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Wine Cooler for Cloud Forest Orchids

Discussion in 'Growing Areas' started by Gregg Zollinger, Jan 4, 2017.

  1. Gregg Zollinger

    Gregg Zollinger Active Member

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    Naoki, I read online that there are two different types of low-e glass. A hard and soft coating. The process for hard coating sounds very durable. From your description, it sounded like you had the soft coating form. Here is an article that did a good job explaining it....
    What is Low-E Glass? | Vitro Glass Education Center
     
  2. Ray

    Ray Orchid Iconoclast Supporting Member

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    There are several types of low-e glass. What they all have in common is a microscopic semiconductor layer on the surface.

    The coating isn't sticky, it's rough.

    If it's a tin oxide coating applied by chemical vapor deposition (the "hard" one in that article), it won't come off. If it's a sputtered (soft) coating, it will, if scraped. I honestly don't know how a shop knows which they have.
     
  3. Gregg Zollinger

    Gregg Zollinger Active Member

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    Inside the Cooler

    Now I turned my attention to the interior of the cooler. I knew I would want to create a reservoir and drainage at the bottom of the tank, both to keep humidity levels up, and to prevent spilling outside of the tank. I will be running a misting system and I want the excess spray to be managed.

    I made 2” Plexiglas strip and glued it in place at the front of the tank. This would give me about a 1.5” reservoir capacity. I used a Plexiglas glue (Weld-On #16 Thickened Acrylic Glue) after testing whether or not it would seal with the interior plastic of the cooler and it seemed to work great, but the plastic interior for each cooler could be different materials so test it before you trust it. If that glue won’t work, you can use silicone, but it just won’t be a clean looking.

    The tank came with its own drip hole. I wanted drainage that would leave up to 1.5 inches of water in the reservoir. I ran 1/8” tubing through the drip hole, then extended the top of it to the level I wanted to maintain the reservoir. It acts like a mini bulkhead. I used silicone to hold the 1/8” tube in the hole both top and bottom and seal it watertight. The tube then goes through the drip hole and then drains into a waste bucket.
    Big box pic of drain.JPG



    To keep the tube from clogging, I drilled a little piece of 3/8” plexiglass with a hole. Then I glued some old aquarium filter stuff I had laying around to form a cap over the tube. I then placed the tube through the hole, and hopefully it will be enough to prevent the tube from clogging.


    Big box filter.JPG




    I used the bottom wine rack because it was obviously a perfect fit for the bottom and would be able to be removed easily in the future for cleaning. I then cut a plastic coated wire shelf to lay directly on top of the wine rack. This allows me to place pots or whatever on the bottom of the tank. It is also easily removable. I also covered the cut metal ends with a little dab of silicone, just to try and prevent rusting.
    Big box bottom rack.JPG

    Finally I bought some green plastic coated wire mesh.

    https://www.amazon.com/Origin-Point-272405-Hardware-24-Inch/dp/B000HHSCLA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1485552694&sr=8-1&keywords=Origin+Point+272405+1/2-Inch+Mesh+Green+Vinyl+Coated


    This chiller had little nubs sticking out both sides near the front to hold the racks in place. These nubs fit perfectly into the holes of the wire mesh.


    Big box nub.JPG


    I was able to flatten, cut to size, and install the mesh, just using those nubs to hold it in place and it works great (I got lucky), it is really stable, and should hold the weight of what I hang on it. If the back does start to sag, I can easily glue in some Plexiglas supports in the back, but honestly, it was very ridged, I would be surprised if I need to take that step in the future.

    Big box mesh.JPG

    Just need to add the interior fans, the Misting System and the plants!!!
     

    Attached Files:

  4. Gregg Zollinger

    Gregg Zollinger Active Member

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    Adding the fans

    The box came with one fan on the back of the unit blowing air toward the glass. This allows the cool air on the heatsink to disperse (so the heatsink won’t turn to a big ice cube). This fan will only run while the unit is actively cooling. I wanted to add additional air circulation, and I wanted it to be variable speed so that I can turn it up or down as necessary.

    I decided to assemble a couple of fans and a controller so I can turn the speed of the fans up and down. I bought the following Dimmer:
    https://www.amazon.com/uniquegoods-CCMFC-Controller-A

    I assembled it and installed it inside the back cover of the cooler along with everything else. Here is a diagram:
    Big Box Fan Plans.JPG

    You can see it all installed on the opposite side from where I installed the controller for the lighting:
    Big Box Electronics on Back.JPG

    Here is the controller and the on/off switch on the outside of the tank:
    Big Box Fan Controls.JPG

    Now I can run the fans at any speed and then once it is set how I want it, I can use the switch to turn them off if I am going to mess around inside the tank. I have the fans set up so one is blowing down and toward the front glass to keep it clear from humidity, then a second fan blows down and across so that I get a lot of conflicting currents throughout the tank.
     
  5. Gregg Zollinger

    Gregg Zollinger Active Member

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    Misting

    I wanted to set it up with a misting unit that is automated to run several times a day. I want to be able to leave it for a week when I am out of town without all the plants dying. I could have purchased a prebuilt unit like:
    MistKing Misting Systems by Jungle Hobbies Ltd

    I have heard really good things and I am sure it would work very well, but I wanted to build it myself just because.

    I have made my own adjustable misting heads for other projects and it works really well. When done like this your nozzle can be redirected in any direction. The Mist King nozzles do this as well, but they are also a lot larger. One nice thing about making these yourself is that they are also very small and compact. I make the nozzles using some drip hosing, some elbow connectors and a high pressure mist head like this:
    https://www.amazon.com/Dig-Misting-N...Misting+Nozzle

    Here is a picture showing how they are assembled :
    [​IMG]

    Report this image


    I made an assembly of 6 nozzles that spread out across the top of the tank. Here is a picture before it is installed using some zipties.
    [​IMG]

    Report this image


    I am using a high pressure diaphragm pump (60 psi). The output runs through a reducer into the drip irrigation hose. I just mounted it on the back of the tank.
    [​IMG] This image has been resized. Click this bar to view the full image.
    [​IMG]

    Report this image


    The pump runs on a timer that can be set to second intervals. Like this one:
    https://www.amazon.com/Meeeno-Digita...witch+-+2+Pack


    Over time I will figure out how many times it will run each day and for how long. I can tell you with 6 misting heads, it soaks the box pretty quickly.
     
    naoki likes this.
  6. naoki

    naoki Well-Known Member

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    Looking great and thank you for the update, Gregg! I appreciate the links to the products, which I didn't know about. Following your recommendation (in some other threads), I also bought cheaper misters (I haven't used them yet, though).

    Which fans are you going to use?
     
  7. Gregg Zollinger

    Gregg Zollinger Active Member

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    I always have a bunch of extras. I am using an 80mm and a 60mm fan (in addition to the one that cools the unit that only runs when the cooler is running).
    Something like this:
    Amazon.com: Cooler Master Rifle Bearing 80mm Silent Cooling Fan for Computer Cases and CPU Coolers: Electronics

    I am running them right now and think i am getting good airflow. I need to move the small fan to the side and have it blow across the bottom of the window. Right now water does gather at the bottom of the window and I think i am going to want to dry it out.
     
  8. tong tsu shi

    tong tsu shi my first word was Masdevallia

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    I wish I had seen this post before.
    Very nice project.
     
  9. Johnny Nyu

    Johnny Nyu New Member

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    Hi Gregg,

    How is your set up coming about. Any updates? I was wondering how to introduce fresh air into the wine cooler , open the doors up a few minutes each day.
     
  10. Gregg Zollinger

    Gregg Zollinger Active Member

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    This are going great. The plants all seem to really like it. I have it adjusted pretty good right now. I will be leaving it to run itself for 3 weeks in July. The only fresh air it gets is when I open the door to have a look. Here are a couple pictures I took the other day.

    Big Tank Masdevallia Lynchiphora.JPG
    Big Tank Masdevallia Nidifica3.JPG
     
    JustPaul likes this.
  11. Johnny Nyu

    Johnny Nyu New Member

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    Wow, they are really growing lovely. Its great to hear all going well. As I live in Asia, right on the equator, getting cool orchids are rather not a good suitable environment. My Ecuadorian Phaps seem to have just frozen their growth. Am.currently setting up my system, will share again.
     
  12. Gregg Zollinger

    Gregg Zollinger Active Member

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    Johnny, I would love to see your system as you set it up. Make sure to post it out here.
     
  13. naoki

    naoki Well-Known Member

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    It's looking great, Gregg! M. lycnniohora is so pretty!