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Aquaponics Monitoring

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by eugorg, Sep 30, 2013.

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  1. eugorg

    eugorg

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    Sep 30, 2013
    Looking for ideas and direction for my project. Goal is to design a scalable photovoltaic powered system that monitors and displays information on an aquaponics pod. Items being monitored would be water temp, ph, nitrate,nitrite, tank pump on, air pump on, recycle pump on/off (log), air temp,soil temp. My aim is to display this information at pod location and to send wireless to server. Any help or suggestion are appreciated.
     
  2. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    25,448
    2,809
    Jan 21, 2010
    One of the most important things is to size the "solar" portion correctly.

    Typically the panels charge a battery, and the electronics (and anything else) are powered from the battery.

    You need to consider battery capacity (how long do you want to be able to operate without sun -- You may want to run for three days or even longer in cloudy locations.

    Then you need to consider how many hours of equivalent full sun there are at the worst part of the year (typically mid-winter). This can be a little as a couple of hours.

    Now, within that number of hours you have at the worst time of the year, you need to be able to *at the very least* put about 150% to 200% of the charge required for a full day back into the batteries. This additional amount is required because batteries require more energy put back into them than taken out.

    And then, beyond that, you may want to have additional capacity to allow for the fact that you will may need to place additional charge into the batteries to account for less than 100% cloud free conditions (including past days with no effective sun at all).

    Once you've calculated this, you'll see how important it is to minimise the power used by your device.

    You might, for example, have a microcontroller that only turns on power hungry sensors for the short time required to take an hourly, or even daily reading. Likewise, you would probably leave the wireless interface unpowered except for brief periods when you send information. If you want bi-directional communications, you might leave the radio powered up whist communicating, but have a timeout, and only check for user input every couple of seconds outside of that timeout.
     
  3. eugorg

    eugorg

    2
    0
    Sep 30, 2013
    *steve*, Thanks. This gives me food for thought in multiple areas of design of this system. Such as, only reporting when air or water pump is not working or amp high signalling pump going bad and identifying specifically what information is needed and how often. Defining these reporting power needs will help me to design an efficient system with ample battery capacity to exceed lowest possible solar input.
     
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