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Thursday, February 27, 2020

Nido Pro Hydroponic Automation Review

Nido Pro Hydroponic Automation Review

Smart Nutrient Dosing & Environmental Control

In Grozine’s Nido Pro Hydroponic Automation Review, we spent around a year trialling and assessing Nido Pro’s hydroponic automation system (Nido ONE) under real life controlled environment hydroponic greenhouse conditions.

The interface is easy to look at and not overwhelming, even on a smaller screen like a regular sized smart phone.  With a simple tap of the screen you can look behind the curtains for a variety of sections for sophisticated analytics and control  for VPD, pH, TDS/EC, temperature and humidity.

The Nido Pro is intended to run small to mid scale hydroponic systems, however, it can be adapted for larger systems, up to 2500L reservoir capacity. Note the refillable concentrate bottles can be swapped out to draw directly from your existing larger nutrient and buffer jugs or barrels using the Nido Pro sensors and injectors.

Nido Pro Hydroponic Automation Review, Basic Test & Operating Parameters:

pH Control

Nutrient Concentrate Additions

Reservoir Temperature Monitoring

Low Water Level Alerts

Growing Environment Temperature & Humidity Monitoring

VPD Vapor Pressure Deficit Charting

Note, included Smart Plugs can be used to control appliances or contactors for complete environmental control or water management using the smart interface–we haven’t tried these yet, but expect they work great.

Additional Note: The App we used was Nido Pro BETA.

Get the App to Sample Interface (Mac or Android) HERE

What’s Different About the Nido Pro versus Other Nutrient Controllers & Dosers?

In our Nidro Pro hydroponic automation review we found the system to be very sophisticated while remaining very user friendly–connecting to your smart phone or device and getting up and running took minutes and just pushing a couple of buttons to connect to the Nido Pro network that is supplied.

The interface is easy to look at and not overwhelming, even on a smaller screen like a regular sized smart phone.  With a simple tap of the screen you can look behind the curtains for a variety of sections for sophisticated analytics and control  for VPD, pH, TDS/EC, temperature and humidity.

Instead of putting the Nido Pro into your reservoir, you connect your reservoir or grow system to the Nido Pro itself. The kit comes with all the necessary bits and plumbing hardware to make water tight connections–you just need your own drill.

The Nido Pro circulates a sample of your nutrient solution through itself periodically by itself or you can tap to see a realtime sample and activate the pump to draw your hydroponic nutrient solution to the Nido Pro’s internal sealed reservoir where pH, TDS/EC, and solution temperature are checked.  If any of the parameters are not met to your easy to adjust set points, the dosers go to work and add nutrients or pH adjusters from the four available intake ports for concentrates. Naturally, you can adjust the ratios these are individually added to make specific final strengths.

NOTE: with any dosing system it is not recommended to add highly pure forms of strong acids or bases, ie they should be diluted.  Taking this into mind, you can tell the Nido Pro what concentrations you are working with and it will function accordingly. Clever!

Nido Pro Build Quality

It’s nice when form is combined with function, and the Nido Pro hits the mark in the appearances department. Made in Italy, there is attention to the overall flow of the design.  The Nido Pro looks and operates like a top end performance machine.

The Nido Pro appears to lean towards the hobby to craft scale grower looking for improved results by achieving a tighter control and harmonization of the hydroponic environment. The temperature and humidity sensor supplied is accurate, although the reach isn’t intended for long runs, as is with the location of the Nido Pro unit; it needs to be kept very near the reservoir or growing system. It’s likely longer probes are available–the people at Nido Pro are very quick to respond for help with any inquiry or question.

 

Nido Pro App & Interface

We never needed to access a desktop computer to set up or operate the system–we were up and running after installing the Nido Pro within minutes after opening the App, in our case an iPhone.

You don’t have to be a software programmer to remotely view or control your garden–a big plus with us.  You also don’t need to be on your local WiFi network.  As long as you have data on your phone, just tap the icon and see a real time display or control panel for your hydroponic set up–you can configure cameras optionally too.

Nido Pro Accuracy & Reliability

In our Nido Pro hydroponic automation review conducted over the course of year, when operating, we only lost touch with our Nido Pro on a couple of occasions which were more related to our own network glitches rather than those of the Nido Pro. However, there is a lesson there: when you count on automation make sure you can count on the network and power supply supporting it.

The environmental read outs and charts were spot on–the VPD (vapor pressure deficit) was an interesting and valuable tool to gleam from, especially while operating as a controlled greenhouse environment.

We received alerts when our water level dropped below or pre-set limit as well as when we ran out of pH buffer in the concentrate container.

Note, we were not using the smart plugs during our review

We will be further testing the add-on kit this coming growing season to draw concentrate directly from jug or containers rather than using the four smaller concentrate bottles supplied–yes, we feel the Nido Pro is a “keeper” for our RDWC system. We had a minor leak with one of the concentrate bottles supplied, however, having the privilege of testing a Beta system means that some of the parts are “one offs” ie 3-D printed; typically everything is ironed out in the final production models.

Nido Pro & Crop Production

If you have been growing for any amount of time, you should likely know that the real bosses and judges are the plants.  As a grower, you might like the idea of automation saving you time.  And while the Nido Pro does in fact save you time, the real benefit is improvements in plant health, crop quality and yields.

Good nutrient management, whether manual or by machine, will contribute to faster growth rates and better crop development. Where the Nido Pro wins is the fact that it never sleeps.  By constantly sampling and watching for your preset levels and making the correct adjustments as things change with water and nutrient uptake or environmental conditions, your plants have uninterrupted access to the right balance of nutrients and at the right pH levels–you can program and maintain a variety of schedules, addressing all of the different growth phases very precisely–all this adds up to to stronger plants and heavier yields.  By avoiding big swings in pH, salinity and water levels growers can avoid common crop problems more readily.

In our Nido Pro hydroponic automation review we grew a crop of sweet peppers (Capsicum) in our latest model Under Current RDWC system.  We were impressed with the results–especially given that it was during busy summer months (hooray for automation) and it was our first attempt with Peppers in this system.

Nido Pro Hydroponic Automation Review

Company: Nido Pro (nidopro.com)

Device: Nido One

Pricing: 1290 Euros HERE

What We Like:
  • Easy to set up and operate
  • Sophisticated function, easy to navigate
  • Reliable
  • Very accurate sensors and dosers
  • Beautifully built and robust enough for greenhouse conditions
  • Concentrate tanks and be swapped out for hose connections to draw directly from larger containers or jugs
Not So Much:
  • Longer environmental sensors would be nice, although likely available as an option
  • While price may seem high to some, it’s actually very competitive versus other dosers & environmental controllers that offer less sophistication and options versus the Nido One.

 

 

 

 

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