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Questions and Answers / Re: Can EarthBoxes Stay Oudoors Year-Round?
« Last post by Texas.Micky on August 13, 2020, 12:30:18 pm »
Hey Nick1212,

In my zone, Houston, 9A or 9B, depending, I haven't brought most of mine indoors, ever.

No problems with freezing, even when it's been below 0 outside. Since I have the Automatic Watering System(AWS) connected, I do have to replace the pressure reducer every 3-5 years, but not sure if it is the cold snaps causing the problem. Also, I have always had more than 5 boxes connected to the AWS, which may mean that there's very regularly enough of a flow to keep the freezing from being destructive.


Questions and Answers / Re: AWS Sensor Gone Bad - Can it be Fixed? YES
« Last post by nitrous on August 12, 2020, 05:08:11 pm »
CLR is a very good solution for hard mineral deposits.

On thing to do without disassembly is to use a syringe to flush the water inlet side of the system.  because the system is fixed open, there are a limited number of possibilities.  first is mineral deposits in the inlet side of the sensor.  The second would be a leaking diaphragm.  (the tell here would be water on the "dry" side of the system ie in the clear vinyl tube.  The third would be a crack on the dry side of the sensor or a poorly seated assembly.

I would start by simply blowing into the bell end of the sensor.  If water flow continues, I'd be looking at diaphragm or cracks... If the added pressure does solve the problem (ie stops the flow of water), the diaphragm may well be caked with mineral deposits on the water side of the sensor.  If you can't actually maintain added pressure when you blow into the bell, there is a leak and that is diaphragm crack (less likely if the dry side is still dry when in use). An other way to test this is to apply negative pressure on the water side of the sensor.... with the bell in a glass of water, check for water being drawn up the sensor tube.

To trouble shoot these systems, keep it simple and based on the way the sensor works.

Good luck!
Questions and Answers / Re: AWS Water Level
« Last post by nitrous on August 12, 2020, 04:30:39 pm »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Hero Member, bdobs. This user is located SF Bay Area 8b. This was originally posted on June 18, 2009.

The AWS system is basic genius.  You just need to know where you want the water level, and cut the tubing so that the bottom of the air bell sits at that level, or just a tad deeper.
It works on Bernoulli's Principle to flex a diaphragm closed as the water level (pressure) rises around a sensing cup, and when the pressure rises high enough, the pneumatic diaphragm shuts off.

So once the water level hits the bottom of the air bell and, in essence, seals it off....the diaphram closes and so does the water flow.  Once the water in the reservoir drops below the bottom of the air bell, the pressure up top is now enough tp open the valve and let water in.  The water will rise and again the pressure below the valve will be greater than above and shut off the flow, and on and on and on.

No, they all don't need to be at the same level. Each box and AWS valve is mutually exclusive of each other.  I cant really comment on the needed water pressure to activate the system though.

I am running EB's and non Earthboxes on the same line with no troubles


Just to clarify things here a bit.  This system has nothing to do with Bernoulli's Principle (which relates to pressure differentials between between gasses moving at different speeds. .  The water control is a two chamber, diaphragm controlled flow controller.  The water level sensor side of the system is open ONLY at the bell end of the clear tube.  The bell serves an important role in pneumatic control system.  the volume of the bell is pressurized as it is forced into the clear vinyl tube.  it is this air pressure which takes the normally OPEN valve and closes it by pushing the diaphragm against a very tiny orifice. If the orifice wasn't there, the pressure side of the two chamber system would require much more pressure to seal the water inlet. 

so, while level of the box is important, it isn't critical.  For example, if the long axis is tilted such that the sensor is lower than it should be, you will get incomplete filling.... remember, the sensor simply detects and acts on water depth.  On the other hand, if the box is tilted back (away from the overflow hole) on the short axis, the system will continuously sense a low water condition and as a result, never shut off. 

This isn't complicated.  The most common problems that these systems suffer from is 1) debris from an unfiltered water supply that eventually prevents the diaphragm closing the orifice.  Remember, the smaller the orifice, the more easily it is blocked.

The patent is well worth reading.
Questions and Answers / Re: Junior and AWS
« Last post by nitrous on August 12, 2020, 03:23:40 pm »
and the other key element here is the bell at the end of the tube. It increases the amount of air that is being compressed up the clear tube. 
as long as the level of water in the reservoir of the Junior is the same as the regular size, there will be no problem.
In fact, if you don't want to cut the vinyl tube to the sensor to fit the shorter fill tube, just use a regular length tube.

This is a very simple system, Normally flowing, controlled by a simple pressure activated diaphragm.  Water flow is controlled by a simple "effusion port" that limits the flow to ~ 3-4 gal per hour. 

Check out the patent.  It is very detailed and spells all this out.
Questions and Answers / Re: Tomato Leaf Curl Due to Too Much Water?
« Last post by gardendoc on August 11, 2020, 08:50:50 am »
I grow determinate tomatoes in the spring and the fall. I don't mess with trying to grow in the middle of the summer
Questions and Answers / Re: 1 out of 3 Earth Boxes overflows
« Last post by Texas.Micky on August 10, 2020, 12:17:34 pm »
Another possibility is that roots have gotten to the sensor at the bottom.

My mint roots separated the sensor from the valve clear plastic tube, and that made the valve stay on and drain my rain barrel.

Check that the roots of your plants in that one box haven't mingled with the sensor.
Questions and Answers / Re: Tomato Leaf Curl Due to Too Much Water?
« Last post by Texas.Micky on August 10, 2020, 12:08:19 pm »
In Texas here too, summer's are brutal to tomatoes, etc.

Any ideas for what would do well in the brutal heat to keep EBs "busy"?
Questions and Answers / Re: What is the best method?
« Last post by Texas.Micky on August 10, 2020, 09:18:50 am »
Thanks for the followup.

I've had boxes with pairings that come out against the traditional wisdom at times also.

Catnip beating out Mint for example. A friend of mine has the cats.
My EarthBox / Re: gardendoc's 2020 Summer Garden
« Last post by Texas.Micky on August 10, 2020, 08:53:18 am »
Tried to grow heirlooms from seed. No seedlings survived yet.

My boxes are at friend's yards/patios in Austin and Dallas this year.

Fall garden still going in Austin, some Basil, Rosemary, Catnip, Mint, in Dallas.
My EarthBox / Re: BrittneyT2's first Earthbox Garden - 2016
« Last post by Texas.Micky on August 10, 2020, 08:23:23 am »
I remember seeing these on the forum back in 2016.

I will have to post some of my old garden pictures too, once I have met the 10 post limit again on this new forum.
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