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A Cooled Wardian Case

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s1214215

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Hope this is the right place to post this. While living in Thailand, in an apartment got to about 40c in the day sometimes and with a fish tank that I was not able to use due to body corporate idiocy, I converted it into a cooled wardian case. This was using the fish tank, lights, an aquarium water chiller and a mile of tubes and other bits and pieces.

I am now back in Australia and have modified an old display cabinet along the same lines. The water in a reservoir is chilled to 18c, and pumped into the wardian case to filter through a radiator with fans. The air blowing over the cold radiator chills the air in the case to a nice 22c (constant in summer) and now its winter to about 17c at night and 22c day. It oddly seems to stop the temps dropping too low also. I presume even though its cool, the radiator is at night warmer than ambient in the room. Eventually I want to get a larger chiller so to drop the water to really cold temps, and get a comp controller so that I can drop the temps at night by 10c or so. This chiller is rated to drop water to 4c, but it cant handle it for this volume of water and heat exchange as it has not got enough horse power (aquarium chillers are rated up to 4hp and this one is only 1/4hp I think).

Currently it does not house any Paphs or Phrags, but I am going to try some of the smaller species that don't mind it on the cool side. Suggestions are welcome.

Here are some photos.
The case with the 150 watt metal halide (5700K tube). I cut a hole in the top of the case to fit it. No heat gets in as the case has a glass false ceiling.
 
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s1214215

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The chiller, reservoir.




The radiator fan (computer cooling radiator that I have powered by a laptop power source.)


Pipes going in.
 

s1214215

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Partly stocked up. Housing a lot of seedlings now until they get going in mounts and can go home to the greenhouse in spring. Doing very well with Polyrhiza lindenii seedlings, along with Psychopsiella liminghii, Sophronitis cernua flava, Bulbophyllum tingabarinum alba, Laelia alaorii, Nanodes medusae, various Lepanthes from flask, a few Masdevallia, Trisetella, Restrepia, Dracula bella and others.

 

Trithor

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That is sooooo cool! There is a brand new project based on an old idea. I love it. How well do you think your display cabinet will hold up to watering and humidity? Should you not have made a glass case to fit snugly inside your wardian case?
I am looking forward to updates on your project
 

Rick

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Really Nice:clap:

Can you get a better pic of the radiator fan detail in the case?

Did you say you are trying some masdes and dracula?
 

s1214215

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Hi Rick

This is a list of whats in there now.. Some wont stay there.. They are just housed there until I establish them as they are just out of flask. But once they are rooted to the wood well enough they will head to the glasshouse.

Bulbophyllum tingabarinum alba
Bulbophyllum ipanemensis "The Girl" x self
Dendrobium subuliferum
Dendrobium leavifolium
Dracula bella
Chaubardiella pubescens
Lepanthes ingridiana
Lepanthes JMcalsa (calodictyon x saltatrix)
Lepanthes saltatrix
Lepanthes elata x sijmii
Lepanthes escobariana x elegantula
Lepanthes niesseniae
Lepanthes calodictyon
Lepanthes culprimulgus
Lepanthes grandiflora
Masdevallia richardsiana
Masdevallia paiveana
Masdevallia yungasensis
Masdevallia yungasensis 'calodon'
Polyrhiza lindenii
Psychopsiella liminghii
Restrepia guttulatta
Restrepia elegans
Sophronitis cernua 'flava" x self
Trichocentrum albo-cocinnum
 

s1214215

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Here are pics of the radiator fan. Its double fan radiator and more typically you see these in water cooled computers. Easy to get online or at computer shops. They are normally powered by plugging into the computer, but I got an electrician to cut the plug that would normally connect to the PC and wire it to a power source for a laptop.

Other than the fans on the radiator I have a second fan (aquarium fan) running as I found that some species wanted more air. So I have the two lots of fans facing off to create a more chaotic air flow.

Here are pics of the radiator fan.

 

s1214215

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I knew a guy in Malaysia who did something similar to this to get his Paph armeniacum and micranthum to bloom for him

Brett
 

s1214215

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Trithor, before I started kitting this wardian case out I gave the inside 6 coats of marine grade polyurethane lacquer. That stuff is meant to waterproof boats, so I should be OK for a good many years before I need to take everything out and re-lacquer.

I was lucky in that the cabinet came its old shelves. I took one to the local aquarium maker and he cut the glass for me. Using one old shelf and the 4 pieces cut to measure, I used aquarium silicone glue to make a mini-tank/reservoir in the bottom of the case to catch any water run off from watering. I also drilled the glass to make a drain that runs out underneath the case and that has a tap so I can turn it on and off to drain it. Currently the wardian case is on my kitchen counter top, but it will go on its own cabinet someday soon which I will drill a hole into for the drain pipe to go into and down the water bucket inside. I hope to hide most of the clunky equipment.





There is a false ceiling in the case to stop humidity getting up into the light and to keep the cool and humidity in. Also prevents most of the heat of the metal halide light getting into the case. I didnt go with LED as they dont have enough punch I think to get the light right to the bottom of a case that is nearly 1 metre tall. My work with the silicone is not so nice, but you cant see it when the doors are shut.

 

Rick

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Very cool Brett!!

I have a similar chiller on my case (not as big).

Instead of a radiator/fan arrangement, I built a mini "swamp cooler" to run the chilled water over. (to get humidification as well as cooling??).

Anyway I always like to see what could be more effective.

How much $was that radiator system?
 

s1214215

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I think the radiator cost me $150. The chiller is the most expensive item to buy for this method. I think it cost me $600, but larger chillers can go up to $2000. Mind you I don't think you need to get the largest .. I am aiming to replace my 1/4HP with a 1HP and I think that will set me back about $1000, but its worth it at the end of the day if I can then hook up a computer controller that will let me drop the temps at night by 10c as that is the thing that gets many orchids to bloom right?
 

wjs2nd

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Sounds like a great idea. Most orchids like a drop in night time temps. The design is great! Are you gonna insulate the pluming to help keep in the cold?
 

s1214215

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Hi Tom..

Crazy, No. Just dedicated to working out a problem and how to fix it.

I plan to replace the old reservoir with an esky cooler which are foam insulated, but that's still not going to be enough as the chiller is not strong enough. I would like to replace the glass in the case with thicker glass as its a little thin, but so far it has not presented much problems as Brisbane is milder in climate than Bangkok. But glass is a terrible insulator. Wood is better. Still I want to see in. A stronger chiller will have the effect I want and changing out the glass windows for thicker or double glazed if I can afford it later.
 

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