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Affnan Bell Siphon

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I am trying to build Affnan's bell siphon but cannot find the reducer that creates the funnel at the top. I have tried the PET bottle modification, but have not had luck getting it to work effectively. I am trying to find a 1 1/2 inch reducer to 3/4 inch. Can anyone help?

Matt

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I use a 1" drain, and I could not find a adapter to go from 1" to 2", so I had to go from 2" to 1 1/2", then to 1". I am running 5 affnan siphons and never had any trouble with any of them, except when my pump was clogged and that was no fault of the siphon.

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Due to my setup, I had to put the reducer under the growbed. I, like you, could not find an angled reducer. Putting it under my bed just meant that I had a restriction to the outlet, 2" to 1.5". It's been running for 3 months without a hiccup.

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anyone have any suggestions. We have 3 growbeds with bell siphons that have been, for 5 weeks, working without fail. Just recently they will not shut off completely. just continuously trickling. I've tried adjusting the flow into the beds and that seemed to fix one. Is there any other common problem that I might be missing. I have them covered from light so I don't think algae is the problem.

it seems to odd to not fail for 5 weeks and all of sudden give me problems.

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Hi KayakMom,

That's the principal reason I abandoned auto-syphons in favour of sub-surface continuous flow. As much as I love the sound they make as they trigger, I prefer the outright reliability and simplicity of continuous flow.

My recommendation would be to flush them thoroughly (ensure that plant roots haven't got into the works).....and adjust the water flow until you find the sweet spot. If they worked in the past, they will do so again.....but you will find that they need regular maintenance and adjustment.

Gary

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Hi Matt,

You don't need it - please see below.

Hi KayakMom,

Has your flow to the GB's decreased...even slightly? Check your fill times and if so, look for the cause. Could be dirty pipes, leaves, algae, roots (are you growing cukes?), partially clogged pump, etc.

As to the Afnan siphon, I have followed his experiments and modifications over the past two years or so. Maybe 6 months or so ago, I removed all reducers from the standpipe (per his advice) to shorten the time it takes for the siphon to engage. I experimented with the widened mouth of the reducer, going larger, smaller, etc but found the fastest engagement was straight 1" pipe. A reducer to 3/4 inch below the GB can be helpful if required, depending on your unique conditions.

To summarize, nearly all mouth diameters on the standpipe siphoned properly, as this area only affects engagement of the siphon. I found that straight pipe offered the fastest and least sensitive (to flow) to begin engagement.

Hope that helps

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Mine have been running trouble free for over 8 months now. Never had a problem with them, nor had to tweak anything. What are your siphons made of? Mine are 1 inch tube with a 2 inch adapter on top. How does your drain tube work? Is there any rise to it, or any way water can get trapped inside? On your cap, for the cover of the siphon is it glued in? If not glue it, it may be leaking air.

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tpilk wrote

I experimented with the widened mouth of the reducer, going larger, smaller, etc but found the fastest engagement was straight 1" pipe.
I found that straight pipe offered the fastest and least sensitive (to flow) to begin engagement.

Exactly my experience too.

And another thing, the higher (deeper) yours beds are, it's better (easier) siphon will work , meaning the higher is amount of water = lower is the water flow (inlet) to siphon to start and stop. Simple Physics.

Deeper beds = lower flow = more beds with same pump.

So, if you have 150 mm deep grow beds it's better to use what Gary propose.

That's the principal reason I abandoned auto-syphons in favour of sub-surface continuous flow. As much as I love the sound they make as they trigger, I prefer the outright reliability and simplicity of continuous flow.

Alexander

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Here's a great PDF I found from University of Hawaii covering bell siphons. It is pretty comprehensive.

http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/oc/freepubs/pdf/BIO-10.pdf

I tried a few brief experiments with one of my IBC grow beds. It was my first bell-siphon, and I was very aware of the potential problems that can arise in building one of these. It worked like a charm... first time. I was giddy like a little school girl when that thing kicked in and started draining, and even more amazed when the vacuum broke and it stopped draining. So cool. I was either very lucky, or just good at following the instructions.

One thing though..

These guys use a snorkel tube to break the siphon, which I know is not necessary. For you bell-siphon experts out there.. Do you need the snorkel tube? What changes need to be made for the siphon to break without the use of the snorkel tube?

-Erik

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These guys use a snorkel tube to break the siphon, which I know is not necessary. For you bell-siphon experts out there.. Do you need the snorkel tube? What changes need to be made for the siphon to break without the use of the snorkel tube?

-Erik

I don't have any kind of snorkel on any of mine. I honestly don't see the reason behind them.

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Hi,

The use of an air line on the auto-syphons goes back to the early designs and it was intended to provide a clean break to the syphon effect. Auto-syphon design has evolved to the point where it is no loner needed.

Affnan's auto-syphons have advanced things over the older designs.

Gary

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Hi,

The use of an air line on the auto-syphons goes back to the early designs and it was intended to provide a clean break to the syphon effect. Auto-syphon design has evolved to the point where it is no loner needed.

Affnan's auto-syphons have advanced things over the older designs.

Gary

Affnan has been self credited with this auto siphon falsely. There are many examples of this siphon even in old toilets from decades ago that used bell siphons. http://books.google.com/books?id=NpyCORdAkyIC&pg=PA182&lpg=PA182&dq=engineering+and+bell+siphon&source=bl&ots=qg3fKoU9i2&sig=tUcBgD66KvFjk6dFT3E_pNNTxd8&hl=en&sa=X&ei=NzwVVPWDFOTbigL7moDYCA&ved=0CDAQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=engineering%20and%20bell%20siphon&f=false

Here is just one example from a text book. Please do not call it a Affnan siphon he did not invent it just FALSELY named it after himself on the internet. He has been informed of his error but still post it.

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Hi old guy

Welcome to APN/HQ, you might wan't yo introduce your selfe here http://aquaponicsnation.com/forums/forum/17-welcome-wagon/

 

Affnan has been self credited with this auto siphon falsely. There are many examples of this siphon even in old toilets from decades ago that used bell siphons. http://books.google.com/books?id=NpyCORdAkyIC&pg=PA182&lpg=PA182&dq=engineering+and+bell+siphon&source=bl&ots=qg3fKoU9i2&sig=tUcBgD66KvFjk6dFT3E_pNNTxd8&hl=en&sa=X&ei=NzwVVPWDFOTbigL7moDYCA&ved=0CDAQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=engineering%20and%20bell%20siphon&f=false

Here is just one example from a text book. Please do not call it a Affnan siphon he did not invent it just FALSELY named it after himself on the internet. He has been informed of his error but still post it.

As for Affnan's siphon(s) he is "credited" or recogniced for his particular design(s) laid out & explained in detail, on his home page.

He never claimed to have invented them, in fact he clarely states he did not.

quote from here  http://www.affnanaquaponics.com/2010/02/affnans-valve-detailed-explanations-of_9459.html :

First of all I would like to point out that, siphon had been around for a long time dated few hundred years ago. Siphon usage ranging from transferring fluid from one container to another right to flushing the toilet.
 
Most usage of siphon involved a fixed amount of fluid to be transfer to another container, such usage of siphon don't require it to be operating continuously without human intervention. Toilet flush for example require human input to create the flushing effect from a siphon mechanism, and the flushing stop when cistern is depleted of water. Continuous operation of these siphon are not needed.
 
In Aquaponics due to the nature of system arrangement, continuous operation of siphon is necessary with constant water flowing into the container. Siphon drawing water out creates "Flood and Drain" cycles that promote Aquaponics balance.
 
No one living today could claim have invented the siphon, nor claiming pattern for such. However improvement to siphon design to make it reliable or use able to an application can be considered as an Innovation. An Innovation deserve to be recognized if its significantly change the way things being done.
 
I like to compare, a redesign Siphon to that of a shoe. Shoes has been invented long time ago, however shoes the late Micheal Jackson use for his moon walk was design by him and accepted as a pattern. He may not invent the shoes but he make it better to suit his purpose.
 
quote end.
 
So when I build a siphon using his spesific design I call it a Affnan siphon, you got a problem with that ?
 
cheers

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Hi old guy

Welcome to APN/HQ, you might wan't yo introduce your selfe here http://aquaponicsnation.com/forums/forum/17-welcome-wagon/

 

As for Affnan's siphon(s) he is "credited" or recogniced for his particular design(s) laid out & explained in detail, on his home page.

He never claimed to have invented them, in fact he clarely states he did not.

quote from here  http://www.affnanaquaponics.com/2010/02/affnans-valve-detailed-explanations-of_9459.html :

First of all I would like to point out that, siphon had been around for a long time dated few hundred years ago. Siphon usage ranging from transferring fluid from one container to another right to flushing the toilet.
 
Most usage of siphon involved a fixed amount of fluid to be transfer to another container, such usage of siphon don't require it to be operating continuously without human intervention. Toilet flush for example require human input to create the flushing effect from a siphon mechanism, and the flushing stop when cistern is depleted of water. Continuous operation of these siphon are not needed.
 
In Aquaponics due to the nature of system arrangement, continuous operation of siphon is necessary with constant water flowing into the container. Siphon drawing water out creates "Flood and Drain" cycles that promote Aquaponics balance.
 
No one living today could claim have invented the siphon, nor claiming pattern for such. However improvement to siphon design to make it reliable or use able to an application can be considered as an Innovation. An Innovation deserve to be recognized if its significantly change the way things being done.
 
I like to compare, a redesign Siphon to that of a shoe. Shoes has been invented long time ago, however shoes the late Micheal Jackson use for his moon walk was design by him and accepted as a pattern. He may not invent the shoes but he make it better to suit his purpose.
 
quote end.
 
So when I build a siphon using his spesific design I call it a Affnan siphon, you got a problem with that ?
 
cheers

 

Thanks for the reply. First I want to say that Affnan appears to be a very sincere and nice fellow and is helping numerous home aquaponics hobbyist. I was curious on others take regarding his siphon design. I have no quarrel with anything you posted nor his right to call anything he built by the name he has chosen. My point was that a reducer has been used on bell siphons long before he put a reducer on a bell siphon and implying that he applied Bernoulli's effect to the bell siphon is not the case. It has been done and when I saw his video I knew that to be false because I had seen it long ago. Of course he did popularize the bell siphon with a reducer in the aquaponics hobbist community but I have seen it before in science projects and other application. I linked an example text book that used it as a sample problem demonstrating it was common knowledge in engineering text. Dosing siphons and pulse irrigation are applications that are in some instances the exact type design. If we all claimed unique application because we built something ourselves then I would have to many things named after me to remember. Shoe companies name their shoes but do not claim they have used rubber or cloth for the first time in the shoe. Style or unique materials yes, popularizing yes, inventing no.
 
You thoughts?

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Just to add my 2 cents on siphons: I have had five 1" Affnan style siphons (he IS responsible for bringing this design to AP) running continuously for 3 yrs and counting. The only time I had trouble was with the first 3 I had installed while the next 2 ran flawlessly. After a knee jerk reaction to my frustration when I started playing with the "snorkel" concept that did nothing but make nasty noises at break, I finally decided to turn on my brain and figure out why 2 ran flawlessly and the 3 did not. I discovered that during installation of the first 3 (and so excited to see all my hard work "work" after all) I had run the horizontal pipes below the GB at a slight up-hill grade just enough to form a trap. That was the ONLY difference. So I went under there and cut and replumbed all 3 and that was the last "hung" sipon I have ever had. That is also when I came to the realization that air coming back up the piping from underneath is just as important as the air entering under the bell when it comes to "break" time. The simpler the better, KISS.

 

I have now shipped over 600 bell siphons of all sizes to Aquapons all over the world from our Ebay store and have 100% positive feedback so there must be something to this simple design. I am still shipping with the 2"-1.5" and 1.5" to 1" "funnel" adapters right off the shelf as the one piece is so hard to find and costs as much as the 2 adapters combined when you do find it. So stop looking for that one piece adapter. It ain't worth the hunt. If posting pics on here were a bit easier I would post a pic of our line-up. They can all be viewed at our Smoky Mountain Aquaponics page on Ebay. Feel free to copy the concept or let us know if you need help with yours.

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There's really nothing "new" about the principles employed in aquaponics

 

Yep, pretty much.

 

Bernoulli siphons, even in liquid applications, have been around for quite a while. Glad someone finally applied it to this hobby.

 

This seems to be the usual pattern due to how too many hobbyists maintain a tunnel vision due to remaining in their own cliquey groups, that is they remain blind to the outside world until someone with actual professional knowledge comes along, but, unfortunately, the "holier than thou" is the typical reaction by the cliquey groups to these intruding outsiders. :(

 

Aggravating how folk still push the oldstyle, more complicated designs. I wish I knew about this design much sooner!

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Hi,

 

If you favour simplicity, cost-effectiveness and reliability, leave bell (auto) syphons alone and use sub-surface continuous flow.

 

Gary

 

 

Yep, I agree with ya. I have rejected the use of siphons some time ago due to my preference for sub-surface continuous flow for DWC, NFT, or wicking beds. Siphons appear to me as one extra mechanical device to add to something that "might" (if ever, whenever) could go wrong.

 

Although, the Bernoulli siphon is a much more reliable construction, simply due to the fluid dynamic principle, when compared to all of the other traditional siphons, and, for folk own personal reasons, other folk still find comfort in them. So, be good to share the best implemented constructions rather than predicating comments on clunky constructions.

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So the latest mystery term in AP is SSCF?

I have been very involved in AP for 3 yrs+ and this is the first I have heard of it applied to a media bed or am I assuming too much? A clarification would be much appreciated.

Personally I feel DWC is way over rated and trouble prone while my ebb and flow bell siphon media beds are simply amazing in terms of "trouble free". I have had Swiss Chard and Kale, etc plants produce volumes of food for as much as 2 years before finally replacing them with new plants. Hard to do in DWC as they rapidly out grow the net pots. Never a problem in media. In fact I am now cutting off the net pots and replanting them in the media beds. Our 12' x 3' DWC may well get filled with media come Spring as I can then open the GH windows and shovel it down a shute into the bed without having to carry it in buckets. Now I can see a commercial DWC making sense as you pull the entire plant when market ready BUT for the homesteader that simply wants to produce for their own table you cannot beat bell siphon or timed media beds. Personally the bell siphons are a simpler solution to timed beds as they are not dependant on control systems, merely keep the pump running and all works perfectly. Believe me if I find a simpler more reliable method I will be the first to sing it's praise's. Our bell siphons ARE the method by which all other methods are judged here in our 2500g system and growing.

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I am trying to build Affnan's bell siphon but cannot find the reducer that creates the funnel at the top. I have tried the PET bottle modification, but have not had luck getting it to work effectively. I am trying to find a 1 1/2 inch reducer to 3/4 inch. Can anyone help?

Matt

Hey Matt, I cheat and use a 3/4" to 1 1/4" because a 1 1/2" will not fit in a 2" bell and I like to keep the siphon profile as small as possible (grow space is king after all) so I also use a 3" gravel guard (GG) for this size siphon. I get it at Lowes but I don't have their # in front of me. Should be easy to find. I know this is an old thread but it is a popular topic especially among newbies, Jim

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So the latest mystery term in AP is SSCF?

I have been very involved in AP for 3 yrs+ and this is the first I have heard of it applied to a media bed or am I assuming too much? A clarification would be much appreciated.

Personally I feel DWC is way over rated and trouble prone while my ebb and flow bell siphon media beds are simply amazing in terms of "trouble free". I have had Swiss Chard and Kale, etc plants produce volumes of food for as much as 2 years before finally replacing them with new plants. Hard to do in DWC as they rapidly out grow the net pots. Never a problem in media. In fact I am now cutting off the net pots and replanting them in the media beds. Our 12' x 3' DWC may well get filled with media come Spring as I can then open the GH windows and shovel it down a shute into the bed without having to carry it in buckets. Now I can see a commercial DWC making sense as you pull the entire plant when market ready BUT for the homesteader that simply wants to produce for their own table you cannot beat bell siphon or timed media beds. Personally the bell siphons are a simpler solution to timed beds as they are not dependant on control systems, merely keep the pump running and all works perfectly. Believe me if I find a simpler more reliable method I will be the first to sing it's praise's. Our bell siphons ARE the method by which all other methods are judged here in our 2500g system and growing.

 

 

SSCF is a description of the irrigation method, which is just one way to put it out of many other renditions. Been in use for a very long time in various other applications, even in hydroponics predating aquaponics. DWC, NFT, wicking beds, dutch buckets, and amongst other implementations use a rendition of a sub-surface continuous flow irrigation concept. This concept should be common knowledge amongst horticulturists.

 

Commercial outfits use DWC and NFT due to being cheap, reliable, and effective, except nobody has suggest it is applicable for all crops. Chatterson Farms is a good example of what is accomplished with DWC and they do not "pull the entire plant when market ready".

 

Net pots are only used for plant stabilization and anchoring to keep the plant's crown relatively dry.

 

What do you mean by "plants rapidly out grow the net pots"?

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Swiss Chard AKA silverbeet grows a root much like a beet which could easily outgrow a 2" net pot in 5-6 months.  Kale is not so large so I would think you would have less of a problem in DWC.

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