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Topic: Aquarium Reef Controller, stage 1, the LCD shield, (Read 78042 times) previous topic - next topic


I'm not sure why you're having the problem, I would double check that you didn't wire the IC backwards, pins 1, 2, and 3 from left to right applies when the flat side of the probe is sticking up like in the picture I posted.

I would try wiring a single probe and resistor like my picture had done and see if it works then if you haven't.

Here's a picture of just plugging my probes in and testing it out.  You can see the two probes on the right of the breadboard. They are pretty ugly as is, but water tight. They are in rigid 1/4" tubing which I got the LFS. I don't know what it's normally used for, but it was next to the 1/16" tubing that is commonly used for undergravel filters and air stones. I just wired my probe and resistor up, with the 3 wires coming out, I plugged the tubes with aquarium epoxy putty. They should work fine for water temperature monitoring, they take longer to update compared to exposed probes, but that obviously is not an option. After a few minutes they air temperature inside the tube equalizes with the outside temperature though and they seem accurate compared to my IR temperature laser and aquarium temperature probes.

I'm using the "Multiple" example in the dallas temperature probe library, I haven't modified the code at all, the data wire is connected to port 3 as the code indicates, and +5v and ground respectively.

Here's hacktronics intructions on the probe, you are right that you could just use roughly 5kohm resistors, it apparently doesn't matter.

Here's what my serial monitor shows when I run the code:


yeah i tried that but i'll give it a nother shot now see what happens.


Got it sorted now, for some reason the Chips wouldnt work then i put them on my shared ground, put them on their own ground adn they worked fine.

right now to solder some of these up =]



May 06, 2010, 11:20 pm Last Edit: May 06, 2010, 11:21 pm by Harlequin Reason: 1
well seeing as I've seen your build i thought it was fair to throw a picture up or two of mine,

here it is in all its glory

poor Blackberry photo as my brother has my camera. we have the LCD shield with keypad at the top, Arduino mega, RTC module underneath, 1 grey breadboard (which is actually empty, im just using it for the shared Ground and shared 5V) and to the right, on the white breadboard is 3 DS18B20's (which now work)

I just need to work on the coding and compile my temperature code with my controller code.

RTC module, after far too long i realised i soldered the battery holder in upside down, so i just flipped the battery and volia it worked.

(yes i soldered jump leads in, but they can easly be removed/soldered in the finished build, Blue is Ground, Red is 5V, Green is SDA and orange is SCL)


I spoke with my oceanography teacher today regarding moonlight and coral sexual reproduction. He was able to explain to me how to emulate the moon light in that one would not only want to gradually increase and then decrease the light intensity over the 29.5 day period, but also the duration. I think the typical moonlight controllers sold just adjust the intensity over that period, but for the most realistic results you would also want to shorten duration depending on current phase. The moon is not constantly overhead at night, so I would want to take that into consideration with it.

On the other hand, tides really probably have a lot more to do with coral sexual reproduction, so the whole moonlight thing might be moot anyways.

Anyways, my order from hacktronics came today, it had my new LCD and bigger breadboard, as well as some transistors and another DS18B20 probe. I haven't wired up the third probe yet, but I got the LCD wired up with the I2C board and keypad. The I2C reduces the number of wires to the arduino, which no longer necessary, but I probably go ahead and use it anyways.

On the weekend I'll spray paint the keypad black and apply my own numbers and symbols. I'll probably also get to work on the wiring up the third temperature probe to see how difficult that is to program. So far everything is running smoothly though.


looking great Ludnix, Yes i was aware of the duration changes etc and intenisitys, i was planing to do a bit of googling and find some statistics on moon lighting strengths and durations etc and use those as a basis,

also contemplating maybe one of those 8x8 led matrix cubes you can pick up and individually control the leds on.. still not made my mind up yet.

made a basic temp probe today (1 meter length, just soldered together and heatshrinked at the probe, but not encapsualted.

although this works the cables alittle messy, i'll probably go to my local maplins store (electronics specialist/exstortionist) and pick some 3 wired wire use that. get a better finish at the end i reacon.

Things to do :

Work out coding to worked out an LED photoperiod etc

Write soem code that lets the user set up which probe is which, at the minute the probe alocation is on Hex code not user choice etc.


I ordered 3x float sensors today, they should be super easy to hook up the arduino. I plan to use one in my top off container to indicate when I need to refill it, one in the sump to trigger the actual top off pump, and one in my display tank to shutoff the main return pump in case the overflows clogged and the water level started rising excessively.

I also painted my keypad and applied the custom vinyl numbers and symbols to it. I'll try to get a picture tomorrow.

My peizo buzzer from sparkfun doesn't seem very loud. I'm waiting for hacktronics to get theirs back in stock and give that one a try.

I also received all of my relays now (16), I'm just waiting for the second American DJ power outlet rack, then I can order some acrylic and make a case for it all.


May 20, 2010, 09:48 pm Last Edit: May 20, 2010, 09:53 pm by Harlequin Reason: 1
Geez does it feel like a long time i had a chance to work on this project ive had exams this last week and into the next so this has taken a back seat for a while. but i booted up the sketch and had a play tonight,

i seriously need to re think my menu code and the itterations the arduino has to go through, i never thought id say it but its got slow! the time it used to take to load one menu for another was nano seconds now its taking about 1 second per press. i think its because of how i call the menu.

so my next version of code (im on version 1.05 now!) (1 was jsut a basic hello world, 1.02 was getting the keyboard adn the first intereactive program, 1.03, was RTC 1.04 is Time probes)

im going to try and focus and make it "light" i dont think it helps not having a 20 x 4 lcd because im forced to code more "pages" to get all the data i want, if it wasnt for the fact im saving up for a new tank id think about getting a new lcd shield laugh.

Ludnix have you done any menu coding yet? or still sort of coding all your bits and bobs before you mash it into one controller?

plus im looking at sorting the LED fades in when a certain time is set.

all in all im far too busy and limited by my own time fundings and information  :-/

edit that sorted out my laggy program, i just re ordered the way my methods were called ( origionally it was temperature, led brightness (that doens nothing really) then load the menu then finally call the keypad listener method.

simply pulled my menuloader method to the top/first and its back to being lighting quick  ;D


well heres the latest "up to date" image

we have the 16x2 lcd with 5 push button keypad,
the arduino mega,
the grey protoboard tot he left of the mega and below the lcd shield is empty, im just using the it for a common ground pin and a common 5V pin.

we have the RTC module below the mega board and on the right is my semi finished temperature board, the board has 3 x 3 header pins (with each of the the white temperature probes having the males that match up) and then for sheer geekery i have a "power" led on the board which i need to solder in.  ( but that pink one is waaay to bright).

placed an order for a PH meter off ebay but i just found out i need to build an Op-amp (operation amplifier) for it so i need to order some parts once my probes here.

I want to start doing work on a powerbar/ SSR but theres so many i dont really know which to order does anyone have any links to a Relay tutorial or similar.


got a ph probe in the post today, now i just need a male BNC connector and some parts for a ph op amp (whihc i need to google about)


Hello Harlequin,
I would like to ask you how you code your Idle menu?? Thank you


nice build, im currently starting down the road myself, do you care to share your source code to get others going?


Hi Harlequin,

Nice build and great thread! Cheers!

i'm working on a similar setup, but struggling with writing menu's, is there any chance you could post your current sketch?
I've tried getting the one you posted earlier to work but i keep getting stuck.


Hi Harlequin,

I have the same basic setup and was wondering how you got the LCD shield to use LCDI2C.h, how'd you manage that?


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