Today we have a product from a new company called Sustainable Microfarms. This is actually developed in a university environment by some students who wanted to build a dosing machine that doesn’t cost thousands of dollars. This is going to be a sub one thousand dollar dosing machine that can handle up to eight solutions including nutrients your pH up and down, and water to help keep everything in check and also measures your ecm, ppm, tds. Which is pretty awesome.
We like to call this the doser for the rest of us, because it really is made for hydroponic systems between five and 55 gallon reservoir size. You can see here this system comes with slots where you can put in the appropriate size of nutrient it has the tubing to insert into the bottles and pull the nutrient into the reservoir to keep it sustainable and in check. If I wanted to I could put these tubes into a gallon jug or even larger, you aren’t limited by the slot on the machine. Because one of the things this can dose is water. Let's say it doses too much ph it will dose water to compensate for that. And I would just stick one of the tubes into a really big reservoir of water just so that it had it available to put in your reservoir. For this demonstration we’ve put the probes into some regular water so we can play around with this and really show you what it can do. I learned how to program this in about 3 minutes with just the included instruction sheets and pressing a few buttons.
Let's take a look at the control led panel on the top of the machine. It has two lights red and green, the led screen, and four buttons below it, one white and three red. The two rightmost buttons allow you to scroll through the options and the far right button is the “enter” button.
So starting out with features and configurations and how to set it up. When you first start it you get this main menu and using the buttons toggle thru to find the settings. Right now with the base machine, it runs 4 solutions, when the expansion becomes available you can run 8 solutions. Right now I'll show you how to work with the 4 solutions it comes with. First lets set up each pump for each solution. With the first pump hit enter, it will ask do you want a custom program or preset program. The preset program works with the included General Hydroponics Flora Gro, Flora Bloom, Flora Micro and pH Up solutions. So lets say I want to use other nutrients, such as Heavy 16 Veg A & Veg B, and pH Up and Prime. Using the custom setting, scroll to pump #1 select it, and the category you can select off, water or nut. We want nutes so select it. It will ask how many ml per gallon that nutrient is rated for so lets say I'm in vegetative phase and I want to go easy on the plants we scroll anywhere from 0 ml per gallon all the way up to 20ml per gallon. I will choose 3.5ml per gallon here, then push save. Then do the same steps to set up for pump #2. for the B version of the nutrients. Then with pump #3 we want to use as our water. We select water for the category, this way we can dose water to keep the system in check if for some reason it becomes too high in parts per million of nutrient or too high or low in pH. Lets set pump #4 for pH up, scroll through the categories to pH up and select it. And that’s it pump configuration is done.
Returning to the main menu, number 2 is start cycle. Just hit enter and we could just start right about to pump nutrients from here. But we haven’t set up our reservoir size yet or we'll just pump nutes right on the floor. Let's look at some other things first.
Option 3) calibrate probes. This system comes with ready with probes ready to keep everything in check, bit self-explanatory.
Option 4) system config, lets just into that, let's say we need to set our reservoir size, select it and the default should be set to 40 gallons. You can scroll thru in increments of five gallons from 5 to 55 gallon. Very easy to use. Scrolling thru other options is display ec units. We tend to favor using ppm as units but you can also select uS, mS(EC). then you can select your ppm factor.
Next option 3) time between checks. This is a really cool feature I want to point out, you can use this system with an ebb & flow even though your reservoir will on a periodic time interval be flooding into your system. What this option does is let's say you flood your system for 15 minutes every 3 hours. Before this unit will dose with nutrients and pH this unit will check at two different times and within those two times it will determine if your res. is full or not. Because you don’t want it taking a reading when your res has emptied and is filling up your plants with water and your res is really low. That could really skew off your pH and ppm. So using time between checks we set it for every 15 minutes. That way it will get two readings when the rez is full and empty.
Other settings: You can also change temp display units from f to c. Purge pumps, if you’re changing out solutions this will purge solution from the pumps and lines. Take a reading, the doser is automatically checking the pH and ec every 15 seconds and at any point I can hit take a reading and get a read out of the solution.. this system is setup for hydroponics so it is set to keep your pH at between 5.5 and 6.5. which is a well-recognized range for hydroponics in the commercial, university, and hobbyist community for the best nutrient uptake.
That’s basically the whole unit.
These guys just did an IndieGoGo campaign and got the funds they needed to bring this product to market and were expecting it to be live in a month or two. We will have it available on site and wow this doser machine will be ready to ship out and make your growing easier.
If you want to find out more visit the product page, or visit Sustainable Microfarms website. (www.smicrofarms.com)
This is Nate with GrowersHouse if you have any questions or have products you want to see reviewed let us know.>