I know that you can build your own hydroponics system, but not everyone wants to. A simple solution is to buy an AeroGarden , a self contained unit that has everything built in. We love ours because we can grow veggies indoors all year round. These units aren't that big and can even be mounted on the wall to save space.
The only bad thing about these units is that the boards are not coated for protection from water and chemicals. Of the three I own, two have failed for this reason. I will fix this on any other units I buy, but the pumps and lights are still working on these. It's only the controls that have failed. I decided to rewire the units without the controls because the pump and lights are what is needed for the plants to grow. I can add a timer on the outside to control when it comes on and off if I want that to happen
Small wire cutter or pliers
#15H Trox security screwdriver
Small #1 Phillips screwdriver.
Electrical tape or very small shrink tubing.
Step 1: The Workings
The first thing to do is take it apart. The pod that has the water and plants lifts off the base. Unplug the lights and remove them as well.
All the controls and the power supply are in the base unit. Flip it over and remove the screws. Two of them are Trox 15H security screws. The rest are small #1 Phillips. You will have screws left over from the removal of the control board after the repair and if you are not going to replace the bad board can use those screws to replace the Trox when finished.
Step 2: What You Will See
With the cover removed we find two boards, a power supply and a control board. On both of my units the control board (the one with the nasty brown goo on it) was all that was damaged. I cut the wires connecting the boards and taped them up. Once damaged, the board is not really repairable, and can be discarded. Save the three screws that were used to mount it for later.
Step 3: What Needs to Happen
All that remains to bring this unit back to life is rerouteing the connections. The lights are straight 120 VAC, but the pump runs on 12 VAC. I added two jumpers to power up the lights and pump and removed a link to cut down on feedback from the controls no longer used.
Step 4: The Fix
I have already traced out the board, so I won't bore you with that part.
On the bottom of the power supply board:
The first jumper (longer white one) goes from the other side of the fuse to the L (hot leg) of the lights. The neutral side of the lights is directly connected on the board and nothing needs to be done to it. Light problem solved.
The second jumper runs power from the secondary side of the transformer to the pump. One side is directly connected so we only need to reroute one leg to supply voltage to the pump.
On the top of the power supply board:
The last thing to do to the board is to disable the link JP1 on the secondary side. This link is just a piece of wire. I pulled mine off with a pair of needle point pliers, but cutting it works just as well.
Step 5: Wrap Up
Put it back together, plug it in and you are ready to grow something again! Just remember to unplug it to turn it off. Plug it into a timer to replace the timed on/off feature if you what that and it will be almost as good as new.