It's been a while since an update. The tank is coming along nicely, but I don't any pictures on hand at the moment (I'm at work). I have made a few changes, but nothing major. However, I have a huge electronics project on the bench that'll take me a long time to finish, and I'm quite excited about it.
What started the project was the death of my cheap RGB LED strip lights. They died a week ago, and were a huge part of the enjoyment of my tank. Allowing for lighting from 6am to midnight has been awesome, as well as adding warmth to the Finnex Ray 2. I needed a replacement, but didn't want to do the same thing again.
I decided to just replace the Ray 2 with something controllable. In my research, the only light that I could control as well as (actually better than) my old setup would be either to (1) build my own from scratch, or (2) get a Current Satellite Plus. One CSP is about half the PAR I was getting with the Ray 2, and I knew I wanted close to the same. Building my own would give me a lot of control and possibilities, but to make it as attractive and a functional as I wanted, it would take a long time and cost at least as much as what I ended up doing.
So, I bought 2 Current Satellite Plus's. Not cheap at $177, but damn if they don't look great! I've also already built a controller based on the Arduino thread here
. It's working great, although it's in a pile on my floor right now. I'll be selling my Ray 2 shortly. It's a great light, I just wanted one I could tinker with.
I'm loving how it the controller and CSP works. With my PAR meter, I was able to dial it in to make sure that my dim evening and morning lights aren't driving growth. Right now I'm doing a similar lighting routine, but with better color rendering than before. I am just using the 4 presets on the CSP, each mixed to the lighting level and color I want. I didn't like any of the built-in preset colors.
6am — lights on
6am — "sun below the horizon" custom color blend
10am — "warm low sun" custom color blend
12pm — "daytime" custom color blend
8pm — "warm low sun" custom color blend
10pm — "sun below the horizon" custom color blend
11pm — "moonlight" custom color blend
2am — lights off
Here it is doing the 8pm switch from "low sun" to "sun below the horizon" (about 3-4 PAR to 0-1 PAR):
The Big Electronics Project
I am going to be building my own touch screen aquarium controller built on an Arduino Mega. I've already ordered all of the parts. I'm using a 320x240 3.2" TFT touch screen. I've found code that can use images as buttons, and while it's pretty complicated, I'm hoping I can figure it all out. I want a simple touch screen interface to do some routine things, and to see the tank status. Here is what I want the controller it to do:
- Display Date/Time in GUI
- Control both lights independantly (front/back tank lighting) in GUI
- Display status of both lights in GUI
- Show tank temp in GUI
- Schedule lights in code (no GUI needed)
- Automated fish feeding timer in GUI (push a button and it turns off filter, circulation pump, inline heater, and CO2 for 10 minutes)
- Control all power in GUI (relays for 125v outlets)
- Control dosing pumps and schedule in code (no gui needed)
- Control CO2 in code (no GUI needed other than power on/off)
I have the code to do all of the functions, but no GUI code yet. Also, I don't need a GUI for any schedules or preferences. I can set all this in code far easier than writing code to change that stuff. I just want it to be simple, useful, and attractive. Who knows if I'll add more in the future (such as scheduling and preferences), but that's where I'm starting.
Below is my planned interface. I designed the whole thing yesterday. It only has 4 screens. It might be overly ambitious, but I may as well shoot for the moon first, and if I can't make it work, I know I can do a far less graphical touch interface GUI.
It's obviously somewhat mimicking an iPhone-esque look. The 4 main app icons will always be at the bottom. Every icon (except the big color fish bowl pic) is a button. The power icons are planned to be toggle on/off and will change color to show current state. As you can see, I plan on 8 power outlets, two of which will be unused initially (7 and 8). The funnel icon is for the filter, and I think the rest is self explanatory.
This should be one heck of a challenge and super fun to build. It's certainly the most ambitious electronics project I've attempted.
Since this is a tank journal, I'll try to get some current pics posted in next day or two.