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aquaponic BIO-REACTOR – part of a Balcony Unit design just published on INSTRUCTABLES May 31, 2015

Posted by rik94566 in Uncategorized.
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Just published on INSTRUCTABLES the section on BIO-REACTOR build for the Balcony Unit.  AdditionAL sections will be published now to document the building of a Balcony Unit.  So stay tuned as more content will be generated in support of releasing the Balcony Unit as a open source project for all to view – share – build!

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aquaponic BIO-REACTOR – Balcony Unit

aquaponic BIO-REACTOR is a component of a lager aquaponic Balcony Unit System ( see in pictures above). This instructable is to document the build of the BIO-REACTOR and is referenced in the assembly directions for putting together the Balcony Unit. This provides a comprehensive guide to parts and materials used in the construction of the BIO-REACTOR. You can find individual items of the build at www.rik94566.wordpress.com if you do not want to spend the time to gather all the parts on your own or have extra materials left over from the build.

WHAT DOES IT DO?

DIY BIO-REACTOR – converts toxic fish waste to non-toxic plant fertilizer using moving bed media (big system component not found in any small systems).

WHY IS IT NEEDED:

Three basic rules in aquaponics are as follows:

1:1 RELATIONSHIP — between fish tank volume and grow bed volume.

NUMBER OF FISH (stocking density) — The general rule of thumb for a home, media-based aquaponics system is one pound (500g) of fish for every five to ten gallons (20 to 40 liters) of fish tank water.

FEEDING FISH – only feed fish the amount of food they can eat in 5 minutes.

The BIO-REACTOR is needed because most if not all small systems and owners of these systems break all three of these rules. Breaking these rules causes systems to fail or never reach a balance. The BIO-REACTOR builds a buffer into the system so when the above rules are not followed the Balcony Unit can still work without major system issues that new auqapons (people new to aquaponics) are unaware of or know how to correct.

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Temboo – my new found friend May 28, 2015

Posted by rik94566 in aquaponic automation, aquaponics, arduino, Internet-of-Farming, Temboo.
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Ever since the release of the “Internet of Farming” YouTube interview –  the recurring question is how to get the code working on my Arduino for my situation.  Well —  the reality of it is that everyone has a very different situation and totally different conditions specific to their setup and needs.

In the video I was using what was the best solution at the time to overcome this programming issue for me and what I was working to accomplish.  I spent a lot of time on research and internet searches and came up with the best solution at the time.  Fast forward 3 years and factor in advancements in technology and now things have progressed at a fast rate and new tools and companies are popping up in this next big area of technology growth IoT – Internet of Things.

I started learning about Temboo  ( https://temboo.com/ ) on different blogs that I follow and checked them out and began to learn more about their solution.  It seemed very simple in concept and very close to what I was looking for to help others on the same journey I have been on for a long time now.  Couple this with the Balcony Unit I have been developing over the last year for entry level people wanting a solution to learn Aquaponics and use automation  — it was a clear match.  It is a match because if someone built a Balcony Unit for themselves or purchased a kit of parts then they can customize the software solution for their needs using Temboo.  All I would have to do is supply a base code to get people started and then they can take their Balcony Units ( or other projects you have ) to whatever level you want.  There you go a PERFECT WORLD!

So as it goes I contacted Temboo about working with me on the Balcony Unit and the article for MAKE Magazine that is schedule to run sometime in the Fall of this year.  Well it turns out Temboo was interested in this effort and will be working with me to get some base code build that all of you will have access to right here for the Balcony Unit.  John Sigmier of Temboo reached out to me and let me know Temboo was interest in this effort.  So I will be blogging about all this effort now that we are close to pulling it all together for the finished Balcony Unit effort.  You will be reading about this effort and what I learn in this process.

John Sigmier of Temboo came by to chat and look at the aquaponic Balcony Unit at Maker Faire 2015 -

John Sigmier of Temboo came by to chat and look at the aquaponic Balcony Unit at               Maker Faire 2015 –

Technology is complicated — May 8, 2015

Posted by rik94566 in Controlled Environment Agriculture, DIY aquaponics, Electronic Componets, indoor aquaponics, IoT aquaponics, Temperature Probe.
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I say this because I will be displaying my aquaponic – IoT – Balcony Unit  at Maker Faire next week in San Mateo.  To accomplish the IoT part of the build I have to use technology that allows for internet communication thus IoT!  Well there are many options available to accomplish this task – some not so easy and others not enough features to be effective for this project.

So my choice in this case is the Arduino YUN —

arduino yun

I made this choice because I had one (but had not used it as yet) and the fact that documentation on it is easy to find.  The other fact is that Temboo www.temboo.com uses the YUN as one of its options for their solution to the Internet of Things and I am working with them on this open source project so many others will be able to get up and running in short order and have simpler options to add additional capability based on the persons needs and I will not have to supply the customer support for any aspect of the code other than give everyone a stating point.
WELL –  that is where things got interesting.

Had to work through getting the YUN on the network of choice.  Not a big deal but it took some time and many attempts to get it dialed in because the Arduino instructions tell you to go to arduino.local to find the individual unit.  Well this only works about 60% of the time.  So the solution is to use the IP address of 192.168.24.1 now I could configure the thing to my liking.  Once configured it would not show up in the Arduino IDE at all.  Major issue for me as I had no idea if the unit configured or not.  I finally when on to my wireless router to see if the board was being recognized.  Had to dig out all the USER ID and PASSWORD info and then work through all the menus to determine what in fact was connected to the router.  There is was — YEA

Now I had to research out why it was not listed as a port option in my Arduino IDE.  Well after some time and deep research I found that Arduino IDE only works some times for the YUN on wireless.  So the uploading from Arudino IDE to the board is not an option as most of the YouTube videos demonstrate quite well.  This becomes an issue because I found out that as configured the YUN does not have enough on board memory, so a SD card is needed.

Using an SD card with the YUN requires that the card be format using the YUN.  To do that you need to know that the YUN is connected to the internet and working properly which is very hard to know if it is or not.

So once you know the YUN is connected and you have it connected through cable to your computer you need a file called ” YunDiskSpaceExpander” found on the Arduino site.  Once uploaded you access it through the Serial Monitor of the Arduino IDE.  If all goes well you answer a bunch of cryptic questions and bingo the thing kicks off.  Once do you have a formated YUN SD enabled board.

Now I am ready for the real fun stuff to generate code to be used through Temboo so I will have “Streaming Data” and text messaging in short order – lets hope!

The good news in all of this is that I will be documenting all of this for the instructions to the Balcony unit for all to use and save anyone interested in building one or gets a kit from me that will be up and running in short order.

See you all at Maker Faire next Saturday if you make it there!