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


Apr 17, 2010, 11:28 pm Last Edit: Apr 17, 2010, 11:31 pm by Harlequin Reason: 1
looking excellent and wow i just noticed how big your RTC module is, even by most thats pretty big considering the size of the components, what are those 3 yellow bars though they look almost like jumpers? if thats the case i might need to order some more bits *d'oh*

i'll most likely be pestering you questions on the temp probes and the Real time clock module once i get my bits, but it looks like we are pretty level regarding our progress (ok your alittle ahead).

now see the ethernet shield was something i personnally didnt really see much purpose to in this perticular build, what do you plan to network it to? another controller/Hub a proper pc? etc....

you thought about doign anyform of data logging? i'd like to use a standard USB stick for memory failing that an SD card.

Oh its exciting where to go next XD

also noticed your using a Duelamore(probable horribly butchered spelling mistake but im tired and CBA to check...you know what i mean) Looks like you might need to upgrade to a mega soon its looking pretty cramped  ;)


The yellow bits are jumpers to switch the SDA, SCL and INT from ENA to DIS. I have no idea what that means but that's what the board says! The board is like 2/3 the size of the arduino and is at least 60% wasted space. I guess it's probably some standard size that fits some specific purpose, but if I did it again i'd probably make my own to save space. I ordered it quite a while ago, before I knew all the components were for sale and easily assembled.

I'm planning on using the Ethernet shield for datalogging. I'll have to work on some way to interface it with a web server, but I'm hoping to store data in a mySQL database, from there it would be very easy to make graphs and display information from my computer. It would also be neat to setup email alerts for certain events.

The integrated circuit for the LCD and keypad will interface through i2c which uses 4 of the analog pins, but can be shared with the clock, keypad and LCD all on the same pins (I think), which will free up all of my digital pins except for the one wire for temperature probes. This should leave me with 11 pins free (2-13) minus the temperature probes. I'm going to control 8 outlets requiring 8 pins so I think I should be okay end up with an extra pin or two in the end for some indicator leds or peizo buzzer for an alarm.

I think using the i2c interface you can get a chip to add extra i/o ports to the arduino. I'm still learning about the process but hopefully that would be another means of expanding the board without having to get a new one. I imagine there are cases where even the mega doesn't have enough pins so there much be a way to expand it elsewhere.


Well my RTC parts came today (which im pretty excited about, the Watch crystal is smaller then i thought ( its about 2-3mm long and the legs are about 3mm long so i'll have to do a decent solder job on it, i really like the battery holder they sent as well its perfect, not massive or stupidly designed, just small and low profile.

hopefully have it set up on a bread board by tonight. (and those "jumpers" are pull up resistors i think, after doing some googling... soem people seem to use them others dont and use the internal Arduino ones...

im in two minds, im seeing my spark mate at 2 to pick up aload of prototype stuff, wire, resistors,boards etc so i'll ask him to have a look at the schematics if he feels up to it. (he's been pretty ill).

got aload more coral yesterday for the pico tank too ^^


It should be fun to wire up, I'm not familiar with how the crystal and circuit work so I'll have to do some research to satiate my curiosity. There are 3 resistors right next to the yellow jumpers so I think you're right.

How much do you think you spent on the clock by doing it yourself? You had initially said the breakout was pretty expensive for the components involved, but you may have been looking at the sparkfun breakout which is $20. The huge one I'm using was $7, so the price isn't that high, but it's definitely a lot bigger than it should be.

Also how was shipping on your LCD+button shield? I ordered the ethernet shield from the same website a week ago, but they still haven't shipped it yet.

I'm also rethinking my 16 button keypad that I was going to originally use. The keypad has the advantage of being able to connect to the integrated circuit I ordered for my LCD, but it might be cooler to use specifically designed buttons for the controller. Since I really only need a few buttons for feed mode, cleaning mode, and arrow and select keys the 16 button keypad isn't really designed for that. Those buttons would need a integrated circuit to control them so I don't waste I/O ports, so I guess I'll have to research to see if I have know-how to do that.


Apr 20, 2010, 01:32 pm Last Edit: Apr 20, 2010, 01:35 pm by Harlequin Reason: 1
Firstly Ludnix, im UK side so i dont have access to anywhere near the number of arduino parts as you do, the cheapest i could find a complete made module was £13+£5 for postage.

another side wanted £5+ £2.50 postage for JUST the DS1307 chip and a 32.7Khz crystal.

i got

Chip, crystal, battery, battery holder, 5 different 5mm LED's for £8.60 in total. so i got the compoents for about £5 not including postage, if i were to make a few of these i'd save more money, depending on how it goes i might make a few and sell them off, just seems a bit excessive price wise for the components but then this is the UK T_T,

postage from that company took about 10 days for me which i was alittle supprised usualyl it takes a few weeks for stuff from hong kong.

build quality wise though, the LCD looks fine (abiet the first one didnt work, but that was because they put the wrong resistance value buttons in (so i actually gained a "3" button 2x16 screen for free to use in another project.)

and although i could be completely wrong but i think i read somewhere that the Crystal vibrates at 32.678 kHz (or what ever it was) and the chip knows how many vibrations it can process in 1 second, it simply just counts the number of vibrations and counts up.

Its alittle more complex then that because it has internal memory to process the date and the month and when to "incriment" to the next month etc ( i.e. not to have more days then the month)

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