Help with seeder airpump

Hi guys,

So Friday of last week I had my seed sequence done and it pickup and planted 3/3 times from my initial tests.

I come to work today - go to test out the seed sequence and everything executes just fine, except for picking up a seed from the seed tray. The needle dips down into my seeds but comes up with nothing. On Friday of last week, I was specifically listening out for the sound of the air pump beginning to work a little harder as the seed made a seal around the needle tip but no change in sound today.

In fact, I’ve run a test sequence where the air pump kicks on, the needle dips into the seeds and then rises out of seed bin. I have successfully picked up a seed 1/10 times.

Is there a way to increase the suction or the force of suction from the air pump? I have also checked the air pump out. checking to make sure it’s not clogged at all. I’ve also checked out the tool mount.

Have you tried taking off the tube from the pump and just test if it pumps without any tubes attached?

Might also be an idea to fasten your tubes with zip ties to make sure it’s really air tight.

1 Like

I have indeed tried to test the pump, tube on and tube off.

The suction feels fine with the tube off. Same goes for the suction at the tool mount (without tool head on).
When I put the seeder tool head on and test the pump it almost feels like its blowing air out, it has about 40-50% of the suction I noticed from testing the pump itself and the tool mount.

I even disassembled the air pump to check to see if something was clogged, maybe some dirt was causing the problem but after that, i re-tested the pump and I got maybe 15% more suction but it still isn’t enough to efficiently pick up a seed from the bin and plant is with at least a 50% success rate.

So the suction feels fine at the UTM without the tool on, but with the Seed Injector tools mounted it seems to be blowing air out/has reduced suction? And there is nothing stuck inside the luer lock needle or the tool itself? This is indeed weird.

I cleared out the Luer lock ( green one), it was clear. The tool itself it fine also.

I decided to use basil seeds with the 2nd to smallest luer lock ( the brown one). The basil seeds are much much smaller/lighter and I’ve successfully planted 4/4 seeds. on a good track record so far!

It is pretty confusing still. I originally started out with cilantro seeds - they are round seeds and very light. My first initial tests with those seeds worked out perfectly. I had 3/3 successful seeds planted on Friday of last week. yesterday was failure after failure with a 1/10 seeds planted and today I’ve succeeded with 5/5 seeds planted.

I’ve got a demonstration tomorrow so for now, the basil seeds will be just fine but anything larger than that i dont know if the FB will be able to pick them up.

Thanks for the reply @roryaronson !


1 Like

@roryaronson Just an update!

the presentation went very well, so many people were amazing and impressed!!

out of 15 sequences, it failed only 2 times and dropped a seed only once! that’s a good track record, for now, i’d say!

but I did want to ask though, is there any way I can manual increase the amount of suction coming from the pump or would I need to go out and get a slightly strong pump maybe?

1 Like

@Cjaramillogrows that’s great to hear!

The best way to improve suction would be to shorten the tube from the pump to the UTM which is a change we’re making with v1.3 hardware. You might be able to shorten the tube a little bit while keeping the pump in the same location. Or, you can reposition the pump to the Gantry or the Z-Axis and shorten it significantly. You will need to make a mounting plate for this, and a cover if your FarmBot will be outdoors.

1 Like