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Upcycle It

13 Posts authored by: nandohila
Preparing the growing baskets   The seeds are placed in a cut on the foam.   I am testing Lettuce, Parsley, Rocket and Spinach all in one go.     So far this is what we got. I will place them in the drum as soon as I have most of them germinated.     I will be using the following nutrient solution on the first cycle testing. They say this is the brand chosen by NASA and Antarctica Scientists to grow their experimental crops... Can't go wrong!   ...
The Challange   Upcycle It   To upcycle an obsolete item, computer, piece of electronic equipment or appliance and make a cool new electronics project built around the Intel® Edison Kit for Arduino.     Proposal   Upcycle It - Washing Machine Hydroponic Grower - #1 Introduction   To use an old front load washing machine to be the main assembly of the rotary hydroponic system controlled by the Intel® Edison Kit for Arduino.   Controller to moni ...
We started assembling and flashing the board following Intel instructions at https://software.intel.com/en-us/get-started-edison-windows   As the idea is to get feeds from the rotary grower and be able to change settings such as drum rotation and grow light time on/off periods we have to run MQTT broker and client.   At this stage, the broker will be only accessible on the local network but later I will set up a DNS server so we can access it from everywhere.   Building and Run ...
Details of electrical connections for the grow light and water pump   The relays that switch the light and the water pump were enclosed inside a junction box so there are no exposed wires and terminals for this part of the circuit. The control cables came through the bottom of the box, just next to the Edison Board. The relay block has 4 relays but at this stage, I am using only 2. The other 2 I will have as spare as I have plans to install an air blower to force air into the drum if it ...
On hydroponic systems, the growing medium has the only function to secure the plant roots in place so it doesn't have any means to nourish the plants as the soil does. Therefore, the water caring a nutrient solution is the sole source of nutrients to the plant.   Conventional hydroponic systems consist in a reservoir for the nutrient solution and a pump that delivers this solution to the growing trays as required. For rotary systems, the solution normally doesn't need to be pumped as the g ...
To start programming the stepper motor control, I did some tests having the stepper motor turning the drum at different pulse frequencies.   Checking some other rotary growing systems I found that it normally takes 30 to 45 minutes to give a complete turn. I found it very slow (about 0.025 RPM). The beauty of having a stepper motor is that we can virtually set it at any speed below its maximum RPM.   I decided to physically check the drum RPM applying different pulse frequencies to t ...
To make sure the plants will not fall while turning upside down I created a slot system along the internal wall of the drum to hold the growing baskets in place.   I got some small growing baskets measuring around Ø 55mm and 35mm high. Those baskets comes with a foam/sponge that is the growing medium for the plant. I found this basket type the most suitable to this application as other types of growing mediums wouldn't stay in place once the drum start turning. Those baskets have a ho ...
Most of the heavy work was complete, it is still missing the water tank and pump connection thought.   Now is time to describe how the system will work and establish bases to start sketching the program.   We will start with a very basic design to have the rotary growing system going and as we go we can implement more sophisticated functions or add more sensors and controls.   Below is the block diagram showing Inputs and Outputs connected to the Intel Edison Arduino Board and ...
nandohila

Edison kit has arrived!

Posted by nandohila Apr 26, 2017
It took longer than I expect to get it but it might be because I am halfway across the world. Anyway, it's still plenty of time to get it going.   No problems at all installing the configuration tool and flashing the firmware following the Intel get started guide. https://software.intel.com/en-us/get-started-edison-windows   ...
The upcycle concept is being applied in every stage of the project. This time was a desk lamp that became the centre light mounting.   We cut the cone part so the light will be completely exposed. The flexible gooseneck will be very handy for loading and unloading growing trays inside the drum. It can be easily bent away and returned to position.     We also adapted the pulley to fit the stepper motor shaft and bolted it into a bracket so we can hinge it to adjust the belt te ...
As I am still waiting for the kit, I will share some more updates about the washing machine preparation.   As we suspected, the original machine motor is too much for turning the drum at such low RPM (1-3 RPM). Maybe the new washing machine models will have those multiphase motors that could be hacked to operate as a step motor but this is not the case of the 1996 washing machine we have.   The solution will be using a stepper motor (also upcycled from an old printer). Using a steppe ...
While we wait for our Intel Edison Kit, we started preparing the washing machine to become the rotary grower.     The first step was removing the counterweight. As a rotary grower, the drum will turn at a very low RPM so no need for those 2 pieces of concrete weighing more than 20kg. We thought that would be the easiest part of the project. However, due to rust and hard access to the bolts, we had no other option than using a grinder and a jackhammer in order to get rid of this dead ...
Brent Papesh bpapesh and I will be working on this project.   We will use an old front load washing machine to be used as the main assembly of the rotary hydroponic system controlled by the Intel® Edison Kit for Arduino   Steps to adapt the washing machine:   The washing machine drum will be adapted to hold the growing medium; A mounting for the light source will be fit in the centre of the drum; Provision for water pump, fans and sensors; Motor and drum turning mechanis ...