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dxj
 dxj
(@dxj)
Eminent Member
Joined: 2 months ago
Posts: 23
2020-01-28 7:52 pm  

First off, my thanks to Bill for the assist in gaining access to the forum.

I've been employed for 35 years as a software engineer; everything from coding, security, middle-ware, databases, web etc. ... too many things over the years to list here. I snowboard and lift weights. I'm also a private pilot and aircraft owner since 2006. 

Much of my recent tinkering has been with the RasPi, but I'm expanding to include the Ardu family (mainly because the RasPi is an over-kill for the sort of battery-operated projects I want to tackle).

As a learning project with the Ardu, I want to create an autonomous, programmable sprinkler and chain several together on one hose to water my yard. These need to be ultra-low power consumers that can run an entire season on two AAA batteries. I want to make the sprinkler controller as simple as possible and secure. The milestones are as follows:

1) Controlling a 3 volt, bistable, pulse activated, latching solenoid water valve. Making it open and close should be easy, but these solenoids do not need electricity to stay open, so I may need additional circuitry to make sure it absolutely closes if battery power is lost.

2) Adding a RTC to the sprinkler controller for a watering schedule. Ideally the solenoid would be operated by the RTC module if possible (I2C, perhaps) and wake up the micro-controller only when needed to reset alarms and reprogram the RTC.

3) Creating a portable programmer - comm might be RF, IR, BLE or NFC - and the UI may be a smart phone or a portable membrane button module. The programmer transfers the schedule to the sprinkler controller (via NFC, perhaps). Lots of possible solutions here.

This project may end up being a spring-board for garden or house plant watering using sensor data. Perhaps the RasPi will be the "mothership" that collects sensor data and stores it in the cloud.

Hope this wasn't too long of an intro.

Regards


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Pugwash
(@pugwash)
Prominent Member
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 969
2020-01-29 11:08 am  

@dxj

Hi there! And welcome to the Forum from a member in Hamburg, Germany!

Your project sounds interesting and at the risk of being accused of "blowing my own trumpet", I wanted to point you to some threads that I have started, regarding remote sensing and RF comms with the Arduino.

As an intermediate C++ programmer, I wanted to build my system in public, to allow criticism and suggestion to improve my ideas. This has led to the following topics, where I believe you may get some ideas for your project along with some code that may also be of use.

The following threads are in order, like chapters of a book. Starting with the basic setup and sensors, RF comms, optimising code and finally power management. If, you get everything down to 3.3V, forget the AAA rechargeables, one 18650 will keep your remotes working for months.

https://forum.dronebotworkshop.com/sensors-modules/bme-bmp-280/
https://forum.dronebotworkshop.com/c-plus-plus/structures-serialisation-xor-checksums-etc/
https://forum.dronebotworkshop.com/c-plus-plus/serial-data-transfer-from-arduino-to-python/
https://forum.dronebotworkshop.com/c-plus-plus/under-new-management/

Enjoy the journey!!

 

SteveC - Topple Rudd Poltman


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dxj
 dxj
(@dxj)
Eminent Member
Joined: 2 months ago
Posts: 23
2020-01-30 6:14 am  
Thanks so much for the references. It will be a while before I dig into remote sensing; I'm looking to make the first iteration of this very simple. A cursory look at your references tells me I'll be visiting them again, eventually.

My requirement for low voltage is more of a personal challenge. I know it's possible to run a 4 station sprinkler controller all season on two AAA batteries. That's why I chose a latching solenoid, and a real time clock with coin battery, and running everything on 3.3 volts, because I plan for things to sleep most of the time.

When I'm looking to do remote sensing and everything running on a mesh, I'm probably going to need some sort of LiPo battery.

Regards
This post was modified 2 months ago 5 times by dxj

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AngeloB
(@angelob)
Eminent Member
Joined: 8 months ago
Posts: 32
2020-01-31 2:02 pm  

Hello back from Tennessee 🙂

 


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DroneBot Workshop
(@dronebot-workshop)
Workshop Guru Admin
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 460
2020-02-01 6:32 pm  

@angelob

I like his hair too!

?

Bill

"Never trust a computer you can’t throw out a window." — Steve Wozniak


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DroneBot Workshop
(@dronebot-workshop)
Workshop Guru Admin
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 460
2020-02-01 6:43 pm  

@dxj

Welcome to the forum!

Its interesting that you've been working with the yard sprinkler setup, as I need to get over to Home Depot to pick up a transformer and 24vac lawn sprinkler solenoid to work with in an upcoming video.

Posted by: @dxj

Perhaps the RasPi will be the "mothership" that collects sensor data and stores it in the cloud.

Maybe the Raspberry Pi can use data from the Open Weather Map API to look at the weather forecast so it doesn't water your lawn an hour before a rainstorm!

?

Bill

"Never trust a computer you can’t throw out a window." — Steve Wozniak


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AngeloB
(@angelob)
Eminent Member
Joined: 8 months ago
Posts: 32
2020-02-02 1:12 am  

@dronebot-workshop

Thanks Bill, learning a lot here


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dxj
 dxj
(@dxj)
Eminent Member
Joined: 2 months ago
Posts: 23
2020-02-02 1:53 pm  
Posted by: @dronebot-workshop

Maybe the Raspberry Pi can use data from the Open Weather Map API to look at the weather forecast so it doesn't water your lawn an hour before a rainstorm!

Excellent idea.


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