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Old 10-25-2006, 12:23 PM #1
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Mr. Micro's Dual PC Case, Hydro, HPS/CFL, 3 Strain Grow (with pics!)

Hello all! I've been meaning to make this thread for quite sometime now but I suppose I was just feeling too lazy to get off my butt and take the pics for it until now.

So join me now at day 43 of flowering in my PC Cabs for what will hopefully be one heck of a show of modern microgrowing technology
But before we get into the juicy nug shots, I'll give you a little rundown of my setup....

Two PC cases under my desk. One is 19" (L) x 8" (W) x 20" (H) and the other is 19" (L) x 8" (W) x 26" (H).

Lighting is supplied by a single 50 watt HPS with an internal electronic ballast on the left side of the case and a single 42 watt CFL on the right side. Right now I'm using 2700k CFLs for flowering, but I have 6500k CFLs that I use for the the first few weeks of vegetative growth. The HPS and CFL lights both run to a simple analog timer on the power strip mounted to the back of the case to control the light cycles.

The walls,ceiling, and floor are all covered with Reflectix insulation. I found it to be very inexpensive, highly reflective, quite durable, and 10,000 times easier to work with than mylar. I cut sections to the appropriate size and attached them with hot glue on the back reflective foil tape on the edges.

Ventilation is taken care of in the smaller case by a 80mm 25cfm (23dBa) PC fan intake and a 80mm 50cfm (19dBa) PC fan exhaust. The exhaust fan blows air out the back of the case through 3" dryer ducting that connects to a Can 705 carbon filter. The Can Filter is rated for 39 cfm but even with the limited back pressure produced by the 50cfm PC fan exhaust, it works just fine with it. The Can filter ultimately restricts the exhaust to around 35 cfm, which is still enough to create a vaccume inside the case to make sure that no odor escapes through the cracks and all the air coming out goes through the carbon filter. The larger PC case uses the same ventilation system but with a 80mm 50 cfm intake fan and an adjustable speed 120mm exhaust fan that adjusts between 40 cfm and 110cfm (I generally run it around 80cfm (30dBa)). All fans are wired to 12v DC adapters plugged into the power strip on the back of the case.

To keep the plants from getting leaves or flowers caught in the fans, I attached a square of some window screen to each fan with some sticky backed velcro. This way I can remove the screens to clean them (the screen on the intake fan does a very nice job of filtering dust and dirt out of the air coming into the grow room) very easily. They do an excellent job of keeping the plants from getting caught in the fans without reducing airflow, and I generally clean these little fan screens about once a week to keep dust from building up on them.

There is also a car sized negative ion generator/ozone generator/electrostatic cleaner mounted on the back of the small case that I run for a few minutes after I open up the case for matinance to eliminate any lingering odor in the room. It also serves as a backup incase something ever goes wrong with the carbon filter or ventilation system and I end up with odor escaping the case. It puts out 10,000/cm©¯ negative ions and 0.04ppm of Ozone when run continueously (although I usually run it on the "2 minutes on/2 minutes off" setting when I use it). I find it works extremely well so far and the only matinance required is to wipe off a little metal plate inside once every few months.

The growing mediums I'm using are 1 gallon SWC hydro tubs with two flowering plants in each. I started with 4 in each tub, but reduced to 2 after flowering (I have seperate lids that hold 4 net pots for vegging). The netpots themselves contain Hydrotron grow rocks with a Rapid Rooter plug in the middle.
There is a small air pump mounted inside the cases in the upper right hand corner that runs 1/4" tubing down to an airstone inside the SWC tub that runs 24/7.
Also, I dont know if you can tell from the pictures, but I made a little hinged hatch in the lid of the SWC tub so I can easily take PH readings, check the water level, and top off the water without ever having to remove the lid from the tub. It's proven to be infinitely useful!

The water and nutrients being used are simply tap water with 20ml per gallon of Pure Blend Pro Bloom, 5ml per gallon Cal-Mag Plus, and 5ml per gallon of Hydroguard. The PH is balanced with Earth Juice Natural PH Down & PH Up.

I started the plants (12/12 from seed) with 5ml per gallon of Pure Blend Pro and gradually worked up to 20ml per gallon which is what I'll be using for the rest of the grow. On the next water change (tomorrow, day 44) I am going to start using Pure Blend Pro Bloom Soil Formula instead of the regular PBP bloom for 2 weeks and then flush with plain PH balanced tap water for the last week.

The feeding schedual is pretty simple really. I change the nutrient enriched water in the reservoir once a week and top it off with plain PH balanced tap water every other day in between changes. I also re-balance the PH in the reservoir every other day when I top off the water, as it tends to flucuate about 1 point every 2 days due to the small res size.

The temperature and humidity inside the cases is monitored by a wireless digital temperature/humidity gauge. In the pictures below you should be able to see the remote sensor mounted just below the HPS light in my smaller case. There is one in the larger case as well, but you can't really see it in the pics. The sensors send a signal to the 2 channel wireless display unit so I can always monitor the temps and humidity levels in my cases without ever having to open them up. The temps are almost always 1-4*F above ambient room temperature, although they have gotten up to 7 or 8*F above room temperature on hotter days.

And finally, just to gild the lilly, I'm keeping a constant flow of Co2 going into the PC Cases by using Nutrafin natural fermenation Co2 units (you can see them in the pics of the back of the cases). I'm not sure exactly how much Co2 they produce, but I noticed a huge spike in growth after I put them in so I'd say they have to be doing some good! They use natural fermantation to produce Co2 (much like brewing beer) and only need to be refilled once a month. Just fill em up with sugar and water and then add in 1 Nutrafin "activator" and "stabilizer" tablet. Screw on the lid, connect the 1/4 tubing, and you've got Co2 for a month! The 1/4" tubing running out of the Co2 canister runs into the back of the PC case and along the back wall to the right side of the case where it releases Co2 at the top of the canopy. Since the Co2 comes out on the right side of the case and the exhaust fan is on the left side of the case, I can only imagine that it pulls the Co2 inriched air across the canopy and allows it to disperse over the flowers. In any case, I'm very pleased with the results of these Co2 units! (You can find more info on them on the first page of the 150watt HPS Club thread)

On a final note, I made a nice little light trap on the back of the intake fan and used black electrical tape for the rest of the light proofing. Altogether I'd say the cases are about 99.8% light proof. I can shut off all the lights in the room with the lights inside the case on and not see a single speck of light coming from under my desk! The fans themselves put out a maximum of 19 to 23dBA of sound, which is extremely quiet and sounds just like a normal computer running. The air pumps also produce no noticable noise due to being dampened by the Reflectix insulation that covers the walls inside the cases. There is a very slight "humm" that comes from the case, but it sounds exactly like your average computer tower and has fooled every guest that has came over into thinking they were a normal computer tower. They never even looked twice at em! And just incase they did, the doors have a nice keyed lock on it that prevents any prying eyes from opening up the cases without a key.

Whew! Thats a lot of tech info! Now for the real fun...

The plants I'm growing are DJ Short's True Blueberry, Sensi Seeds's Skunk #1, and Serious Seeds's Bubblegum.

The smaller case contains one True Blueberry on the left side of the case (started on the right, was LST'd to the left) and one Skunk #1 on the right side (started on the left, LST'd to the right). The larger case contains two Bubblegum.

All plants were started on 12/12 from seed exactly 63 days ago and began showing sex around days 25 to 30. So at this point I'm estimating that I'm right about at day 43 of flowering give or take a few days.

They all stretched a lot in the first few weeks due to the pretty horrid conditions of the cases when I started them. I was using only the 50 watt HPS, a passive wick system growing system (which was fluctuating 3 PH points every 24 hours), and had a horrible ventilation system that put the temps in the mid to upper 90's. Top it all off with the fact that I accidentally snapped the main stem on the Blueberry 3/4 of the way through around day 15! Needless to say, these girls went through hell in the first few weeks of growth before I got my grow dialed in.

But despite the giant stretching and huge internode length from the abuse they suffered, I was still able to very easily keep them within the available 11" of growing height in my smaller case. (Yes, you heard me right, I use only 11" of growing height!)
I use a simple method of LSTing to keep height down. I have small shelf mounting brackets attached to the top of the SWC unit's lid that I loop pipe cleaners around and wrap the other end of the pipe cleaners around the branches and stem of the plant.

Then once the plant is LST'd to be almost completely horizontal (but now too wide to fit in it's half of the case) I LST the main stem backwards towards the middle of the case! LST'ing conserves space by making the plant horizontal to keep height down, but by bending the main stem into a sideways "U" shape it allows me to keep the width to a minimum as well!

With this technique I end up with a plant that, in full flowering, is only 8" wide x 8" long x 10" tall! Take that Lowryder! I'm not sure if it would work on a full blooded sativa, but it certainly worked on Skunk #1, True Blueberry, and Bubblegum as I was able to keep them all in the 8"x8"x10" size limit.

And now to reward you for all your patient reading of my insanely long discription of this grow op...

Onto the pics!

Here we see your average messy looking computer desk with two towers underneath...

Hmm... lets take a closer look at this smaller one... hey! What the!

Why is there a carbon filter, a Co2 generator, ion/ozone generator, and all this electrical stuff attached to this computer?

The other one has this stuff too! What kind of computers are these!?

You know exactly what kind they are Here's a pic of the True Blueberry and Skunk #1 from about a month ago.

And heres the True Blueberry and Skunk #1 now at 43 days flowering!

Lets take a closer look, shall we?

And now for an even closer look at the main cola on Ms. True Blue

And how about a lower nug from the True Blue while we're at it?

And a little love for the Skunk #1 too! Altogether now!

The smaller 20" case with the True Blueberry and the Skunk #1 is looking good... lets go explore the bigger 26" case with the Bubblegum now!
(I actually stacked VHS tapes underneath the tub in this case to provide only 11" of growing height to the Bubblegum as well... and it worked!)

A little closer view of the canopy now...

Want a closeup of a nice hydro-organic PC Case style Serious Seeds Bubblegum bud in full bloom? Of course you do!

Mmm yeah... buds lookin good... temps are lookin good... Mmmm Hmmm...

I hope you've enjoyed what you've seen and read so far! I'll be updating this thread at least once a week to follow the progress of my True Blueberry, Skunk #1, and Bubblegum from now now until it's finally harvested, cured, and ready to be smoked.

And incase you were wondering, "Why the heck did he go through all this trouble building these PC cases for a couple ounces max?". To put it simply... I live in an apartment with my fiance, so stealth was the absolute most important factor. We talked a lot about the best way for me to grow a personal stash and ultimately decided PC case grows were the safest and stealthiest way to do it. Besides, my fiance doesnt smoke and I only smoke about a half a gram to a gram every other weekend so even if I only get a half ounce out of a each case I'll be set for quite a while!

And yeild aside, I just really love to grow! I find it very theraputic and it's wonderful to be able to come in and sit with your garden any time you like... you just cant put a price on being able to sit next to a nice warm well lit garden full of lush greenery when outside it's the middle of winter with 3 feet of snow on the ground! To me, the growing is proccess is just as fun and wonderful as the final product is. I used to live in a place where I could grow 8 or 10 full sized plants in a big basement without having to train them to grow short and I never had to deal with any security or stealth problems. But since I now live in somewhere far less secure with less space but still wanted to grow, a PC Case grow just seemed like the best and safest option for my living situation.

After this grow I think I'm going to reduce my setup to just using the smaller case only (more stealthy) and do a run with some Sensi Seeds Northern Lights and I'll be sure to keep you guys posted with a thread for that grow too.

But for now, I hope you've enjoyed the show! Take care, stay safe, and I'll update this thread with more pics and progress within the next week!

Last edited by Mr_Micro; 10-25-2006 at 12:58 PM..
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Old 10-25-2006, 01:11 PM #2

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Damn Micro, thats some post! Didnt read through it all, but the pics look great! you are definitely maximizing your space! I was wondering the other day where you've been, when I first started lurking you were posting left and right, so glad to see you are back in full force! Those babies are looking great!

One question, I have 2 plants now which went through 2.5 weeks of veg and I started flowering yesterday... I decided for experimental purposes, so start another seed today and throw it right into 12/12 (I have plenty of space in the cab so why not) Is there anything specific I need to know about going straight to 12/12 from seed? (I know you are hydro and Im soil, but I guess I mean regarding lighting) thanks and good luck!
First grow
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Old 10-25-2006, 09:46 PM #3

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I'd be really interested to know where you bought that Can filter...your grows look simply amazing!
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Old 10-25-2006, 11:49 PM #4
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Thanks Munkie! I'm starting to get really excited for the harvest at this point... only 3 weeks remaining! I'll be getting a 30x magnification microscope within the next few days here to start keeping a close eye on the trich. head color so I can time the flushing and harvest accordingly.

As far as your question goes, this is my first time going 12/12 from seed so it's been quite a learning experiance. One thing that I have learned though is that even though you go 12/12 from seed the plants still won't start showing sex until they've had at about 3 weeks of veg time. Even though the light is set to 12/12 the plants will still grow as if they are on 18/6 or 24/0 for the first few weeks until they feel they've reached the absolute minimum height they can start producing flowers at. I'm guessing if my setup was dialed in better at the begining of the grow the veg time and stretching would have been much shorter though, so I'll be able to give you some more conclusive answers after my next grow with the Northern Lights. As far as the light goes you should be fine using the envirolite you use for flowering, but if you can get a 42 watt CFL in the 6500k range (or relatively blue spectrum) above your newly planted seed it will help keep the stretching to a minimum. Anyway, your grow looks reaaally nice! I'll be following it for sure

And hey thecarguy! Glad you stopped in! Thanks for the positive words on my grow man... I think I about fried my brain with the ammount of thought and work I put into it LOL

Theres only one place I've been able to find those Can "705" Filters rated for 39 cfm so far. That would be the online retailer Worms Way. They cost $39 US and the activated carbon is supposed to last for a year and a half of continueous use. After that it's pretty easy to change out the carbon with the bulk carbon of your choice.
I tried 5 or 6 different variations of home made carbon filters in all sorts of styles, but ultimately this Can Filter 705 was the only thing that was able to make my grow completely odor free. And yeah, it does look a bit strange having 3" dryer ducting coming out of the back of my computer, but it's tucked way back under the desk where no one ever sees it anyway.
The only thing you'll really have to do to the Can Filter to make it compatible with a PC fan is to attach a 4" to 3" dryer duct reducer to the top of the unscrewable flange on the filter with expoxy or Goop. Then just attach a 3" flange to the back of your PC case to the port where the exhaust fan blows out of with some epoxy/goop as well and your all set. Just connect some 3" ducting between the reducer on the filter and the flange on your case and kiss your odor problems goodbye!

The safety and security it provides is well worth the $39 and then some.

Last edited by Mr_Micro; 10-25-2006 at 11:52 PM..
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Old 10-26-2006, 01:32 AM #5

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/me bows down to Micro's new setup!


Can't wait to see the results!

(BTW you not watching my thread nomore?)
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Old 10-26-2006, 03:10 AM #6

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looks like the mods worked out perfect :smile: you did a great job br0, and as i can see its paying off. cannt wait to see it in a few more weeks

My 70w HPS Computer
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Old 10-26-2006, 05:02 AM #7

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My case is designed for 120 mm fans, so I'd need a slightly bigger adapter methinks. Thanks so much for the link, that unit looks righteous. Do you have any other forms of ventilation besides the air coming out of the Can unit?

Also, where did you buy your electronically ballasted HPS lights? I'm sure that helps to cut down on the heat.

Thanks again.

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Old 10-26-2006, 06:46 AM #8
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looks amazing mr. micro! cant wait to see how much this will produce. need some info on the swc thing so hopefully you will chime in on my thread.
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Old 10-26-2006, 08:25 AM #9

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Sir, you have just laid me out with a one-two punch of creativity and envy. That's a wonderful setup. I'm probably going to start a micro grow soon. I had been thinking about a PC case idea not much unlike yours. If you really needed to be super stealthy you could use two PC cases and have them sit side-by-side with one acting as the grow chamber and the other PC acting as the workhorse chamber(housing electrical/fans/wiring/filter/etc.)

I like the idea and I'll definately keep up with this.

Also quick question. With CFL's do you have to have a ballast or do they just run off of a normal light socket that can be plugged into the wall? *I'm new to this*

Keep on growin for the rest of us to learn from and of course for you to get high from. 8 )
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Old 10-26-2006, 12:06 PM #10
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Woah! Lots of good responses here since I last checked this thread! Let me take a minute here to answer them individually...

Snider - Whatchoo talkin about!? Of course you guys are worth it! LOL The whole reason I'm posting this grow publicly is in hopes that others might be able to learn from it and apply some of the techniques to their own grows!

People never used to think you could grow hydro in a PC case with good results or get nugs as frosty as that Bubblegum and Blueberry off a little 50 watt HPS and a 42 watt CFL, but hopefully the posting of this grow will do something to change those ideas. I think you really can grow some great bud in really tiny spaces like a PC case without having to sacrifice quality And 11" of growing height is about as tiny as they come!

And bro... of course I'm still watching your thread! I was just away from the net for a while handling some stuff, but I'm back now to watch it the rest of the way through. I'm grabbin that bucket of popcorn and parking my ass right here until that ganja is cured and smoked up...Believe it!

Weeweeman - Man... I can't even begin to tell you how much it means to hear your complements on this. The PC case grows you and Elephant did back on OG are really what inspired me to try my own hand at PC case growing! But of course I've got a black thumb when it comes to soil so I knew I had to do it hydro. But as you said, all that time and energy put into these grow boxes certainly is starting to pay off! I'm totally stoked for the harvest!

Thecarguy - My bigger PC case (the 26" tall one) is using a 120mm exhast fan just like your case will. For that case I just connected a 4" dryer vent flange to the back of the case with some Goop and attached another 4" dryer vent connector to the screw on flange ontop of the can filter with some more Goop. After that it was a simple matter of running some 4" dryer ducting from the flange on the back of the case to the connector on the carbon filter. Finally, I tighted down some dryer ducting clamps at the connection points and put a few layers of Gorilla tape ontop of all the connection points to make sure it was extra air-tight.
All the air that comes out of the case gets exhausted through the carbon filter. There is a second (and lower powered) PC fan below the exhaust fan that pulls air into the case, but my ventilation system still only consists of two fans. One intake, one exhaust.

As far as that 50 watt electronic ballast HPS light goes... it certainly does cut the heat quite a bit! I'd say this electronic ballast light produces about 1/4th the heat that a standard ballast light would... in other words, no heat from the ballast! Thus allowing me to contain the ballast inside the grow box with no worries at all.

But to be honest... the smaller case was originally a PC Planter unit bought for a rediculous price online. It came with the light from the start, but the whole setup didn't work worth a crap until I made some heavy modifications to the ventilation system, light proofed it, and added more light inside.
However I can tell you that the 50 watt electronic ballast HPS was originally a wall pack unit made by Lights Of America. There was no photo sensor to remove and installation was as simple as connecting a two prong 13 amp cord to the black and white wires running out of it by using two screw on wire nuts. If you look around online a bit you could probably find one of these units for sale for around $60 or $70 I believe.

Tngreen - Thanks man! As far as production goes, I was originally hoping for an ounce and a half or so out of each case, but right now I'm looking at it and guessing I'll probably pull somewhere around an ounce out of each case. I'll have to wait a bit and see how much more they bulk up over the next few weeks, but right now I'd guess an ounce per case for the yeild. In any case, after it's fully dried I'll be sure to weigh it all and let ya know how it turned out!

I'll be sure to pop into your thread later too and see what I can do about giving you some advice on the SWC thing. Its pretty simple though really, just do a search around here for "SWC" and you'll get some pretty good guides to it.

Budless - Thanks for the kind words! I really did everything I could to make these PC cases the best they could be, and so far I'm pretty happy with the results... it wasn't cheap, and it required a lot of trial and error, but ultimately... damn was it ever worth it

Your idea about the dual PC cases side by side is a seriously good one though! That would be absolute maximum stealth for sure! I really hope someone tries that idea sometime and posts it here... I'd love to see how it works out

As far as the CFLs go, they just screw into any regular old socket! The CFL light actually has the ballast built into the bulb inside the white oval shaped base. Pretty neat stuff. The socket I'm using for the CFL is just a plain ceramic socket (rated for 150 watts) with a two prong cord running out the back that I mounted inside the wall of the PC case. Picked up the socket with the cord pre-wired in for $8 at the local hardware store I think. The socket itself can handle up to 150 watts, but the bulb I'm using in it is only 42 watts so it's just fine safety wise.

And just incase your wondering how I secured the socket inside the wall of the PC case, heres a picture of the front of the PC case with the lockable hinged door open!

I attached it to a piece of a wooden stud with some metal striping and a few screws, then used the case's built in drive bay covers to hold it in place along with an industrial strenth adhesive pad on the bottom. After that I just ran the cord through a little slot in the upper back corner of the PC case to the back of the case where the cord comes out and plugs into the timer along with the HPS light
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