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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!

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TOWER SYSTEM – set-up at Maker Faire 2014 May 22, 2014

Posted by rik94566 in adafruit, agponics.com, arduino, DIY aquaponics, DS18B20, Electronic Componets, indoor aquaponics, indoor gardens, indoor growing, Internet-of-Farming, IoT aquaponics, One-wire, Raspberry PI, Tower System, Tower Tubes.
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Maker Faire - 2014

EDITOR’S CHOICE – not once – but 3 times @ Maker Faire – WOW May 21, 2014

Posted by rik94566 in agponics.com, aquaponic automation, aquaponics, aquaponics electronics, arduino, DIY aquaponics, indoor aquaponics, indoor gardens, indoor growing, Internet-of-Farming, IoT aquaponics, Raspberry PI, sensor, Tower System.
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Very few displays achieve 3 EDITOR CHOICE AWARDS —

MAKER FAIRE - AWARD

RADIAL FLOW FILTER – just completed April 2, 2014

Posted by rik94566 in agponics.com, aquaponic automation, aquaponics, aquaponics electronics, Controlled Environment Agriculture, DIY aquaponics, Electronic Componets, indoor aquaponics, Internet-of-Farming, IoT aquaponics, PRODUCTS, radial flow filter, Tower System.
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IMG_1365Since first conceiving of the Tower unit as a concept I knew they needed to be operated differently than DWC and Media bed in how you deal with the solids from the fish.  Media beds —  it has not been that big a deal for me because my rule is that any tank size smaller than 350 I filter the water and break-up the solids and then put back into solution by pumping back into the grow beds.  This way I lose no nutrients that the fish produce.  Has worked well for over 3 years now.  In the testing that I have done with the towers I found that solids need to be dealt with or things will plug up.  I still will be reintroducing the broken up solids back into the system put it will take place downstream of the bio-filter component and re-injected into the new buffer tank that stabilizes fish tank water volume and height.  This all came out of research I was doing on how best to handle solids in aquaponics.  As designed this radial flow filter can handle up to and maybe a bit more than a 1000 gallons of fish tank water.  The only thing left to figure out on this radial flow filter now is where I will be locating the outlet for the clean water.  That will be dependent on fish tank water level.  Should have fish tank completed this coming weekend and make the determination on this aspect of the build.

I put together a youtube slide show if you want to see more detail of the radial flow filter:

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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IT’S OFFICIAL NOW:

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.

makerfaire

ASPARAGUS – year 2 March 1, 2014

Posted by rik94566 in agponics.com, aquaponic automation, aquaponics, asparagus, Crop, DIY aquaponics, IoT aquaponics.
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Well I am into year 2 with my asparagus.  The weather in Northern California has been short on rain and very warm.   So no surprise that my asparagus is about 2 months ahead of normal.  I was thinking that it would be about a month earl as I can control almost all the environmental factors that impact the growth cycle.  Just so happy to see that it survived the winter and growing well.  You judge for yourself!

aspargus-1

asparagus-2

agponic MD – connecton box left side features February 12, 2014

Posted by rik94566 in agponic MD, agponicMD, agponics.com, aquaponic automation, aquaponics, aquaponics electronics, arduino, DIY aquaponics, DO sensor, indoor aquaponics, indoor growing, Internet-of-Farming, IoT aquaponics, One-wire, PRODUCTS, Slide Switch, Slide Switch.
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Here is the configuration of the left side of the connection box.

MD - pow pic

www.carriots.com — new option in the IoT world of automation February 4, 2014

Posted by rik94566 in agponics.com, aquaponic automation, aquaponics, aquaponics electronics, arduino, Carriots, DIY aquaponics, Internet-of-Farming, IoT aquaponics.
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Last week I was very charged up about the blog posting by Home Automation.  It was not that the work they were talking about was that outstanding, it was more about the API he was using called CARRIOTS.  It can be found at http://www.carriots.com.  There have been a number of similar type products hitting the market place recently by a number of different organizations and companies.  What I found most impressive with this was the fact that it was very straight forward and well documented with a clear pricing structure that was affordable for hackers.  The better news is that they have tech support as part of the reason they are in business.  Even better is that with this product it can be used in place of two products (APduino & Xively) because it has features that are found in both the other two services like “RULES”. Can’t wait to see what we all can do with a easy to use and less resource intensive API.

Check out this tutorial:

https://www.carriots.com/tutorials/Arduino_RPi_Carriots/flowmeter

Here is a cool project that will help you see what can be done with this service:

carriots - beer

200,000 Views on Youtube – “Internet of Farming” — WOW February 2, 2014

Posted by rik94566 in agponics.com, aquaponic automation, aquaponics, Crop, DIY aquaponics, Internet-of-Farming, IoT aquaponics, Tower System.
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200K views

Re-Design of agponic-MD January 29, 2014

Posted by rik94566 in agponic MD, agponicMD, agponics.com, aquaponic automation, aquaponics, aquaponics electronics, DS18B20, Float Sensor, Float Switch, indoor aquaponics, IoT aquaponics, One-wire.
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agponicsMDAfter much thinking about how I could improve the desktop aquaponic automation simulator called agponic-MD (micro-device) I built a new one.  It helps to have people that wanted to purchase a few of them.  So I got busy and made it a bit  larger with expansion capability for future components like a 12V backup system  and additional sensors to learn how to automate.  Here is the feature set for the re-designed agponic-MD.

agponic MD
Fully valved for water movement and control
Large grow bed and  tank configuration
1 – water pump to drive unit

4 – water level control sensors
1 – RH and temp internal probe
3 – temp probes (grow bed / water tank / outside)
1 – water flow sensor
1 – pH probe and connectors
1 – DO or additional probe expansion options for future growth of unit
1 – controllable drain port
1 – grow bed media package to fit grow bed (comes from an established grow bed – so bacteria included)
1 – Container of starter water from an active system ( should you like to cycle the system)
1 – outside tank temp indicator
1 – Heater for tank water
1 – Air pump and stone

3 – Grow Pockets for holding plants
5 – Grow sponges for starting seeds and fit into grow pockets
3 – RJ-45 testing cable – for test jacks and sensor connectivity
Back-up air stone and supply option for expansion
Power cords to connect up valves and electrical items
Arduino or Raspberry Pi ready  — (can connect up to either one depending on situation)
Over flow configuration to prevent spillage in grow bed
RJ-45 control boxes that allows outside connection to micro-controller option using standard RJ-45 jacks
Switching External or micro-controller power configuration (depends on sensor power requirements)
EXPANSION CAPABILITY:
2 Additional RJ-45 jacks for sensor expansion
Connection port for DO Sensor to be added at future date (once developed)
e-Tape Sensor expansion
Capacity for adding fully functional 12V back-up system with TXT message notification via off-grid technology
======================================
With this new design it will allow me to have 3 different price points for the educational markets going forward.
Here is the difference in the lite version and the MD unit –  a pro version will also be available in the near future and I will post the feature set for it in a few days now that I have if finalized.
lite-MD visual