Introduction: The Life Seeder - Make an Indoor Seed Starter
in this instrucable I will be sharing with you my newest design, the life seeder.
what? life seeder is a simple indoor seed starting machine. it has a basic frame with built-in lights and fans. it is completely adjustable as the plant grows, it can house up to 6inch plant pots. and has an operating height of 9inches above soil. so it can actually nurture a citrus / apple tree upto 8 months. but, if you choose to top your trees, it can easily nurture a mini indoor bonsai tree forever. don't forget that it is completely portable.!
why? starting a tree outdoors has many risks and much harder. planting a tree outdoors that has been very well taken care of indoors has a much higher chance of survival. especially if we are working with fruit trees. although you can easily start any vegetable seeds with the life seeder. the advantages of outdoor cultivation is in most cases you have plenty of space, so you spread a whole bunch of seeds and then eventually thin them out. which in my mind has always been a wasteful act. so I decided to make seed starting a much easier/accurate operation.
how? with 18x 1watt high power LEDs, the life seeder offers 160+Watts equivalent energy compared to a traditional light bulb. it also has the optimum color spectrum for planth growth. and with 900+ lumens just 0.5 inches above the plant assures very fast, stable and efficient growth.
now you can pinpoint your tree growth, instead of spreading seeds all over the place. make better calculations for your future transplantings. and with the addition of a simple AC timer outlet, you can make it turn on automatically..! always wanted to grow a tree at home? did you think it was hard, and that you can't be successful? with the life seeder, you are in safe hands.!
please check out my profile to get familiar with many other horticulture related products, such as;
Step 1: Frame
for the frame we will be needing;
1x perforated metal hanger ( a good amount, just get a roll for $2.50, it will last you 4-5 projects )
1x wooden plank cut to size
1x large L bracket for back support
1x wine cork ( for bottom legs to level it / smooth cushioned surface )
10x nuts and bolts ( small enough to fit into the small wholes on the perforated metal hanger )
6x tiny nails ( to secure plants pots in place )
4x aluminium bars ( you can find these in the aluminium duct work section in the hardware store, .99cents/each )
first layout your larger plant pots that you would like to use eventually, once the plant grows bigger. make markings on a wooden board and cut it.
second secure the back support L bracket, this will carry the lights/fans
now i want to invite you to use your own imagination/creativity. first look at the designs I have mentioned in the previous step, this will give you a broader idea on how you can bend, adjust and use this incredible metal. all you have to do is to make an adjustable flat surface and connect it to the back supporting L bracket, that's it..! it is much simpler than it looks.
next we have the electrical connections..>
Step 2: Electrical
for the electrical work we will need;
2x DC computer fans ( thrift store )
1x DC adapter for the fans ( thrift store )
18x 1W high power led.s ( ebay )
1x LED driver ( ebay )
1x AC cable
1x 4-pin molex or usb male/female connectors ( optional, only if you want to be able to dismount the lights )
1x metal epoxy ( to glue the lights to the bars )
fans are connected in parallel. keeping the voltage same but adding up the mA. so first locate your fans and look at their power requirements. mine were 12V each and 480mA, so I have to find an adapter 12V and upto 960mA - i was easily able to locate a 12v, 1000mA adapter for just $1. and old phone charger. fans can be found inside old computer cases. they usually always have 2 fans in them... now that your fans are wired, go ahead and choose a nice spot above the lights and secure them with the perforated metal.
now we get into very simple schematics & math. first decide about how many LEDs you want per plant. I decided to make 4 individual light bars with 4 LEDs each on them. we have to know this number first so that we can calculate the power requirements of the LED driver. this is how you do it;
- first we need to figure out how many led's you want to use. depending on this answer we will calculate the required voltage and get the correct led driver.
. search on ebay for 1W 430nm / 1W 660nm / 1W cool white / 1W warm white LEDs. you will get many results from many trusted sellers. get as many as you want. these are all sold in bulk. usually $9 for 20, or sometimes much cheaper. . in my case i have put together 4 light bars, each consisting of;
1x 430nm = 3.4/3.6V
1x 660nm = 2.5/2.7V
1x cool white = 3.2/3.6V
1x warm white = 3.2/3.6V
so each bar is minimum 12.3/13.3V. I have them connected 2 in series and then 2 in parallel. so the final answer is;
totaling; 24.6V minimum, 26.6V maximum @ 700mA (350x2 because of parallel connection)
- this is the number we need. all the voltage specs above are always mentioned by the seller so you can calculate all of this before buying anything, very important !also to look for under the specs is the mA rating. i believe that all 1W high power leds are 350mA and there are hundres of drivers on ebay for this setting.
now search on ebay; " 700ma led driver " as the results show up you will see the voltage rating, look for something that is able to provide 27V or more but @700mA. they have voltage regulators so you can use a higher voltage driver, it is the mA that matters.
that was the hardest part to this entire project. once you calculate one you will see how easier it actually is..! please don't hesitate to ask me any specific questions you may have, or if confused about a part.
now your life seeder is ready to planted. remember to add an automatic AC timer outlet. make sure you connect it to both the fans and lights so they turn on/off at the same time as one unit..!
Step 3: Conclusion & Upgrades / Version 1&2 Comparison
i am planning on using this to start citrus trees indoors. i may make another one for apples tho. it is very powerful and efficient. very easy to adjust to changing circumstances but since we are talking about making growing a safer act, then I have to upgrade with the plant health monitor.!
at first I started doing a single bar, no fan option. but since the frame ended up being large enough to house an actual indoor small tree i decided to double the lights and add fans to make it more powerful. there is no other technology that provides such intense light exposure at this little distance (only 0.5"inches above the leaves, absolutely cool to touch).
I have ordered an arduino nano and an LCD display module. I will be upgrading this product with the plant arm and the plant health monitor as soon as the parts arrive. this way I will be able to save very important internal growth data and view over-time growth as a movie and/or chart.
I am planning on giving the trees away as I get them old and strong enough since I have very limited space in my apartment. try making one today and start the next gardening year one step ahead.!
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