Parts list on post #13
Code on post #156
A few months back I stumbled across an Arduino thread. I can't remember what exactly led me there but I remember a thread about Auto Dosing FERTS sparked my interest. While I was back home, I'm currently deployed to Kuwait, I was growing tired of dosing FERTS every morning before leaving for work. Not so much the mixing of FERTS and playing in the tank, rather having to get up 20 mins early for work was getting old. Naturally, the ability to dose FERTS automatically pecked my interest immediately. Like many I started researching and learning how the "Arduino" worked. As I researched it I noticed several individuals were using it to control parts of their tanks. I hadn't noticed a design that controlled all of aspects of the tank. With that being said, I decided I wanted to try and build one that would control all my filters, heaters, FERT dosing, power heads, CO2, lights and feeding. If had the ability to plumb an ATO I would have it control that as well. (currently renting my house). Seeing how I wanted to control so many components, the Arduino Mega was the only board that would have enough inputs/outputs to meet the requirement.
1ST Step: Fortunately for me, the Army saw fit in its wisdom to have a "Wood Shop" on post so Soldiers could have something to do during their down time. That is where I started. I originally planned to have the controller box fit under my stand but after I completed the box, I decided it turned out locking too nice to be hid under the stand. So it will sit beside the stand.
The stand was designed to hold three bottles of premixed FERTS under it. MACRO, MICRO and FE. I figured that would cover the FERT requirements. Below you can see the 3 dosing pumps as well as how they are wired. I choose to use bricks with quick disconnects to keep the wire as neat and tidy as I could.
Next to the DC motor controller are the three variable DC controllers. I stacked them to create more room in the box. They are used to reduce the 12 volts from the 12v AC to DC converter to 9v for the Arduino, 5v for the relay board, and then 5v for the Sensor Shield. I will run 12 volts straight from the AC to DC converter to power the 12v for the DC motor controller.
Speaking of power, the below pictures shows how I take the 120v coming into the box to the distro blocks and then to the relay board so I have the ability to turn on and off each of the 120 plugs. Each of the fist tank components will plug into the 120v sockets (not the lights).
I loved the idea of everything being on a schedule which is controlled by the Arudino but what if I wanted to shut down just one pump to clean or one of my power heads. I didn't like the idea of having to always unplug it or power down the whole Arduino in order to do that. I decided to have a button that I could press to shut down the corresponding item/relay so I could perform whatever maintenance I needed to do. So across the front you see 8 green buttons. The buttons light up when the corresponding component is power up. The LED within the button works independently of the button. Remember the Arduino controls the relays automatically so if the programming has that component "on" the corresponding button will light up. But if I push the button the automatic control will be interrupted and the corresponding relay will shot off. Ok but what if I want to shut everything down do I press all the green buttons or unplug the Arduino? NAH that is what the two red buttons below the LCD do. If I bush the red button on the left it shuts down everything except for the lights. So guess what the red button on the right does? Give up? It shuts the lights off. With all the buttons all you have to do is release them and the automatic control will take back over.
I still have to get the AC to DC converter installed, it was on back order for three months. I also have to get the DIN connectors installed so the controllers for the LED can plug into the back along with temp probe. The heater is turned off and on by the arduino based on the TEMP of the tank. So as long as the probe doesn't fail it doesn't matter if the heater gets stuck on, the Arduion will just kill the power to heat when it gets to the HIGH Temp Limit. I have to get the DIN for the autofeeder installed to. So yeah I'm about 85%. Below are a few more pictures. I would love any insight or comments you may have!