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IT’S OFFICIAL – Maker Faire 2014 – we will be there with a booth to show case Tower unit March 24, 2014

Posted by rik94566 in adafruit, agponic MD, agponicMD, agponics.com, aquaponic automation, aquaponics, aquaponics electronics, arduino, DIY aquaponics, DS18B20, indoor aquaponics, Internet-of-Farming, IoT aquaponics, One-wire, PRODUCTS, sensor, Stainless Steel Temp Probe, Tower Pocket Block, Tower Tubes, Yourduino.
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I’ve been accepted to exhibit at @MakerFaire Bay Area on May 17 & 18, 2014 http://makerfaire.com/

#20475 – internet of farming arduino-based aquaponics

Will be able to show case a number of new leading edge things that I have been developing.

Here are just a few of them:

Design of a “Radial Flow Filter” for the tower unit system ( will be blogging and doing a Youtube video about it shortly”

Venturi DIY design that will replace air pumps on my systems.

Aquaponic Fog Unit that I have just completed and in testing mode now.

Have fully working Tower unit with totally enabled  IoT features that show case the latest developments in this technology as related to aquaponics.


RELAY ORDER CAME — March 2, 2013

Posted by rik94566 in agponics.com, aquaponic automation, aquaponics, arduino, sensor, Yourduino.
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I reviewed my options on larger relay sets and picked the following ones from Yourduino site.

8 - relay board-2

4-relay board

I went with the Opto-Isolated units as they are much safer when using around water and 120 volt systems.  My plan is to build a 12 outlet controller portable unit. Don’t know what it will look as yet because the plan is still in mind I know I will have 8 relays configured to be in the closed mode and the other 4 relays will be in the open mode.  This I think will give me the most flexibility with all the items I want to control with this unit.

NEW TOOL NEEDED — digital caliper January 16, 2013

Posted by rik94566 in aquaponics, DIY aquaponics, Harbor-Freight, Rj45 connector.
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Harbor-Freight - Digital Caliper

Harbor-Freight – Digital Caliper

Now that I have a model to work with I needed a way to pull measurements off.   Not being an engineer of any kind or worked with very small models, I never had a need to own a digital caliper.  As you can see it was not an issue of cost.  Everyone should own one of these tools they are so handy for a number of different jobs.  Here is the one I purchased.  Now I was all set to jump off into the deep end and start learning Sketch-Up.  It was a sink or swim venture for me….. and my starting project was way more complicated than the run of the mill dog house construction.

Here is the link if you want to look at it:


ATOMIC RED — (daucus carota) – aquaponic carrots April 23, 2012

Posted by rik94566 in aquaponics, Atomic Red Carrots, Carrots, Kitazawa Seed Company.
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At the first of the new year I had open bed space and a packet of Atomic Red Carrots from Kitazawa Seeds.  So guess what — I thought I would give them a try.


When I looked at the expected growth characteristics I was a little early on the germination range and the height would be about 2 feet in total.  I use a whole package of seed and just mixed into my gravel – nothing special here.  The seeds are very – very – very tiny.  They did float at first and ended up on one end of the bed area.  Once germination was accomplished I just moved the seedlings around until I got the spacing I thought would work.  Having never worked with carrots before I had no idea what to expect.

Well as of this past weekend here is what I have:

Over 3 feet of growth now

Here are additional pictures to show how well these “ATOMIC REDS” are doing.

Full view of the grow bed

Additional view

Akasanjaku – Yard Long Bean February 19, 2012

Posted by rik94566 in Akasanjaku, aquaponics, Kitazawa Seed Company, Yard Long Bean.
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This past Saturday I planted my first seeds for the growing season.  I selected Akasanjaku – Yard Long Bean for aquaponics.  Do not know if it will grow, but it is worth a try.  I purchased my seed from Kitazwa Seed Company.  Being that some night time temps are still in the mid 40″s F I am trying a new method to give my seeds a early start.  I will blog about this and put up some pictures to give you an idea of what it looks like.
Here is the link if you are interested:


Vigna unguiculata subsp sesquipedalis

Seed #174
Yard long beans are sometimes called Asparagus beans or Chinese Long beans. This highly prized sweet variety produces long, slender, round stringless pods that grow 12-16″ long. The dry beans of this variety are a red color. This strong plant thrives on heat and is easy to grow.
  • Warm season annual
  • Approx. 50-60 seeds in packet. (A seed will vary in weight and size within a given seed lot. The number of seeds stated is only an estimate.)
  • Maturity: Approx. 75 days
  • Planting season: Late spring to early summer

DS18B20 – External Power connection details January 23, 2012

Posted by rik94566 in 1-wire, DIY aquaponics, DS18B20, One-wire, Radio Shack, sensor, Stainless Steel Temp Probe.
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Now that I have determined which power supply will be used, I need to find a panel-mount coaxial DC power jack that will work with it.  So off to Radio Shack I go.  Good thing I took the power supply with me, because I found that Radio Shack sells two items that are hard to tell apart.  They are called “Size N” and “Size M” Coaxial DC Power Jacks.  It is clear the center pins are different in size.  As it turns out the one that fits my power supply is the “N” type.

Size N Panel-Mount Coaxial DC Power Jack Model:274-1576

Here is the Link:

The only connection details about this jack are on the packaging.  Not very clear either.  There is no spec or tech details on the Radio Shack site about the product either.   So I worked up a drawing for use here.

Connection Details

How you connect up the wire depends on the configuration of the power supply.  That will be the next step in the process to connect up and drive DS18B20’s with external power.

10,000 views surpassed on Instructables June 11, 2011

Posted by rik94566 in aquaponic automation, aquaponics, arduino, CAT 5 Cable, Crop, DIY aquaponics, DS18B20, Float Sensor, Float Switch, general, Glow Panel 45, Gravity feed valves, Hacks, indoor aquaponics, indoor gardens, indoor growing, Instructables, LED growing, LED lights, plumbing, POW-Rduino, Rj45 connector, sensor, Sensor Hub, Stainless Steel Temp Probe, Standards, sunshine systems, Suppliers, Temperature Probe, Yield Results.
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I have written 3 instructables  over the last 2 years.  I have just gone over 10,000 views.  Never thought I would every have had that many views with only 3 instructions.  Always good to know people are interested in what I am interested in.

Passed 10,000 views

SUGRU – fills in the holes June 7, 2011

Posted by rik94566 in aquaponic automation, aquaponics, CAT 5 Cable, DIY aquaponics, DS18B20, Float Sensor, Float Switch, Hacks, Home Depot, indoor aquaponics, indoor gardens, indoor growing, Rj45 connector, sensor, Sensor Hub, Stainless Steel Temp Probe, Standards, SUGRU, Suppliers, Temperature Probe.
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Now that I have working Sensors on a standardized connection platform (CAT 5 & RJ45).  I need to figure out how to use off the shelf housings that will be plug-n-play for my aquaponic units.  The problem is that nothing is water resistant and they all have lots of openings.  That is because most if not all are for indoor use.  All the outdoor options are to large for my applications.  So I went with a standard indoor 2-Port QuickPort I purchased at Home Depot.

Leviton 2-Port Surface Mount Housing

With a little help from SUGRU I was able to fill in the holes and can now mount the completed unit on my aquatubes.  This will allow me to cover all my sensor connections and transition over to RJ45 connectors.

Here is what I started with:

Starting Housing

Here is what it looked like before assembly:

Openings filled before assembly - Inside look

Bottom View

Here is the completed assembly:

Back View of Completed Assembly

Front View of Completed Assembly

How the openings match-up:

Opening that match-up

Now I am ready to connect up the sensors and mount the completed assembly on the aquatubes hook-up my CAT 5 and I am ready to sense all inputs.  O yes, I need some White SUGRU to make it look better.  I am placing my order today!

Instructable Published on work done on the DS18B20 June 1, 2011

Posted by rik94566 in aquaponic automation, aquaponics, arduino, CAT 5 Cable, DIY aquaponics, DS18B20, Home Depot, indoor aquaponics, indoor gardens, indoor growing, Instructables, Lowes, Rj45 connector, sensor, Stainless Steel Temp Probe, Standards, Suppliers, Temperature Probe.
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Tonight I pulled all the posts from my work on the DS18B20 assembly and put it into an Instructable for anyone interested.  I will see how how many views it will generate.

Published Instructable

Build the DS18B20 – RJ45 testing plug May 29, 2011

Posted by rik94566 in aquaponic automation, aquaponics, arduino, CAT 5 Cable, DIY aquaponics, DS18B20, Hacks, Home Depot, indoor aquaponics, Lowes, Rj45 connector, sensor, Standards, Suppliers, Temperature Probe.
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Now that I have a  DS18B20 temp probe connected to CAT 5 cable with RJ45 jack the unit is compete. But I don’t know if all the connections are working.  So it is time to test the completed assembly. The only way to accomplish this task is to construct a RJ45 female  plug with a CAT 5 cable end.

Female RJ45 connector with CAT 5 cable

I purchased my RJ45 female connector at Home Depot as I like this brand of connector.  It is easy to use and I get consistent results.  Lowes sells a different type connector, but it will work just the same.  I will use the 3 wire standard configuration with the CAT 5 cable (ORANGE-BLUE-BROWN).  I have cut away all other wires of the CAT 5 so there will be no confusion as to connections to be made.  I also stripped the wire ends to allow for clips to be attached.

Testing the assembly is now the next step.  To do this, I will need to use my multimeter set to the conductivity mode.  The multimeter probes can be used either way for testing.  You will get the same results.

Testing connections with multimeter

Test each wire with the correct position inside the RJ45 female plug.  When you touch the probe ends to the correct points the multimeter will beep.  Should this not happen you will need to redo the connections.  Keep testing until you get consistent results.  Once you are sure all connections are working move on to test the completed DS18B20 temp probe assembly.