Skip navigation

Vertical Farming

15 Posts authored by: jamesod
Hi everybody, I don't have time for a real update, but I wanted to post a final picture of the plants in the system today.I also made a video demonstrating the system. ...
Tonight I completed the last portion of this project that I will be able to get done before the submission deadline. I wrote a c++ program running on the BeagleBone Black that processes and saves the serial data from the Gateway to a text file. The text file is read with a JavaScript program that serves up the SCADA webpage. A socket connection updates the state of the system in near real-time. Right now this is mostly working, but it will need further debugging. This is the first part of my Web ...
I finished testing the communications between the BeagleBone Black Webserver and the Arduino controller using the EZR32WG 915MHz Wireless Starter Kits as a serial to wireless link. The current set up looks like the picture below: The Arduino is used for all real time control tasks. Control commands can be sent, inputs can be queried, and control variables can be adjusted by commands sent through the UART serial port. The outputs are: three lights, two pumps, and two heaters (with room for a t ...
It has been two weeks since my last post. A lot has happened with the project since then, but even more has happened in my personal life. I have been too busy to post because my son was born 11/9! He surprised us by coming about a month early, but I had most of the physical build and automation done before then, so I was able to just plant and watch them grow. The only part I have not completed at this point is the wireless communications and web based monitoring and control.   For this bl ...
Tonight I wired in the Arduino to the control panel and I'm happy to say that most of it worked right away. I had miswired the HC-SR04 ultrasonic sensor, but once I finished that, I started to calibrate the system. I started with calibrating the HC-SR04 as a water level sensor. I have it mounted above my reservoir and it read exactly 40cm with no water in it. I began the painstaking task of filling it 2 liters at a time and recording the distance reading I got. Then at 20L I switched to 5L at a ...
Last night, 10/20 I planted my seeds for this challenge. I began the process on 10/19 by soaking 65 1.5” rockwool cubes in water with a ph of 6.0. I usually soak them for at least 12 hours. This accomplishes two things. For one, it helps lower the ph of the cubes so that they do not raise the ph of the system. It also helps to remove some of the loose particles from the cubes that would otherwise end up floating in the reservoir or stuck in the pump filters. Here are the cubes in a 5 gallo ...
To get this project running quickly, I will be using an Arduino for a lot of the control. As time goes by I plan on replacing the Arduino funcions with code on the EZR32WG, but this is the only way I can see to complet the project by the deadline. The Arduino will be directly interfacing with the sensors and relays, and the EZR32WG will be sending commands to it through UART. These commands will all be in the form c, ##, val; where c is the command type, ## is the ID, and val is a value. There a ...
I have most of the wiring completed for the controls of the system. The relays have been wired to outlets, and all of the sensors have been wired to an interface board. Here is my dirt cheap homemade woden control cabinet. It was the best I could do with the stuff I have laying and basically zero budget. It's not pretty, but it will work. The outside has all of the outlets that are connected to relays, plus a GFCI outlet that is always on. When the programming is complete, it will have the EZR32 ...
Over the last 2 weeks I have come to realize that I am running out of time to do everything I want, and I will have to simplify things a bit in order to get something useful done by the end of the competition. Unfortunately I have run into issues with both time and funding. I also realize I have slacked a bit on the blogs. This is not because I haven't been making progress, but because I have been focusing more on actually getting the work done than reporting about it. So, in this blog I will ex ...
I have gotten a lot done since my last post, but I don't have time to write a detailed blog at the moment. I did want to give an update on my first chance to get started with what will be the controller for this project. More to come shortly.   This Friday I received the EZR32WG 915 MHz Wireless Starter Kit. Most of my time this weekend has revolved around getting to know the hardware and software that comes with this dev kit, and so far I am pretty impressed.   I began by installing ...
Vertical Hydroponic System Web Interface Part 1:   Last week I began work on replacing OpenHAB as the web interface. I still have a lot left to do, but I thought it best to give an update since I have gotten the basic framework working. I am using a BeagleBone Black as the hardware for the webserver. I am using a Debian image for the OS and this is an older version of the BBB so I have to run off of an 8 gb SD card. I am using the standard image found here: http://beagleboard.org/latest-im ...
Another week of building has come and gone. I was unfortunately extremely busy again this week, but I was able to squeeze in a good amount of time to make some progress. I have also tweaked the design a bit. These changes will result in a more usable final product. The pond liner arrived early this week. I ordered a 20 mil thick sheet of black HDPE that was 6 x 15 ft. The roll that arrived was more like 9 x18 ft, but I'm not complaining. I cut a 6' x 5' section and did my best to fit it neatl ...
It has been two weeks since my last blog post. In that time I have done a ton of research, and changed my original design a bit. Instead of using PVC pipes for an NFT system in the main grow area, I will be constructing a system of stacked trays built on a wooden frame. These will mostly be flood and drain trays, but I want to also experiment with low pressure aeroponics. There are many reasons for this change. The biggest reason is that it will allow me to fit more plants in a smaller space. It ...
Part 1: Pump Control   A successful vertical hydroponic system will require absolute control over its nutrient solution. In the end, this comes down to control over liquid pumps using feedback from sensors. This project will use two different kinds of pumps and at least one sensor to control the nutrient solution that is delivered to the plant roots. The first type of pump is the submersible or inline magnetic drive pump sometimes called a “pond pump.” This is a relatively eff ...
Introduction:   In order to support growing populations in metropolitan areas with little horizontal space, food production may have to move vertically in the future. This fundamental shift provides many design challenges, and the cost of space will require an extremely efficient process in order to compete economically with food produced on traditional farms. Water, energy, nutrient, and space usage must be carefully measured, controlled, and utilized to its maximum potential.   For ...