What are the steps needed to use hydroMazing?
Connecting all your devices to the Raspberry Pi is very easy, but you want to do it in a specific order so it can recognize all your devices when it boots up. First, connect your HDMI cable to your Raspberry Pi and your monitor, then connect your USB devices. If you’re using an Ethernet cable to connect to your router, go ahead and connect that as well. Finally, once everything is connected, go ahead and plug in your power adapter. The Raspberry Pi does not have a power switch, so once you connect the power adapter, it’ll turn on all by itself.
My name is Cory, I'm a Technical Craftsman specializing in creative problem solving within electronics and software engineering. Professionally, I've worked as an electronics engineer, a plastics fabricator, software engineer, an industrial laser technician, and, of course, a coffee barista. I've spent the last several years working on a Smart Garden System project I named, hydroMazing. I'm sharing my work with you because I would like to empower everyone who is interested in a "Smart" approach to gardening.
A nutrient solution system typically consists of a two or three part liquid solution containing the essential diet for a plant added to clean tap water. The manufacturer of the nutrient solution will include or reference a feeding schedule recommended for various common types of plants. Unfortunately, most minerals are mined and processed by the manufacturers, however, many offer an organic option while some specialize in only organic.
What needs monitoring? What needs to be done to make sure plants grow well? Research your plant's needs. Many cool weather plants typically enjoy temperatures in the day of 70°-75°F, and night 55°-60°F with a relative-humidity of 40%-60% for most growing plants. A water and nutrient solution system should have a temperature between 18-21°C (64-70°F). These factors vary depending on variety, selection, phase of growth that the plants are currently growing, and hardiness, some plants can tolerate stress better than others.
What do plants actually require in order to grow well? It is important for context and it is important for every human to understand what it takes to grow plants, even if the future doesn’t allow for outdoor cultivation. At a minimum this is my effort to prevent future generations from suffering the fate of a World without plants as proposed by Mike Judge in his movie “Idiocracy” where people no longer understand why plants wouldn’t want to live on a beverage containing “electrolytes.”
"TheDecider" was originally hardcoded with specific values that were fixed in place until I changed them in the Arduino sketch, recompiled, and uploaded. There are two types of decisions that TheDecider executes, timed-based, and sensor-based rules. The time-based rules simply compare the current time to the last time the appliance was turned-on or off. The sensor-based rules use a minimum value threshold and a maximum value threshold that are compared to the current sensor reading and then execute the corresponding action for the appliance. For example, if the temperature is below 55° then turn-off the ventilation fans; if the temperature is above 80° then turn-on the ventilation fans. Each appliance has corresponding rules for sensor reading thresholds, time-based automation, and a combination of both, priority depending on the order of the rules.
The hydroMazing controller is designed to operate ventilation fans for air circulation, water pumps, occasionally a humidifier, heaters, or any other appliance that is necessary to maintain an ideal environment for plants to grow. Typically, we DIY'ers would hook-up some relays to a microcontroller to achieve control. However, with hydroMazing, the system uses remote controlled wireless AC outlets, ensuring safer control than traditional relays. hydroMazing uses low-cost open-hardware modules and the ubiquitous microcontroller, the Atmega328, on an Arduino Nano*, offering the flexibility of customization and expansion. The sensor choices are endless, but I’ve narrowed it down to a few important and relatively inexpensive modules. A temperature and relative-humidity sensor, moisture sensors for soil, liquid temperature probe for hydroponics, a simple photocell. There are many other optional additions including the float switch or switches and flow-rate sensors.