Project Help

Hi! I am very new to programming and Arduino, but i have willingness to learn. I have a poultry farm and I figured a way to detect the daily intake of my animal feed. All feed comes from an automatic auger. If I track down the time that the auger is on, I will know how much feed the birds have eaten. For example
if the auger is on for 2 hours per 24 hours, the intake is 2 tons. I want the the data to small display. Can you tell me what hardware do i need for this project.

Hi, welcome to the forum.

Could you add more information about the automatic auger. Is it powered by ac power or dc. Also how exposed is the wiring. depending on the setup you may be able to use a non invasive current sensor. A picture would help us understand your setup.

As for the display a simple and cheap 16x2 lcd display will probably work fine on an Arduino board like an UNO.

The auger is control by 3 phase AC contactor.

And yes it is possible to use Non-Invasive current sensor

This is the the panel with contactors

The auger is control by 3 phase AC contactor.

And what drives the contactor?

welcome to the forum.

please take a minute to read HOW TO USE THIS FORUM.
pay attention to #6 regarding subject lines.

the contactor is a 3 pole with power wires in each pole. (blue crimps)
the control wires (usually line or low voltage) are obscured by the large red circle and then by the enclosure. (yellow crimps)

as with all devices, you have a sensor, then some sort of logic, then a switch.
in your case, there is something that monitors feed
then some sort of thing that says 'add more' and closes a switch or sends a signals
that then powers the relay. THAT is what dougp is asking about.
the relay mimics that circuit and closes a switch (contactor) that drives the motor.

you have at least 3 places to do something.
#1) at the sensor
#2) at the switch that signals the relay
#3) at the relay.

get a close up of the model of the relay
there are auxiliary contacts on the right that are not used
you can easily add wires to them for your signal.

next question is accuracy. the arduino clock can be off for a minute in a day.
if you expect the whole thing to run and want to know seconds, then the internal clock may not be the best choice.

the tally of hours per day is easy enough. any arduino can read and display that.

do you want local reading ?
or a web page with a graph of the total for each day ?

I have two questions.
#1) where is the signal coming from that controls the relay ?
#2) is a crude 2.37 hrs or 187.2 minutes on a single line OK ? even if it is off by a minute a day ?

a simple display can be the size of your thumb nail.
a little lager the size of your little finger
larger still, a bit larger than a pack of matches
and it keeps getting larger.

aux contacts
you can see the 3 terminals that have the black wires and the extra ones on the right that have no wires.
those are auxiliary and are for signal lines, not power lines.
these can prove the contactor state and often are used with a panel face indicator light.
these contacts are one option for your signal.

Yes i can get signal from this contact it is A1 but what next?

Take a close up of the device so you can read the model number.

Get an UNO to play with. The UNO is the easiest to start with for many reasons.
Get an assortment of relays, 1k ohm can do a lot
Get a switch of any sort.

Play with the example sketches in the Arduino software. specifically blink and button

when a switch closes, you can light an LED.
you can start a timer.
when the switch opens, you can turn off the LED and stop the timer.

you can sum times
you can display the cumulative time for a day
and store cumulative for a week
you can show duration of run times and pause times between run times
and store daily times for a graph
you can display those times on a display
you can display the graph on a higher quality display

but it all starts with knowing when the switch is open or closed and for how long.


We want to know what creates the signal that energizes the 3-pole contactor.
that device might have a much easier way to tell what is going on.

A low-tech solution might be to power an old timey motor-driven clock or an hour meter with the auxiliary contacts. Whenever the contactor is on the timer runs. You'd have to check it every day.