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OfflineBlue Helix
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Humidity and temperature controller
    #26854793 - 07/31/20 02:10 AM (7 days, 6 hours ago)

How many people would be interested in making a humidity and temperature controller with build-in override timer for periodic forced misting?  It looks like this:



It runs about $225 but it works to very precisely set your fruiting chambers temperature and humidity to within one degree (and if you want you can also adjust the hysteresis too so that the off and on temperatures can be apart several degrees or percent).  Unlike most hydrometers this one will accurately measure 96% to 100% relative humidity.  There is no soldering.  You just strip some wires really.  If there is interest, let me know and I'll post the parts list and diagram of the simple wiring.


Edited by Blue Helix (07/31/20 02:19 AM)


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Re: Humidity and temperature controller [Re: Blue Helix]
    #26857188 - 08/01/20 12:09 PM (5 days, 20 hours ago)

I'd definitely be interested. What's the upgrade on the humidity probe that makes it reliable at high RH? As I understand things, it's small temperature fluctuations leading to persistent condensation on the probe that kills the regular ones. Your one heated, or something fancier?


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OfflineBlue Helix
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Re: Humidity and temperature controller [Re: dfwerydfhg]
    #26857280 - 08/01/20 01:11 PM (5 days, 19 hours ago)

Quote:

dfwerydfhg said:
I'd definitely be interested. What's the upgrade on the humidity probe that makes it reliable at high RH? As I understand things, it's small temperature fluctuations leading to persistent condensation on the probe that kills the regular ones. Your one heated, or something fancier?





To be honest, I did not expect their probe to be any better than any other.  I had purchased it with the expectation I would have to replace it periodically, and I sure didn't expect it to work over 95% RH, even though it is very expensive (the humidity probe alone is $57 while the temperature probe is $9).  But this probe is different than anything I've seen before.  It is a little circuit board with a plastic vented housing over it.  The only thing I did was take a small piece of paper towel and wrap the probe's venting taping it in place with single piece of simple scotch tape (only one single layer of paper towel was used).  That makes it so that spores or water from the ultrasonic does not enter the housing.  That's all I did, and it's been working for well over a decade in many runs.  And it appears to accurately tell me higher humanities too.  Now the chamber is a constant 78F, so there is no condensation on it.  So maybe that is why.  I'm not sure.  All I know is that that it works and has been working for a long time.  And that matters because when you try to mature the fruits, it's best to cut the RH down to 90% to 95% RH, which is a delicate balance to achieve unless the probe really works.


Edited by Blue Helix (08/01/20 01:17 PM)


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OfflineBlue Helix
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Re: Humidity and temperature controller [Re: Blue Helix]
    #26857303 - 08/01/20 01:35 PM (5 days, 19 hours ago)

Here is the wiring diagram for the humidity side (the heat side is a mirror image, although I think the heat probe only has two wires, not three if I recall).  Like I said, there is no solering involved.  You do need a plug to connect the forced timer back into the housing, but you can find that anywhere.  If you have ever had a single computer thing fail, you have the plug I assume. 



The only thing not shown in that wiring diagram is that I hook the hot (black) of the output of the electronic timer back into the box into 9 (the neutral is connected with all the other neutrals).  Why?  Because the timer can override the humidifier switch being off such that it forces the humidity on even if the relay is 10 to 9 (off).  It's a minor change, though, and I can guide you through it.

I know this might all look complicated, but it is really NOT complex.  And a box like this changes your whole life.  I can round up parts for you, or if you want to pay me $50 I can make it and ship it to you.  I just want more people to use this thing!  Perfect control like that makes growing mushrooms a hell of a lot more fun!

One other thing: the heater is IDENTICALLY connected to its switch.  The exact same connections are there because the box is a mirror image of the humidity one.  The only differences are (a) the probe has only two wires going to it, and (b) I don't have a periodic heat override.  I didn't see a real need for that in growing, although it could be added just the same.

PS - You can also put a GFCI on the input side of the box.  They can't fit very well in the box, but they sell GFCI outlets to replace your wall's normal one for like $15 extra at Home Depot.  Or you can buy a GFCI that plugs into a normal outlet too for a little more rather than replace the outlet on the wall.  I do recommend it, just in case you get water in the box somehow or something.  It's just an extra layer of precaution, and everyone should be using GFCI outlets on their chambers anyway to be honest.  Those who are not are really taking a very minor risk.


Edited by Blue Helix (08/01/20 01:52 PM)


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OfflineBlue Helix
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Re: Humidity and temperature controller [Re: Blue Helix]
    #26857365 - 08/01/20 02:32 PM (5 days, 18 hours ago)

The parts are as follows:

4-Gang outlet box - $5
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Carlon-Blue-4-Gang-55-cu-in-New-Work-Zip-Box-with-Non-Metallic-Switch-and-Outlet-Box-B455AR-UPC/100404086

Two plug (everyone should have plugs free probably unless you never keep them.  If you don't, they'll cost a few bucks I guess) - $10

4-Gang Wall Plate - $3
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Leviton-White-4-Gang-Wall-Plate-1-Pack-R62-80412-00W/206661875

Dwyer Humidity Switch (HS-311) - $62
Dwyer Humidity Probe (THC-P) - $52.50
https://www.dwyer-inst.com/Product/AirQuality/HumiditySwitches/SeriesHS

Dwyer Temperature Switch (TS2-010) with F readout - $46.50
Dwyer Temperature Probe (TS-51) - $8.50
https://www.dwyer-inst.com/Product/Temperature/Switches/DigitalPanelMount/SeriesTS2

Switch for entire unit with outlet for humidity (or heat) - $11.50
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Leviton-Decora-15-Amp-Tamper-Resistant-Combo-Switch-and-Outlet-White-R62-T5625-0WS/202027001

Outlet without switch for heat (or humidity) - $1
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Leviton-15-Amp-Residential-Grade-Grounding-Duplex-Outlet-White-R52-05320-00W/202066670

Wire and some twist caps - $5 (estimated)

So you basically get to decide if you want the heat or humidity to get the two-outlets or the one-outlet.  Either way works fine.

Adding that all up I get $215. You probably can figure about $25 for shipping from Dwyer and taxes, so we are up to $240.

PS - The GFCI (which I could not fit in the box because it's too tight in there) is totally optional but would cost $15 for the wall (about) or the external one that you plug in is probably about $25 I guess. I run a red 40W "heat" bulb (any 40W filament bulb would work but the red one isn't to bright) in the bottom of my chamber for heat, and there is often a pool of water right next to it.  For peace of mind, I wouldn't run without a GFCI for obvious reasons.  It's never tripped, but if it did, it might save my life.




Edited by Blue Helix (08/05/20 09:40 PM)


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OfflineBlue Helix
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Re: Humidity and temperature controller [Re: Blue Helix]
    #26857527 - 08/01/20 04:24 PM (5 days, 16 hours ago)

I guess I should add this: I didn't use one of these for maybe 10 to 15 years, and if you asked me back then, I'd tell you a half dozen reasons why it was a waste of money.  It didn't make sense to me to spend $250 on something I could kind of do with just two timers.  I mean why not just put the humidifier on a timer and adjust the fresh air input, right?  Yeah, that's what I told myself too.  But one day I realized that through all those years I had spent more of my TIME on the crappy solutions than made sense. 

Why was I nickle and diming the solution rather than just doing what I knew was needed?  I was trying to prove something.  I wanted to prove that you can make a solution just as good for two $15 timers (or even less), but in the end, I couldn't prove that.  And what that voice in my head was telling me just didn't make sense.  Imagine all the time you dick with your chamber trying to match the air flow, temperature, etc. to the specific chamber you made with say a tote.  Imagine all those times you got too much or too little water and didn't get that Pan Cyan canopy that you wanted.  Now put that all together and you tell me that isn't costing you $250 of your time and in disappointments.  If you have been growing for very long and honest with yourself, you can't tell me it's worth all the tinkering just to save yourself the one-time expense of a good temperature/humidity controller.  It's not.  I promise you it's not.

A heat/humdity controller isn't like a flow hood.  A flow hood truly is optional.  And it takes a lot of room.  And it's even more expensive than a controller (50% at least).  This box is as useful as any flow hood, but costs less, doesn't take the room, etc.  I think it's one thing that is truly worth the money.

Every grow I have on here in the last 10 years has been using this controller, and the results speak for themselves I think.




Edited by Blue Helix (08/02/20 04:39 AM)


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Re: Humidity and temperature controller [Re: Blue Helix]
    #26858363 - 08/02/20 08:15 AM (5 days, 43 minutes ago)

Thanks for the details. I never realized those little DIN-mount(?) controllers would fit in a wall plate. Far easier than chopping out a hole in a project box or something.

One minor thing for anyone else following along- the box link above is to a 3-gang box, should be a 4-gang to match the front plate.


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Re: Humidity and temperature controller [Re: dfwerydfhg]
    #26858506 - 08/02/20 09:40 AM (4 days, 23 hours ago)

Quote:

dfwerydfhg said:
Thanks for the details. I never realized those little DIN-mount(?) controllers would fit in a wall plate. Far easier than chopping out a hole in a project box or something.

One minor thing for anyone else following along- the box link above is to a 3-gang box, should be a 4-gang to match the front plate.




Ooops.  I'll fix that.  Thanks!


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Re: Humidity and temperature controller [Re: Blue Helix]
    #26863513 - 08/04/20 09:38 PM (2 days, 11 hours ago)

Thanks BH!! Stoked to see you around again :smile:


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Re: Humidity and temperature controller [Re: c10h12n2o]
    #26865107 - 08/05/20 05:26 PM (1 day, 15 hours ago)

Is there a reason you call for a 2-prong power plug vs a 3-prong? I see the controllers don't have connex for ground, but the outlets do, and presumably some of the stuff one might plug into them will assume a ground is available? My electrical understanding is super rudimentary- can follow a basic schematic but I try to understand the safety stuff before fingers get involved :smile:

Also, think something went wrong with your link editing: the links for the box and the wall plate now both go to the box. Obviously anyone with half a brain will figure that out quick. But here's one that'll work: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Leviton-White-4-Gang-Wall-Plate-1-Pack-R62-80412-00W/206661875


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Re: Humidity and temperature controller [Re: dfwerydfhg]
    #26865571 - 08/05/20 09:57 PM (1 day, 11 hours ago)

Quote:

dfwerydfhg said:
Is there a reason you call for a 2-prong power plug vs a 3-prong? I see the controllers don't have connex for ground, but the outlets do, and presumably some of the stuff one might plug into them will assume a ground is available? My electrical understanding is super rudimentary- can follow a basic schematic but I try to understand the safety stuff before fingers get involved :smile:

Also, think something went wrong with your link editing: the links for the box and the wall plate now both go to the box. Obviously anyone with half a brain will figure that out quick. But here's one that'll work: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Leviton-White-4-Gang-Wall-Plate-1-Pack-R62-80412-00W/206661875




Damn it!  I don't know why I keep making mistakes!  I fixed it.  Thanks!

The reason I call for a 2-prong power plug is simply because with GFCI grounding doesn't really matter.  A GFCI measures the current going to the outlet or device and coming back from it.  If the difference is over about 20mA (meaning current is leaking out to ground either into the ground prong or, even if you don't have a ground, anywhere else like say your hands to your bare feet), then the circuit opens until you reset it (that is why it is called a ground fault circuit interrupter).  20mA is a tiny bit of power, and while it won't feel nice, it won't hurt you either.

Ground prongs only really make sense to protect property more than human life anyway.  You can get totally fried to a crisp even if you have everything well-grounded because by the time the main circuit breaker blows, you are a dead person.  Also grounding really only works if the case is metal so can be grounded.  In this case, the box is plastic and most stuff you'd plug into it also won't have a ground, so there isn't anything to really ground.  Of course, if you can fit it, it wouldn't hurt to run a ground to the controller, and it might even be a good idea if you don't use a GFCI. 

Still, in my opinion you should DEFINITELY be using a GFCI on a mushroom chamber where there is water all over the place next to wall power.  I don't mean just for this either, but in general; I recommend the same for fish tanks, bathrooms, kitchens, etc.  In my opinion, A GFCI is a no-brainer in this case (and then you can forget about the ground prong).

Here are two common options:

$14 replacement wall outlet (this is slim too so it might actually even fit in the controller box but you'd need two of them).
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Leviton-15-Amp-Self-Test-SmartlockPro-Slim-Duplex-GFCI-Outlet-White-R02-GFNT1-0KW/206001533

$14 plug-in GFCI outlet if you don't want to open up the wall. This is what I used just because it was super easy to use even if slightly less sexy than an in-wall outlet:
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Husky-Wall-Adapter-GFCI-04-00106/303137134


Edited by Blue Helix (08/05/20 10:21 PM)


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