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PostPosted: Apr 26th, '13, 18:17 
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Bob,

My system buildout is my current project so I am not ready to buy or tinker with the pi. I still day dream/brain storm about a project like this that i plan to work on eventually. I have considered arduino but I dont have a ton of experience with that technology, however, linux and programming i am like a fish in water. So the pi seems like the most feasible solution for me. The pi can absolutely do what you are suggesting but i dont know how you are going to be able to build a useful controller without programming.

To answer your questions about what an ideal controller logger should have is.

detect and log water temp, ambient temp, and ph as a min. PPM would be interesting. For the pi, it's probably going to be necessary to have a USB hub (with it's own power supply) and use USB to connect each probe. There are USB probes but you could also take a serial probe and adapt it to usb.


The probes will only need to take readings periodically, but the interval should be configurable.

The data should be stored in a database and be graphable and exportable to csv for manipulation.

Since we are already attaching USB hub i think cheaper pi version without the ethernet adapter makes the most sense and I would just connect a wireless ethernet adapter so you dont have to run extra cable to your pi


I would want the ability to track some manually collected information. One time events like adding/removing fish, measuring/tracking fish growth, planting and harvesting plants and Other other periodic events that we cant automatically test for because of technology or cost prohibative like testing micronutrients every other week.



Ideally I would want to manage, schedule, calculate and execute feeding from the controller. The controller would be smart enough to calculate feeding based on number of fish, average fish weight and temperature. maybe other factors involved?


I am willing to try and answer any specific linux related questions you have, but i cannot teach you linux. It's just too much to learn. Use google and the online documentation and forums, there's everything you will ever need to know, Sometimes you just need to know what to search for.


brian

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PostPosted: Apr 26th, '13, 23:03 
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Thanks for the suggestions Brian. I guess I'll just have to learn some programming like you suggested.

I've started a brainstorming document in Word with your ideas and others. Also I've been going back through this forum and the Pi forum looking at what others have done with automation and sensing. Then I copy and paste their links as a reminder to revisit. It's just a crude copy paste affair for now.

I've email Nuts and Volts for the authors contact info. :geek:

Anyone else want to pipe in with ideas or suggestions?

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PostPosted: Apr 27th, '13, 07:40 
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I'm thinking of trying something similar at some point soon. I've got most of the equipment and some of the know how, just waiting for some time to devote to the project. As with Brian, building a functioning AP system is higher on the list atm, at least that way I'll have something to monitor.

If you're after some inspiration, take a look at http://brewpi.com They're using the pi with an arduino to do temperature logging and control, displaying all the results through a snazzy web interface.

The hard (read expensive) part is getting the more interesting sensors. Something built for the arduino will set you back at least $100. https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10972

An alternative might be to buy a cheap(ish) digital meter and somehow interface to that: http://www.conrad-uk.com/ce/en/product/ ... =404424866

Possibly by tapping into the analog input to the ADC, (hopefully after it's been amplified!).

My questions would be how frequently these types of meters and probes need to be calibrated, and how well they'd work left permanently in a tank. Would the reading drift over time until recalibrated? How quickly?

Other interesting measurements might the the water depth, the DO (even harder than ph, but potentially much more useful?), the amount of light...

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PostPosted: Apr 28th, '13, 21:00 
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Thanks BIF for the ideas.

Also those websites you suggested look very interesting.

You bring up a good point about how often one needs the expensive probes. Maybe a guy should look at the simple ones first like water depths and temperatures. But what the hey, one never knows how carried away one might get! The thing I like most about the Pi is the ability to sent pictures of a person's setup. That one about pictures will have to be included for sure.

I decided I to have to bite the bullet and learn some programming. So I found an ebook that looks promising for a raw recruit like me. Amazon has a Kindle version of "Programming the Raspberry Pi Getting Started with Python" by Simon Monk. The cost was only $8 and I can read it on my MacBook Pro. The book is stored in Amazon's "Cloud" and a person uses their "Cloud Reader". So far the author does a good and simple job of introducing stuff. Even I can understand :D

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PostPosted: May 2nd, '13, 21:55 
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I had some time this morning so I was messing around with my Pi. I was able to surf the web and look at the forum using just the Pi. Ran into a small problem while trying to log in from the Pi. I forgot my proper user name and password. After 3 attempts I got locked out. I logged backed in on the Mac. I'll try logging in from the Pi later. I just wanted to see if I could get on the web, which I did. Also played with Python for a little bit. Right now the Pi is Cat5 into the router as a stand alone. Next thing I want to do is go "headless" via cat5 to our wireless router. "Headless" meaning no attached screen, keyboard, mouse are connected to the Pi. Everything would be controlled by my wireless MacBook Pro. After that MAYBE try a wireless and headless Pi over wifi and/or internet.


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PostPosted: May 5th, '13, 08:00 
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I have actually already started working on a Pi datalogger.

The idea is Pi -> micro -> sensors. The pi will store the data in a MySQL database and display it via a web server. All that could be simplified a lot, but i would like to be able to see the data from anywhere.

In my mind, and i am already working towards it, it should be configurable via the web interface, so i can change it from my pc and not have to go outside. I have the basic configuration screen working. From there, the PHP generates a python script that will dump all the data into the SQL database. The python script kind of works and should not need too much more work to be a goer on the comms side of things. Then it just needs to dump the data (should be easy).

The hardest part is finding the time to work on it at the moment. I will try and get my lasted code into github and share it. I was going to wait until it was working before sharing it, but time is short for me atm.

I will add that one of my goals is to have it micro independent. So if anyone can suggest an existing simple data protocol over serial for basic data/configuration i am all ears. Much easier to use something that exists than make your own.

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PostPosted: May 5th, '13, 08:48 
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Maybe not... It seems my backup didnt work properly and now i have to almost start again... :(

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PostPosted: May 5th, '13, 13:03 
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I bought a few Pi last week before I started reading about aquaponics. At $36 each, they can make a cheap controller.

Initial plan was to use one to replace the existing weather station, more sensors etc. Now the idea of using one for monitoring/controlling the yet to be built aquaponics set up looks like fun.
Temperature and a ph probe are easy enough to do but I'd like to be able to get hold of suitable sensors for monitoring water quality. Unfortunately, while these are available, they are expensive!

I've a background in supporting Linux so if there's any help I can give, please ask.

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PostPosted: May 5th, '13, 13:03 
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Hah, sorry to hear that. It's frustrating to start over. But when i learn something new, i usually scrap it right before i am done to redo it better using everything i learned during the process. SO hopefully it works out for you.

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PostPosted: May 5th, '13, 13:31 
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I must have moved my working folder somehow to outside of my ubuntu one file. Stupid sleep addled brain....

Problem is, i have a terrible memory. Every time i code i have to relearn the commands. :lol:

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PostPosted: May 5th, '13, 18:11 
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That's a great start Bob H, keep up the good work!

Getting it running headless sounds like a good next step. (The easiest 'headless' option is to use ssh to connect - you'll be stuck with a command line interface, but that might be all you need. ssh will already be installed and running. The only problem you might have is using the root account, for which sshing using a password is usually disabled).

rsevs3 - consider json as a communication protocol, see the brewpi project: http://brewpi.com for examples of someone doing exactly this. I have a question though, when you say micro-independent, do you mean 'works without a micro' or 'works with any type of micros'? If the latter, why bother?

Or is the idea to 'loosely couple' the microcontroller, so if someone wants to use a different one it's easy enough to re-write an isolated chunk of code to work on a new micro? That I can get behind, whole-heartedly!

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PostPosted: May 5th, '13, 18:20 
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Mine is running headless, ssh is allowed to the default user (pi) and you can user 'sudo' to run things as root.

Installing the LAMP stuff (apache, mysql, php) is straight forward and only takes a few minutes (depending on your Internet speed). One this is done, you can do your control via a browser - once you've written the code of course.

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PostPosted: May 5th, '13, 19:39 
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Port_huon yep that is the plan. Simplicity is in every decision I make. I have a brief list of goals and simplicity is the key to all of then.

BIF you have nailed it with the last part of your comment. I don't want to tie anyone to any system. The code I am writing will run on any Linux system I think. The anyone can use a PC, r pi, whatever with their micro of choice.

I will check out json, but my gut feeling is that it is well and beyond what would be required for this task. *my gut feeling is without any knowledge of json :P

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PostPosted: May 6th, '13, 19:20 
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Thanks BIF for the encouragement. The big advantage of the Pi and Linux is also a big disadvantage, for me any way. It’s so flexible and one can make it do what ever. When folks make suggestions I have to literally google the vocabulary and see what they are trying to tell me.

Decisions, decisions…

Command line interface, a LAMP webserver interface and lately I read about a critter called VNC. Which one to choose? How to decide?

Any thoughts????

I like rsevs3’s principal of simplicity and port_huon suggestion of “headless”. For now I’ll just use the Pi to monitor some temperatures off the GPIO.

I also read about some useful libraries like Python GPIO and especially a webcam library called “”simplecv”. Pictures and or video have to be at the top of my list.

ssh/command line vs LAMP stack/webserver vs VNC?

How about it, which interface, anyone? Keep in mind no experience here but willing to invest the time to learn.

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PostPosted: May 6th, '13, 20:31 
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Everything revolves around the command line. It can be daunting at first, but as you get the hang of it you will find it much faster and powerful. Once you have got the basics in the command line Linux is your oyster.

Another great way to help you learn Linux is chuck Ubuntu on a USB pen. It won't be as fast as a proper install but it will be fast than the pi. Ubuntu is very learner friendly and probably the most widely used linux desktop. Using it daily will help get past the initial learning.

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