bee hives monitoring

Hello everyone,

Here is a little background story of my project:

I am an average arduino user, not an expert but I am making my projects for about 5-10 years. So my question (for now) is not really arduino based but a guidance to how to approach it.

The background:
My father and sister have started beekeeping last year. I planned a project with my father to let him monitor some data from the beehives from his computer or cellphone, like temperature, humidity, sunlight and weight. The collecting of the data was not an issue but since the beehives are in an open field with no access to power or WiFi or bluetooth, there was a challange. I did some research on LoRa and LoRaWAN and thought that would be a possibility. The next thing was the powersupply to power this setup 24/7, all year long. That is something I haven't worked out yet, since this comes with a number of other factors like powersaving.

Now the deal is that my father recently died. We could not finish this project in time but I am destined to close this. So I offered my sister to make it for her. She would love to monitor her own beehives as well as my fathers (which are still located at my fathers place).
So now I changed/expanded my project quite a while. Let me try to give you a brief idea of what I want.

The goal:
I want my sister to monitor both her an my fathers beehives. If possible, I don't want third parties or other services involved, just the data to my own server/site. At my sisters place there is access to power and WiFi, at my fathers place not. The kind of data that I want to monitor is not yet established but I want at least the weight of the hive, in/ouside temperature and humidity and possibly sunlight monitored. (Other ideas/suggestions are welcome).
Also, I want to MAKE this project. I know there are similar projects that I could buy but building it is part of the closing I want.

The question:
The question is quite open. I do have some ideas myself ofcoarse, but I would like to have some help planning this. I think it is obvious that the data from both sites has to be send to a server to monitor.
How do I split this project into chewable portions? and after that, well, that is after that..

I appriciate any help

Ulco

My first thought was to split this up first to a few sections:

1. monitoring data on site
This is not the biggest problem but nevertheless worth mentioning.

2. send data though WiFi via LAN to server
I have used ESP's before and with a little help this is doable for me.

3. power an offgrid arduino-system with a solarpanel and a battery
I have at this moment a solar setup with a car battery but I am not sure if this will be sufficient durring the winterdays. I am open for any power related suggestions. I am aware car batteries are not the best solutions since they can not handle cold very well and draining them to much.

4. send data though LoRa via LAN to server
Dived into this with no experience but I expect it is an extention to use an ESP.

5. read data from server with custom UI
This is totally optional. having just a few numbers on screen from a webserver is ok but I would like to make a nice UI for the data. I just had a look at Processing.org and that looks encouraging, since I would like to display the weight of the hive from 4 cornerpoints, so you can see at what side the weight changes.

distance of beehives from your sister’s home ?

distance of your father’s beehives from your sister’s home ?

.

distance of beehive from sister's is next to house, power and WiFi available.
distance of beehive from father's is aprox. 100-150 meters to house.

.

“100-150 meters to house”…

Who’s house? 100-150m from your fathers house? or from your sisters house?

** Nice link provided. You should read it to see if any of it applies to your plans… and see if you missed anything.

The only problem I see if your fathers set-up. You need some sort of power there… otherwise this is futile.

For your sisters house:

  • add ‘sesnors’ to the stuff you want to monitor.

  • these can be transferred to your sisters house in any number of ways. (wifi, RF, BT probably…etc)… So you need to choose a protocol that works for you.

  • how you receive this data will be determined on what protocol you use as well.

  • from this point… you can really do whatever you want with the data…

*** with your dads house out of the equation until you make some basic choices/fixes…
there is no real point in sending anything to your own server or ‘site’… unless you planning for future integration of your dad’s house/set-up.

But a base decision is to be made.

1.) If your ‘site location’ (ie: sisters house) has wi-fi that is accessible to where the hives are… then you can send your data directly to an END point that is on the internet.

  • but how does this same set-up then apply to your dads house? Forget the power issues… what do you DO with the data once you get it… and HOW do you get it out? (so you can read it or even care about what the data represents)

For your sisters set-up… you could just have a wifi shield or ESP modules use your sisters wifi connection… and reach out to a (for example) a PHP script that is sitting on your server/site… waiting to accept this incoming data… parse it… log it… and then update whatever webpage/site you want to poll/display this data.

None of the above using any 3rd party service…

Use the forum Google search function in the upper right of this page to search for the key words of your project. You will probably find many similar previous project discussions and code to get you started. Weighing beehives has been a popular topic over the past years (right up there with chicken coop doors). If the dad's house does not have internet access, then the cell phone system setups might be an answer.