Sunday, October 18, 2015

Chicken Coop Sensor

Well, the soil sensors are taking a little bit of a back seat on this post.  What we did was use some of the guts of the soil sensor to help monitor temperature and humidity inside the chicken coop. The 3D printed enclosure is 3 pieces. The coop side round boss can be changed out to accommodate different wall coup thicknesses, i.e. longer for thicker wall, etc... Of course it is solar powered and I tried to keep the installation of it as simple as possible.

  • A Drill
  • 2" Hole Saw
  • A qty of 4, #6 X 3/4" wood screws

Figure 1:  Sensor and US quarter for scale

Figure 2: Another view

Figure 3: Coop side showing DHT22 sensor

Figure 4: Isometric coop side view

Installation was a breeze..... no running wires. Just use the hole saw to create the hole and screw in the 4 wood screws to attach the unit to the chicken coop.

Figure 5: Attached chicken coop sensor

Figure 6: Coop side 
It is now up on Thingspeak right now,
So, if you get bored take a look.

Improvements to make to the sensor.

  • A HTU21d to measure ambient temp and relative humidity OUTSIDE of the coop.
  • Enlarge clearence holes to a #6 woodscrew passes easier though it.
  • Dust cover to help partially enclose the DHT22 from dust, etc...
  • Add ammonia sensor

 I need to give a quick garden update. The peppers did great this year as well as the tomatoes. However, the watermelon did so-so this year. The garlic and the shallots will need to be planted soon. I can't wait; I love planting those.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Mother Node PCB and the Garden

Well,  Mother Node Rev 0C(the gateway for all of the other nodes in the garden) is completed and functional. We are chasing a few bugs but they appear to be minor coding issues.  The picture below shows Rev 0B(breadboard with RTC) on the left and Rev 0C(PCB board) on the right. Next up is the case for the Mother Node.
Figure 1: Mother Node comparison

We are working on getting the Mother Node to talk to Thingspeak to post the gathered garden node data. See for more info about Thingspeak IoT open data platform. 

In the garden the randomized watermelon cultivar trial is going well.  3 varieties were planted:
  • Crimson Sweet
  • Moon & Stars
  • Navajo Winter
Through just simple limited observational data, the Navajo Winter is growing superior to both the Crimson Sweet and Moon & Stars.  The Navajo Winter emerges earlier and is more prolific. 
Figure 2: Navajo Winter
However, there are other factors that go into the overall evaluation. We'll see how the disease resistance and tastes is of the final product. I will do a final write up of the watermelon trial at the end of the season.

On the pepper front. Things are going great for Anaheim, Hungarian Hot Wax, Scottish Bonnet, C5 Purple Lilac, & California Wonder. However, things are not doing well for the Peach Habenero and Ghost Pepper. Those two peppers have minimal flowering and no viable peppers....... so far.  I am still trying to diagnose what is causing the lack of peppers with those cultivars
Figure 3: Anaheim pepper

Some random Anaheim, Hungarian Hot Wax and C5 peppers

The 50ft row of peas did wonderful this year. Over 40lbs of Sugar Snap peas were harvested and consumed. I am definitely going to plant multiple succession rows next year. I will change the trellis system from Jute twine to simple panel fencing next year. The jute twine simply took too long to setup and gave marginal results as a trellis(relaxed more than expected and higher maintenance).
Figure 5: Picking peas

The garlic went well. We had a input to output ratio of 1:6. Meaning for every 1lbf of garlic planted we got 6lbf at the end of harvest. Next, I need to grade(fancy talk for sizing) the garlic. I am wondering if the distribution of sizes will be Gaussian? We will see.

Figure 6: Duganski garlic dried and ready for grading

Well, that is it for now.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

SMD and Garlic

The SMD versiom is here and the components populated, see the picture below to show the evolution of the board. From left the 1st prototype with the 2nd generation in the middle with the 3rd and current generation on the far right.

In other news we harvested our 1st garlic, a softneck Susanville variety, from the field. 

I think I am going to let the other Susanville garlic stay in the field a bit longer. The Duganski, a hardneck variety is shooting up scapes and will be harvesting those those today to make some bacon wrapped garlic scapes. With the scapes up the Duganski garlic has about 1 month left until full harvest.

Well that is it for now. The PCBs for the Mother Node should be arriving any day.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Another Node and Garden Update....

I realized I had not posted anything about the OSH Park node boards. So, here are some older pics of the node boards being installed in the nodes.

The next revision of the board should be here tomorrow. It is approximately 25% smaller and using a SMD 328P instead of a DIP version.

The garden is going good and we are enjoying fresh lettuce on a daily basis. It is amazing how well a nice bowl of fresh lettuce tastes with a little turkey,cheese, and some dressing.Here are some random pics from the garden.

Tomatoes and peppers going in.

Overall view

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Update Part 2 - Indoor Lab

In addition to the outdoor planting we have a few things going on in the indoor lab.... growing tomato starts, pepper starts, water melon starts, and...... chickens.
Grow rack for the tomato and pepper starts.
I started the tomatoes(Celebrity, Comstock Slice and Serve, Amish Paste, and Sweet 100's) and peppers(Anahiem, Jalapeno, Scottish Bonnet, Chinese 5 Color, Ghost Pepper, Hungarian Hot Wax, Habanero, Lilac Bell, and California Wonder)  starts back in the last week on March and they are growing good.  We have added a small greenhouse that we transfer the starts to when they are done with the grow rack. A couple of days ago I just started the watermelons(Crimson Sweet. Moon and Starts, Navajo Winter Melon, and Blacktail Mountain)

We got 10 chickens and they are around 4 and half weeks old. They grow up fast. Listed below is the breeds and names(the ones that have names at least). If anybody has any suggestions for names for the other chickens, I am all ears.
  • 1 x Barred Rock(Amelia)
  • 2 x Red Sex Links
  • 1 x Copper Maran(Skittles)
  • 2 x Easter Eggers(Bunny, Twila Juna-Fire)
  • 2 x California Whites(Minnie, Melanie)
  • 2 x Australorp

1 Week

3 Weeks
4 and half weeks
Needless to say a chicken coop in in order and I will be working on that here very shortly. The coop that I am designing is more of a chicken "sled". It is a cross between a chicken tractor and a more permanent structure. After a lot of thought about the design, I wanted something that conveyed a aura of permanence yet allowed it the coop to be moved during the season as I see fit. I.E. the spring, summer, and fall it could be placed in the pasture and in the winter it could be brought up near the house to allow me to run electricity for coop heat and to keep the water from freezing, etc....  The coop should be started here in the next couple of days and I will post updates as it progresses.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Outdoor Planting Update .....

It has been busy here.  We have been putting up the deer fencing to ensure that we have reduced deer "strikes" on the crops, creating the new drip irrigation system, developing the Garden/Field Node,  planting, and subsequent weeding. So far what has been planted in:

  • Peas(50ft)
  • Beets(20ft)
  • Lettuce(30ft)
  • Swiss Chard (20ft)
  • Garlic(25ft, planted back in November of 2014)
  • Shallots(25ft, planted back in November of 2014)
Here is some random pics from the garden.
Sugar Snap Peas

Lettuce(variety mix)

Gray Shallots

Duganski Hardneck Garlic

I hope to have a few more updates in the very near future.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Some more news.... Humidity and Garlic

All nodes are upgraded with with humidity and  reading now with the accuracy of +- 5%. So, the deployed nodes have the following sensors

  • Soil Temperature
  • Air Temperature
  • Air Humidity
Also, upgraded some of the nodes to solar in addition a new top cap was designed to accommodate this, see Figure 1.
Figure 1. Deployed node with solar panel, air temp, soil temp and humidity.

In other news..... I ran out of solder paste for the PCBs. I thought I had a another syringe of it but apparently I did not. So the PCBs have to wait until I get some solder paste in later this week.

Things are moving forward we actually found our first garlic growing above the mulch and up closer inspection we have around 25 ft poking through the mulch. Both the Susanville and Duganski garlic portions are active and doing well, see Figure 2. However, the real unknown is how well the shallots did.
Figure 2: Susanville garlic doing well.

Friday, March 6, 2015

The Monitor Node Update

Well, the Monitor Node design is in the process of getting upgraded with an integrated humidity sensor and a custom PCB.

The PCBs, a quanity of 3, just showed up from OSH Park today we'll see if it works.  I have also been playing with rough prototype moisture sensor. One that can be deployed will be completed in about 2 weeks after I get the nodes upgraded.

Well, that is it for now.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Monitor Field Node Version 2

 Sensor Field Node 2 got an upgrade to Version 2. The upgrade is a pretty decent size one. It includes the following:

  1. 3D printed enclosure
  2. Second temperature sensor to measure ambient air temps 
Version 2 components disassembled on top. Version 3(yet to be deployed) on bottom.
Version 2 is on the top. Version 3 on the bottom. Notice Version 3's ambient temperature hood compared to Version 2.
Plenty of room in the electronics bay.

Version 2's ambient temperature probe. Version 3 has a hood that covers the probe but still allows exposure to ambient air.

Nodes deployed in the field. Node 2 is still the "old school" plastic ziploc container. It will be getting an upgrade to Version 3 this week
Node 1 Version 2 by itself

The Nodes in the field all by themselves

 The enclosure is further getting refined and a new "skinner" form factor is on the horizon that reduces the volume electronics bay. See the temps here:

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Monitor Node

We have a working Monitor Node with a temperature sensor that reports to a Mother Node. My buddy Dicky did some really EXCELLENT working on getting these going and implementing some great functionality.  It reports temperature right now. However, it will be expanded with more sensors in the near future. The solar powered Monitor Node is shown below.
Monitor Node
The Mother Node is wirelessly connected to the Monitor Nodes. The Mother Node then connects over wifi to my home network to upload the data to the internet.
Mother node
 The data, temp and voltage levels, from the Monitor Nodes can be seen here and here. I have 2 nodes and Dicky has 2 nodes. See below for some sample temp and voltage plots that were generated.
36 hour temp reading(*NOTE*the drop in Node 1 is moving from the inside our master bathroom to the garage)

Voltage data(*NOTE*, you can tell when the sun rises and the photo-voltaics are going )
My Monitor Node 1 is deployed in the garage and Monitor Node 2 is in field measuring soil temps near the garlic and  shallots.

See below, for Monitor Node 2 getting ready for the outdoors with some AWESOME outdoor water resistant packaging....... a plastic Ziploc container. Yes, that is rice being used as a desiccant, sprinkled very liberally by the way.
Monitor Node getting prepared for the outdoors
A cover and some RTV and we are ready to go!

Deployed  taking soil temps 2" down near the edge of the planted garlic mulch. 
Another deployed pic

Next steps, is to finish 3D printing the external packaging to ditch the awesome Ziploc plastic container. A preliminary go around ended like this. As you can tell it failed spectacularly.  Hopefully, today I will have a portion of the external packaging complete.
Failed external packaging 3D print

Saturday, January 3, 2015

A Slight Update

Well, I finally got to be able to walk on my foot again back in November; It was a long 3 months. In the mean time during those 3 months we harvested 36 Sweet Crimson watermelons for a total around 450lbs.

We also harvested some Jack of Lantern pumpkins, that barely matured in time for Halloween.
It was extremely mild for November and December here. We planted some Duganski and Susanville garlic cloves in November in addition to some Gray shallots. I had some little helpers that made it easier for me. I am really excited to try the Duganski garlic, it had a great "garlic'ly" smell.

The first skiff of snow happened on December 2nd, notice the hefty mulch for the garlic and shallots.

We also completed the garden survey basically measuring the field and relevant landmarks so we can do a proper layout for the vegetable garden, small orchard, strawberry and raspberry patches. The layout is approximately 50% complete and the 1st draft should be completed around the end of next week. That is it for now. However, we have some exciting things coming up that we'll talk about soon.