Project DEAL BREAKER – so close.

I made some major strides with Project DEAL BREAKER today.

I was able to fine tune the various DS1820 temp probes as well as use the DS3231 RTC’s internal temperature probe (it has this so it can calibrate the time keeping crystal and be much more precise than RTC’s with an external crystal) as a means to check the electronics enclosure temperature.

But the big jump was getting the Flow Sensor working. I found a pretty simple and easy to use library for flow sensors that does a great job. I was having a ton of trouble with it and because the code would compile and upload fine, I thought I had the electrical hookups wrong. I was pulling my hair out, but this library helped me out!

In the blurry photo below (again, lost my cool phone and used a potato instead) you can see the LCD display panel that sits above the tank as the main monitor. It tracks:

  • Date & Time (This is the DS3231 RTC – the key being that even if there is a power outage, the watch battery in the RTC (real time clock) will maintain the count and keep good time, so if the power turns back on, any scheduling based on the RTC’s time will be intact and up to date. )
  • Air Temperature and relative humidity (DHT22)
  • H2o temp using a ds1820 (display tank)
  • Sump temp using a ds1820 (10 gallon sump filter – where the heaters are)
  • Litres per minute (hoping to change this to hour… waiting on the geniuses on the Arduino forum for some help as I haven’t been able to figure out the conversion yet)
  • And lastly, the temperature of the electronics enclosure.

Very happy that the flow rate sensor is working. Its pretty interesting too. I am moving about 23 Litres a minute through the filter, which is about 1300 litres per hour. There is roughly 130 Litres in the aquatic portion of the tank, so I’m cycling the tank through the filter about 10 times per hour, which is great. It might be a little too much actually, but since its not crazy turbulent, I am considering keeping it at this high rate to see what effect it has on my water parameters… specifically, my ammonia is around .25ppm and I’d like to bring it down more – and my Nitrates are a little high – around 20ppm… I’d like to get it down to around 10. I also added a good chunk of filter floss to the sump the other day, so hopefully we’ll see the levels change some in the coming week or so.

I should note that the Serial Monitor that is available through the Arduino IDE offers more information, including what relays are on/off. This data will likely be included in the wifi expansion and sent to a database so that I can see over time how things like pump, air pump, lights etc impact the tank.

Next Steps:

  • Wire up all of the toggle switches and indicator LEDs
  • Wire up the relays and attach the Mains Voltage.
  • Clean up the wires and replace wires with colour coded custom fits wires.
  • Start operation REAL FAKER and implement Wifi connectivity.

Commence Preliminary Exploration Campaign in Project MEAL MAKER & REAL FAKER

I’ve added a tab in the primary menu of this site called ‘Data Trove’ – it links to a php page outside of the wordpress template style and will hopefully display data from a variety of sensors in real time (or perhaps upon refresh).

Its an ongoing experiment and learning experience. Projects working with data and visualization will be henceforth known as REAL FAKER.

My goals for this are to have:

  • Continuous updates to the database once every 10 minutes
  • Long term historical data
  • The ability to export info to google sheets.
  • Simple visualizations – line graph etc
  • Display multiple databases