The Tropf Blumat Ceramic Probe
The heart of the Tropf Blumat System
How The Ceramic Probe Works
The probe, filled with water, is plunged into the soil. As the soil dries water starts to be sucked out of the porous probe causing a diaphragm to be pulled downwards allowing water to flow through the drip tubing. As the soil becomes moister the vacuum is reduced so that the diaphragm moves upwards restricting the water flow.
Remove the dripper head at the top of the probe & fill to the brim with tap water. Replace the dripper head firmly & leave the complete probe submerged in water for at least as hour.
Lay the Feed Tube (available to purchase separately) along the area to be watered ensuring that the tube is not bent or kinked that it will easily reach the water source. Water the area thoroughly - the probe must be placed in moist soil.
Cut the Feed Tube adjacent to the probe & insert the Drip Tube In-Line Connectors (available to purchase separately) - the End-Line Connector goes at the end of the line.
Cut sufficient 1/16" Drip Tube (available to purchase separately) for the probe so that there will be about 3" (8cm) protuding through the dripper head. Attach to the Drip Tube In-Line Connectors & End-Line & feed through the dripper head. Close down the setting knob (on the top of the dripper head).
Connect the feed tube to the water source - either to the mains via the Pressure Reducer (available to purchase separately) or to an elevated tank via the Tank Connector (available to purchase separately). Turn on the water. Turn the setting knob until water starts to drip from the drip tube. Close just to the point where water no longer drips, then close by two further segments (marked with arrows on the knob).
The desired soil moisture level can be regulated - open more water, closed less water. Generally one segment past the marker on the dripper head is sufficient. No water should drip from the tube if the soil is moist. Once set subsequent setting is not required.
Observe the system for a week or two - it will only function properly when the probe is full of water. Generally the surface of the soil is only moist directly below the dripper tube (the water spreads in a bulb shape underground). However, if this point is dry it means that the setting is too low or that the probe is empty (refill & close tightly).
Ensure a constant water supply even when it rains. If the water supply has been disrupted for a long time roots may draw water from the probes, in which case they must be refilled.
Turn the probes every two months or so to prevent water dropping on the same spot for too long.
Maintenance & Over-Wintering
When dismantling the system clean the probes inside & out with water. Any encrustations must be removed using a brush or fine sandpaper. The feed hose may be left in position but it is advisable to store the probes & drip tubes in a frost free place. Unscrew the adjusting knobs to allow the diaphragms to relax.
Each probe & dripper will water an area 8-10" (20-25cm) in diameter. The feed tube will provide enough water for about 200ft / 60 metres (250 probes) in one straight length. If you wish to water a larger area, split the line into two using a ¼" T Connector just after the pressure reducer giving a maximum of 2 x 200 ft / 60 metres (500 probes).
For best water distribution around a large, heavily planted tub, use a combination of probes & distribution drippers.
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