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Chad

Interest in Arduino projects?

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This is a very generous offer by Justin. As a total programming idiot I'd vote for the easiest system, and if the Reef Angel is easier than arduino it works for me. I may not be as budget limited as the college students, I'm willing to pay a little more for ease of use.

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:) OK, y'all, what would you like to do?

 

Ask away on any questions to make a decision :)

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Guest thefishman65

Right now my vote would be for the reef angel, BUT I want to check out Justin's first. I want to know if it is possible to add extra stuff. There is some sort of expansion, but it is output, input digital only. I have glanced at the code, and like most code it could use a few more comments. If others think this is the way to proceed, perhaps we should take a procedure (or 2) at a time and figure out what they are doing. I think it maybe cheaper for the initial startup, but maybe more expensive in the long run. Or perhaps we could use that code as a strting base for a mega.

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Where did you find the code? Mind forwarding it to me? Want to bring the controller camping this weekend tongue.gif ?

 

Using the code as a starting point (I think) is what Justin was recommending.

 

I agree with you on cost (less initially, but more as parts are added)... IMO, the largest cost on a DIY controller is going to be controllable outlets (which retail) will run around $125 to do it correctly (relay and control ckt to shunt inductive kick from the relay away from the chip).

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I was thinking about this over the weekend and realized that the project that I originally suggested has shifted a great deal. Not a bad thing, by any means, but I want to make sure that my original target group isn't left out.

 

Are there folks who are interested in a controller for their DIY LED lights that are not interested in a DIY controller?

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Guest thefishman65
Here are their downloads. I am looking at the Example Code -> Reef Angel Controller (preloaded code). Seems like the one we should start with.

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I'm very interested in joining in. Especially intrigued by Justin's app suggestion. But judging from the discourse so far, I will definitely be the programming toddler in the group. Last programming I did was on Applesoft BASIC in '86. Is there a consensus on reef angel vs ground up DIY? Either way, I'm in.

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I am not positive yet that we will be able to use the reef angel platform. I am worried about the upgrade interface, not sure if we can easily solder to the pins we would need to. It depends on how they physically put their cards together. Rob was going to look into it and we were going to go from there.

 

Also, an open question on the RA platform is acquiring the header library files for their color display.

 

I wouldn't worry about a programming level, arduino is pretty simple to pick up. If you have done any programming you are probably ahead of where you need to be to pick it up.

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I am not positive yet that we will be able to use the reef angel platform. I am worried about the upgrade interface, not sure if we can easily solder to the pins we would need to. It depends on how they physically put their cards together. Rob was going to look into it and we were going to go from there.

 

Also, an open question on the RA platform is acquiring the header library files for their color display.

 

I wouldn't worry about a programming level, arduino is pretty simple to pick up. If you have done any programming you are probably ahead of where you need to be to pick it up.

 

I'm probably dumber at programming than armydoc, my last program was in BASIC in 1981. But from what I hear arduino is pretty simple. My impression is that Reef Angel comes with more stuff to begin with but the arduino has more programs, apps and groups who contribute shareware. My system is probably more complex than most so I would probably like the setup with the best expandability which looks like the arduino. But I will go either way.

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For those who don't know my approach to reef tanks, I am nuts about automated cleaning systems that automatically turn tank waste into live plankton. Sprung and Delbeek mentioned a windshield wiper device in their third book in which a blade periodically wipes acculumated biofilm off a piece of glass to feed corals. There is a Reef Central thread which I hope will address this wiper scenario from a programmed engraver or router perspective.

 

If not, perhaps an arduino could control a couple of stepper motors precisely enough to spin a bottle brush several feet down between two panes of glass set an inch apart and make the same effect. At the end of the run, the motor moves 90 degrees for an inch and then returns between two different panes. A bank of these panels might provide a continual supply of plankton snow to feed a tank.

 

Would this be a simple or difficult application for an arduino?

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For those who don't know my approach to reef tanks, I am nuts about automated cleaning systems that automatically turn tank waste into live plankton. Sprung and Delbeek mentioned a windshield wiper device in their third book in which a blade periodically wipes acculumated biofilm off a piece of glass to feed corals. There is a Reef Central thread which I hope will address this wiper scenario from a programmed engraver or router perspective.

 

If not, perhaps an arduino could control a couple of stepper motors precisely enough to spin a bottle brush several feet down between two panes of glass set an inch apart and make the same effect. At the end of the run, the motor moves 90 degrees for an inch and then returns between two different panes. A bank of these panels might provide a continual supply of plankton snow to feed a tank.

 

Would this be a simple or difficult application for an arduino?

 

Definitely a cool idea. It's very easy to control stepper's with an arduino, I have done so for a school project where we made a completely autonomous hovercraft that can retrieve payloads. They make prebuild shields such as this one Adafruit Motor Shield or you could build your own circuit using transistors and relays etc. But to answer your question simply, yes you can.

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And to expand on what Max said. It could either be simple or difficult. As I tend to respond most of the time... My answer is "it depends."

 

Conceptually, what you are saying could be accomplished fairly simply from a programming standpoint with a moving device and limit switches using while and do commands. From a hardware perspective, designing and building something that is both structurally robust enough to be reliable and resilient to a hostile environment (electronics in a salty and humid environment don't live very long unprotected) is tougher.

 

As you know, I rather enjoy designing things and could probably help out there once I am aware of your constraints. Perhaps we ought to meet up again and talk about it.

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Guest thefishman65

Only the complexity of the task can be a problem. Turning your LEDs on and off with diimming or managing an ATO is fairly easy. But mix them incorrectly and you could have your ATO left on while the lights here dimming. It can be done, but I have read of folks complaining because their clock quit updating when the LEDs dimmed. Most of these can be worked around, but it is something to consider. Sometimes it may be worth splitting the tasks between 1 or more controllers. The average tank won't need this, but Dave's may require it (once he decides what he is doing :)).

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Guest thefishman65

I have tracked down (with the help of several) Justin's Reef Angel. I should have it soon so I can post my impression of it.

 

Thanks again Justin

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Sweet, I am looking forward to it! Getting excited to take something apart and figure out how it works makes me feel about 12 years old again!

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. Sometimes it may be worth splitting the tasks between 1 or more controllers. The average tank won't need this, but Dave's may require it (once he decides what he is doing smile.gif).

 

When I finally do decide what I'm doing it will probably have happened by accident. I don't mind getting two arduinos, they are cheap. Let us know how the Reef Angel looks.

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I am interested in joining in but am not sure any sort of consensus or plan has been put forth. Have I missed something? Please advise. Thx

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I don't think there has been any consensus at this point. It seems that a few want to build a reef controller type project and there is a potential the reef angel platform might be good for this... Not sure how the actual chip connections are made (solder, pin, surface mount, etc.), depending on how this is set up, it might be an early showstopper... Rob (Fishman) is working on this part.

 

I am pretty much in on any project that folks want to do (either the reef controller, LED controller, wavemaker, or otherwise).

 

Jason, sorry I missed your post, what did you get? Glad to have you!!

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Don't worry, we will take good care of it for you!!!

 

:hammer:

 

:why:

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Guest thefishman65

I have received the Reef Angel - thanks Justin and Jason. My initial response was wow the screen is small and wow again for the large size of the box for the power cord.relays

 

The display is just over an inch square. But it looks like it can hold about 12 lines of text each of about 20 characters. I had very little trouble reading it (unlike some fine print). I also think a frezno lens (a type of magnifier) could be mounted on it with out interferring with the operation.

 

The power distribution box is abou 10x6 and about 3 inches high. The power supply for the RA is in this box and the power sockets are configured 2x4. The sockets are turned away from each other (ground pin out) with over two inches between them and 1.5 inches between the rows. I think this was designed to allow for transformers to be plugged in without interferring with other plugs.

 

So so far the two initial negatives are not so bad.

 

The one other odd thing is that the float switches did not come with connectors to attach them to the RA. Justin and Jason do you recall if this is the way it came. The cords are also only about 12 inches so I think I am missing something (besides the manual :)).

 

Overall it seems like a good solid build and I think this is looking like the way to go for small builds. I need to do a litte digging to find out what extensions are available and how hard it would be to design your own extensions.

 

The basic setup has 8 controllable outlets, 3 temperature sensors (room, ater, lights no repeats with their code), PH probe, and 2 float sensos. It also has 2 PWM LED drive signals.

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Keep in mind this was one of the very first RA's to ship. The relay boxes have been redesigned since (we (avast) actually machined the second round of them). I think the screen is bigger now and the relay box smaller/more compact. I might have robbed the float connectors when doing R&D for our avast pressure sensors, will check around.

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