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.
[McCaulsey] found an old TV waiting for garbage pick-up on the side of the curb. He brought it home and gave it a new life as an aquarium.
His technique is a little rough, but the finished look is exactly what he was going for. He picked up the cheapest aquarium set he could find at the pet store. It just happens to have a curved front to it which helps to recreate the look of the original CRT. After removing most of the electrical components he went to work on the plastic fins that were used to mount them. Having somehow misplaced his Dremel tool the work was done with a drill and a 1/4″ paddle bit.
Once the demolition was over he started the rebuild by placing a backer in the tank. This is an underwater image that will save him from having to look at the inside of the TV case through the water. A piece of Styrofoam was used as a base to properly frame the front of the tank. The only thing we can’t tell from the build album is how he will manage to feed the fish without taking everything apart again.
Very tiny keyboard
The idea behind the iControlPad2 is pretty simple – just take the slide-out keyboard from a phone, discard the phone part, add two analog sticks and a D-pad, and put Bluetooth in it. It makes for a very small keyboard perfect for controlling a Raspi, a home media server, or even a phone or tablet. I think it’s cool, anyway.
I mustache you a question. Where’s the Hawaiian Shirt?
At her local hackerspace, [Akki] heard someone pronouncing Raspberry Pi as, “Raspberry pee eye.” Of course this joke needed to be taken to its fullest absurdity, so [Akki] gave her Raspi a [Tom Selleck] mustache. Slightly better than the Googly Eyes Arduino shield.
Not giving a Flip about proprietary batteries
When powering a Flip video camera, [Dan] had two choices: regular AA batteries, or a proprietary battery rechargeable through the USB port. When the rechargeable battery is inserted, it closes a small switch telling the Flip it can recharge these batteries. Wanting to put his own rechargeable batteries in his camera, [Dan] closed the switch with a little bit of cardboard, thus allowing him to use his own NiMH rechargeable batteries.
Building operating systems from scratch
A while ago we posting something about a Cambridge professor putting up a tutorial for developing an operating system from scratch on the Raspberry Pi. [Joey] decided to follow these tutorials and has a blog dedicated to his adventures in OS development. It’s not a custom UNIX-inspired OS yet….
Put a quarter in, get a goldfish
[Yooder] over on Reddit spent a week turning a gumball machine into a fish tank. A very nice build that is now home to a few neon tetras. Check out the imgur album for a full build walkthrough.
Anyone who owns a fish tank knows that a good amount of care is required to keep fish happy, healthy, and most of all – alive. [Vicente Jiménez] usually has no problem keeping up on the day to day maintenance such as feeding and switching the tank light, but he wanted to automate these processes for times when he can’t be home to take care of the fish (Translation).
His aquarium automation project is meant to cover three separate parts of the operation: light control, feeding, and pump regulation during feeding times. [Vincente] picked up an STM8L Discovery board to control his system, which enabled him to easily control the automation of all three.
He constructed the feeding mechanism using an old cassette player motor, which turns his food drum (an old film canister), twice a day at specified feeding times. Before the drum is turned to dispense food, the STM8L turns off the aquarium’s pump via a relay to ensure it doesn’t get clogged in the process. During the day he keeps the tank illuminated, but once night falls, the microcontroller shuts the lights off so the fish can get their rest.
There’s no video of the system in action, but [Vincente] has detailed its construction pretty thoroughly in his blog, so be sure to check it out if you are in need of something similar.
[Kalle Hyvönen] just finished building his own aquarium lights. He used four powerful soft-white LEDs, mounting them on a pair of heat sinks to keep things cool. Now he could have just connected them to the power supply and plugged it into the wall, but instead he included is own controller. An Arduino drives the switch-mode power supply, offering dimming thanks to PWM, and the ability to automatically switch the light on and off using an RTC chip with a battery backup. The sketch includes the ability to alter the lighting schedule and other variables by sending serial commands through a USB connection. This protocol is detailed with comments in his sketch.
We’ve seen a lot of interesting aquarium light projects. This one that uses heat from the LEDs to warm the water is one of our favorites. Others are full of features like this version that includes a moonlight mode. But Arduino enthusiasts don’t have to look far to find offerings like this PAR meter build, or this aquarium light controller library which can be recreated using the ubiquitous controller board.
We keep seeing commercials for those Keurig coffee makers that use a plastic pod of grounds to brew just one cup of coffee. We’re pretty sure this is a fad, and absolutely sure that the extra packaging created by brewing with this method is a waste. But to each his own. [Danman1453] has two of the devices. One he bought, the other is a warranty replacement. He decided to scrap the malfunctioning unit and see if he could put it to good use. What he ended up with is the aquarium pumping system you see above.
It is conceived as tidier way to swap out the water in the fish tank. He had been using tubing to siphon the water, but found he almost always made a mess. This system uses an air pump to prime the water pump by pressurizing the tank which forces water into the lines. Once the water pump is primed he switches over to that for the rest of the work. He used an old metal tool box as an enclosure, using the cover to mount the push-buttons which route power to various components when pressed. Many of the parts were transplants from the coffee maker, but even if you sourced all of the components new this wouldn’t cost too much to put together.
[BadWolf’s] girlfriend wanted him to build her a lamp for Christmas and he didn’t disappoint. What he came up with is a water-filled color changing lamp with bubbles for added interest. See for yourself in the clip after the jump.
The color changing properties are easily taken care of by some waterproof RGB LED strips. [BadWolf] went the Arduino route for this project but any microcontroller will be able to fill the role of color cycling. The enclosure is all hand-made from acrylic sheets. He grabbed some chemical welding liquid from the hardware store and applied it to the acrylic with a syringe. That’s easy enough when attaching the edges to one side of the enclosure. But it gets much tougher when it’s time to seal up the other side. He recorded a video of this which shows the syringe taped to a rod so he can get it down in there, pushing the plunger with a second extension device.
Bubbles are supplied by a small aquarium pump. We’re wondering if this will need frequent cleaning or if you can get some pool chemicals to keeps it nice and clear (or just a teaspoon of bleach)? Continue reading “Hacking together a color changing water wall”