GrowFAQ

  1. How do I build a short-range timer?

    What follows? Complete instructions (including photos) for making a cheap ($12-15) fully digital cyclestat, aKA Short-range timer, from parts commonly available at Radioshack or other online Electronics Surplus companies. What is a cyclestat? This is a repeat cycle timer, which features settable ON and OFF times. The timer is capable of switching AC loads up to the limit of the relay (more later) you select. Common timing uses for a cyclestat are: CO2 gas injection, ozone, pumps or...
  2. Basic wire sizing guide for US 120 and 240 volts

    Useful info: # = American Wire Gauge (AWG), the lower the number the larger the wire guage. "Service cable" is large insulated stranded copper cable (usually refers to single #4 wire and up). Most house hold circuits (Typically 15 - 30 amp) can safely handle 95% to 100% of it’s max rating - but only for an hour or so at a time. Loads that require long periods of 'on' time (like an air conditioner, ballasts, etc) should not exceed 80% to 85% of the max rated load of the wire/cable. The...
  3. What is a GFCI?

    A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) is a device to protect against electric shock should someone come in contact with a live (Hot) wire and a path to ground which would result in a current through his/her body. The GFCI will trip in a fraction of a second at currents (a few mA) well below those that are considered dangerous. Note that a GFCI is NOT a substitute for a fuse or circuit breaker as these devices are still required to protect equipment and property from overloads or short...
  4. When do I change my ballast components?

    Assuming your ballast is hooked up right and is relatively new, the capacitor (cap) and socket are about the only things that will give you problems. They last about 5 - 10 years on avg. Igniters (ign) on the other hand (if equipped) last much longer, at about 15 - 20 years. The transformer (tran) part of the ballast will last even longer, assuming it does not have deteriorated leads or mechanical damage. All ‘life expectancies’ are shortened buy about 30%, if the ambient temp surrounding...
  5. Why has my timer switch failed and what should I do?

    Editors safety note: Skunkaroo's instructions below, failed to include a common ground. It would be much safer to use three conductor cord so that a common ground could be incorporated into this project. Tie all the grounds together using either a four post terminal block instead of the three post block skunkaroo used below, or else tie all the grounds together using a large wire nut. It would also be benifical to tie this to a dedicated ground close to the grow, this can be as simple as a...
  6. How can I offset the energy usage of my grow room?

    There are a number of people who worry about their grow room power usage attracting LEO. Rather than worrying about it, do something about it - offset that usage with savings from around the house. I know, it's been stipulated around here numerous times that a small power jump will not bring LEO to your door - I agree with this philosophy. However, for those who do notagree with this - how much effort is your peace of mind worth? Do you have to be paranoid to want to perform these steps?...
  7. How do I electrically map my place?

    Caution: electricity is dangerous and an accident could possibly be fatal. Respect electricity. Be cautious and never rush yourself. Determining the electrical design of your house will provide you with necessary info on what lights, switches and outlets are associated with which circuit breakers (or fuses). This will also help you in knowing what the electrical limitations are for each of those circuits. it will save you money by saving the electrician time not having to figure this out...
  8. How many lights/watts can I put on a 15 Amp service?

    The rule of thumb is to only load a breaker up to 80% of its capacity. On a 15-amp service with 14/2 gauge wire one should only load it up to 12 Amps MAX. Since most lights will draw 1 amp per 100 watts a 15-amp breaker can handle one 1K light each. This brings up another point in home growing. That it is always good practice to have the fans and the light that they cool on the same breaker. That way if the breaker is somehow tripped (Murphy's Law) then both the light and its cooling...
  9. What is an AFCI and why should I install one?

    Why use a AFCI? "An AFCI is not needed per se, but if there is any exposed wiring in high traffic areas… for example a T-104 set up on the wall next to a door, STJ cords running along the ground, cable inside a cab to some duplexes that kind of thing, then I would install one. They are only like $35 and I've seen them (rated) up to 40A." AFCI stands for Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter. AFCIs are a very neat safety device that have the ability to prevent: Low level arcing cause buy high...
  10. GrowFAQ Electrical Safety Hazard Warning, The Physical Effects of Electricity

    The Physical Effects of Electricity: Electrocution or electrical shock occurs when an electric current I passes through the body. The amount of current passing through the body is determined by Ohm's Law: I = E/R I = Current Through the Body E = Voltage across the body R = Resistance of the Body Body resistance is an important variable when considering electrocution. There is a wide variation in body resistance between people therefore the same voltage level may result in different...
  11. The circuit to my grow room only has two wires, but my light has a 3 prong plugs, what should I do?

    Don't use one of those adapters that converts a 3 prong to a 2 prong unless you know for certain that the socket has been properly grounded. You can install a new breaker in the service panel and run 3 wire Romex to your grow. Then you can install a 3 prong outlet (preferably a GFCI). Buy a basic wiring book and follow the instructions exactly. Electricians don't charge much compared to morticians, so don't be afraid to hire a pro. Add a 20 amp, not a 15 amp. The cost is the same and the...
  12. How do I convert watts to amps and amps to watts?

    The formula for converting Watts to Amps is: Watts = Amps * Volts The formula for converting Amps to Watts is: Amps = Watts / Volts SAFTEY WARNING: Only use 80% of the circuit breaker capacity! Common Conversions North American and other 110 volt countries Lights: 1000W / 110V = 9.1A 600W / 110V = 5.4A 400W / 110V = 3.6A 250W / 110V = 2.3A Circuits: 10A * 110V = 1100W and 80% safe usage is 880W 15A * 110V = 1650W and 80% safe usage is 1320W 25A * 110V = 2750W and 80% safe...
  13. Using worm castings

    How to use worm castings in a soil mix? Worm castings can be used in a multitude of ways - mixed into a soil mix, a soilless mix, or as a tea or slurry. Usually worm castings is thought of as an additive. Recommendations vary wildly, but I would recommend adding one tenth to one fifth in any organic mix (10-20%). Top dressing with worm castings would work well, too, especially with indoor containers. Making a worm castings tea by steeping the castings in clean well aerated water makes for...
  14. Harvesting worm castings

    When to harvest? In my bins, the finished worm castings are actually dark brown muddy paste. There are no other visible decomposer insects present, and the worm population also has usually started to decrease in size, imho. This happens usually one or two months after I stop adding more food in the bin. Note that I am talking about non-juiced/ground foods here. How do I/you/we harvest castings? - god shave the queen There is the...
  15. Worm Farming Reference Data

    NPK Nutrient values for some common worm foods High N: Blood Meal (NPK 13-1-0) Coffee grounds (NPK 1,99-0,36-0,67) Felt (NPK 14-0-0) Hair (NPK 14-0-0) Tea grounds (NPK 4,15-0,62-0,4) Worm Meal (dried & ground worms) NPK 10-1-1 Greens, leaves & meals, alfalfa, stinging nettle High P: Bone Meal generic NPK 4-21-0,2 * steamed NPK 13-15-13 * burned NPK 0-34,7-0 Shrimp Waste NPK 2,87-9,95-0 Tea Leaves ash NPK 0-1,66-0,4 Wheat bran NPK 2,65-2,9-1,6 Oats, Chicken Manure High K: Banana skin NPK...
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