Grow box controls heater, fans, and water

grow_box_controller

The Cheap Vegetable Gardner wanted more automation than their previous PS2 controller based grow system. This time they set out to design a full featured, compact grow controller that can measure temperature and humidity as well as control a heat lamp, fan, and water pump. An Arduino provides USB connectivity and interfaces the solid state relays and sensors. The assembled project all fits in a box but we are left wondering how much heat the four SSRs generate and will it be a problem?

[Thanks shawn]

Comments

  1. Anon, a moose says:

    For, vegetables, yeah, that’s it… vegetables.

  2. andrew says:

    Come on, where are the matchbox cars?

    ;)

  3. dude says:

    Thats a mess, maybe even dangerous. Excellent idea though.

  4. fucter says:
  5. razor says:

    SSR’s get hot if they are switched rapidly, if they are run NEAR capacity (like >85%), or if they are switching highly inductive loads (compressors / fridges), and it’s ALWAYS a good idea to put a quencher on the output to prevent oscillating (one of those resistor AND capacitor jobbies). I’ve worked with SSR’s a lot at work, and inductive loads or not heat-sinking them are the only real ways to kill them.

  6. jimmys says:

    Your next project might be to interface a smoke detector to email/sms your cellphone when your apartment catches fire. Maybe a fire suppression system you can then activate from your phone.

    Or if you’re growing radishes, you can just call the fire department.

  7. jimmys says:

    Your next project might be to interface a smoke detector to email/sms your cellphone when your apartment catches fire. Maybe a fire suppression system you can then activate from your phone.

    Or if you’re growing radishes, you can just call the fire department.
    Should write good post! Looking forward to seeing the next post!

  8. Given that the most any of the SSR’s draw is 0.575 amps (lights) they really don’t heat up though didn’t mention it in my write up I do have an aluminum heat sink under them. Just because I am paranoid I also have a CPU fan in the cover (not pictured) I also put on some outlet covers to protect small fingers from getting between my poorly cut opened (really need to invest in a Dremel)

    I’ll stay away from the matchbox switch :)

  9. jimmys says:

    i’m actually not suggesting that this project is a fire waiting to happen, just that unchecked fires suck especially when they’re in your house.

    for the detector, i’d probably just get a cheap battery powered smoke detector and take out the siren then sense the voltage that normally goes through the siren with a relay, transistor, opto, anything connected to a microcontroller (i have to say arduino, right?). the microcontroller can get an email/sms onto the internet by being hooked to a cellphone or by usb to a computer perhaps. maybe best to have whatever it is supported by a backup battery like a motorcycle battery that has enough juice to power the fire suppression system.

    i’ve got no idea what a good fire suppression system would be. depends on the type of fire and the environment, I guess. a water pump? linear actuator and kidde fire extinguisher? halon gas with electronic valve?

    none of this requires any particularly expensive or exotic hardware and the microcontroller firmware is pretty straight forward. the trickiest part might be for someone unfamiliar with triggering an email/sms on a computer or cellphone but if you’re proficient enough to interface a microcontroller with a computer over usb, then you can probably write an email alert in vb or perl.

    ok, that quick stream of consciousness looks decidedly e.e. cummings.

  10. M4CGYV3R says:

    Vegetables…..riiiiiight.

  11. Jack says:

    i feel so bad i was like yes! if i had this it would not be veggies man! man i’m a bad person but i know i’m not alone

  12. strider_mt2k says:

    In all seriousness, if you just took the time to neaten up that wiring you’d get a much more positive response.

    Those pics make it look like you were sampling the goods before you even grew ‘em.

  13. datacrusher says:

    whole new level for hidroponic systems, btw would be nice to add some sensors / measurement:
    – lumens offered by lamp system
    – kw consumption of the set
    – calendar addon on the frontend software, to make notes for the garden.
    – A simple fotoperiod db, to make the garden controller able to grow any kind of plants.

  14. tom says:

    Dudes, true geeks have moved on to LEDs by now. less power, more wavelength in the right places!

  15. xFred says:

    20ga wire, non NEMA listed enclosure, mixing high voltage and low voltage in the same box.

    Check! Fire starter waiting to happen. 20ga solid wire…for a 15a circuit? There’s a reason a 15a circuit REQUIRES 14ga wire!!

    This enclosure is NOT listed for this use and not legal…I wouldn’t be caught dead plugging this thing in…..

    I applaud your ingenuity, I cringe at your lack of care for household AC, and shudder at your disregard for safety.

  16. @xFred sorry I only used 20ga solid wire for the low voltage hookups. I used 14ga for high voltage, but thanks for pointing that out don’t want anyone making that assumption and burning their house down.

    Also agree, I need to find a surplus NEMA listed enclosure. All I have found so far is a $40+ box from Home Depot. When I create my PCB shield I can then easily seperate the low/high voltage.

  17. @tom have done the LED thing though to do it right really need to spend some money or get real busy with a soldering iron :)

    @datacrusher so me great ideas actually have a cheap kw implementation if you check out the software screenshot at the bottom. It is calculated instead of measured but should be pretty close. Will be posting on the actual box setup and the software in a little while still have some work on the software.

  18. therian says:

    did something simular many years ago in hs for my :))) , abandoned idea because it doesn’t worth the effort + electricity unless you have really big place. Just buy it from the guy

  19. jdog says:

    if growing “vegetables”….why not just bulk discharge the CO2 tank that helps them grow….fast reliable fire suppression!

  20. Growshop says:

    nice blog

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