It has been too long since I gave everyone an update. So, here it is.
This project is still alive and moving forward in many ways. I recently got my hands on a MakerBot Replicator and have been learning how to print awesome cases! I started with some Raspberry Pi cases from Thingaverse. I am also digging into Google SketchUp. My goal with all of this work is be able to produce some very slick cases for the LCD's and the hubs. Nothing makes me feel better about my DIY projects than when I have a professional looking finish. I know what you are thinking... "I don't have a 3D plastic printer, how am I going to get one of these awesome cases?" - Well the answer is quite simple, I am going to produce a variety of cases and put them all on Ponoko. For those of you who do not know, Ponoko is a wonderful place that a person can upload their designs and allow other people to buy them prefabricated in a variety of materials and colors. This would give you so many more options that you would ever get anywhere else. Needless to say, I am very excited about this portion of the project.
Okay, now on to the code and the components. In the very immediate future you will see code released for the relay box that will turn an Arduino and the relay box into a complete controller unit for your aquarium. The next thing you will see is the completed PH and temperature control unit. All the build work is done and it is functional, I just want to polish the code and put it all together in a tutorial. You might ask what the delay iSo, stay tuned for all this and more.
Here is a quick pic of the boxes I have started to play with...
I have completed a tutorial on the temperature sensors for the Arduino. I will have some better pictures coming soon as I have ordered more of them for that purpose. Check it out and let me know what you think! Temperature Sensor Tutorial.
Good grief things have been busy. I was at a conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico this weekend where I gave a talk on the future of the Internet. While I was there I was thinking about what my next steps on this project should be. I have had to push back the release of the full code set until the end of May. However, I started to think about the complex nature of some of these components. Keeping this accessible to as many people as possible is very important. With that goal in mind, I have been pursing the idea of creating custom circuit boards to make the build process more simple. However, that requires a considerable amount of funds to begin that process. So, I have been working on that side as well. Beyond that I received some good news from a supplier regarding the supply of components so that I continue to produce great tutorials and offer everyone a better product. The coming weeks and months are going to be exciting so stay tuned! Also, feel free to contact me if you want to help of have any ideas.
One of the major design goals of this project is to not only make a system that people can easily build at home but make it just work. What does that mean exactly? Well, it means that the system should perform the advanced functionality we expect from today's state of the art technology without any headaches or complex configurations. For example, we took the task of controlling and monitoring your aquarium remotely and made it as simple as possible while allowing for maximum functionality. To enable this system to be accessed from any internet enabled device in the world including any internet enabled phone we devised a system that just works. Step 1 - plug it into the internet. Step 2- control and monitor the device from anywhere that has access to the internet. Done.
I have added the first tutorial for the open source reef controller. It is a guide on how to build your own controllable power strip. We are working hard to bring you many more tutorials and code soon. Also, work is being done on the PCB's and pre-fab project boxes so that you can have a clean start and a much more simple build.
Let me know if there is anything you can think of that you want to see on this site and we will do our best to make it happen.
This is the framework for the heart of the system and allows up to 8 different system calls to be queued at a time. This does not include interrupts. However, using this method one can nearly avoid all interrupts if the code is carefully segmented. This is probably the most abstract and difficult code to understand if you are not very familiar with object oriented techniques. Again, this is only an example of the framework that is implemented on the complete system.
So, I have been working on the menu system and I decided to do a mock-up in Photoshop first of all the screens. I am almost done and have been posting them here. Feel free to login and comment on them! Feedback is always welcome. Also, hopefully this weekend the LCD will be programmed completely. One very nice feature of this LCD is that the bulk of the code is stored on the LCD itself and the Arduino only needs to send via UART the commands to draw the variables on the screen.
I made time today to upload the first section of code. This little bit of code is just a basic example of how to sync to a NTP server in order to keep the time up to date. This code will be incorporated into every aspect of the controller and it is vital to a working system.
This code also presents a wonderful opportunity to test your Ethernet card functionality along with your Arduino.
Well, I am finally breaking into the LCD code. This is the last leg of the project and one I have been putting off. This LCD is quite amazing though. It has a lot more features than I hoped for and it is going to make life a lot easier. Also, it is going to make for an incredible HUD and human interface device.
Here is a pic of the first screen I made just to get the hang of it.