Arduino as an automation controller for flushing system

Hello! I am considering using an Arduino as a controller for a water treatment system and would love to hear your opinions. All it has to do is open/close a water gate (by starting/stopping a motor) at predefined times. It would have to...

  • Be able to connect to a phone using a usb cable. The phone would act as a UI to change settings and water flush times on the Arduino (via a custom app)
  • Log data which would be easily retrievable
  • Ideally, be able to connect to a cell network and send/receive packets. I believe there is a shield for this
  • Consume MINIMAL POWER. All it has to do is flush once every few days, log data, and possibly receive data from shield/usb. It would be running off of a solar panel and battery. In winter it could run out of power. If it does shut down, once restarted it should be able to assess how long it was down (does it need to flush water RIGHT NOW?) then continue like nothing happened! I imagine I would need external storage to make this happen?

And thats pretty much it! Would arduino be a good match for this project? I would greatly appreciate any advice! :slight_smile:

Be able to connect to a phone using a usb cable. The phone would act as a UI to change settings and water flush times on the Arduino (via a custom app)

I don't know what kind of cellphone have this capability, and even if it's possible you will need to create your own drivers for it !

Log data which would be easily retrievable

  • Ideally, be able to connect to a cell network and send/receive packets. I believe there is a shield for this

Absolutely have a GSM shield, but you will need a server with background code running for POST/GET methods!

Consume MINIMAL POWER

This will be a trick, once you need it running in a Network, specially if you plan to use the GSM shield, or even with an Ethernet shield will drain some considerable power depending how you will design it...

This will be a trick, once you need it running in a Network, specially if you plan to use the GSM shield, or even with an Ethernet shield will drain some considerable power depending how you will design it...

Not to mention the motor you will starting and stopping.

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I don't know yet how limiting the solar panel is going to be... if it's bad I may have to forego the networking aspect. Thanks for the post!

You can power off anything you use when you don't use it (communication included), the same way you can power off the motor. Considering frequent communication with something that does nothing for days is not required, that should not be a problem.

Think SMS messaging for control & monitoring
Doesn't need a central server for web/HTTP messaging.

Mobile modems (GPRS etc) don't have a fixed IP, and are firewalled by the carrrier - so it's virtually impossible for you to establish a direct connection -to- the modem.

Outbound from the modem - no problem - but not -to- your phone (it has the same issue), that's why you need an internet connected server in the middle - with a known IP and no firewall, or port forwarding to reach the server app.

It's easy enough to do what you want, but for minimal setup effort, and running overheads - SMS is a good starting point.
Make sure it's a 3G solution - or it will become redundant within the next couple of years.

I guess you are thinking of controlling the system within a short range for now, as you are thinking of USB cable. If that's the case have you done any research on Bluetooth module? HC-05 is a very good module will not cost you more than $3.

Also you are looking to log data with some datetime and after restarting did some calculation based on date. So You need a Real Time Clock (RTC) module. Arduino cant keep track of time once it restarted.

To Start/Stop motors you can use relays. If it's a small motor then a 12v opto isolated relay is a good starting point. If your motor is heavy load one, then may need to find an industrial standard relay, there are several SSRs which can deal with heavy load devices.

Sarouje, I have not looked at using bluetooth, but that may be the way to go! BT may be easier to connect with, not to mention how much phone companies love to change their cable standards. :frowning:

lastchancename,

Mobile modems (GPRS etc) don't have a fixed IP, and are firewalled by the carrrier - so it's virtually impossible for you to establish a direct connection -to- the modem.

thank you for the info I had not considered that... if I cannot get a static IP ill check out using SMS!