The Smart-valve is the heart of the Autopot Systems. It is this which controls the entry of the water to the reservoir. The original Smart-valves were used on Jim’s gloxinias, which were soil based plants and the results were excellent. In the thirty years of trials and refinement that have gone into today’s Smart-valve, most casual observers would be hard pressed to notice any difference, although any engineer would soon recognise the refinements. Today’s principle remains exactly as it was from day one and the main changes have been to fine tune performance rather than to alter working principles. Soon after its invention the trials of the Smart-valve were widened to encompass hydroponic with results being little short of spectacular although to many hydroponic enthusiasts, the results have been at variance with their fundamental beliefs about how a hydroponic system operates.
How the Autopot Systems works
It is small enough to fit on the palm of your hand, mainly plastic construction and consists of two chambers. Its very nature makes it a comparatively low cost item which is very important because its low cost is what makes it practical to have a valve for each individual container and this is the very crux of the system’s versatility. It has several patents filed as many of the world’s main growing countries and the exact details of its operation are ones that we do not freely reveal. It is different to the conventional ball cock type of float valve because it allows total reduction of the fluid level before it refills. It is a real revolution in the way it allows water to be applied.
When connected to a water supply (which can be from either pressure reduced mains or tank) the valve opens to allow water to enter the bottom of the growing container to a pre determined and pre set depth (usually 35mm). The valve then closes and will permit no further water to enter the container until all the original supply has been conveyed from the water chamber to the pot and consequently to the plant. This absorption is achieved by capillary action that naturally occurs in the growing medium. Once the water has been absorbed to the extent that the film of water under the valve has gone, the valve re-opens and another supply of water enters the growing container. This is how the damp and drying out cycle occurs.
Click here to download Smart-testing PDF information.