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2013 in review December 31, 2013

Posted by rik94566 in agponics.com, aquaponic automation, aquaponics, aquaponics electronics, arduino, CEA, DIY aquaponics, Electronic Componets.
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2013 annual report for aquaponic DIY Automation blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 35,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 13 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


Drain configuration for micro device — December 9, 2013

Posted by rik94566 in agponic MD, agponicMD, agponics.com, aquaponic automation, aquaponics, indoor aquaponics, indoor growing.
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Now that I have been building additional micro-devices for recent orders – I need to start doing a better job documenting how the build goes so I can duplicate the process as demand for the units is building (more on this in a later post).  Here is the view of the draining mechanism that allows water exchange between media bed and water tank or fish tank in the real world.

MD Valve for unit

TOWER CORE GUTS – now for sale in “Things for sale” page September 26, 2013

Posted by rik94566 in agponics.com, aquaponic automation, aquaponics, aquaponics electronics, Internet-of-Farming, IoT aquaponics, Tower System, Tower Tubes, Tube Guts.
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Here is what goes into the Tower Tubes and provides the water to the top and wiring for the sensor.  The sensor configuration is a “Water Sensor” and “Temp Prob” combination.  These have waterproof connectors that can be disconnected when the towers are removed to be taken to market or needing media to be pulled out once a crop is spent.

Core Guts

core guts -2

TOWER INTERFACE PLATE — protects the dry core of the tower base September 25, 2013

Posted by rik94566 in agponics.com, aquaponics, DIY aquaponics, DS18B20, Hacks, Interface Plate, One-wire, Sensor Hub, Tower System.
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Here is the “INTERFACE PLATE” —  this plate is inserted into the base of the towers and is sealed.  With this interface plate in place wires can be run to tower sensors and power supplied to the pumps that feed the towers.  Without these interface plates it would be dangerous to provide power to pumps or connect or disconnect the tower columns.

Interface Plate

BEST COMMENT OF THE YEAR — from “Internet of Farming” September 16, 2013

Posted by rik94566 in agponics.com, aquaponic automation, aquaponics, aquaponics electronics, arduino, CEA, Controlled Environment Agriculture, Internet-of-Farming, IoT aquaponics.
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alexandre freire

alexandre freire 11 hours ago

I am a aquatic live system specialist, built systems around the world all sizes and types!

and I just want to say that you did impress me a lot!

you are a genius! this whole entire thing is wow!


What is an aquaponic device for IoT-aquaponics June 11, 2013

Posted by rik94566 in agponics.com, aquaponic automation, DIY aquaponics, DS18B20, Float Switch, IoT aquaponics, One-wire.
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Aquaponic devices can come in many sizes and shapes.  There are simple and complex devices as with all technologies.

The most simple aquaponic device would be a temp probe connected up to an Arduino with the data generated being sent out to a Cloud service like Xively/Cosm/Pachube or ThingSpeak via ethernet or wireless connection.

I am working on a more complex aquaponic device right now that will contain the following sensor set:

pH sensor

3 – DS18B20 probes

1 – Flow meter

3 – media sensors

1 – Float Switch

1 – Humidity and Temp probe (DHT-22)

3 – gravity feed valves controlled by relays

1 – air pump controlled by relay (in N/O) configuration

1 – back-up air pump that turns on if electric goes out

1 – heater controlled by relays driven by temp reading being generated by the DS18B20 probes.

This device will be my proto-type to test sensor configurations and try new sensors out.  It will allow me to gain an understanding of how all this IoT technology comes together and can actually perform work with out me having to constantly watch my system.  I would like to be in Hawaii and just have my iPhone alert me when an event is out of range.  Then I could make the necessary adjustments over my Aquaponic API software and be done with it while at the beach.

THINGS IN COMMON — 3D Printing and Aquaponics January 28, 2013

Posted by rik94566 in aquaponics, DIY aquaponics, Rj45 connector, Uncategorized.
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Well as it turns out 3D printing and aquaponics do have something in common.

They both need to be water -tight!

rj-45 jack

Now that I have a Sketch-up model I wanted to get it printed.

I figured out that I have basically 3 options to get this done.

Option One –Buy a 3D printer. I did some research on this and know what I want am ready to go, until I ran the idea by my wife!  The unit I wanted costs in the $700.00 range.  As on all my projects and ventures my wife has final say so on all things financial.  This one did not get approved.  Not to say that it won’t happen in the future, but just not right now.

Option Two – Use one of the current leaders in the on-line printing services business.  The two leaders that I know of are Shapeways and Ponoko.  The other choice here is to go to a TechShop and have them print my model for me.

Option Three – Find someone with a 3d printer and have them make a print for me.  I would of course pay them for this service.

Well option one is a no go situation for the present time.  Option three will not work,  as I do not know anyone well enough to inquire about having them make a print for me.

So Option Two it is.

The TechShop choice is much harder for me as I would have to show up at one of their locations in the bay area with file in hand and then get all signed in to talk with someone about how the whole process works within  their structure.  Way to much work for a little part.

So I went with Shapways and Ponoko.  I signed up and was ready to go, almost…. Well as in all things technical there is a file incompatibility problem with using Sketch-Up and 3D printing together.  I now needed to convert my model to a .STL  format.  I did my research and got a free version of a product that claimed the conversion was easy to do.  I did the conversion and loaded my model up to be priced and approved.

Well again I hit an issue.  As it happens my model is not “Water-tight” and has to many holes and the model is to small to print on either of the services.  I could see no holes in my model and did not understand how to fix this problem.  As in all things internet I started on my quest to accomplish my goal of getting a model printed.  Now I found myself researching and learning how to make a model water-tight.  It is a fun adventure and learned a lot that will be very useful in future designs with Sketch-up

DS18B20 – ground connectors now complete August 15, 2012

Posted by rik94566 in 1-wire, DS18B20, One-wire, Sensor Hub, Stainless Steel Temp Probe.
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Ground connectors completed and tested

I am getting closer to getting 20 probes ready to test.  Everything is just about in place to make a run at it.  So stay tuned we are getting close now…….


Posted by rik94566 in aquaponics, arduino, DIY aquaponics, sensor.
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I learned a few weeks ago that I was selected to present at the World Wide Aquaponics Conference September 21 to 23 of this year.  Here are the details if interested:

Aquaponics & Arduino —  The WHAT – The HOW — and into the FUTURE – In this workshop attendee’s will gain a understand of the arduino platform and how custom aquaponic automated solutions can be build on any scale.


–  Know what an arduino is
–  Understand the concept of open source
–  Touch and feel the sensors that are used in a aquaponic system
–  Demystify the use of technology in aquaponics
–  Gain understanding of what the future in aquaponics can and will look like
Rik will have a full working desktop unit that is fully automated on a DIY scale. We will breakdown each sensor and explore how they work.  We will talk about available resources and see how items purchased on a local level can lead to an automated system that is easy to install at any level.  We will have web references and instruction guides on all the major components and how they are connected to form a “SENSOR NETWORK” in today’s world.  We will talk about and demonstrate the concept of “INTO THE FUTURE – EVERYTHING WILL HAVE AN IP ADDRESS”

Rik Kretzinger grew up on a Christmas Tree Farm in Central California.  He earned a degree in Horticulture from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, CA.  He worked his way through college as a commercial grower at a major greenhouse operation growing Tropical Plants, and managed over 700,000 square feet of production Roses after graduation.  He moved on to fill a Ag Specialist role with Union Carbide working with all the major agriculture crops in the Western States. he is presently working in Biotech industry supporting the growth and development of geneotyping of all major crops throughout the world.  Automation in aquaponics started out as a hobby and has now developed in to a full time passion and a clear path to the future of agriculture in the world.

HARNESS TESTING — very important — DS18B20 April 20, 2012

Posted by rik94566 in 1-wire, aquaponic automation, DS18B20, One-wire, sensor, Stainless Steel Temp Probe, Temperature Probe.
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use your multimeter

Now that I have constructed an addition harness I need to make sure it works.  Two (2) tests needs to be performed.  Conductivity and ohm confirmation of the resistor value through the connections.


This test will let me know that all my connections are correctly connected and signal is flowing through the wires and working the way I configured them.  If not,  I will need to correct the problem and retest until the connections are working correctly.

Here is a video of the testing I did:


ohm Value Testing:

This is important with DS18B20 probes.  It is important because the DS18B20 IC’s  are sensitive when it comes to resistor values and there  tolerance levels.  I bought some very cheap 4.7K ohm resistors and did not know the tolerance level.  Hooked everything up and the probe did not work.  I had to trouble shoot all the connections and everything was working – then I swapped out a resistor that I knew worked and had specs on and bingo everything was working.  I have no problems using resistors with a 5% tolerance rating.  They will give you some swings in value readings, but the DS18B20’s will work very well it you stay in this tolerance range.

Here is a video of how I tested for ohm’s:


Now on to building another harness and test it all