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Robo-Tank Hardware Expansions Coming Soon
#1
Hello, I'm happy to announce some new hardware expansions that will be available soon and currently offering a pre-order that's expected to ship around September 30, 2019. There will be six new expansions, the number that can be connected are in quotes below. I'll be connecting every device possible and posting videos so you can see it in action.
  • 8 Port Analog / Digital Sensors  -  "2"
  • 8 Port Temperature Sensors (DS18B20 and DHT22)  -  "2"
  • 4 Port Heavy Duty Dosing Pumps  -  "3"
  • 4 Port Heavy Duty DC Accessories  -  "3"
  • 4 Port Flow Meters  -  "2"
  • Automatic Top Off System (ATO)  -  "4"
All the expansions have an ATmega32U4 microcontroller so all calculations etc are done on the expansion to limit the load on the main controller. For example the temperature sensor expansion is producing all the values in the selected format and the data is simply sent to the controller to be used. 

All the expansions integrate seamlessly and work together. You can use any expansion port with custom rules, alerts, maintenance, feeding and schedules, the controller software is already setup to do this. Everything can have custom labels, work with graphs etc, just like the default ports.

The shared features are a variety of indicator LED's, full protection for over-voltage, transient surges, etc, built using high quality components and any expansions with DC ports can monitor power consumption.

The ATO expansion is slightly different from the rest, it works if it isn't connected to the controller. All the settings are stored on it, there will be basic defaults which you can change using the controller user interface or any Arduino and it'll always work based on those settings without the controller. It will have all the feature the controller currently has and there will be a connector on it to attach an AC relay if you prefer AC pump over a DC pump.

For Gen3 controllers these will simply plug into any available USB port, if you have Gen2 you only require a small module which will allow you to run the new hardware. And yes for anyone with Gen2 who has those unused ports will get them back once this is finished even though it's a bunch of extra work, I won't force you to buy more stuff. :)

Each of the expansions have two USB ports, you can piggy back everything so no hubs are required. If too many devices are connected a signal booster is required but this is small and simply goes inline where required. This keeps the installation clean and minimal cables are required. The analog, temps and flow meter expansions don't require an external power supply, the other expansions with DC ports do.

The DC, dosing and ATO expansions have the ability to monitor power consumption on the DC ports. The reason I added this is so faulty equipment can be detected but it'll also save and output the power usage data. With that said this feature won't be available for a while as I have to add it to the controller user interface but the hardware will be ready to go and only an update to controller will be required to get it working. 

All the expansions are physically the same width, if you have more than one I can offer a 3D printed rack to attach them to. They will also have a nicely printed face plate for port labeling which really does add to the appearance. 

You can view all the expansions in more detail here.

https://www.robo-tank.ca/en/product/special.html

This is what the DC Accessory Expansion will look like. The lights on the front indicate if the port is on/off and on the side one is power and the other flashes when communicating with the controller.

[Image: dc_case.jpg]

[Image: dc_case2.jpg]

If you have any questions, suggestions or comments let me know.
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#2
Nice add-on.
Can’t wait for the “old” expansion to work again :)
Will the extra add-ons work with the “old” expansion board?
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#3
Thanks, and yeah these all work with Gen2, they all connect like the pH circuit so you would just plug it in.
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#4
Nice, wouldn’t know why I would need 12-16 dosing pumps on my planted tank but is nice to have an option like that
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#5
Yeah don't imagine to many people need that many, it's good if you manage multiple tanks.
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#6
Yeah But even with the “low” pricetag of the robo-tank there aren’t many people who run multiple tanks “fully” controlled I guess.

Most people with multiple tanks stick to stand-alone equipment or Just a filter and a timer voor CO2/lights
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#7
I pretty much agree with that, I think the more popular ones will be for analog sensors and DC accessories for users who want more automation for pumps and valves.

I like how you put "low" in quotes, I also agree with that, comparable the price is good but still not low. My problem is I manually assemble the PCB's which takes a lot of time and I have a physical display which aren't typically included with other controllers. At the moment I'm actually working on a full web app so I can eliminate the display and people use computer, tablet or phone like everything else. I have it working so I see a little light at the end of the tunnel lol...
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#8
Well I finally have most of this completed, sorry a little off on my expected shipping time, I really need to get better with estimates...

This is 19 different devices and working good, 8 more to connect, coming very soon.

3 - 4 port DC accessories
3 - 4 port dosing pumps
2 - 8 port temperature sensors
2 - 8 port analog sensors
1 - 4 port flow meters, one more coming
8 - pH circuits

Everything connects and powers up using USB cables but anything with a DC port requires external power for the actual port to be powered.

Will have a video soon.

[Image: DSCN7789-Optimized.JPG]
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