Environmental controller help plz

I'm wanting to start a project that will help control an environment in a workshop/greenhouse.

Variables I would like to control in order of importance

Lights on a timer
Temperature via fan speed to help control temperature
Temperature #2 if needed to control heater in winter if possible
humidity-relay to turn off/on dehumidifier
Timer for turning on water pumps every 2-3 days for a set period of time.

After researching these needs, it seems the arduino can do these things, but I'm not sure which version to buy and what to start out with. I assume that I should start with 1-2 of these first instead of trying to do the whole project as I'm sure there will be issues to stumble through and troubleshooting should be easier with less variables.

Also, if you all have some approximate cost figures for how things break down that would help too. Not sure how cost effective this will all be in the end. Trying to save myself some time and clean up wiring etc..., but if I can't afford it, it's a moot point.

thx

pick any one item.

say temperature. select your desired temperature sensor, get one and program it to make sure you can get it to work.

once you have a reading, then attempt to turn on a heater when it is too cold, or turn on a fan when it is too hot.

once you have that done, pick the next thing. if you choose to get a temperature and humidity sensor, then make that work.

everything are asking is well documented on the web with examples.

google garden arduino

There would be no problem doing this with an Arduino Uno.

Without knowing exactly what you want to control it's impossible to make a list of additional equipment or any idea of its cost.

Assuming you want to control mains electricity a simple way is to use an Arduino to switch a relay (which is the same as an on/off switch). Speed control of an AC mains motor may be more of a problem unless the fan has a suitable interface to take computer commands.

There are also important safety issues with mains electricity. As well as the obvious risk of electric shock there is also a risk of fire if (say) the Arduino fails to turn off a heater.

And, yes, very important, do it all one step at a time.

...R

Thanks all
sorry for being vague, I'm just new at this and it's very overwhelming.

Thanks for the tips on starting out, I will research more and give better questions when I have more information to give, and can communicate in something other than hieroglyphics lol.

I'll start with an Uno unit and order some other parts after researching the "garden controller" as suggested. Good starting points and thanks again all :).

I love my PC computers and was a big overclocker for awhile, but after kids etc... that has taken a back seat to life. These little units could give me some much needed "tinker hobby" time that I need :slight_smile:

dave-in-nj mentioned it but the hazard issue is so grave, I wanted to repeat.

When working with AC mains, you are in a position to critically hurt yourself, your family, or others. There are "approved" low-voltage to AC receptacles available, but remember that your non-licensed approach could void your home insurance as well as potentially set you up for civil fines. Research local laws and requirements. It is easy to poo-poo this issue but if someone gets hurt there is no "rewind" button available.

Ray

Thanks for that information.

Not to be all know it all or anything, as I'm really not, but I have done electric work before both AC(120/240v) and DC(up to 48V), being comfortable with that and ; I do partially understand how relays etc... work.

However, if you are telling me that even if I wire something correctly, and buy good quality items, there are still higher than acceptable risks for fire etc... due to the hobby nature of this equipment, then I would probably stop the project as indeed this is not worth the risk.

thanks

I don't think the risk is due to "the hobby nature of this equipment" but rather due to the potential for software errors and the sorts of failure you can get from any complex electronic device.

It takes a lot of careful thought to anticipate those problems and provide arrangements to deal with them.

There is also a need for a very methodical process for testing the finished product. In general I have found that things that wor perfectly for me fail gloriously when someone else tries them because I have been subconsciously avoiding the scenario that the inexperienced user tries. For example I may know that I should only type numbers 0-9 at the keyboard so I don't think to provide for someone typing abc.

There is a nice saying that you can't make anything foolproof because fools are so clever :slight_smile:

...R

Jstang:
...
However, if you are telling me that even if I wire something correctly, and buy good quality items, there are still higher than acceptable risks for fire etc... due to the hobby nature of this equipment, then I would probably stop the project as indeed this is not worth the risk.

thanks

From: Home wiring - Wikipedia

Regulations for wiring installation vary widely around the world, with national, regional, and municipal rules sometimes in effect. Some places allow the homeowner to install some or all of the wiring in a home; other jurisdictions require that licensed electricians only install wiring.

It is my understanding that in greater Atlanta that homeowners are broadly permitted to do DIY projects. Permits are almost always required for mains work if new wiring is installed. In some cases, permits are required for low-voltage wiring like door bells and Ethernet/CATV. This is more about revenue streams and inspection fees than safety, IMO, but consider....
Most all States require that when a house is sold that you disclose to the buyer any permitted work done to the home while you owned the property. If you do DIY work that should be permitted but you did not seek to do so, you could be legally in violation of the law. Said another way, bypassing the permit process could permit someone to be responsible even after a home is sold. The new owner's insurance company could seek reimbursement from the previous owner in much the same way that no-fault insurance will pay the insured first, but seek to collect form the offending party after-the-fact.

With every State being different with many municipal governments issuing their own rules, the process can be complicated in the U.S. Lite reading on the Internet today indicates that many governments are much stricter than the U.S.

So, since this is an International forum, I think everyone who entertains such a project should be cautioned. After that, it is your business.

Ray

mrburnette:
licensed electricians

Owns a screwdriver and has strong teeth for stripping insulation.

...R

Robin2:

mrburnette:
licensed electricians

Owns a screwdriver and has strong teeth for stripping insulation.

...R

OMG...
That does make for a stereotype picture!
Ray