18-Channel PWM Aquarium Lights Provide Habitat-Like Life for Fish

Aquarium with variable LEDs

Whether you want to keep your fish happy or just need a good light show, this aquarium light fits the bill. It is the second iteration, but [William] calls it v1. That’s because v0 — which used a few loops of LED strips — never really met his requirements.

This build uses just six LEDs, each a 30 Watt RGB monster! To source about 350 mA for each, and to control brightness with 18-channels of pulse width modulation, he had to plan very carefully. This meant a proper aluminum project box and a beefy, fan-cooled power supply.

The driver board is his own design, and he etched a huge board to hold all of the components. Everything is driven by an Arduino Mega, which has 16 hardware PWM channels; two short of what he needed. Because of this he had to spend a bit of time figuring out how best to bit-bang the signals. But he’s putting them to good use, with fish-pleasing modes like “sunset” or the “passing rainbow” pattern which is shown in the image above.

If you need something a little less traditional why not house your fish in a computer case, complete with LED marquee for displaying data.

Automated Aquarium is Kitchen-Sinky

fishtankAutomation

People have been converting their old Power Macs and Mac G5s into fish tanks for a few years now, but [Hayden's] Internet-enabled tank is probably the most awesome ever crammed into an aquarium along with the water and the fish—and we’ve seen some fascinating builds this summer. After gutting the G5 and covering the basic acrylic work, [Hayden] started piling on the electronics: a webcam, timed LED lighting, an LCD for status readouts, filter and bubble control via a servo, an ultrasonic sensor to measure water levels, thermometer, scrolling matrix display, an automatic feeding mechanism, and more. He even snuck in the G5’s old mainboard solely for a cool backdrop.

The build uses both a Raspberry Pi and an Arduino Mega, which sit underneath the tank at the base. The Pi provides a web interface written in PHP and jQuery, which presents you with the tank’s status and allows changes to some settings. Nearly every component received some form of modification. [Hayden] stripped the webcam of its case and replaced the enclosure with a piece of acrylic and a mountain of silicone, making it both waterproof and slim enough to fit in the appropriate spot. Though he decided to stick with an Amazon-bought Eheim fish feeder, he disabled the unit’s autofeed timer and tapped in to the manual “feed” button to integrate it into his own system.

It’d take half of the front page to explain the rest of this thing. We’ve decided to let the aquarium tell you the rest of its features in the video below. Yeah…it can talk.

[Read more...]

Pair of aquarium builds are masterpieces inside and out

two-aquarium-builds

As you start to take in all that was involved with building these two aquariums it boggles the mind. At the time of writing the forum thread is 56 pages long and it’s not just filled up with the adoration of [Big Mr Tong's] fans. He did so much work that every page is packed with progress pictures that cover the range of topics: plumbing, electrical, mechanical, artistic…. wow!

The curse project was sparked by a friend giving him a couple of huge acrylic cylinders which were a perfect size for custom aquariums. [Tong] even had a couple of ideas in mind for underwater artwork to fill them with. One is a replica of statue ruins that give you the feeling that the tank is a piece of Atlantis capture for your own entertainment. The other is a fascinating replica of a plumbing stack. You know, the large cast-iron pipes that carry away waste? But these are actually PVC parts with modeling clay accents. They were broken, cut, melted, sanded, and who knows what else, to arrive at this look. The different aquariums feature different lighting techniques. There’s custom-made filter baffles. We could go on and on but we won’t so check out the link at the top for all the details.

In the end he went beyond the original cylinders and built his own square tank for the pipe design. It’s a steam-punk piece so there’s even analog dials to display the vital signs of the habitat.

Just looking to maintain a tank you already own? How about building an automatic chemical dispenser.

Building an aquarium into your walls

built-in-aquarium

We looked through the build log for this in-wall aquarium and were a bit horrified by the before pictures. You look at the original basement photo and there’s wood paneling, an incredibly rusty plumbing stack, and good god what is that wire jumble hanging from the ceiling? But the project’s not about building codes, it’s about the infrastructure that supports this fish tank.

This corner of the basement has a window and the electrical panel in it. It needs to be this big in order to enclose that window, but that offered the opportunity to add in the aquarium while still allowing easy access for feeding and cleaning. Hot and cold water pipes were run over to the location for easy filling. There’s even a drain line running to a utility sink in a different part of the basement for easy cleaning.

This seems like a bit of an upgrade when compared to the coffee pot fish bowl.

[via Reddit]

Hackaday Links: Sunday, June 30th, 2013

hackaday-links-chain

The race is on to squeeze cycles out of an 8MHz AVR chip in order to better drive the WS2811 LED protocol.

[Asher] doesn’t want to buy charcoal aquarium filters if he can just build them himself. He filled a couple of plastic drink bottles with charcoal, cut slots in the sides, and hooked them up to his pump system. A gallery of his work is available after the break.

Is the best way to make microscopic sized batteries to 3d print them? Harvard researchers think so. [Thanks Jonathan and Itay]

The Ouya gaming console is now available for the general public. [Hunter Davis] reports that the Retrode works with Ouya out-of-the-box. If you don’t remember hearing about it, Retrode reads your original cartridge ROMs for use with emulators.

Making a cluster computer out of 300 Raspberry Pi boards sounds like a nightmare. Organization is the key to this project.

Hackaday alum [Jeremy Cook] is working on an animatronic cigar box. Here he’s demonstrating it’s ability to listen for voice commands.

A Kelvin clips is a type of crocodile clip that has the two jaws insulated from each other. [Kaushlesh] came up with a way to turn them into tweezer probes.

[Read more...]

Automated aquarium fertilizer doser

aquarium-auto-doser

If you are using live plants in your aquarium you must remember to fertilize them at regular intervals. Being a bit forgetful, [Deven] automated the process by building this auto-doser.

There are three different chemicals which are dispensed by the system. They are stored in the drink bottles seen above. Each has a plastic tube which runs up to the dosing motors mounted on the black box. [Deven] sourced the motors from eBay. They are designed for this type of application.

Inside the black box is the Arduino that handles timing and switches the motors. The control circuitry is protected using one MOSFET for each. To keep the fish safe the outflow is directed right into the aquarium pump so that the concentrated chemicals are quickly dispersed through the entire tank.

Now that he’s made it this far he might as well add the ability to feed the fish and control the lighting.

[Read more...]

Coffee pot aquarium keeps fish warm without cooking them (hopefully)

coffee-pot-aquarium

Beta fish are one of the easiest pets to care for. So when [Derek] gave his girlfriend one for Valentine’s day he thought the job was done. Turns out these tropical pets want 75-80 F water and that’s not going to happen in a plain old bowl when you keep your home thermostat in the mid sixties during the winter. While looking for a simple heating solution he stumbled across the idea of using a cheap drip coffee maker as an aquarium.

The two main components are already in place: a clear glass vessel for the water and a way to heat it. The real trick is to use the heating element to gently warm the water to the appropriate temperature. Perhaps the key piece of the project is that the device already had a timer that shut off the heating element. This translates to easy control with his MSP430 microcontroller as it means there’s a relay present. He also patched into the two seven-segment displays to give him feedback on the temperature currently being read by the RL1003 thermistor which is submerged in the water. You’ll also note that he added a few LEDs to the lid to give the aquarium some inner glow.

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