DIY Aeroponics – High Pressure Aeroponic System Build

  • By: admin
  • Date: December 18, 2021
  • Time to read: 8 min.

This DIY Aeroponics tutorial will show you how to build a high pressure aeroponic system. If you want to grow an aeroponic garden this is the best way to go. My low pressure aeroponics system works well but you will get better results with a high pressure system.

Unless you have thousands to spend a homemade aeroponic system is your only choice. Even if you had the money to blow most systems weren’t designed to grow aeroponic weed.

This is a very easy build so even if you are not the do it yourself type you will be able to pull this off. My aeroponic system is very simple and works very well. It is simple on purpose because most systems you see online are smarter than their owners. Eventually something goes wrong and you lose your crop.

This system has been up and running for over a year, grow after grow. In all that time I have never lost a crop or had a clogged mister head and I don’t even bother to clean them. All you need to do to grow successfully with this system is keep it running, monitor your nutrient level and check your pH and ppm daily. If you can do that you can grow aeroponic weed successfully and without doubt it will be the best weed you ever grew.

Aeroponic Weed - C99

There are a two changes I would make to this system one year later but they are minor. The original system is built with 1/2″ drain line and fittings. I have had a few clogs at the tees so would advise using 3/4″ line instead. The other change would be the misting assembly. I used reptile misters but they were expensive, had too much movement and were definitely overkill. They used Tefen misters and I still use these and recommend them but I have found a more cost effective and efficient way to use them.

Starting Your Homemade Aeroponics System

The housing for this system is 18 gallon Roughneck Rubbermaid totes. They are about $10 at any Home Depot. I have tried others and either they leak or they are not as tall so I really recommend you go with these. The totes can be connected together to drain into a common reservoir.

You will need to figure out how many plants you want in each tote. I have 12 holes but seldom use them all. You can always plug the extras with a party cup or net pot and insert.

I use three rows of net pots with misters placed on either side of the middle row. This helps give a clear trajectory for the mist to spread inside the tote.

You can use 2 or 3″ pots. I prefer 3″ pots because they are more stable and plants don’t tip them easily.

Please be aware you will need to cut a smaller hole than this. Either 1 7/8 or 2 7/8. If you use a 2 or 3 inch hole saw your net pots will fall through!

These sizes are a bit odd and you may not easily find them locally

This 2 7/8″ hole saw comes with a built in arbor so you can put it straight into your drill chuck.

DIY Aeroponics - Rubbermaid Tote DetailIn this picture you can see the reptile misters I used. They are actually on but the mist is so fine most of it doesn’t show up on camera. I think Tefen misting heads are the best choice for aeroponics systems. The whole tote will fill up with mist so I think 4 heads per tote – 2 on on either end is plenty.

Below are the misting heads I used for this aeroponic build. These run 1/4″ mainline. They are not cheap but the quality is excellent.


DIY Aeroponics Drainline DetailHere is a detail of the drain lines. The totes are elevated about 8″ above the reservoirs bottom. This helps drainage and also allows you to add water to the reservoir without having standing water inside the totes themselves. This is 1/2″ tubing but I would suggest using 3/4″ instead.

There is a curve in the bottom of these totes. Before you drill your drain holes you will want to make sure the gaskets on the fitting are sitting on the flat part of the tote otherwise they may not seal completely. This also means that there will be a small amount of water left in the totes because the fitting wont be entirely flush with the bottom of the tote.

I lay a piece of 2×4 flat under the back of the tote to give it a slight downward angle towards the fitting and help it drain. It’s not necessary to do this. The small amount of water in the bottom is actually a good thing. No matter how tall you make a tote eventually the roots will hit bottom. Different strains also have different sized root systems. Sativas seem to have the longest roots. The water that remains is constantly refreshed and aerated and once your plants roots hit bottom it provides some insurance in case of a power outage.

If you don’t want water to remain in your tote you could put your fitting right on the bottom of the tote and allow the tote end to hang over the side of its platform.

The floor of my grow room is lined with epdm pond liner.  Just in case there is a spill it wont leak out.

You will want to use an ebb and flow fitting for each tote. Alternatively you could probably use rubber grommets instead but the plastic on these totes is not that thick and they may not seat well. You will need to get a spade or forstner bit to drill these holes. Mine were 1 1/8″ but yours could be larger or smaller because fittings are often made by different manufacturers.

Aeroponic Pump

My original aeroponics diy system cost me about 300 dollars to build. I have found new sources for the pump and fittings and you should be able to build it for a lot less. It had only 2 totes in these pics but I later added a third.

Your main expense is the Aquatec 8800 booster pump which is around $100 followed by the John Guest fittings and misting heads. Make sure you get the right pump. The Aquatec 6800 is not suitable for this build. It won’t provide enough pressure!

This pump can go up to 125 psi and comes with 1/4 and 3/8 push to connect fittings. I used 1/4 for my aeroponic system and it works great. But if you are going to run more than 3 or 4 totes you may be better off with a 3/8 mainline. Just a heads up here, if you do choose to run 3/8 you will have to reduce it to 1/4 at each misting head.

Setting Up The Misting Heads

In the original version my aeroponic system used reptile misters. They were not only expensive to buy but the cost of shipping out of Canada was ridiculous. So I went to work finding a cheaper solution.

closed loop aeroponics systemFirst you need to understand your misters will be in a closed loop. You will use a tee at each misting head and connect them all in a loop with one tee at the end that goes to the pumps output.

 

misting head detailThis is a detail of my original build. You will want 2 separate misting heads. You can see there is a mold line a few inches down from the top of the tote. This is the perfect height for your misting nozzles. You can also clearly see the curvature on the bottom of the tote and how to place the drains.

I recommend using 1/4 inch fittings because it is easier than reducing things at the misting heads but for more than 4 totes you may be better off with 3/8 tubing.

When you insert tubing into your fittings make sure the ends are cut even and square and push it all the way into your fittings. It will grab before it is fully seated so make sure to keep pushing until you feel it bottom out against the fitting. If you don’t you may have a leak.

Hooking Up The Aquatec 8800 Pump

Aquatec 8800 pump hook up detailHere is a close up of the pump. You can see the tee coming off the loop and connecting to the pumps output port. The other side of the pump has a line into the reservoir.

Another shot of aeroponic pump hook upHere is another view showing the Aquatec 800 hooked to the system. Please note that this is not a submersible pump!

Aeroponic Systems Need A Filtration System

You are going to need a filtration system. Your misting heads have small orifices and you cant count on their screen to do the job. That screen is an emergency stop gap measure just in case something gets past your main filter.

No matter how careful you are stuff will get in your reservoir. It could be bits of root that sloughed off your plants, could be impurities in your nutes, rock wool, cat hairs, human hairs or plant debris.

The point is dirt is everywhere and no matter how clean you think you are or how careful you are it will find a way in. So we need a really efficient filtration system. Clogged misters can result in plants dying so we want to prevent that.

Fortunately I found a simple and inexpensive way to do this. I use a filter bag designed to filter fuel. It has pores that are 10 microns. A human hair is about 40 microns thick. It is polyester felt and can be washed and run through the dryer to clean it. As long as no dirt gets in the bag itself it will keep your system running clean.

diy aeroponics 5

Aeroponic System FilterYes I know this may look a bit hokey but it works. I have never had a clogged nozzle and I don’t clean them either although I probably should have a look at them.

These filters work great for lots of things and actually I discover them while looking for an overflow filter for my reef tank. I would recommend using a covering on the top of the filter bag for added safety.

I don’t run a lot of water in my system. There is a gallon or two in the tote bottoms and about 5 gallons in the reservoir itself. That means you mix and use a lot less nutes but it also means you will be topping up fairly often. When my plants are flowering heavily I find they can drink 3 or 4 gallons a day.

Aeroponic Timers

Your system needs one more thing and that’s an aeroponic timer. Regular timers wont work because the cycles are too long. You need an interval or seconds timer. I run 1 minute on and 5 off but some growers use shorter cycles. You will need to experiment to find the best settings for your plants but 1 on and 5 off is a good starting point.

CT-1 Short Cycle Timer

I use the CT-1 Short Cycle Timer and have had great luck with it. The only caveat is that it has day, night or both cycles. You need to make sure both the sun and moon icons are showing on the screen otherwise it will not run a 24 hour cycle. It is very adjustable. You could run 1 second on every 24 hours if you wanted. You can have it on or off for seconds, minutes or combinations of the 2.

I hope you enjoy building your high pressure diy aeroponics system and get some good grows out of it.

Well that’s pretty much it. I tried to be clear and detailed but if you still have questions leave a comment.

  1. What is the tubing you use for draining? What about the T-connectors you use for draining? I’m looking forward to your reply. Your the best bro!

    -Benji

    1. I used 1/2 o.d. tubing and tees. Most hydro shops would have this or you may be able to find it on Amazon. If I were to do it again I would use 3/4 inch drains though. Not sure if you want hp or lp system but for low pressure I would definitely go 3/4″

      I am going to be posting a new high pressure build in a couple of days and if that’s what you want to build and you haven’t started building yet you may want to wait for this post. The design I have works great but I have learned a lot over the past 2 years with it and this one will be better.

  2. Hey im a newb to high pressure aeroponics and I think I got the basics but I was just wondering why you have the couplers and adaptors on the mister assembely, can i just tap the nozzles into straight tubing? Also how come you dont use acumulator tanks?

    1. No you can’t. This system runs at 120-150 psi and it would blow them out of the tubing. If you use the right nozzles they have a 1/8 npt bottom and need to be screwed into an adapter.

      If you want easy just go low pressure. Build a pvc manifold and drill some holes in the pipe to screw in some easy clone sprayers. If you are new to aeroponics that is a good way to start, its easier to set up and maintain because it won’t clog easily and your yields will still be great.

      1. Okay thank you for the input I will go low pressure and get a feel for it. Just want to say your write ups have been very helpfull and informative, keep up the great work.

    1. Most growers use commercial products. Usually a grow and a separate flower mix. Some very advanced and large growers do buy bulk chemicals and mix their own. I really think most people are better off buying a ready to use product. Canna Aqua and Dutch Master are 2 that work well for hydro and aeroponics.

  3. FIRST let me say Awesome build..Been researching for about 6 months waiting for more YouTube grows with HPA to get a grasp on all types of builds.. My question is without the accumulator tank will there be a big difference in micron size as it starts to build pressure to spray and does it also have that last squirt when it stops spraying? Basically does the absence of the accumulator tank make a big difference?

    1. I don’t use one so I really couldn’t say. If you use the tees in my build they are dripless. So I don’t have a last squirt. There might be a couple of seconds for pressure to build and start spraying and when the pump shuts off the spray stops. Hope this helps.

      Stay Green
      Steve

  4. Can I use a true fog nozzle 10 microns with that pump? I am planning to run a continuous fog/HPA system?

    1. I am not sure because I don’t know what nozzle you are using. The strongest Aquatec can put out 150 psi. Water usage would not be an issue most likely but pressure might be depending on how many nozzles you run. You need to check the specs for your nozzles. Went to their site and there is no info about psi but there is mention of a 1000psi commercial pump so maybe not. I would suggest you call them and ask what the operating pressure is.

      Running a continuous fog probably will work but seems to me that it defeats the whole idea of aeroponics because the roots never have time in air. Not saying it wont work because I haven’t tried it.

  5. Hi,
    I would like to know the, on time-off time cycle you recommend when using a high pressure pump. We are new with this aeroponics concept and are excited about the possibilities.
    Thanks,
    Jos

    1. It really depends on your plants. Seedlings need less than mature plants because the root system is smaller. I would start at 45 – 30 seconds on and 5 minutes off. Check your roots. They should be damp but not dripping when the next cycle starts. If you are getting fish bone roots you are good but if they look more like smooth hydroponic roots you need to give them less water. I usually run 15 to 30 seconds on but again it depends on size of tote and number and size of plants. Probably would not go more than 5 minutes between cycles though.

  6. I see you have the drainage going to the bottom of your reservoir. Does it drain well from the grow chambers? I was thinking the water pressure from the water in the res might keep it from draining properly

    1. There is no problem with drainage as long as the tote drains are higher than the res water level. It’s just simple gravity.

  7. I have been looking around this site and getting ready to build my own system. I do have one source of confusion and hopefully, you can clear this up for me. The Mister heads. I don’t understand how all the pieces connect together and how they create a water tight seal on the totes. So there is the white T connector and then the gray one directly plugs into that the blue connector screws onto the gray and the misting head screws into the blue thing but what part creates the water barrier seal?

    Parts I am buying: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006T5J9SO/ref=ox_sc_sfl_title_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003NV8JA6/ref=ox_sc_sfl_title_2?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003NUTQJK/ref=ox_sc_sfl_title_3?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B011SNRCBM/ref=ox_sc_sfl_title_7?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A3JVO9PJXTSCRK

    1. Dont use that assembly. People have told me the heads dont screw in properly. I was looking for a cheaper solution for cash strapped folks, dont know why but it seems NPT varies even at the same size. You want these 10 White Plastic Tee Assembly w/ 3/8″ Push in-1GPH Nozzle W/Poly Filter http://amzn.to/2p9YQrk Just connect in a loop with 3/8 od tubing. Use included mounting brackets. Just follow the build, you will be glad you did.

      1. Wow those are expensive. Maybe if they don’t fit so well I can just tap them and Teflon tape them. $90 for 10 plastic hubs seems insane.

  8. Hi bro, thanks for sharing so much information!
    I have a doubt, I want to create a system with 9 chambers (totes) (15.5 ” x 18 ” x 49.75 ” each) how can I calculate or know if I need more than one water pump, you can orientate me with this.
    (I have budgeted to buy also an accmulator tank)

    1. Hey Matias
      You are definitely going to need more than one pump. I have run 3 totes on a single 150psi pump but 2 would probably be better. It’s not that you cant run more than 3 totes if you want but the pressure drops and droplet size increases. So you lose the advantages of HPA. Every system is different. I would suggest setting up one pump and try it with two and 3 totes. Then you could try adding more totes, but I think you are looking at at least 3 pumps.

  9. So update: I have built my system. I used the Cheaper build your own parts to make the misters, They do not fit well exactly together at first, What I did was used a couple of socket wrenches and it forced them together made the groves fit and they are completely water tight. I thought I would have to use Teflon tape to make the seal, but it was unnecessary with all 24 misters: (FYI if anyone needs the plastic pieces I have tons left over I would get rid of cheap.) I have had catastrophic failure and lost my entire garden due to they horribly cheap made Titan Controls Digital Short Cycle Timer, I have had 3 of them, The first one never made it into the garden, It came with an unreadable display and the other 2 well stopped being timers and just went wide open and turned both pumps on and blew through an entire 40 gal reservoir in 24 hours while I was away at the beach. So pro tip use the analog timer.

    1. Glad you made the fittings work. Apparently there is a coarse and fine thread even though both are marked 1/8 NPT. I have been using those timers for over 4 years now and have 3 of them. Never an issue but it seems they have been bought out by Titan recently so these are not the originals and I guess quality may have gone down since I bought mine. Sorry for your troubles with them.

  10. I’m setting up an aero Ponich system and I have some confusion around the order of the components. I hope you can help. What I’m thinking about doing is one of these two designs.
    1. Reservoir, booster, high pressure switch, tank, solenoid
    2. Reservoir, booster, tank, high pressure switch, solenoid

    Where should the high-pressure switch sit? I also have a pressure valve to measure the pressure and I was wondering where that should sit too.

    1. Sorry cant help much my systems dont use a solenoid just lines connected directly to the pump and pump on a timer

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