very quickly). the red is gravity, no pump.

  3. Do some research on undercurrent recirc systems. No feed line needed. 2" PVC to connect all the buckets. If you haven't built anything yet, you should check it out.
  4. Thanks guys! I've seen that undercurrent before and it looks sweet! That is pretty much what I want to build, BUT, since I'm in tents I need my buckets flexible so I can move them around a bit. Plus I may only be able to have my control bucket and rez as the same unit.

    So I guess I'm basically looking to do a undercurrent style, but with flexible return lines. I guess I'm kinda confused on whether I should put the pump on the return, or pump on the feed, as well as the right balance of hose size to assure an even flow.

    Most of those guides for RDWC list 1/2" or 3/4" lines, but I've come across people on forums saying how 1/2" isn't enough and they have flooding issues or bad flow. So I thought I'd just ask to see if there have been any improvements on them, as well as best size and placement for my pump given my situation

    Thanks again
    • Creative Creative x 1
  5. So the guy that turned me on the the undercurrent system was running this system before he went UC. He was using 5 gal buckets with 1 inch bulkheads. From the controller bucket down the middle of the row he ran 1" tubing, with a "T" joint everytime he wanted to run a tube to either side and place a bucket. He dead ended the tube witha valve at the end. He then placed a submersible pump in the controller bucket conected to a 1/2" hose. He drilled a hole in the side of the controller bucket near the top for the 1/2 inch hose to run through. He then ran that hose, the "feedline" down the center of the setup. They make a special tool to punch holes in the 1/2 inch line to place connectors to hook up 1/4 inch line to the main line (the skinny lines in the picture) He drilled small 1/4 inch holes in the side of each bucket near the top to run the 1/4 inch line through. At the end of each line inside each bucket he placed a 360 degree mister sprinkler (available at any hydro store.)(represented in red in the picture). The way this system works is that your pump is always sucking water back to the controller so there is no danger of overflow, plus you get some bonus "aeroponic" action from the misters in the bucket. He had great results with this system. Try putting a frozen two liter bottle in your res bucket on top of the controller bucket. This will keep your solution temps down due to the extra heat caused by the pump. Sorry for the long winded explanation, maybe the picture will help.

    Attached Files:

  6. Man I'm pretty new at this myself but it's really simple to set a system up. Mines not pefect but its working pretty good so far. The first bucket changes its total volume in 4.8 min the last one does it in 5 min. So there is not that much difference. I've only been using it for about 2 weeks and I'm hooked. Fastest growth I've ever seen and I don't even know what I'm doing.
    I have 4 2 gallon buckets hooked together with a 3/4” pvc pipe. I never thought about it before reading this thread but I think I'll link them together on the sides as well as the front. This runs to the reservoir as the return. The feeder line is a 1/2” tube that runs out and then 1/4" lines run off to the buckets. Right know they are on the same side as the drain but I think I'll move them to the opposite side. Hell I'll post a pic. I've modified it a little like adding a valve at the last bucket to make it easy to drain.
  7. can you take some more pictures of your setup up close as well as what those black lines inside of the buckets are doing? your setup is interesting... its almost a undercurrent.. but it is setup differently... very interesting design... make a journal
  8. I agree with Tihspeed, DWC FARMER please make a journal! i like your set up and looks to fit my specific needs. I would appreciate a journal!
  9. I started a journal but I don't know where it went. I'll try it again tomorrow if it doesn't show up by then.
  10. Here's a link to the grow. LINK
  11. thanks dwc farmer!
  12. a second thanks...:smoke:

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