7 Oct
2017

HydroBot: Nutrient Film Technique

Continuous Flow or Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) hydroponic systems use a shallow stream (or film) of water recirculating through a channel to deliver nutrients directly to the plant roots. The stream is shallow enough that the uppermost roots laying in the channel are exposed to air, providing the plant with access to lots of oxygen in addition to all the water it needs. To control the depth of the water stream, NTF systems use channels sloped at 1:30 or 1:40 (around 1.5 degrees). For most plants, the optimal flow rate in each channel is 1-2 L/m, and a maximum length of 10-15 meters is recommended to avoid nutrient depletion at the end of the channel. Because NFT style systems rely on a pump for nutrient and water delivery, there is no protection against power outage or system malfunctions. Plants will quickly die if the pump stops running for more than a few hours. NFT systems are best suited for leafy plants, due to the restricted channels which would not be adequate for the massive root structures necessary for most fruiting plants. Read more »

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30 Sep
2017

Tracking Balloons with WSPR

What is WSPR?

WSPR is a low data rate digital protocol intended for measuring RF propagation, typically on LF and HF bands and at very low powers (often 1W to as little as 20mW). WSPR messages are digital packets that contain just a few pieces of data:

  • Callsign of sender
  • 4-digit grid locator for indicating transmitter location
  • Transmit power in dBm

This data allows a listener to know how far away transmissions originated and with how much power the transmission was made, giving a fairly realistic and real-time measurement of RF propagation.

Read more »

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24 Sep
2017

HydroBot: Hydroponics Overview

What is Hydroponics?

Hydroponics is a method of growing plants without soil, using mineral nutrient solutions dissolved in water. Plants use light to turn water and carbon dioxide into the food they need, through a process called photosynthesis. As long as the plants have enough access to water, air, and nutrients, dirt is not necessary for plants to grow. Read more »

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22 Jul
2017

HydroBot: Prototyping New Modules

ProtoModule is a HydroBot module designed to easily develop and test new monitoring or control functions that may someday go into a HydroBot module. It has 11 GPIO pins and the power rails broken out on a 0.1” pin header for easy breadboarding or interfacing with ribbon cables. The provided pins give access to a variety of digital and analog I/O, as well as digital communication peripherals, to allow for many flexible design options. Read more »

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5 Feb
2017

HydroBot: Connecting the Modules

HydroHub is a HydroBot module designed to connect together HydroBot modules in a star topology. The hub provides power and CAN connectivity to a total of eight channels. It has a DC barrel jack for connecting an external power supply, as well as selectable termination for the CAN bus.

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14 Sep
2016

HydroBot: Switches and Relays

RelayDrive is a HydroBot module designed to drive relays and other electro-mechanical devices. It consists of 4 low-side outputs, each rated for 1A continuous current, as well as 4 digital inputs, and is controlled over CAN. This module is intended to drive mechanical relays, solid state relays, and solenoids for controlling devices such as lights, pumps, heaters, fans, and valves in a HydroBot hydroponic system.  Read more »

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5 Aug
2016

The CANable USB to CAN adapter is now cheaper and back in stock!

CANable Open-Source USB to CANbus adapter

The CANable open-hardware USB to CAN adapter is now back in stock! You can order directly from the Protofusion Tindie store. I dropped the price to $25, making the CANable an even more affordable way to interface with the CANbus. Check out canable.io for more information.

Announcements, Projects | 2 Comments | Tags: , , , , ,
15 Jul
2016

HydroBot: Measuring Atmospheric Conditions

AirSense

AirSense is a HydroBot module designed to measure air temperature, relative humidity, and barometric pressure. It uses the Bosch BME280 atmospheric sensor to take measurements and sends the results out over CAN. The module can measure temperatures from 0 to +65°C with ±1°C accuracy, humidity from 0 to 100% with ±3% accuracy, and pressure from 300 to 1100 hPa with ±1 hPa accuracy. Three LEDs indicate device status, CAN activity, and error states. Read more »

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1 Jul
2016

HydroBot

HydroBot

HydroBot is a modular control system for automating hydroponic gardens. This system is designed with three objectives in mind. First, it will facilitate optimal growing techniques by using scheduling and feedback control loops to maintain state and adapt to changing conditions. Second, it will simplify controls interfaces, making setup and use easier for less tech-savvy gardeners. Finally, the components will be designed in a modular way to increase flexibility and support every imaginable garden configuration. HydroBot aims to bring sensors and actuators together through automation, which will allow hobby growers to focus on growing and not on constantly monitoring and adjusting the environment to keep their garden stable. Read more »

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6 Mar
2016

Therm RTD

Therm RTD

Therm RTD is an addition to the Therm PID Controller family, with support for RTD temperature sensors. RTDs (or Resistance Temperature Detectors) use a coil of fine wire made from a material (usually platinum, copper or nickel) that has a very predictable temperature coefficient of resistance (or change in resistance as temperature changes). RTDs are generally more accurate and stable than thermocouples, and have a much greater range than thermistors – although they can tend to be more expensive than both. Read more »

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