I've been working on this project off and on for 2 years now and have really had a lot of trouble.
About myself: I'm a mechanical engineer who recently graduated so I've had some basic background in electronics and programming My parents own a tree nursery in which they grow deciduous trees for landscaping.
The problem: -Nursery trees should be fertilized at least twice a year. -Fertilizing the trees with granular fertilizer is expensive and labor intensive. Typically 5 people are needed and it takes all day to do the whole nursery. -The trees are planted in rows: http://margolisco.com/margolisco/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Screen-shot-2011-05-04-at-5.13.08-PM.png
The solution: -Adapt a corn planter: http://www.purplewaveauction.com/i/a/2012/20120425ag/B6521.JPG to apply fertilizer in individual doses to trees.
Operation: 1. The tractor will drive down a row of trees (rows on both sides). 2. The optical sensors located near the front of the implement, on either side, will detect that a tree is present. 3. The sensors will send this information to an Arduino controller located on the tractor. 4. The Arduino will delay a specified amount, then trigger a digital output for a specified duration.
Needs: The sensors must be able to be weatherproofed. The Arduino must handle two separate channels. The sensors must be located 10-15 feet from the Arduino. The Arduino must have user inputs for the delay and duration of the event The Arduino should probably have user input for min and max distance measured (if using measuring sensor)
I started by trying to measure the distance with Sharp IR sensors but for some reason I could not get good readings. I connected the IR sensor's output directly to an analog input pin on the Arduino. I also tried supplying the +5V to the sensor with a 7805 voltage regulator to minimize power spikes. I did tie the Arduino and sensor grounds together. I also struggled with the timing of things because I need to handle two channels at once.
My handheld Arduino controller has a 16x2 LCD display as well as 10 input buttons. These buttons send their inputs to two of the analog inputs--I have 5 unique resistors to handle this.
I ended up giving up on the Sharp IR sensors when I came across this project: http://trackroamer.com/Sensors/parkingsensor
I bought one of these parking sensor kits off of Amazon but unfortunately it is not talking to my Arduino. I'm not sure what the problem is. I contacted the guy who did the Trackroamer project and he gave me a few basic things to try but without an oscilloscope or logic analyzer, there's not much I can do. I also don't understand much of the Trackroamer code.
Can someone please help me communicate with this parking sensor? This would be a great help. If not, could someone please point me in the direction of another sensor to use? I also need help handling the timing of events on two channels.
Thank you! Chris