Smart Valve Secrets

The inner workings of the AutoPot SmartValve

The AutoPot System is a fully automatic plant growing system requiring no power/electricity.  The system is totally "plant driven" -that is the plants are watered only when they require feeding.  Because of this the system is incredibly water efficient. 

How is this achieved?  At the heart of every AutoPot module is the SmartValve.  A patented invention so ingenious in its simplicity and so effective in its operation that it is our best selling hydroponic system.  Over the years we have been asked many times by our customers to explain how the SmartValve works.  Here we present a series of schematic diagrams and explanation that should show you the secret inner workings of the SmartValve.

Every AutoPot module (two pot Tray, single pot Tray, window box, smart pots etc) contains a SmartValve.  In every case the SmartValve is anchored down in the module so that it does not float. 

1. When first fitted to an AutoPot module and connected to a water supply, both the bottom and top floats will be at their lowest point. This causes the top valve (red circles) to be closed and the bottom valve to be open allowing water to flow in.    

2. As the water level rises the top and bottom floats begin to rise with the water level. The rising of the top float causes the top valve to open and allow the air trapped in the bottom float chamber to escape. As the bottom float begins to rise, the bottom valve begins to close.  

 3. Once the water level reaches its maximum (approx. 2-3cm) both the top and bottom floats are at their maximum.  At this point the top valve is completely open and the bottom valve is completely closed- stopping the water coming into the AutoPot module.  

4. As the plants in the AutoPot module begin to feed and consume the nutrient solution, the water level begins to drop.  As this happens, the top float will also drop, causing the top valve to close and trap the air in the bottom float chamber.  As a result the water level in the bottom float chamber remains high, so the bottom float remains at its maximum level keeping the bottom valve closed and stopping water from entering the AutoPot module.

5. The water level in the AutoPot module continues to fall as the plants in the AutoPot module consume it but the bottom valve remains closed. Now the AutoPot module will have very little water in it. 

6. At this point the AutoPot module will have very little water in it or may even have none.  The pots in the modules may begin to dry allowing air (and therefore oxygen) back into the root zone. The water level has dropped sufficiently to "break the seal" of the bottom float chamber, causing the bottom float to drop and the bottom valve to open and the process begins anew (at step 1).

 This process is the secret to the AutoPot system.  This mimics the Wet-Dry cycles that operate in nature.  Feeding the plant root zone with nutrient rich water, followed by a drying cycle that allows air and oxygen back into the root zone.  Then repeating the cycle over and over. The more water the plant consumes, the more often the cycle is repeated. All the while the system is driven by the plant.  The plant is fed as it requires, not when you remember to water the plant, or a timer and pump forces the plant to feed.

Simplicity and efficiency at its best!