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46  Using Arduino / Sensors / Re: Aquarium sensors - Warning newbie question ahead of you on: January 31, 2014, 04:29:22 pm
I'm building one. but, before I begin, I'm  giving you GOOD links. Top notch work. Nothing I'm typing below can help you more that the work of the three links I'm citing.  (my content below is what I'm doing, or what I want to do, not how I'm doing... no schematics... the fórums are full of 'intentions', true?)

The best source for help is here: (Automated Reptile Control System) You'll find schematics and sample code too.

The best source for products is here: (Embedded Electronics for Water Quality Instruments).

There's also a guy down in Brazil: (Reef Controller) It's in Portuguese, but you should still be able to figure out what he's doing.

Ok, If you want to read a bunch of history, or about stuff I've bought and things I've proven out, you can read below...But the links above have the real meat.

My Aquarium Controller is actually a derivative of a Comprehenensive Water Quality Monitor and Transmitter that  I'm developing. The differentiator is that I'm working on OPC for integration to SCADA systems and MODBus over Serial/Ethernet for PLC integration for ALL sensors. No piecing together multiple protocols, multiple transmitters, multiple topologies, etc.. I make a living piecing together stuff and extracting data from it, but I think it might be nice to offer some of my customers a more integrated solution for some Water Quality Monitoring scenarios. It's simply monitoring and data acquisition, because in industrial/municipal settings, it's better to leverage the hardened controls already in place (my opinión). Obviously, I need some sort of interface for setup/configuration too (local lcd or website). I don't know if anyone will ever want such an all inclusive product, so I might as well make sure I can enjoy it and use it later. Hence the other two uses/derivatives below.

Residential/Consumer use I am expanding it to Monitor and Control of Aquariums. (Using I2C to expand outputs 110AC, 24VDC, PWM 0-10V, 12-24V, etc...) Here, a local interface is desireable (800X480 5" LCD) and/or Web Interface and/or Cel Phone BlueTooth interface. I'll never sell it. But someone else might want to build one like it.

A third application is Remote/Isolated Environmental Monitoring Station. This is where energy conservation, solar, gps and wireless (wifi/celular gsm) connectivity come into play. I'm excited about this one too.

Obviously the HARD stuff is all of the COMMS and Data Acquisition. Admittedly, it's all over my head and I'm quietly struggling with simple sketches for BlueTooth, GSM, Wifi and Ethernet Shields on an UNO at the moment to grasp all of that.  Then it's a matter of getting it to work with DUE.

So, when it came to Sensors and I/O. I didn't want to re-invent the Wheel. I did buy the shields from PracticalMaker. His MacroDuino stuff is interesting, but I didn't want to learn another framework. Sticking with pure C or C++ lets me easily burrow ideas from others. (I fancy myself as more of an integrator than a creator....for sure!).

So, I got in touch with Atlas-Scientific out of New York City ( Brilliant group of young guys. New Yorkers, so they cut to the chase, but are friendly. They've developed a fair number of integrated circuits (stamps) that basically serve as intelligent transmitters that communicate serially (Rs232/TTL); even producing an inexpensive MUX to really expand the network of instruments. They used them in their own solutions as they are/were doing a fair amount of environmental monitoring for the State and City of New York. Recently, they packaged these up and made them available for sale to the public. Honestly, I think I've bought 1 to 2 (sometimes 4) of everything they sell. Sure, my BOM for my initial prototype is through the roof by purchasing solutions, but that's okay.

So, I'm monitoring Temp, pH, ORP, Conductivity, Salinity, Total Dissolved Solids, Dissolved Oxygen, Color, Flow, Level, Ambient Air, Humidity, Barometric Pressure. Even trying a neat data logger. Power monitoring, power conditioning, etc.. Some of the stuff doesn't serve much of a purpose anymore. For instance the Colorometer was an idea I had for detecting petroleum traces using optics with treated lenses....given up as the science is way, way beyond my capabilities. But hey, I have a few of these sensors now, so they might as well go into my prototype. I'm also including inputs for level switches, spill switches and flow switches. Again all of this has been demoed using an UNO (some even on the DUE), but I've yet to start coding it all as one Project and stick it in one enclosure.

I've assembled everything. Just waiting on a few slick connectors and enclosure to house it. The Aquarium Controller I'm building will NEVER be commercially viable. It's simply too expensive because I rely on too many purchased components and I sense it's going to take two DUEs. It's just the culmination of other Water Quality Monitoring work I'm doing that gives me Access to the pieces/parts. You'll always be further ahead financially purchasing a commercially available product like NeptuneSys's Ápex (pretty decent stuff they are doing on the software side, with the ability to customize the control via a simple structured text command editor) or Aquadyne AquaNode (dated, they haven't substantially improved the product in a decade) . There is an Arduino based controller (angel something), but his website has buggy scripts that lock up Internet Explorer and generate warning messages from my antivirus software.

Wow, you read this far. Sorry, I warned you that there's nothing for me to show. But take a look at the Volume of information contained on the Reptile Blog.  Once I start physically building it in the new enclosure I've ordered.... I'm sure I'll get school girl gitty with excitement and start photographing and writing.
47  Topics / Home Automation and Networked Objects / Re: Need idea:Going to develop home security and safty applience for college project on: January 28, 2014, 01:27:41 pm
Search and EBay are your friends. Seriously, not being sarcastic. You will be surprised what is available at very reasonable cost on EBay by typing in Arduino or Arduino Sensors or Arduino GSM. Once you've identified components there... ask about them specifically here., and others are helpful.
48  Community / Local Groups / Re: Attention Arizona Arduino Users! on: January 27, 2014, 05:53:35 pm
I was just up in Tucson last week. WIsh I had seen this post, I would have made the drive.
49  Using Arduino / Project Guidance / Re: 2 motor underwater drone using 2 6v dc motors- help Please on: January 27, 2014, 04:35:41 pm
You might try looking at what these college students did for propulsión.

True, It's a raft, but the motors look adaptable.

50  Development / Other Hardware Development / Re: Cool new case/enclosure for Arduino Uno on: January 24, 2014, 05:40:08 pm
Honestly, you ought to try a kickstart campaign to generate sales.
51  Development / Other Hardware Development / Re: Cool new case/enclosure for Arduino Uno on: January 24, 2014, 05:08:20 pm
That is really a good little box.

I'd recommend a few dividers inside the box, just to gather like things together....
An eggcrate like insert.... but nothing straight forward like a tic/tac/toe diagram... rather something with a few variably sized comparments.

I'd be curious to see a foto of the rear. You a bit of space behind the uno, what's that used for?
I asked, becuase I just saw a KickStarter or Indigogo campaign that featured a watch sized oscilloscope and voltmeter.
the core unit could fit in that space.... just an idea for future 'plug-in' options.
(it uses an Xmega 8bit processor its here:

I really like the idea that someone can start prototyping without unpacking very much stuff or have primary components (ie. UNO and Breadboard) loose. Rather they  can be left in place and used.
52  Community / Exhibition / Gallery / Re: SlothPorter Build on: January 19, 2014, 12:04:28 am
That was a very nice posts, especially for a first post.
I like your attention to asthetics. Smokey/Clear acrylic and the Stuffed Sloth are really engaging.
Thank you for sharing so many details.

53  Community / Website and Forum / Re: Arduino Forum and Windows Phone 8. Works good with specific steps. on: January 16, 2014, 12:29:12 am
There is an error where the fórum software appends a Token=?* id to the end of the URL and renders navigation imposible.
There are a series of steps one must follow to stop this behavior.  It's been observed accross many browsers and OS platforms. A real pain.

Thankfully, Windows Phone 8 appears to be least I cannot replicate the problema.
54  Using Arduino / Project Guidance / Re: Can I use an Atmega in my project on: January 16, 2014, 12:16:38 am
It's pretty neat how many of us are moving in this direction.  Using Arduino to supplant or augment PLCs and Industrial Controllers.

Getting whatever you build to support an OPC, CANBUS or MODBUS interface really opens it up to the world of measurement, automation and controls.

I'm  looking at a couple of MODBUS and OPC libraries for DUE now, hoping to get them working. Arduino makes for a very nice intelligent transmitter for sensors and analyzers.

Rob, have you looked at this?
55  Products / Arduino Due / Re: DUE OPC Communication on: January 15, 2014, 08:07:17 pm
I am moving in this direction myself... as well as MODBUS for PLCs... for a controller I am building.
I am downloading it for testing now. Thank you for making it available. It will be wonderful when you have it working over Ethernet or WiFi.
56  Community / Website and Forum / Arduino Forum and Windows Phone 8. Works good with specific steps. on: January 14, 2014, 11:51:44 pm
Initially I had some difficulty with the forum using Windows Phone 8's built in Internet explorer on my Nokia Lumia 920.
I could not get the Forum link on the Support tab of the menu bar to take me to the forums.

Now, I do this:
1 Goto and Login.
2 Goto the address bar and manually type
3 Enjoy trouble free forum participation without the 'token' headaches I receive on my desktop.

Hope that helps someone. The 920 has a 1280x768 resolution. In landscape mode the forums are very readable.

57  Using Arduino / Microcontrollers / Re: Simplest/Cheapest Microcontroller with Native IP (Internet Protocol) on: January 11, 2014, 02:12:45 am
Perhaps you could look at the BeagleBoard Black? Completely different than  Arduino (runs Linus, uses Java for programming). However, it uses the same Ti chip (Sitara) that the TRE has adopted.
58  Development / Suggestions for the Arduino Project / Re: Updates/Comments on Library Structure Progress for Arduino IDE 1.5.X on: January 03, 2014, 03:58:48 pm
I appreciate having Access to the discussions that are occuring on the Arduino Group. Ditto for GitHub.

Eventually, just looking for a high level summary of the proposed changes to the Library Structure (rev 3+), the introduction of the "Library Manager", how this is all will aide in backwards/forward compatibality as well as Library/Hardware dependency determination. Hoping to see a "Guidelines for Writing Arduino Libraries" come out of your efforts as well.

Thanks for your hardwork.

59  Development / Suggestions for the Arduino Project / Updates/Comments on Library Structure Progress for Arduino IDE 1.5.X on: January 02, 2014, 07:20:29 pm
I've seen the dialogue on the Google Groups and Github regarding the changes to the Library Structure for Arduino IDE 1.5.X.
However, in the last 60 days there are at least 5 different threads on the Library Structure of the Arduino Development Environment in the Google Groups. I'm not even sure which is worth following. We have the Rev1 spec, recently released Rev2 spec and we know this will ultimately result in the reléase of a Rev3 spec. We're are seeing suggestions that you might even add the new library structures to the old 1.0.X IDE.

Anyway, could you folks place a nice series of Updates/Comments here for folks to read. It sure would be nice to know which direction this is going on?  Furthermore...the Library Manager... do we have to wait for Arduino IDE 2.0.X for that? Or will it follow closely behind the R3 reléase of the new (1.5 world) library structures.

60  Using Arduino / Displays / Vizic SmartGPU2 480X320 LCD w/ Audio. Uno y Due compatible. on: December 19, 2013, 02:56:18 pm
I received an email from Vizic about their newest Smart LCD.
(I have used the original 2.4" 320X240 model successfully on the UNO and found it so easy to work with).

This SmartGPU2 is interesting for a couple of different reasons:
1. 4280X320 is a decent resolution.
2. Has a  Touch Screen.
3. Has a SDCard interface that supports 32bit fat long file names (display .jpg and .bmp and play .vid and .wav)
4. Has an audio controller with a built in 3.5 Jack or you can use pins.
5. Has a configurable pwn backlight (for dimming).
6. The libraries support geometries and primitives similar to Henning LCD libraries
7 3.3v and 5v I/O compatible.
8 Uses the Arduino serial interface, simply passing commands to the onboard host controller.
9 Host controller is an Atmel ARM Cortex 3M processor (similar to DUE), that does the heavy lifting for the file system, video, audio and touch.
10 $125 USD Price.

The gotcha, straight away is the Price. But there are a few cases where this is not a bad deal. Particularly in an advanced application where one was considering seperating UI elements from Control elements.... ei... two independent Arduinos....linked together.  A cheap ColdTears LCD 3.5" is $33. A Shield is $10, A cheap audio solution is $5, a cheap Arduino Mega clone is $20. So you're up to $70 already, but it's a hodge podge of parts that you must integrate. If your building a one off or a few protypes... the extra $50 is probably not a bad deal for the integration and simplification. I love the idea of just using a few pins on one DUE and that's it.

I've written the company and asked them if they are considering adopting a 5" 800X480 panel and applying the entire feature set of their SmartGPU2 3.5" 480X3420LCD model.

Has anyone used this product?
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