Posts Tagged ‘Aeroponic’
After the successful completion of my Aeroponic Contoller V3. I started designing the next version of the PCB. This time I decided to package every thing in a single board. In V3, controller depends on external relay modules to on/off devices. In the new version Relays are inbuilt. One of the major change in the new version is, the system is controlled by a bare bone Arduino using Atmega328. The new board has all the features of V3 plus some new features.
The board has several debugging features which allow me to monitor the internal activity of the system via a serial monitor. The board also has the ability to communicate to an external Arduino via I2C, this feature is very essential in case of testing and bug fixing.
V4 Controller with inbuilt Relay modules
V3 Controller with external relay modules
The below system is currently operational at my home. As you can see the system uses 4 external relay modules.
Features of the Controller system
Controlling Water Pump: One of the crucial part of Hydroponic/Aeroponic system is the cycling of water in periodic intervals. A water pump is used to cycle the water. The controller should be able to switch on motor in a particular interval and keep it on for a configured time. Say run motor every 30 mins and keep it on for 3 mins. This settings can be configured from the mobile application.
Nutrient Feeder: In Aeroponic/Hydroponic the fertilizers (called as nutrients) are mixed into the water. In normal scenario we need to add it manually, the system uses two dosage pumps to add nutrients. We can add nutrients two way, either via the mobile app or by manually pressing a button. Through mobile app, we can specify how may ml of nutrients need to mixed to water.
Nutrient Mixer: Used a small wave maker to mix the nutrients while adding it.
Maintain Reservoir Water Level: One of the important thing to consider is, the water pump should not dry run, if it does then ready to buy a new one. In this version, used water level sensors to know the water level. The system used a solenoid valve, which is connected to a water source. When the water level goes down to a set level, system will activate the valve and start filling the reservoir. Once the water reaches a set level, system will switch off the valve.
pH Feeder: This is a new feature, it’s very similar to Nutrient feeder. Instead of adding nutrients this feeder adds pH modifier like Phosphoric acid or similar modifiers to correct the pH level of the water.
Real Time Clock: To deal with time critical logics.
WiFi Module: Allow the system to communicate with Internet, this allow me to control the system from any where in the world.
Communication with the Controller: I am reusing the Android application I wrote for V3. As of now the system talks via Bluetooth.
Last one and half months I was working on my Aeroponic System V2. In this post I will dissect the system and will see each component and what it does. I would like to thank my wife for her tremendous support for helping me in every phase of the development, also she takes care of the germination process and replanting to the system.
Working of the Aeroponic system (video)
Vertical Growing Medium
Here the plants root are growing in Air and the nutrient mixed water will flow through the pipe in periodic intervals. As of now we are growing Spinach and Amaranth.
I fixed a valve to control the water flow. Without this valve the first outlet receives more water because of gravitation and subsequent outlet receives less and the last one receives none. With this valve I can adjust the water flow and helps to get water to each outlet equally.
Normal hydroponic systems use water tanks to hold the nutrient mixed water. I decided to buy one tank as well but the tank is 1 feet tall, that means the vertical growing medium must be place above the tank level and I will loose 1.5 feet from each growing medium. I have total 6 towers and in total I will loose 9 feet of growing medium and will reduce around 30 cups.
After a lot of thoughts I come up an idea to use 6 inch pipe as the reservoir. With simple math I realize that I could store more than 50 lts of water in a 10 feet 6” pipe.
The reservoir has a Submersible pump that can pump 12000 liters per hour. It also have a wave maker to mix Nutrients or pH modifier agents.
The controller system has different components, I numbered each component for ease of explanation.
1. Water Pump switch: Water pump will run in a periodic interval controlled by application running in Rasbperry pi. In some situation I wanted to run the pump immediately without waiting for the interval. With this switch I could run the motor immediately. I can also activate pump from my mobile application as well.
2. Wave Maker switch: As I said earlier the reservoir is equipped with Wave maker to mix Nutrients or pH modifiers. I could activate Wave maker any time by pressing the push button. I used this mostly after adding pH modifiers. Nutrient feeding system will automatically switch on Wave maker after adding nutrients.
3. Nutrients Feeder switch: This push button switch will add 10 ml of nutrients to the reservoir. If I wanted to add more nutrients I could do that via the mobile application.
4. Raspberry pi: The brain of my Aeroponic system. Each and every component is connected to this device. The controller program is written in Node js.
5. Relays: component to switch on/off each hardware like Water pump, Wave maker, etc.
The system is powered with a 12v DC and 240v AC. Each power source can be switched off separately by the two buttons below the Raspberry pi.
In one of my previous post I explained the working of my Aeroponic system. As I mentioned earlier, I wanted to automate one of the recurring task. Yes, adding nutrients. Also I created an Aeroponic system with multiple pillars, I will post another video of my new aeroponics later.
Last week-end I was working on the controller system for my new Aeroponic system. The new system includes the controller system to add nutrients to the reservoir. The system includes two peristaltic pump and a wave maker to mix the nutrient. I can add nutrients via the mobile app I created or by pressing the red button on the board. From mobile device I can specify how much milliliter of nutrients I wanted to add. By Pressing the button I can add a predefined quantity, say 10 ml for each button press.
I will post more updates soon…