New project to automate a rotary drum filter for a fish pond

I am new to this game, although we due currently use Arduino at work so have seen what it can be capable of, but that is the limit of my knowledge. I program in other pc based languages so have a basic knowledge.

I want to use a Arduino to control a rotary drum filter for a koi pond. The filter will use three level sensors with open closed function to determine when to run the system. I then need to open a 12v solenoid valve and run a 12 v DC motor for a period of time, (say 45 secs) till the low level sensor reports back.

Ability to count operations and run default timers will be required.

I would like to add a visual LCD output to the panel so i can see what is happening, plus maybe the ability at a later date for the user to adjust set-points, and a nice to have at a later date would be the ability to send alert e-mails or texts

My question is which of the Arduino's are right for this size / type of project. Does the UNO do it all, or should i go bigger.

Thanks for your help.

Andrew

@Andrew,

I would look beyond UNO because your project is already "extensible" in requirements; traditional scope-creep.

The Mega2560 is a fine workhorse with ample SRAM and Flash memory.. Your task will be to decide on the shields & modules you want to use. You can buy a GSM shield or a GSM module and wire it freestanding or to a shield. You can do the same with LCD and with relay and sensor boards. Mixing and matching correctly can save you time and money and make for a better project.

Spend some time looking at shields, make notes on features and also search for any library issues with a particular shield and Arduino Mega2560. Work the list of multiples down to a short list and again check manufactory's forums and Q/A sites for potential issues. Lastly, post back on this forum your potential selections asking for feedback.

The above will not prevent issues, but should minimize the worst ones.

Shields/Modules: GSM, low-voltage Relays, RTC, SD-Card for logging??, analog-dugital screw termination for optical/mechanical, Hall, Thermocouple, etc.

Ray

Thanks Ray my initial thoughts were;

Arduino Mega 2560 Arduino motor shield R3 Arduino WiFi Shield (Integrated antenna) Arduino TFT LCD Screen

I assume I can run one motor and a solenoid from the motor shield, and use the inputs on the mega for the level sensor inputs. I could not see an input "button" shield, so assume that is something I would have to built and wire in to the mega.

Andrew

The standard Arduino motor shields use very old technology and are quite pathetic in their current handling capacity. Check whether the one you plan to use is adequate to drive your motor and solenoid before designing them in.

To adjust the set points, consider using a rotary encoder, with or without built-in push button.

I could not see an input "button" shield, so assume that is something I would have to built and wire in to the mega.

There are a wide variety of these available http://oomlout.co.uk/products/arduino-wing-shield

Ok, on the motor side it looks like it will be a 60 watt (0.08 hp) 12 volt DC motor driving through a right angled gearbox with a FLA of 10 amps. I assume that is two much for the motor shield. Just need to switch it on and run it for 2 mins at a constant speed. found these two while googling, any good ?

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/171189463348?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/170816317819?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649

Advise welcomed.

Andrew

The first one is no good for your application, but the second one looks like a good choice to me.

Do you need to adjust the motor speed or is it set to run at required speed with 12V applied? Maybe you could use simple relay boards instead of motor shields

Personally I wouldn't use a relay, however If you only need to run the motor one way, then a mosfet + flyback diode will do the job for a lot less money than a motor shield.

Riva: Do you need to adjust the motor speed or is it set to run at required speed with 12V applied? Maybe you could use simple relay boards instead of motor shields

Nope, just need to run at a set speed. Was think a realy maybe a simple option. Andrew

dc42: Personally I wouldn't use a relay, however If you only need to run the motor one way, then a mosfet + flyback diode will do the job for a lot less money than a motor shield.

dc42's suggestion sounds even better as you can ramp up the motor to speed if it's got a heavy load to turn.

I'd start with an Uno - it's cheaper to replace if you have accidents and if it does eventually turn out that you need something more powerful, well, you've got yourself a spare for another project.

How much information do you need displayed and kept? Since you're planning to use wifi anyway, I'd be inclined to put the UI on a web server, then you can keep historical data, draw graphs and control the set points there. A Raspberry Pi would do the job if you don't already have access to a server.

dc42: then a mosfet + flyback diode will do the job.

Thanks but you lost me at that point...! No an expert on this kinda thing, still finding my way, i am mechanical engineer to trade that is getting pulled in to this area. Is there a simple add on for this or do ineed to get the soldering iorn out !

Andrew

wildbill: I'd start with an Uno - it's cheaper to replace if you have accidents and if it does eventually turn out that you need something more powerful, well, you've got yourself a spare for another project.

How much information do you need displayed and kept? Since you're planning to use wifi anyway, I'd be inclined to put the UI on a web server, then you can keep historical data, draw graphs and control the set points there. A Raspberry Pi would do the job if you don't already have access to a server.

Don't really need to keep any data, (but who knows in the future) all i need is to turn a motor, open a valve and monitor three level sensors... sounds simple when you say it like that.

Andrew

Thanks guys for the help, I have ordered a Arduino Mega 2560 for now as we use them at work also.

Still not sure how to drive the motor yet and did not quite understand dc42's suggestion fully.

It's a start, I am sure I will be back for more help once the parts arrive and I start to get in to it.

Andrew

I think he was referring to something like the image shown in this post.