Dr. Bell has been experimenting with automatic watering systems for awhile, developing his own models. An early prototype consisted of a system using his toilet tank, an electric pump, and a timer to water his containers though a tray placed underneath them. This method used low pressure, had no leaks, and only ran for 15 minutes a day.
He assembled his own using a swimming pool noodle, table saw, PVC pipe, salvage DC motor and duct tape. Whenever the sun is shining, a solar powered panel switches the lifter on. To move the water, the pipe turns slowly, picking up droplets of water from a storage tank as it turns.