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  1. I've been working for some time now to come up with an affordable alternative to auto siphons. They may be fine for the home garden where you can fiddle with them and check daily, but in a commercial system (i.e. lots of media beds!) I want something more reliable and with more control. One of the other issues that I've dealt with is the heating/cooling effect of flood and drain beds. I manually alter my system by pulling out the siphons during the winter and turning my beds into either constant flood or wicking mode in order to minimize heat loss. If the sun is out, my greenhoused beds can actually pick up quite a bit of heat, so during the winter I can effectively heat up my water by turning the siphons on only during the day. Obviously this is really tedious to do by hand twice a day and I'd love some sort of method to automate this whole process. The ultimate level of control is to have a custom valve in each bed that is electronically controlled by a common irrigation timer. Each bed would be a zone and you can totally customize the flood and drain times for each. I'm still working on a prototype of this, but alternatively, I found some ready-made parts that are a bit too expensive to use on each bed, but that could be used to control a group of beds as a zone. For this to work, each bed needs 2 drains: one is just a hole at the bottom for when you want to drain the bed, the other is a stand pipe for when you want to flood. By opening or closing the outlets with an electronically-controlled valve you can decide when to flood and when to drain. Connect this up to one of the new wifi connected irrigation timers and you can automate or adjust it all remotely on your phone/computer! While this particular approach uses currently available parts, it does require more plumbing and a second drain taking up space in each bed.....something I'm not entirely happy with. The valve + actuator costs $120. Obviously too expensive to have one for every bed.