DIY nano reef controller.

Discussion in 'Anything DIY Related' started by Mc, 5 Mar 2012.

  1. Mc

    Mc

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    Hi All

    Im starting out with a DIY reef controller for my nano tank.
    My programming skill are limited although I know a few programmers that can help me out a bit. I have never attempted a project like this so any advice will be much appreciated.:)

    My Idea is a controller that can run my led light that are already on the tank including the refugium light.
    Can control the ATO.
    Can control the fans and heaters.
    Can display the temperature.
    Can turn off all pumps during feeding and then put the small pump on for 15 minutes before the other pumps and skimmer go back on.

    Later when I understand things better and hopefully can find pH and conductivity probes/modules a bit cheaper, I will add.
    Conductivity display.
    pH display.
    Wifi interface.
    Automatic feeder.

    So far I haven't ordered anything as I am hoping for advice but have found the following on south african website mostly rs components.
    Adruino ATmega atmel 2560 micro-controller.
    Two 4 channel 5v relays (I can't find an 8 channel controller in sa)
    Two temperature probes LM335Z
    A few npn transistors.
    A bread board.
    Two float switches.
    A 2.8 inch touchscreen shield.
    Real time clock module.
    A 6v DC power supply.

    My questions are.
    Where do I get the code?
    What langauge is it written in?
    Does anyone know where I can get a 8 channel module?
    Does anyone know where I can get reasonable pH and Conductivity, probes/modules?
    Am I missing something?
    Can I cut the 220v wires and run them through the controller, for example for the ATO and pumps?
    If you think Im doing something stupid please tell me I really am new to this.;)
     
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  3. Manic

    Manic Moderator

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    Firstly south Africa is way too expensive at this stage for these components. I got all my stuff from eBay. Usually takes a week to arrive and most of the buyers from hong kong don't charge shipping.

    I got the mega 2560 plus lots of components and a screen for R400.

    The temperature sensor you want to use is the Dallas 18B20. This I got from Mantech for R25.

    The 8-channel relay module I got from eBay for R70 including shipping.

    You will also need a real time clock which is about R70 from eBay.

    The code is in c++ I think but I did java in school and found it extremely similar.
     
  4. Manic

    Manic Moderator

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    PH probes and stuff you can also get on eBay from an American company. Can't remember the name but google pH stamp arduino and you will find it.

    The code is open source and you will find a lot of it on Arduino - HomePage .

    You can't run 220v directly to the arduino, it will blow up, this is what the relay modules are for.

    What do you need the npn transistors for?
     
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  5. dono

    dono

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    Hi,

    I would go about it another way.. Find the sketch first that is already written for the task you need.. There is a link I used... I think it was called www.reefledcontroller.com.. You have most of the components that are listed on there.. So you should be good.

    The arduino range can be programmed in various languages.. But C is the most accepted. It uses a sense of logic so with a sketch that you know that does the job, couple with the correct hardware... You may just have to read thru the program and tweak a few settings. If your hardware is different, like a different screen.. Then makes getting things to work out just a huge nightmare, as you will need to do a considerable amount of reading on the device, data sheet and libraries you are trying to call up. Can be a nightmare.

    The arduino runs till max 12volts stable.. I think it can go to 20volts but that puts some stress on the inboard regulator.. So the best will be around a 9volt type power source for it.

    You cannot control our pumps directly wiring them to it.. It will have to be done via a relay, so that all that the arduino does is switch the circut for the device off/on but will not power the device, directly or indirectly... So no running 220volts off it..
     
    Last edited: 5 Mar 2012
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  6. dono

    dono

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    You can use certain transistors for switching purposes.. So they can almost act like relays in small dc circuts.Not 220v though.
     
  7. Mc

    Mc Thread Starter

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    @Manic Thanks for the advice I was worried about the shipping price but I will look around ebay a bit then. I also wasn't sure about the transistors but I saw someone said you need them on another site so I figured I would just get them as they didn't cost much anyway.

    @dono thanks so would you reccommend I try get the same screen they used on reefledcontroller.com? I will look for a 9v power supply.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  8. dono

    dono

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    Those arduinos don't pull a lot of amps... So the easiest will be to get a 8volt regulator from an electronics store.. Like Mantech.. Wire this up to your bigger dc PSU and you've got stable power at 8volts to the arduino.

    The reason I suggested that particular sketch is that the most current version of that particular sketch has most of the functions you require, like feed mode, ATO, fuge etc. There is another TFT build with a nice looking interface, but at present it doesn't have half the functions you require... Yea you could mod it, but already that code is way complicated... I'm in IT and I'm saying that...lol .. So I think to make that sketch fully functional would only require you getting a glcd... And they pretty cheap of eBay.
     
  9. Mc

    Mc Thread Starter

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    Thaanks guys you have helped me cut the cost buy more than 50% with ebay so going to order tonight.
    Did you have any problems with things from ebay not arriving or not working?
     
  10. dono

    dono

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    Yea... Some notes about eBay.. Always get registered packages.. NO economy.. They will never come. And tell the sellers to pack in Boxes correctly... I was recently sent 2 TFT's... Both sent in a blistered envelope. Both where cracked on arrival..
     
  11. Mc

    Mc Thread Starter

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    :eek:Ouch!! Ok I will look into the cost but isn't it cheaper to get things in sa then?
     
  12. dono

    dono

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    It's a risk, yes.. Truth is of all the stuff I bought . Only that particular package arrived totaled. I did loose 2 unregistered packages.. But then again, it could have not even been sent in the first place.

    I prefer importing my own over buying local.. In the long run its way cheaper.
     
  13. Mc

    Mc Thread Starter

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    I just checked and the stuff in my cart doesn't even have the option it just says free shipping.
     
  14. Manic

    Manic Moderator

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    Speak to the seller. You often have to pay $3 extra for a tracking number. I have had some things not arrive but every seller has refunded my money without asking questions. Just make sure you buy from an eBay trusted seller.
     
  15. Mc

    Mc Thread Starter

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    I have ordered everything and it all comes from trusted sellers.
    Already had a few replies so hoping it all works out.
    Looking forward to this.
     
  16. lIghty

    lIghty

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    I was a bit worried the 1st time I bught aswell, but now I'm buying something every other day :p
     
  17. Mc

    Mc Thread Starter

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    I was surprised to check my email this morning and find out half of it is already marked as shipped.
    I know what you mean about ordering from ebay every day there is such cool stuff. I saw some really cool probes for pH, dissolved oxgen and conductivity, they just a bit on the expensive side.

    Has anyone tried to hook up a battery operated pump to there controller so that it goes on when the power goes off?
     
  18. lIghty

    lIghty

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    I had a couple that plugged directly into the mains, as soon as the mains drop they would kick in, you could use a controller to do this, but there are much simpler ways of doing it.
     
  19. Mc

    Mc Thread Starter

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    Im not sure I understand were the pumps running all the time and then just switching to battery when there was no power?
     
  20. Mc

    Mc Thread Starter

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    I see that reef angel is also open source and has adruino software available on their site. Has anyone used this to program their controller?
     
    Last edited: 9 Mar 2012
  21. Mc

    Mc Thread Starter

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    Everything has arrived so Im really excited about this now. Its all a bit confusing at first and requires a lot of patience but im starting to understand it a bit better now.

    Started working on the lcd and managed to get a little progam running on it, that that prints text out to the screen. Going to try and hook the RTC up a bit later, Im just a bit confused as mine has a digital pin labeled DS and Im not sure which socket I should wire it too or if it even matters.

    Has anyone tried buliding there own pH circuit? I found a few diagram for them on the net.
     
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