Poll: Would you use a LUX Sensor for Light Brightness. NOT A PAR METER - Cost about $10 + Waterproofing
Yes
No
[Show Results]
 
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Planning Final Hardware Phase
#1
Hi folks, so it might not seem like much is happening but I've been hard at it in the background when I have time, unfortunately I have to work to so I can't do this all the time.  K0503

I'm working on what I believe to be the final phase of Robo-Tank. At least with regards to what it can control, over time there are features I want to improve but that's all code related. The hardware should all be finalized. 

For the other features I'm going to need more ports so I've decided to make an expansion hub that plugs into the connector board I'm currently selling. 

This board will be required if you want to run power heads because I need to change the PWM signal type from the Arduino for the different brands available. The other new features can be used on the current connector board if you wanted but this is how I see it.

Here's the plan.

Power Bar


[Image: Power_Bar_Ports.jpg]

The above image is the actual power bar assembled in a project box. I'll explain what each port does, each number in the list goes with the number on the power bar.

  1. USB-B Style Jack - This is where the extension hub plugs in, uses a standard printer cable
  2. RJ45 - This is where you plug in the 4 dosing pumps
  3. RJ45 - This jack is for the Ethernet, you can wire a W5100 Ethernet shield to this plug for easy access
  4. RJ45 - This is where you plug in the 5" or 7" touch screen
  5. USB-A Style Jack - This is for an extra DS18B20 temperature sensor
  6. USB-A Style Jack - This is for an extra DS18B20 temperature sensor
  7. USB-A Style Jack - This is for an extra DS18B20 temperature sensor
  8. USB-A Style Jack - This is for an extra DS18B20 temperature sensor
  9. USB-A Style Jack - This is where you plug in an automatic fish feeder
  10. USB-A Style Jack - This is where you plug in a DS18B20 temperature sensor for the light
  11. USB-A Style Jack - This is where you plug in a DHT22 humidity/temperature sensor for the air
  12. USB-A Style Jack - This is where you plug in a DS18B20 water proof temperature sensor for the aquarium.
  13. 2x16 Pin Header - This is where you connect up to 16 LED lighting channels
* Not on the box would be a DB9 connector allowing you to connect to the remaining 8 AC outlets. This is also a standard computer cable.


Expansion Hub

[Image: Extension_Module.jpg]

The image above I made in Photoshop, not real yet. This is how I imagine the expansion hub. On the back there would be another USB-A jack which is the input from the power bar. There would also be a 2.1mm DC power jack for 12v input. The four ports controlling the power heads can be set via internal jumper to output 5v PWM, 10v PWM, 0-5v Analog and 0-10v Analog so anything that can be "speed controlled" will be compatible. For example if you have a cooling fan that using PWM you can use one of these ports to control it. It'll have 3amp of 5v DC power available and I'll have small patch cables that allow you to plug in your power heads without modify them.

For now I've decided on standard USB jacks because of availability and cost. I would love opinions on other possible jacks. Main requirements is availability and surface mount.

Here's a list of what would plug into it. Each number in the list goes with the number on the expansion hub.

  1. Automatic Top Off (ATO) Pump 
  2. ATO Optical Water Sensor
  3. ATO Backup Float Switch
  4. Water Overflow Sensor
  5. Water Overflow Sensor
  6. Atlas Stamps
  7. Digital Power Head or Water Circulation Pump
  8. Digital Power Head or Water Circulation Pump
  9. Digital Power Head or Water Circulation Pump
  10. Digital Power Head or Water Circulation Pump
  11. LUX Meter for light brightness???????????????????????????  (have one and got it working, not sure if people care?) Would cost about $10 + waterproofing.
  12. Spare (just in case)
The cooling fans would be controller via relays, so they would be on or off. I'm going to add control for 4 in total so they can be used for lights and or to control water temp.

So is there anything I'm missing?
Is there any other equipment that I should be thinking about needing controlled?
Is there anything I can improve?
What are some alternative connectors to look at? Available and surface mount.
Does any care about a LUX meter, NOT PAR! I know you all want PAR but you know...

Any thoughts or input would be greatly appreciated.
Reply to top
#2
Also what are some honest opinions on what you would pay for a controller like this?

Example:

The kit would included absolutely everything you need to build it, from display to power supplies to cables with exception to power head patch cables because not everyone needs four of them. Of course no equipment of any kind is included except for the 3 temperature readings on the home page, I think those have to be connected so they are included. Smile  With the Atlas Scientific probes or DFRobot PH probe you are required to buy the small circuit boards from either supplier. Those start getting expensive so they can't be included because a lot of people only want PH or maybe nothing. This is how all the other controllers work. Their boards may have a place holder for the circuit but not the actual circuit.

Without real numbers done I'm hoping to stay under the $400. Yeah sounds scary.  K0508

However when I look at costs of other controllers that do basically the same it appears to be cheaper, more features and has a full color 7" touch screen none of the other big controllers offer. They forget some of us don't like to use a phone to control everything. Having the 7" display and having it located away from the equipment really took the cost up, in my opinion it couldn't be any other way though. 

My main goal since I got serious on this was to keep the cost as low as possible and give as much as I can for the price. This is everything you'll be able to control on a Robo-Tank DIY Controller Kit for hopefully under $400. The only add-on some might need which I'll have at some point is a signal converter for the 16 channels of LEDs so it works with all driver types. It won't cost to much though.
  • 16 Channels of LED's 
  • 16 Relays for AC Power each acting as a timer and four relays will have 4 timer settings per day.
  • 6 - DS18B20 Temperature Sensors
  • 1 - DHT22 Humidity / Temperature Sensor
  • 4 Fertizlier / Chemical Dosing Pumps
  • Automatic Fish Feeder
  • ATO Pump
  • ATO Optical Water Sensor
  • ATO Backup Float Switch
  • 2 - Water Overflow Sensors
  • 4 - Digital Power Heads / Water Circulation Pumps
  • 1 - LUX Meter (possibly)
  • PH
  • ORP
  • Dissolved Oxygen
  • Conductivity
  • Basic Internet Control
  • Many many web alerts
  • 2 - Heaters Individually Controlled Based on Temperature
  • 4 - Light / Water Cooling Fans Indivdually Controlled Based on Temperature
  • Technically possible to control two aquariums
Reply to top
#3
just make sure the usb plugs on the break out box are standard like store bought usb cables

but it all sounds good so far
Reply to top
#4
The USB plugs are standard A type, the same as the power bar you have.

So I've been doing some more heavy duty thinking about everything and have what I believe to be a better plan. Its better for the future and makes the controller better overall even if I do no more than I've already mentioned.

So basically I want to add another Arduino into the mix, yeah that right 3 Arduinos total. Might seem a little crazy but hear me out.

I think I can squeeze everything I want on the one Mega 2560 I have going for the power bar but with everything the controller will be doing is quite a work load for an arduino. Because I need to make a board for the power heads this is my chance to make things better and the overall cost doesn't go up so how can I not.

So what I'm thinking is the 3rd Arduino will basically be for the internet functions and power head ramps. Doing this the internet portion will run faster and never interrupt the main controller. When I was testing the internet months ago I was seeing that at some points it did hang the arduino until it finished doing what it was trying to do. It also leaves the option of adding more internet features down the road. So the board for the expansion hub would have sockets to plug in the Arduino and Ethernet shield. Thinking about using a Due for the internet Arduino, I hear it handles it much better then the Mega 2560.
Reply to top
#5
I was reminded of another feature tonight I was thinking about a long time ago and didn't think it was possible but with a 3rd ardunio no problem. More light presets or favorites. Currently there's the 4 regular light modes and one temporary mode, but wouldn't it be nice if it had maybe 6 preset buttons like your car stereo. You could change the light instantly for different moods.  K0519
Reply to top
#6
Maybe a detector for water leakage? That can save hundreds of hours and a lot of cash... Or does a water level sensor already take care of that?
Reply to top
#7
Yeah I believe the overflow sensors will work. If any water touches them the controller would respond.
Reply to top
#8
This is how I would love the expansion hub to look like, a guy can dream can't he...  K0519

[Image: Dream%20Expansion%20Hub.jpg]
Reply to top
#9
looks nice
Reply to top
#10
Personally I'm not a huge fan of the USB plugs. They are just too confusing in the modern world where everythign is USB.
I would have opted for RJ11.

Running a Aquascape/Plant Aquarium I could see a use for more than 4 dosing pumps.

Those are my only ideas for improvements.
Reply to top
#11
Really you think more than 4 dosing pumps? Maybe when its all said I done I can add more. The expansion hub will run more its all about the GUI really.

I hear you on the USB plugs, what scares me is people mixing up the plugs. In the beginning I did play with RJ11's for the display and it wasn't good. I wanted to use it because the plug disappears. Using the factory phone cords no current passes through, the wire is so thin. I tried using cat5 cable on the RJ11 connectors but the wire was to thick to put in the connector so I wan't able to get it working over 6ft in length. Maybe there are special RJ11's that accept bigger wire I don't know.

In the end I would prefer waterproof type connectors but cost is way to much that's why I choose USB, easy to get, cheap, small, easy to work with SMD means smaller cheaper boards and fairly reliable. With a total of 27 ports if jacks cost $3 each and connectors $4 each that's nearly $200 just for connections. I'm almost forced to use some kind of USB style connector because of cost. I tried micro USB but they're to fragile. 

I know that's a lot of ports but I think its the best way in the end. For the expansion hub it doesn't cost much more to make it with 14 ports than it does with 6 ports. I don't want to sell all kinds of modules for big bucks and with the single expansion hub everything and anything can be connected. My hope is a person doesn't have to spend a day figuring out what modules and addons are needed to run everything. But yeah downside is a person can get confused on the ports because there are so many. The expansion hub will have customization using jumpers on the board for maximim flexibility and in the GUI on some ports you'll be able to select what the port controls. So a port won't necessary be stuck to a single job or piece of equipment. I'm trying to put a lot of thought into this I hope I'm not missing any equipment.

I've been getting lots of guidance from people which is great, I can use all I can get. I want to make sure I get this right.
Reply to top
#12
I know so many dosing pumps sounds crazy. But when not relying on pre mixed estimaive index solutions, you quickly get to 4. (N,P,K seperately plus Micro nutrients)
But when micro defficiencies are detected, like iron defficiency, you are out of ports to do anything about it.
Or, even though I personally don't like to do this any more, one might also like to dose a carbon fertilizer/anti microbial agent like EasyCarbo.

It's not a important feature. There are so many workarounds available for plant aquarium nuts. Like pre mixing solutions or just running standalone dumb pumps.
I'm just saying. 4 pumps is not crazy in the aquascaping/nature aquarium circles.
Reply to top
#13
I'm realy considering to buy 1.
But i have a quastion.
is it posible to make more options on the dosing pumps. In need too dose 4ore 5 times a day for my reef tank. Now it is only posible 1time a day. Ore m i wrong.
The ato is reely intresting. 

grtz
Reply to top
#14
Dice
welcome to Robo tanks what are you dosing that takes so many times?? is it freshwater or Saltwater? I can not remember if each doser can be set more than once a day but I thought it could be. if not you could set each of the 4 dosing units to be used every day.
I know what you want is either all ready done or is in the works and will be done shortly. Rob works on this in most of is free time. sorry I can not use mine to give you the answer but I am waiting on my last part in the mail to be able to put it all in the case so it is all disconnected. But it is the best out there
Reply to top
#15
(12-03-2015, 10:55 AM)rott Wrote: Dice
welcome to Robo tanks what are you dosing that takes so many times?? is it freshwater or  Saltwater? I can not remember if each doser can be set more than once a day but I thought it could be. if not you could set each of the 4 dosing units to be used every day.
I know what you want is either all ready done or is in the works and will be done shortly. Rob works on this in most of is free time. sorry I can not use mine to give you the answer  but I am waiting on my last part in the mail to be able to put it all in the case so it is all disconnected. But it is the best out there

I have a reef tank. i have a havy sps and lps tank. so i if i dose it in 1 time my sps dont like it and color brown from stress.
Dosingpump 1 5x30ml kh
Dosingpump 2 5x30ml ca
Dosingpump 3 3x20ml mg
Dosingpump 4 2x5ml strontium
Dosingpump 5 2x5ml iodine
Dosingpump 6 2x5ml manganese
My reef is because of this super stabile
My saltwatertests are always spot on. 
I cant dose evrything togeter because they wil react and cristalise on the bottum of my sump.
Reply to top
#16
I know what you mean nothing worse than watching your dosing stuff turn in to snow. for that much dosing you must have a lot of sps do you dose that every day join the forum so you can post a pic of your reef tank
Reply to top
#17
rob using that usb bar would it need 36 wires coming out or at least 27 if using a shared ground or some thing
Reply to top
#18
(12-03-2015, 10:07 AM)Dice Wrote: I'm realy considering to buy 1.
But i have a quastion.
is it posible to make more options on the dosing pumps. In need too dose 4ore 5 times a day for my reef tank. Now it is only posible 1time a day. Ore m i wrong.
The ato is reely intresting. 

grtz

Hey Tom, also the ATO hasn't been added yet but I do have everything now to do it and receive the new boards tomorrow so I hope to get to it shortly.

Nice schedule you have, as I mentioned, today it can't be done on Robo-Tank. I'm fairly new to the hobby so I'm learning a lot as I go. The settings do allow you to dose in 1ml increments but a person can slow the pump speed down and dose less if they need to. I've also been asked for more dosing pumps which I'm definitely going to consider. I do have a spare RJ45 on the connector board which could be used for 4 more dosing pumps.
Reply to top
#19
(12-03-2015, 08:46 PM)rott Wrote: rob using that usb bar would it need 36 wires coming out or at least 27 if using a shared ground or some thing

It could depending what was done, if everything was I2C I believe 4 wires would do. I think/hope the new board will be enough, its nice to still have an RJ45 available on the connector board for equipment.
Reply to top
#20
cool 4 wires area lot better
Reply to top


Possibly Related Threads…
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  Reef-pi Hardware Now Available Rob F 14 428 02-16-2020, 11:04 AM
Last Post: Rob F
  Robo-Tank Hardware Expansions Coming Soon Rob F 13 856 11-10-2019, 01:36 PM
Last Post: Rob F
  Robo-Tank 3rd Generation Hardware Rob F 42 7,485 06-24-2018, 07:14 PM
Last Post: Rob F
  Gen 2 Hardware Mod Required Rob F 1 2,668 12-19-2016, 04:10 AM
Last Post: Rob F

Forum Jump:

Current time: 04-08-2020, 07:24 PM