Author Topic: Automatic Watering System Not Working  (Read 7877 times)

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Re: Automatic Watering System Not Working
« Reply #15 on: July 06, 2017, 09:48:15 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Newbie, gerryz. This was originally posted on June 22, 2008.

Well of course I don't know who is who. Earthbox is a "black box" to me.

But somewhere in there is someone who could take action and so far has not.

Let's take the present little example. Everyone seems to agree that those tubes are sometimes (not always!) extremely hard to impossible to push onto the fittings. This is simply not tolerable. If I were there, and "had a life", I would pull that product out of the catalog and not put it back until it was made right.

Distant second to that would be to warn the PROSPECTIVE buyer that there will be a problem.

As a customer I feel that I have been had.

Now let's take the thing about the tube and the box bottom. It's pretty clear that the minimal literature provided recognizes that the typical installation will be a retrofit, because they say to remove the old tube. Clearly if it the system were being assembled from the beginning that way, one could SEE the bottom and whatever that is down there that is causing the problem.

But one cannot in the retrofit. So why not give SOME information, some warning, some advice about this? All I knew was that the system was not working and if you notice, I had to go all the way to the patent description to even find out how it was SUPPOSED to work, so I could test it.

How was I to know that the tubes were not all the way in. Why would I even suspect that, give how little I was told about how it worked?

Even with a couple of engineering degrees, I was completely at a loss as to know what was wrong in the beginning as so LITTLE information was provided.

That is bad, very very bad. Somebody should "get a life" and do these things right.

So sure, I was harsh toward people I don't even know who are trapped in this situation and are not at fault. I apologize for that. Let's say I'm trying to go to bat for them since they are not in a position to do it for themselves.

I still would kind of like to know how ANYBODY assembles these things correctly given the instructions that come with them.

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Re: Automatic Watering System Not Working
« Reply #16 on: July 06, 2017, 09:50:49 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Guest, dough_it. This was originally posted on June 22, 2008.

J just know that I read and followed the directions and added the valves and backflow preventer and filter that everyone suggested when I set up my AWS, planted my boxes and have not had to touch them since.
Don't have two engineering degrees but how much easier could this be.
Planted on May 1st and have done "nothing" but harvest what the EB's have produced.
Looked and have not found any other way to garden that is this easy once everything is set up
I guess the folks at EarthBox should have someone available to go around to all the places that people have problems and show them how to set up these right   
this way everyone would be happy and satisfied
just thought of a suggestion for the EB staff...maybe you could do a video of the AWS set up to help folks like this


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Re: Automatic Watering System Not Working
« Reply #17 on: July 06, 2017, 09:52:10 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Hero Member, gator. This user is located in Anderson, Western SC, Zone 7. This was originally posted on June 23, 2008.

Hi Everybody,

  WELL "Hell" , has everybody got a comeback for everything said in this forum??

There is a lot of ligitiment  problems with this EARTHBOX company and it's components.. Otherwise the previous post would not have listen to everyones suggestions on how to properly install and what to add to the AWS..

That should have been EB's instructions and disclaimer..Not any forum member having to suggest maintenance (instruction issue) or local municipality laws where applicable (disclaimer issue).. Not all folks on this forum have worked with watering systems..But it shouldn't be the forum members giving information on setup tips..

Yes when I saw a sales flyer last year I was intrigued by the Idea, So I ordered a catalog, WHILE what a treat to received a one page catalog folded in half.. The flyer cost more and looked better.. Just a few weeks ago a post from a member was upset due to having no knowledge of this forum, that could have helped her very much in her new way of gardening..

I know EB is growing Bigger and faster but they need to slow down and compile a patch to their complete system.. Starting with customer service and going thru the whole setup issues..

Last year we had probably 50 to 75 regular members having wholesome good time learning and teaching about gardening and just hanging out, eagerly waiting to help anyone..But so far I noticed a lot bickering this season, I hope it STOPS

                                                      GATOR

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Re: Automatic Watering System Not Working
« Reply #18 on: July 06, 2017, 09:53:24 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Newbie, k852696. This was originally posted on June 23, 2008.

Folks, thanks for all of you info , escpeciall how the AWS works. Not being a engineer, I just put the system together according to the directions and thought it was working. In Calif we had  two days of 103 degrees temp and I noticed that the tomatoes were wilting with no water. So I tool out the Asm and noticed a very small amount of water coming from the sensor head. so I thought water was was suppose to go down the clear tube ( not thinking it was suppose to be air). So I wrote to the forum. After you notes saying that it air in the clear tube to control the on / off , I filled up the box manually with water and put the AWS system back in and also moved the box and it seams to be working or at least I get a better water flow thru the square opening. So I guess my problem was that it was not level !!!! 

Thanks guys
have a nice day

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Re: Automatic Watering System Not Working
« Reply #19 on: July 06, 2017, 09:54:28 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Newbie, chiltecpin. This was originally posted on June 10, 2008.

Hello all,

Regarding AWS not shutting off:

I suspect it's more of a height issue than a level issue. For now, it seems the AWS is not exactly plug-n-play. In short...

After doing some bench testing of the AWS and measuring all the components I found that most likely an AWS that doesn't want to shut off it due to it being too high off of the reservoir level. That is, the black plastic riser tube it clips into is a bit too long. I trimmed mine about 1/8" and they worked fine. Looking back, Gerryz found this out in a similar fashion, the AWS shuts off when the black plastic foot is halfway submerged into a water supply. 

Also note that the riser tubes that came with my 2 EB's were the same exact length as the ones that shipped with the AWS, contrary to what others have found. Just a quality control issue...

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Re: Automatic Watering System Not Working
« Reply #20 on: July 06, 2017, 09:56:31 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Hero Member, mjb8743. This user is located in Zone 7, South NJ, Garden State. This was originally posted on July 10, 2008.

Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Newbie, chiltecpin. This was originally posted on June 10, 2008.

Hello all,

Regarding AWS not shutting off:

I suspect it's more of a height issue than a level issue. For now, it seems the AWS is not exactly plug-n-play. In short...

After doing some bench testing of the AWS and measuring all the components I found that most likely an AWS that doesn't want to shut off it due to it being too high off of the reservoir level. That is, the black plastic riser tube it clips into is a bit too long. I trimmed mine about 1/8" and they worked fine. Looking back, Gerryz found this out in a similar fashion, the AWS shuts off when the black plastic foot is halfway submerged into a water supply. 

Also note that the riser tubes that came with my 2 EB's were the same exact length as the ones that shipped with the AWS, contrary to what others have found. Just a quality control issue...

chiltecpin,

If you read through ALL the posts regarding the AWS, you would find that occasionally, it's debris in the bottom of the tube that can interfere with the proper operation, or the box isn't level, and not the length of the tube. Before you have people going off and hacking up their tubes, 99% of the time it IS a leveling issue. Cutting up the tube is the lazy action when leveling is too much bother.

As for the fact that the tube supplied with the AWS is the same length as the one shipped with YOUR Earthboxes... lots of folks have older boxes with longer tubes. Supplying tubes with the AWS is a courtesy to them so they don't have retrofit issues and need to order the shorter tubes separately. I congratulate the company for choosing to eat the cost of the extra tubes to new EB users out of concern for the existing EB user. You call it a quality control issue.... I call it valuing the customer.

Mickie

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Re: Automatic Watering System Not Working
« Reply #21 on: July 06, 2017, 09:58:44 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Newbie, chiltecpin. This was originally posted on June 16, 2008.

Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Hero Member, mjb8743. This user is located in Zone 7, South NJ, Garden State. This was originally posted on July 10, 2008.

chiltecpin,

If you read through ALL the posts regarding the AWS, you would find that occasionally, it's debris in the bottom of the tube that can interfere with the proper operation, or the box isn't level, and not the length of the tube. Before you have people going off and hacking up their tubes, 99% of the time it IS a leveling issue. Cutting up the tube is the lazy action when leveling is too much bother.

As for the fact that the tube supplied with the AWS is the same length as the one shipped with YOUR Earthboxes... lots of folks have older boxes with longer tubes. Supplying tubes with the AWS is a courtesy to them so they don't have retrofit issues and need to order the shorter tubes separately. I congratulate the company for choosing to eat the cost of the extra tubes to new EB users out of concern for the existing EB user. You call it a quality control issue.... I call it valuing the customer.

Mickie

Ouch, Mickie!  My ears are ringing. It's YOUR BOARD, man.

You're 99% positive that an AWS not shutting off is due to a leveling issue?  Wow, what else can I say but...you're really, really good. Are you in R&D?

I did reread past posts on AWS problems, many are filled with the usual speculative content and common-sense fixes.
You seem to have become quite the 'expert' on AWS systems even though you just started using them after June 22 of this year. (You didn't even know where the water came from then).

For your enrichment, the 2 box AWS kit I purchased (for a modest $49.95 + S&H) had the 2 riser tubes differing 3/8" in length (Ahem, that's quality control for such a device...1/8" is all that was needed to enable the AWS to work as intended). In addition, if Earthbox chooses to send someone a $0.07 piece of plastic pipe as part of a $50 dollar kit, who's "eating the cost"?

I was just merely offering another suggestion as to help troubleshoot an AWS not shutting off, not telling owners to HACK (I have to love your word choice, HACK!) their riser tubes from the moment of purchase. (This board obviously is your life, but you seriously need to spend some time away from a computer).

I realize that if someone is unaware of the basic principles of operation of the AWS, doesn't read instructions, and has not an ounce of common sense and consequently really does have their box out of level so much that the water constantly fills and overflows, it may confound the cause of said malfunction. But this may not be the only cause of this malfunction. Hence, my entrance to Your forum. You have my permission to add this fact to your list of possible problems with AWS'.

It's obvious that EB has made quite a few design/production errors since their inception and are trying to correct them in time, that's acceptable. In regards to the AWS, there is room for a lot of error with such a system, and reasons for failure may not always be evident. Perhaps EB needs to offer more detailed documentation for their AWS system to avoid future problems. Now that's not like asking to document how a clock works (I gotta love that crack, too), but some people do like to know how a clock works as well as read the time.

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Re: Automatic Watering System Not Working
« Reply #22 on: July 06, 2017, 10:00:08 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Full Member, aahuja. This user is located in Chicago, IL Zone 6. This was originally posted on July 17, 2008.

i have an interesting observation/suggestion that may help other new users like myself:

i think i have the second generation EB's (the ones with the "EarthBox" logo embossed on the sides).  I just installed my AWS yesterday that i purchased online over the winter.  it was a "retrofit" setup like someone earlier had described, where i removed my existing original watering tubes that came with original EBs and replaced them with the shorter automatic sensor tubes.
i was having similar problems as other people with getting the AWS to STOP flowing.  the water just kept dripping overnight!  the EBs are on a level deck, so that's wasn't my problem.  i THOUGHT that the sensor tubes were advanced all the way down to the bottom of the reservoir, but sure enough they weren't.  i'm sure the problem was that the plunger in the clear tube just wasn't reaching down far enough to activate the shut off valve.
when i reinserted the original watering tubes again, they advanced easily but snuggly through the opening in the plastic mesh floor all the way down to the bottom of the reservoir.  when i then tried the automatic sensor tubes AGAIN, they still wouldn't advance fully.  it felt like they were getting stuck at the mesh screen.   i tried the jet spray to get rid of any debris and even tried repositioning the angle of the tube, but to no avail.  they still wouldn't advance fully.
finally, i compared the original tube and the shorter sensor tube side by side.  it looks like the shorter sensor tube is made of slightly THICKER plastic than the original watering tube.  also, it looks like the OUTER diameter of the original tube is SLIGHTLY smaller than the outer diameter of the shorter sensor tubes.  not a significant difference, but maybe enough that the sensor tubes won't fit through the hole.  so i wonder if the shorter sensor tubes are not cut properly to fit through the mesh screen floor??
ultimately (after trying to jam the sensor tube multiple times down through the hole unsuccessfully) i decided to just bite the bullet and cut the rolled tops off the original watering tubes to the same height as the shorter sensor tubes.  after all, they fit through the mesh screen just fine, and what am i going to do with them anyway once the automatic water system is in place??  (it's not like i'm going to opt to manually water things when i have a working automatic system).  i then just removed the round sensor top with the attached clear tube/plunger apparatus, and inserted that apparatus through the new "makeshift" tube.  it clipped on just fine, and the sensors are now shutting off perfectly!!

so, if other people are having similar problems advancing the enclosed shorter sensor tube all the way down to the bottom, consider replacing them with a cut original watering tube instead.  if it doesn't work out, you're back where you started.  just with a slightly shorter watering tube, that's all.

this may sound obvious to some, but it sure wasn't to me.  hope that helps someone out there.
akash

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Re: Automatic Watering System Not Working
« Reply #23 on: July 06, 2017, 10:01:36 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Hero Member, Donald1800. This user is located in Fontana, CA Zone 8. This was originally posted on July 17, 2008.


I swore that I would not post regarding EarthBox products, but this question must be answered.

First, the fill tube is correctly dimensioned, both the original, 2nd generation old style with rolled edge, and the new AWS tube.  DO NOT CUT or otherwise modify either the black filling tube OR the clear sensor tube!  Your problems are elsewhere, including using whatever pressure/squeezing is required to install the filling tube properly.

The problem is caused by plastic shrinkage over time and heat, which the company had to take into consideration for proper/correct dimensioning of the filling tube.  The original tubes were just as stiff/difficult to install as the newer AWS tubes - just easier because there is no mix to interfere with visible confirmation of correct installation.  The old tubes have shrunk to the correct final size and shape to fit the socket.  That is why they remove and re-install beautifully.  The new AWS tubes will do exactly the same as the old.  I know, I've had to remove and re-install the AWS tubes in 30 of my 36 boxes to solarize the mix.

DO NOT CONFUSE the user problem of incorrect filling tube retrofit/installation with product quality control!  The EarthBox company can not overcome the user's inability to correctly install the AWS filling tubes.  USE WHATEVER FORCE/SQUEEZING is required to get the tubes correctly seated.  It will ALWAYS be much more difficult to achieve a proper fit WITH MIX INSTALLED than without.  If you can not do it correctly with the mix installed, wait until you can remove the mix to install the AWS.

Donald1800

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Re: Automatic Watering System Not Working
« Reply #24 on: July 06, 2017, 10:02:39 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Full Member, aahuja. This user is located in Chicago, IL Zone 6. This was originally posted on July 17, 2008.

donald and all-

please don't take my observation as a criticism against Earthbox quality control!  that isn't what i was implying at all!  i'm not the one who got all worked up about quality control (that was gerryz and chiltecpin).  in fact, quite the contrary...i've been EXTREMELY pleased with every product i've ever gotten from earthbox!  i've even bought two earthbox complete sets as gifts for two different friends who are beginner gardeners, and i rave about the earthbox system to people all the time!!  also, i'm not the one who said that you guys "need to get a life."  that was an unneccessary cheap shot in my opinion.  i think it is VERY helpful for us beginners to have you hero members at our fingertips to get advice from and to bounce ideas off of.  keep up the excellent work, there are some of us out here who appreciate you guys and your help!  sincerely.
i wasn't suggesting that people modify the black filling tubes or clear sensor tubes at all.  i hadn't thought about plastic shrinkage...that is an excellent point (again, it's helpful to have you more experienced people around) and perfectly explains the problem i was running into.  i was simply trying to point out that the original watering tubes fit easily and the new ones didn't (for whatever reason), and that the original tubes (if cut to the appropriate length) can serve as suitable substitutes.  not modification, just substitution.  i was just giving a simple solution for a frustrating problem utilizing what supplies were available.  this is certainly an easier pill to swallow than having to WAIT until the mix can be removed to install the new stiff tubes with visual confirmation.

can't we all just get along?? after all, this is gardening not war.

akash

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Re: Automatic Watering System Not Working
« Reply #25 on: July 06, 2017, 10:04:26 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Hero Member, mjb8743. This user is located in Zone 7, South NJ, Garden State. This was originally posted on July 17, 2008.

Just a comment here. I have 61 EB's, 50 of which had the old, longer tubes. They are all filled with mix. When I was replenishing them, I swapped out the tubes, knowing that later, I would find the time to install 60 AWS units. First of all the box had most of the water drained out. I tipped the box up a little (I stuck a trowel under the end of the box. It was daylight, and when I rotated then removed the old tube, I could see the bottom.

Carefully, I slid the new tube down. It reached a point of resistance which was where the soil mix was snug against the old tube. Wiggling the old tube only widened the mix part way down, so that's the first point of resistance. a little twisting and slight wiggling while exerting pressure downward, and it slid to the next stop. That was the screen. Again, I wiggled the tube while pressing down. I think the angle had something to do with it, because all of a sudden it slipped in to the bottom. I then backed it up a little, and shot a jet spray down the tube while seating it firmly.

I did all 50 boxes in the same manner, and didn't encounter any difficulties other than what I just described. I'm confident that when the time comes, any problem I have will be due to non-level conditions.

Mickie

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Re: Automatic Watering System Not Working
« Reply #26 on: July 06, 2017, 10:05:41 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Full Member, kbirdz. This user is located in Zone 9 - Oroville, CA. This was originally posted on July 17, 2008.

How level do the boxes have to be?  Is there a certain play around room?  I can't install my aws until my boxes are done for the season.  They are on a slight slope - perhaps a 1" difference.  I'm really looking forward to the aws.  Watering twice a day when it's over 100 is awful.  My tomatos are doing really well, strawberries are a little crispy, cantalopes and watermelons look good, lots of blossoms and bee activity but not very many melons.  Lemon cukes producing well but only 1 cuke from regular cuke plant.  We were safe from the fires, but there was so much smoke and high temps, I'm sure it was hard on the plants.  Early morning I would wash the ash off.  Air quality is still bad but at least there's not a brown haze now.  When Chico had 10 mile visibility we had 3/4.

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Re: Automatic Watering System Not Working
« Reply #27 on: July 06, 2017, 10:06:12 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Hero Member, mjb8743. This user is located in Zone 7, South NJ, Garden State. This was originally posted on July 17, 2008.

How level? I think pretty dead-on level, from all I've read. The relationship of the water surface and the AWS cup is critical. When the box isn't level and that air space increases, the water won't shut off. If the space decreases, the water won't turn on. Some people have used inexpensive wooden shims (available at Lowes or HD) to stick under the box to make it level.

Other people have resorted to trimming their fill tubes a little, but the problem with that is if the box is moved even a little, the water-cup relationship is changed so now they not only have a problem, they also have a modified tube that no longer helps.

Mickie

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Re: Automatic Watering System Not Working
« Reply #28 on: July 06, 2017, 10:06:49 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Full Member, kbirdz. This user is located in Zone 9 - Oroville, CA. This was originally posted on July 18, 2008.

Thanks - that's what I was afraid of.  Back to leveling them.

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Re: Automatic Watering System Not Working
« Reply #29 on: July 06, 2017, 10:12:41 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Hero Member, RatedPG. This user is located in Zone 8B, Jacksonville, FL. This was originally posted on July 18, 2008.

Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Hero Member, mjb8743. This user is located in Zone 7, South NJ, Garden State. This was originally posted on July 17, 2008.

How level? I think pretty dead-on level, from all I've read. The relationship of the water surface and the AWS cup is critical. When the box isn't level and that air space increases, the water won't shut off. If the space decreases, the water won't turn on. Some people have used inexpensive wooden shims (available at Lowes or HD) to stick under the box to make it level.

Other people have resorted to trimming their fill tubes a little, but the problem with that is if the box is moved even a little, the water-cup relationship is changed so now they not only have a problem, they also have a modified tube that no longer helps.

Mickie

Should we start working on "water level" experiments for the AWS?  I have always wanted to try the set-up for the following situations:

1.  Absolutely level (all sides, of course)
2.  Tilted towards water fill tube - long side (higher water level around AWS cup)
3.  Tilted away from water fill tube side - long side (lower water level around AWS cup)
4.  Tilted towards water fill tube - short side (higher water level around AWS cup)
5.  Tilted away from water fill tube side - short side (lower water level around AWS cup)

We should start naming the sides/surfaces of the EB, like the port and starboard side of the ship.  Don't people always ask where their EB's should face.  We could say something like, "The starboard side should face East".  (LOL!)