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Topic: Aquarium Reef Controller, stage 1, the LCD shield, (Read 41 times) previous topic - next topic


Hello Ludnix,

thanks for swinging by, this project hasnt gone any further since i last posted code wise as i've been too busy, Infact i was just about to sitdown and try and do some more coding. hense why i checked here.

looks like your further along then i am Ludnix as i've just started my project really, I've yet to order my RTC and also some Temp probes etc.

And then if i get that far, to work on solid state relays =]

you'll have to excuse my ignorance but whats "parasite mode" this is all completely new technology to me =].

about 3 hours later.....

Well i just had a rather sucessful few hours coding, managed to synq my keypressed recognition coding with my menu coding.

just need to write it up and i'll post some coding later tonight.


Apr 12, 2010, 05:42 pm Last Edit: Apr 12, 2010, 05:45 pm by Harlequin Reason: 1
pretty awful video can be seen here:

(note, play it quietly as the sound quality is pretty awful and i had music playing int he background)

its no where near finished but atleast i've got over the huge hurdle that was interfacing the menu and the keypad input, i was struggling with calling the menus at the right time and when to "listen" for a keypress and what to do, got it sorted now though.

And for the record "phoenix" is the user name i go by on some of the fish forums i frequent.

all in all im pretty pleased with my progress, i kinda had a "if i did it this way.... OMG Im so stupid why didnt i think of that earlier" moment ^^.

Going to place an order for a few bits and bobs soon ish i think.

looking at RTC module and a few temp probes for now.

there seems to be a few RTC's out there and also a few different temp probes, does anyone have any idea's suggestions on which to order? the temp probes will be wrapped in heatshrink probably and a dab of glue/silicone at the end to encapsulate it, unless you can think of a better idea?.

also on a semi serious thought.

i've been tinkering with the idea of data recording actually. I know you can buy SD card shields but is there a way of using one of those few hundred small USB sticks people have knocking around? like those small 128 mb ones?

looks like i need to do some googling.


I assume you're familiar with this site, but it's where I'm basing my project off:

Parasite mode allows you to control several of the DS18B20 temperature probes using a single wire to the arduino (very valuable when there are so few ports!). I haven't gotten it to display the two probes I have connected separately yet, but that's really a matter of taking the time to learn the code used in the examples.

For my probes, you need a 4.7k resistor on the +5v lead, so I wired it all up and heat shrunk it. I then put it in a tube you can get at the pet store. It's like rigid air line tubing only slightly larger, then epoxied the ends closed.

I have all my relays now, but I'm still waiting on the RTC to arrive and the serial connector for the LCD.

How do you intend to control your other component with the LCD shield on the arduino? Can you control the relays and LCD on the same I/O ports? I have seen port doublers for sale, but I have no idea how the coding works or circuitry.

Here's a picture of my LCD running. I'm planning on building a black acrylic box to put the LCD and keypad in. I haven't picked the keypad out yet but I'm not sure what my options are for interfacing with the arduino.


Apr 13, 2010, 09:44 pm Last Edit: Apr 13, 2010, 10:00 pm by Harlequin Reason: 1
Evening Ludnix, Yes i have seen the reefproject controller before,

Firstly the use of parasite mode sounds interesting especially if its possible to isolate each sensor as i was planning of having two sensors, 1 for the light rig 1 for the display tank ( inhonesty i dont need the light rig but i might as well, they only cost a few pounds or so per sensor,

As far as the use of relays is controlled, in honesty im not sure what im going to do, Im currently using an Arduino Mega so im hoping i have enough ports. if not i'll look at other ideas,

Im just about to place an order for 5x DS18B20 sensors ( its £3.60 for 2 or £7.60 for 5)  and also place an order for a RTC module.

one thing that im alittle confused about is rewiring my LCD shield to different pins, Currenly i have it "bolted on" to the arduino ( like a true shield) but the problem is it uses up All my PWM pins, and im not entirely sure if each pin actually does something.

the LCD schematic can be found here http://www.ekitszone.com/download/lcd-keypad-schematic.pdf

could someone tell me which if any pins i can reposition to free up my PWM pins, and if any dont actually do anything... if that makes sense.

(and each time i see a blue 20 x 4 the more i think i want one)

as far as i can tell.....

the 5 pushbuttons go to the analog pin 0-4, the "reset button" and other stuff that i cant tell (led for one) takes up the 5 pins to the left of the analog pins (Reset,3v3,5v,gnd and vin)  

these are fine (for now as they arent in the way)

but the 16 pins used for the LCD display use PWM pins 0-13,gnd and AREF, now from as far as i can tell on the schematics (though im rubbish at reading them) LCD pins 7-10 which fit to ardiunio PWM pins 6-9 are blanks? so if i used jumper leads on the others but didnt conect those 4 pins that frees up 4 PWM pins for my led rig?

please tell me that makes any sense lol,

what i want to do is rewire the shield using protoboards and jump leads/jumpers to free up as many ports as possible.

i'm currently not using any of my Digital pins which i assume i can use if i change my code correctly?

help would be appriciated


Are you sure your LCD isn't using any digital pins? Mine is only using the +5v on the analog side of the board, otherwise it's all connected to my digital pins (2-5, 9-13).

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