DIY aqua computer - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-27-2006, 02:27 AM Thread Starter
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DIY aqua computer

Hi All, just wondering what you all think. I have built a aquarium computer. Somthing like a http://www.neptunesys.com/aquaController3Pro.htm.
Mine have a 128x64 graphic LCD, it can control 5 sets of lights (or any output for that matter) heaters, hood cooling fans and it can control c02 injection. It is all set up with a very simple windoes app. Before i make instructions and document how to build one, which will take some time, is anybody intrested??

I will post some pics of it when i have finnished putting it all in a nice case.

I will release the firmware code so anybody can make changes to it

Thanks, Mark
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-27-2006, 03:08 AM
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I am interested. I let my pc run 24/7, so it can be used for such a setup....


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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-27-2006, 03:37 AM Thread Starter
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I better clear this up, you don't need your PC too be running, you just need it to set my device up. the thing i made will just run by it self.
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-27-2006, 04:16 AM
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i'd be interested too. what's the target? i was thinking of doing something similar using a ti msp430 or a microchip pic. i'm currently heavily swaying towards the ti MCU though. can you provide more details?
-snafu
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-27-2006, 06:08 AM Thread Starter
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Hi snafu, the MCP i used is the PIC16F887A (how could you go past it??). I have two of them. One controls input and output, and the other controls the LCD and the menu buttons. I was going to use a PIC 18 for speed, but found i dont need too. 20MHz works fine, and still takes about 4 samples of the the ph per second.

i will post more info when i get home tonight

Mark
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-27-2006, 07:18 PM
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I'm game. How much could something like this cost someone? (approximately, since I see you're in australia, the prices won't be exactly spot on with US prices)

I've toyed with the idea in the past (albeit with a spare PC, X10, etc), so I'm really interested to see what you have.

Jason
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-27-2006, 07:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Naja002
I am interested. I let my pc run 24/7, so it can be used for such a setup....

While I'd be interested in seeing this project, I am curious about what you are running on a PC that it has to stay running. I was using a USB X10 device that let you download the program (scenes) into it. Pretty nifty, but X10 can be a pain sometimes, so I am back to old reliable timers.


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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-27-2006, 08:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markdem
I better clear this up, you don't need your PC too be running, you just need it to set my device up. the thing i made will just run by it self.
Nothing. Just for setup.


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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-28-2006, 08:07 PM
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I'm interested.
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-28-2006, 08:21 PM
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I just built a mini fan controller for my saltwater setup and would be totally interested in this set up. Does it have a temp probe? Please post details.

Cheers, Whitepine

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46 Gallon corner tank, 220 watt cf, custom canopy, co2 w/controller.
20 Gallon, 110 cf highlight tank, co2 w/controller.
18 high 24 watt cf, 36 watt ODNO ghetto paintball co2 setup.
60 Gallon river tank, .5 gallon nano tank, and 8 other tanks for fish and propagation.....
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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-29-2006, 04:38 AM Thread Starter
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Hello all, i am glad so many people are intrested. I have spent a bit of time on this, so i am glad others can get somting out of it.

Abit more details. The computer itself has a lcd pannel on the front to show water temp, hood temp, PH and C02. It will also show the time and what the kh has been set at. the controller also has a menu in the lcd to force the lights, heater, fans and c02 valve on or off. It will be able to controll 5 sets of lights, two heaters, hood cooling fans and a c02 valve.
the vb app is used to set everything up (time when lights go on and off, temps and c02 level) as i am thinking that is easyer then using some litttle carppy menu system, which i hate .
The ph proble can just be any ph probe with a BNC connector, which most are. The temp probles, however you will need to make your self (or i can do it for you) as they a digial sensors (DS18B20).

Just a word of warning, this is a farly complex project with a fare amount of soldering. If you are not very good at it, you may have some issues. Also, there is 240\110 volt wiring. The controller haas its own power supply, so it will not matter if your power supply is 240 or 110. You will need to get your own transformer. I will supply some plans and instructions when i have finnished my finel product.

What would you pay for such a thing? $1000, $700, $500?? (Remember that the controller in my first post is worth $700, without temp probles).
At the moment i have spent about $180 on mine, but may be able to get cheaper parts in your area.

Anyways, i will try to get some pics tonight to show you what it looks like.

Have fun
Mark
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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-03-2006, 01:57 AM
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How hard would this be to have it monitor other elements?

Eheim Pimp #104!

46 Gallon corner tank, 220 watt cf, custom canopy, co2 w/controller.
20 Gallon, 110 cf highlight tank, co2 w/controller.
18 high 24 watt cf, 36 watt ODNO ghetto paintball co2 setup.
60 Gallon river tank, .5 gallon nano tank, and 8 other tanks for fish and propagation.....
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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-03-2006, 07:38 AM Thread Starter
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Hi All, sorry i have not updated you on this for a bit, had to go away for a while.

whitepine, what else whould you like to monitor. I could get any input into this if i have the probe to workout slopes.

I will try to get some more work done tonight, and get some pics up I is getting a bit hard to find the time. Dame job and wife

Thanks Mark
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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-03-2006, 07:45 AM
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I was thinking of an auto doser and auto water topoff. Those would be pretty easy to add. I was also thinking of builting one of these for a Saltwater nano tank.

Eheim Pimp #104!

46 Gallon corner tank, 220 watt cf, custom canopy, co2 w/controller.
20 Gallon, 110 cf highlight tank, co2 w/controller.
18 high 24 watt cf, 36 watt ODNO ghetto paintball co2 setup.
60 Gallon river tank, .5 gallon nano tank, and 8 other tanks for fish and propagation.....
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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 05-04-2006, 03:38 AM Thread Starter
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Hi All, sorry i have not updated this post for sooo long. Just moved houses and the wife has many crappy jobs to do

Anyways, my lab is goinf to be finnished this weekend and i will start work on the controller again. I need to change the processor as i have runout of rom space in the old one.

Anyway, with a bit of luck, i will start posting some details next week.

For now, i would not mind getting some feedback on my VB app for both how it woks and how i have written it. I am not a VB programmer, so i tried my best, but it is not very good. Where can i upload my app to so you guys can have a look at it??

Thanks, Mark
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