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Offlinelopan
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Lets build a grow room!
    #132776 - 10/15/08 06:09 PM (8 years, 1 month ago)

Hey everyone!
I'm in the process of converting an old, unused, wasted attic into something productive - a grow space!

What I need from all of you is help / insight / recommendations / criticism (constructive or not).  Here is a model of my attic, semi-to scale (the dimensions are right, but the ratios are not):













So, what am thinking of doing is:
  • Since the ceilings are kind of low (7' at the peak), and the slope of the walls is pretty steep, I can't use the entire width of the attic.
  • So, hang the grow lights sideways (that is, going the width, not the length, of the attic), with tables underneath, running the same way.
  • This will give me access to walk down either side of the tables / lights, and give the plants a few feet (up to 5 or 6, though 4 would probably suffice) to grow.
  • Next, separate the attic into different segments - one for cloning / seedlings / the mother, one for veg, and one for flowering.
  • There are 9 segments (separated by a wooden stud - check out the picture), so I am thinking maybe, 2 segments for each, leaving 2 segments at the beginning and 1 at the end.
  • Each segment will have the appropriate light hanging overhead, with the table underneath.
  • As for ventilation, there are already two exhaust fans in the roof that I could use - simply add a carbon scrubber (which I will construct myself).


So, this is where I am so far.  What do you all think?
I am going to start with soil, to get the hang of it, and them move on to hydroponics.


Actually, the floor is only half done, so would now be a good time to run piping around, for easy distribution of the water?

What wattage lighting would be sufficient, for the area covered?  400w or 600w?

And for insulation - since this is an attic, do you think that the reflective-type insulation would work, for keeping helicopters at bay?  It is basically two pieces of aluminum foil, with dead air space in between.  I still plan on lining the rooms with mylar.

Thanks!


Edited by lopan (10/15/08 06:10 PM)


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InvisibleDr. Penguin
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Re: Lets build a grow room! [Re: lopan] * 1
    #132813 - 10/15/08 08:33 PM (8 years, 1 month ago)

Couple problems I see:
  Do you live in a cold climate? If snow melts off your roof, it looks odd to LEO. Insulate the hell out of the ceiling, think Styrofoam-board, fiberglass, Styrofoam-board sandwich, all covered with black/white poly film or mylar. This will also be helpful in the summer months to keep heat at bay.

    The fans in the attic are most likely not going to suffice for ventilation, especially in warm weather. You will have to get some good inline fans, especially if you plan on using a carbon scrubber.

    How much height will you have on the sides to walk in? Crawling into each segment of the grow will get old really fast.

    Are you going to build the tables in the attic? Do you have enough room to get lumber and other larger items through the little crawl space door?

    Mylar is not a great floor cover, it is generally very thin (1-3 mil) and prone to tearing. Black and white poly may be a better option.



Things I like:
    Good thinking on the water issue, installing some sort of rudimentary plumbing will save you a world of hurt when you are crawling supplies into and out of your room.

    You are thinking about coverage. A 400w lamp will illuminate a 4'x4' area. Simple math tells me each segment is ~4'. So in your flowering section, two 400w lights hung above two tables will work great. In your veg section two 400w lamps might be overkill but with a stud in the center your going to have to use two lamps, two 250w mh lights would be best I would say. In the mother room, 2-3 4' shop light floro tubes would work great.



Other things of note:
    Make sure you evaluate and perhaps run new electrical lines to the rooms, fires suck. You can do this easily now while the floor is unfinished.

    If you use the system I've described with dual lights in each section, you can run a staggered harvest in which a new batch of plants are introduced into flower each month. That will leave one month veg and two month flower time for your girls and you will only have to harvest half the plants each month.

   

I think thats about all I have for now. Keep us posted on your progress!


--------------------
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* How to Build a Grow Tent
* Fan Speed Control 101
* Easy Butane Extraction

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Offlinelopan
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Re: Lets build a grow room! [Re: Dr. Penguin]
    #132843 - 10/15/08 10:02 PM (8 years, 1 month ago)

Hey, and thank you for the reply.
It gets pretty cold during the winter, but we do not get much snow...  I hear you though, and didn't think of that (the snow melting), so properly insulating the attic is definitely even that more important.

So what is recommended, then?  Use squirrel-fans (whatever they're called), connected to duct work, that just pipes to the outside of the house?

Height is definitely an issue.  I will have to double check / remeasure the area so that I will be sure that I won't be crawling / hunching around.  Any other recommendations on how to lay the tables / plants out, if height isn't permitting me to stand?

Yup, I plan on buying wood and assembling the tables in the attic.  Should be plenty of space - you'd be surprised to see what was in there before I cleaned it out. :smile:

Alright on the Mylar - thanks for the heads up.


So you do recommend using 400w lamps, eh?  Good.  Less heat to worry about, compared to a 600w.  400w'ers in the veg section would be overkill?  How so?  Always thought that the more light, the better.


We have a new, 200amp breaker box downstairs, and I've bought some 10awg wire and a 30amp breaker to dedicate to the attic.  I think 30amp should be enough for whatever I throw up there (I'll do calculations anyway, don't worry!)


Thanks again for the tips!


Here is my current progress / setup, while I am fixing up the attic...


:frown:


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InvisibleDr. Penguin
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Re: Lets build a grow room! [Re: lopan]
    #132972 - 10/16/08 01:08 AM (8 years, 1 month ago)

No need for the sad face! Squirrel cage blowers will work just fine but I recommend 'centrifugal inline fans' vortex, can-fan, or something along those lines. They are much easier to work with, no need for adapters on the outlet side or anything; plus if you decide to go with air cooled lights at some point, they are much easier to attach to that system.

For height, you can build a two tiered table with the light hung parallel to the wall shining at the tiers. On the first row you place your oldest plants, the top, your newest (for a slightly sloped canopy). When you harvest the bottom plants, move the top plants down and place a set from veg into flower on the top shelf. This way you could extend the tables only 1' past the mid way point and be able to walk around the back sides of them. If you don't understand what I'm talking about, think stadium seating.

As far as light goes, if you can afford it, up the size of the lights. Like you said the more light the better! (As long as you can keep them cool.)

Heat is going to be a big concern I believe. Unless you live in the tundra, the sun beating down on that roof during summer is going to be brutal. You might even have to think about air conditioning. Any idea how hot it gets in there?

Make sure you set yourself a reasonable time budget. This is a big project you are undertaking. Unless you work your ass off, those seedlings are going to need a home before you're finished. Just be aware.

Anyway, I think you're on a great track, don't let me discourage you! If this all pans out you will have a very productive use of a formerly wasted space. Post pics of any more work you get done!


--------------------
* My Cab
* How to Build a Grow Tent
* Fan Speed Control 101
* Easy Butane Extraction

Not responsible for advice not taken.


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Offlinelopan
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Re: Lets build a grow room! [Re: Dr. Penguin]
    #133000 - 10/16/08 10:38 AM (8 years, 1 month ago)

Thanks for the recommendation on the lights / fans.  With heat becoming a definite issue during the summer, I had as might as well invest in the air cooled lights right now.  More research to do!  Summer heat really is ridiculous and I know that it gets well over 100f in there.  At least, with winter coming, heat won't be that extreme for a little while.

Awesome idea for the height - exactly why I asked. :smile:

The difference in cost between a 400w and 600w light / ballast isn't that much, so I'll probably just go with the 600w.  Or did you mean up from 250w to 400w?

This definitely is a huge project, so I do expect to have to take care of these plants before it is finished.  I am cleaning out my closet (formerly a mushroom cultivation area) so that I can fully convert it into a small-scare marijuana-machine, for the time being.



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InvisibleDr. Penguin
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Re: Lets build a grow room! [Re: lopan]
    #133021 - 10/16/08 01:55 PM (8 years, 1 month ago)

Oh my god man! Those mushrooms look like the could fucking eat me!

If the temps in there get above 100f in the summer you are going to be hurting to keep the plants healthy especially with lights up there. You are defintly going to have to think about air conditioning. If you buy air cooled lights you can run them in a sealed loop, ie: they pull fresh air in from one hole, go through the lights, and back out the other hole without taking in any of the grow room air. If you go that route you will still need to exhaust the room air through a third hole unless you want to use CO2 in a sealed room, but thats a whole nother can of worms. Anyway, keep me posted!


--------------------
* My Cab
* How to Build a Grow Tent
* Fan Speed Control 101
* Easy Butane Extraction

Not responsible for advice not taken.


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OfflineAnnom
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Re: Lets build a grow room! [Re: lopan]
    #133024 - 10/16/08 02:06 PM (8 years, 1 month ago)

Hey! Welcome here, let's build this room :laugh:!

Temperature will be your main concern in this attic (as you and Penguin already noted), unless you live in a very moderate climate. This sun on the roof will create high temperatures. Thermal-isolate the ceiling if you can! Isolation and a good fan that sucks colder air will do the trick with 400-800W in there. I don't think you should be worried about helicopters with ~600W, mylar and thermal isolation. 
Quote:


If the temps in there get above 100f in the summer you are going to be hurting to keep the plants healthy especially with lights up there. You are defintly going to have to think about air conditioning.



Not if you have an active inlet fan that brings cold air from a cold or air-cooled room. You de need colder air though. 

600W is good. Go with 2x 400W if you want to cover a large wide space. Any dimensions in mind for the actual grow/flower area?

Do the piping if you can. It's always handy to have water close to your room.


Quote:

No need for the sad face! Squirrel cage blowers will work just fine but I recommend 'centrifugal inline fans' vortex, can-fan, or something along those lines. They are much easier to work with, no need for adapters on the outlet side or anything; plus if you decide to go with air cooled lights at some point, they are much easier to attach to that system.



Yes, this kind works great:


Keep us updated!


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Offlinelopan
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Re: Lets build a grow room! [Re: Annom]
    #134788 - 10/20/08 06:37 PM (8 years, 1 month ago)

Since we are going into the winter, I have a few months until I have to worry about summer heat.  I plan on spending a lot of money on insulation and ventilation...  And lighting...  Thinking about buying my first 600w HPS with a digital ballast this Friday!

The room conversion is coming along slowly, but steadily.  In the mean time, my seedlings are still growing:

I have been watering them every 1 or 2 days, depending on how dry the soil looks.  Using 2x 23w CFLs right now, about 5" from the plants.

No fertilizers so far, either.  Been to 3 shops around here, and none of them are carrying any supplies (out of season).  What specifically should I be looking for?  If I want to water them with a solution of X-Y-Z, how do I do that?  What do I need to add to the water to reach certain levels / how do I measure it?

Sorry for sounding so noobish about the fertilizers.  I have read numerous grow guides, but they always simply say "during rooting / germination, water with a solution of X-Y-Z" - they do not say how to get that solution!

Thanks!


Edit:  Also, where is a good place to buy the ventilation supplies?  Home Depot / Lowes?


Edited by lopan (10/20/08 06:38 PM)


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InvisibleDr. Penguin
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Re: Lets build a grow room! [Re: lopan]
    #134796 - 10/20/08 07:06 PM (8 years, 1 month ago)

Your plants are looking good. :thumbup:
Be careful when judging when to water by eye, it is easy to over water like that because the lights dry out the top of the soil but it may be retaining plenty of moisture at the bottom of the pot. The best way to evaluate when to water is weight. Get to know what a dry cup of soil feels like, when your plants get to about that point, give them some water. For example, I have some seedlings in the exact same cups as yours and I only water every 3-4 days.

The best way to get x-y-z is to either use a three part hydroponic fertilizer, or to use a fert that has the ratios you want already. Getting an exact N-P-K ratio isn't all that important, as long as they are close. I am mainly a hydro grower so I use GH FloraNova but when I do use soil I use the Earth Juice line to good effect. I hear great things about Fox Farm nutes as well, just mix them according to the label and away you go.

The best place to get all of these things is a local hydroponics store. They will carry HID lighting supplies, proper nutes, and inline fans. The type of ferts and fans you will get at home depot are generally very sub-par in this hobby. You can also use the internet to find great deals on supplies, but remember to use a money order or a pre-paid gift card and to ship to a location other than your grow house.


--------------------
* My Cab
* How to Build a Grow Tent
* Fan Speed Control 101
* Easy Butane Extraction

Not responsible for advice not taken.


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Offlinelopan
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Re: Lets build a grow room! [Re: Dr. Penguin]
    #136414 - 10/24/08 03:12 PM (8 years, 1 month ago)

Quote:

Dr. Penguin said:
Your plants are looking good. :thumbup:
Be careful when judging when to water by eye, it is easy to over water like that because the lights dry out the top of the soil but it may be retaining plenty of moisture at the bottom of the pot. The best way to evaluate when to water is weight. Get to know what a dry cup of soil feels like, when your plants get to about that point, give them some water. For example, I have some seedlings in the exact same cups as yours and I only water every 3-4 days.



Took your advice on this one.  I let the plants go 4 days without water, got their feel for weight, and am now watering when they feel dry by weight.  Good idea!

Quote:

The best way to get x-y-z is to either use a three part hydroponic fertilizer, or to use a fert that has the ratios you want already. Getting an exact N-P-K ratio isn't all that important, as long as they are close. I am mainly a hydro grower so I use GH FloraNova but when I do use soil I use the Earth Juice line to good effect. I hear great things about Fox Farm nutes as well, just mix them according to the label and away you go.

The best place to get all of these things is a local hydroponics store. They will carry HID lighting supplies, proper nutes, and inline fans. The type of ferts and fans you will get at home depot are generally very sub-par in this hobby. You can also use the internet to find great deals on supplies, but remember to use a money order or a pre-paid gift card and to ship to a location other than your grow house.



I found a local hydroponics shop and I am going to swing by there after work (in about 2 hours).
I plan on looking at their light selection.  I am definitely going to buy some of the nutrients, and also look at their lights and fans.  I would _like_ to leave with a 600w HPS bulb, a good reflector, a digital ballast, and an inline fan, but that all depends on cost. :wink:
I'll post a picture of my plants soon.  One is looking great, the other, not so much.


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InvisibleDr. Penguin
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Re: Lets build a grow room! [Re: lopan]
    #136423 - 10/24/08 03:45 PM (8 years, 1 month ago)

Sounds like a plan. I love my digi ballast. Gets some pics up soon, I'd love to check 'em out.


--------------------
* My Cab
* How to Build a Grow Tent
* Fan Speed Control 101
* Easy Butane Extraction

Not responsible for advice not taken.


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Offlinelopan
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Re: Lets build a grow room! [Re: Dr. Penguin]
    #136636 - 10/25/08 09:28 AM (8 years, 1 month ago)

Pics will be up later.  Construction is so fun! :thumbup:

I kind of accidentally knocked my plants off their shelf and onto the floor yesterday...  They both came out of the cups and any lose soil (soil that has not been rooted) came out.

So now is a good time to transplant.  Which size cups / pots should I upgrade to?


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Offlineimpgl

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Re: Lets build a grow room! [Re: lopan]
    #136961 - 10/26/08 06:40 PM (8 years, 1 month ago)

1 gallon


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Offlineimpgl

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Re: Lets build a grow room! [Re: impgl]
    #136962 - 10/26/08 06:41 PM (8 years, 1 month ago)

i love my digi ballasts. lumateks ftw


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Offlinelopan
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Re: Lets build a grow room! [Re: impgl]
    #137276 - 10/27/08 11:27 AM (8 years, 1 month ago)

Bought my lighting system this weekend from the local hydro shop, and the prices were very good (compared to a few online sites).  Bought a 600w HPS, a cooltube reflector, and a 600w digital switchable ballast.  Also purchased nutrients!

Yesterday, replanted into a 1gal pot, watered with the nutrients, and set them up under the new light.  Checked on them this morning - the ambient room temperature was around 56f, and the temperature at the top of the pot / soil was 70f.  Mid-day, the temperature of the pot should reach around 80f, though I am going to use a space heater to keep the ambient temperature higher.

My digital camera ran out of batteries, so I do not have any construction pictures, though here is one of my current setup (ghetto, I know - but a work in progress):



Maybe this thread should be moved to the Grow Log forum?


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Offlinelopan
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Re: Lets build a grow room! [Re: lopan]
    #137385 - 10/27/08 06:25 PM (8 years, 1 month ago)

So, I pretty much hate my cooltube.  Not only does the output seem to be low, but the plant on the end of the tube that is further away from the light (in the above picture, the right plant) hardly gets any coverage.

Also, the reflector batwings don't seem to fit together.  Any insight?

The holes do not line up.  I could just drill a new one...


I am going to take the reflector back and see if I can trade it in...  Probably going to go with a standard rectangle one.

Edit:  Also, I am currently running the lights 24/7.  Should I give them a few hours of darkness yet?


Edited by lopan (10/27/08 06:26 PM)


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Offlineimpgl

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Re: Lets build a grow room! [Re: lopan]
    #137507 - 10/27/08 11:55 PM (8 years, 1 month ago)

just work with you got (unless you could afford more). good job on the hydro store :thumbup: my local one seems to beat any internet price by far.


there is a post here about the difference between 24/0 and 16/8. 24/0 pwnd. the only thing i've been thinking about lately is the fact that it must be strange to the plant to go form 24/0 to 12/12 in one night. im thinking about slowly decreasing the time. peace out and good luck


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InvisibleDr. Penguin
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Re: Lets build a grow room! [Re: impgl]
    #138261 - 10/29/08 09:53 PM (8 years, 1 month ago)

Sorry to hear about your cool tube. I have never used a commercial tube, only home made. The bulb should be centered in the glass and therefore the reflector, also the edges should fit correctly. Sounds like you got a lemon. I would definitely try to return it, most hydro shops will be glad to hear about your experiences (good or bad) with one of their products. If they have a better cool tube model, you could try that, or if not you can try an air cooled traditional reflector. Let us know what happens!


--------------------
* My Cab
* How to Build a Grow Tent
* Fan Speed Control 101
* Easy Butane Extraction

Not responsible for advice not taken.


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Offlinelopan
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Day 17 [Re: Dr. Penguin]
    #138692 - 10/30/08 08:25 PM (8 years, 1 month ago)

Well I managed to get the reflector on - I just drilled a hole through the two pieces and fastened them together.

So, two things:

1, my plants are not looking good.  They are turning yellow and the tips are turning brown / yellow.  I have only fertilized them once, and that was when I transplanted them to the larger pots.  Since then, I have give them one more watering, which did not have any fertilizers in it.



2, This is one of the exhaust fans in my attic...  Any tips on rigging up some ducting to connect to this?  Smell is starting to become an issue, so I need to figure this out quickly.


Thanks!


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InvisibleDr. Penguin
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Re: Day 17 [Re: lopan]
    #138710 - 10/30/08 10:05 PM (8 years, 1 month ago)

It's hard to diagnose problems like this. First I would check the Ph of the runoff and make sure its at the proper levels (5.8-6.8). If they are, then I would have to guess immobile micro-nutrient deficiency (Manganese?). What type of fert are you using?


--------------------
* My Cab
* How to Build a Grow Tent
* Fan Speed Control 101
* Easy Butane Extraction

Not responsible for advice not taken.


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