Yea, say that ten times fast!
So, a few weeks ago the brains for my automated low pressure valve fried. A bug crawled in and got toasted between a couple transistors in the H-bridge and the smell of burnt electronics ensued. I did manage to get it working again for a day but then it quit. I’ve never managed to get the backup circuit board working right and I’ve exploded several capacitors in the process so……. I set the system to run constant flood for the week I was out of town and when I got back I started testing a new idea.
What if a FLOUT® could be used to feed a gravity modified indexing valve? What a grand idea that would be.
Well now we wade into reality of trying to balance flows and provide enough pressure to an indexing valve (even a gravity modified indexing valve needs a certain amount of “gush” to engage properly.) A FLOUT® needs a certain amount of unrestricted outflow for a given inflow for it to be able to re-float too.
Well I was testing this out in a pre-existing system with fish tank and beds already in place so I couldn’t really mess with the heights to get more pressure to my indexing valve. I had it almost working, almost. Little things like the long pipe run from the indexing valve to the furthest bed were actually messing things up!!! That is how close it was to working. If only I had just a little more height to work with, I’m sure I would have been golden!!!!
But anyway, being that I need to get something in place and functioning quickly so I can have it tested/tweeked for a while before I have to travel again. I gave in and installed a pump to drive the indexing valve.
Hence the pumperflouternating bit. See, I didn’t remove the FLOUT® from the situation. I simply added a pump to feed the indexing valve and the flout is still handling the overflow to feed the overflow beds. This is actually a great improvement as the way it was before the overflow beds were getting a constant inflow and this was causing sliming problems in the beds. Now they get intermittent flow (all be it quite often, as those three beds get water flow for about 4 minutes of every 10 minutes.)
So how it is working now. There is a FLOUT® tank (100 gallon stock tank) right next to the fish tank getting the outflow from the fish tank. Inside that tank is a 3″ FLOUT® with it’s out let connected to feed the 3 overflow grow beds. And then I added a Quiet One 6000 pump (happens to be the one I had on hand of large enough size to drive a 1 1/2″ indexing valve.) Now I found that connecting the pump directly to the indexing valve actually caused a problem since when the pump turned off the water would continue siphoning (at first I thought the timer was bad.) So, I had to make sure there was a air break up above the pump but high enough that water wouldn’t be shooting out overhead.
So the PLART continues. PLART is what happens when you use whatever plumbing bits are left over from old projects that have been cut up.
So moving on. It should be noted that a FLOUT® has a certain working flow rate (far wider than most siphons but there are still limits.) My inflow to my fish tank is quite fast. I like to move lots of water to keep the aeration up and water quality good. A 3″ FLOUT® will not re-float if there is more than about 28 gpm going to it or less if there is a restriction on the outflow like an indexing valve. Luckily I changed things and added the pump. The pump is in the FLOUT® tank and running on a repeat cycle timer pumps for about 4 minutes which amply floods a grow bed through the indexing valve. Then the pump turns off for about 5 minutes which allows the water level in the FLOUT® tank to rise enough that the FLOUT® then sinks and flows water to the overflow beds for about 4 minutes. My inflow to the fish tank I must have set to about 30 gpm because the FLOUT® doesn’t re-float until the pump comes back on and uses some of the flow rate allowing the FLOUT® to float.
So, I’m alternating between the FLOUT® and the pump to have timed flood and drain for all my beds! Yay. I just wish I had been able to manage it without needing to use the extra pump but I guess that will have to wait for a complete system build to get the heights right.