Saturday, August 21, 2010

What is GardenBot?

GardenBot is a garden monitoring system. This means that you put sensors (temp, humidity, moisture, light) in your garden, and GardenBot will show you charts of the conditions in your garden -- so you can see the world the way your plants see it.

GardenBot is also essentially a test-bed (sandbox, etc.) for playing with different kinds of sensors and exploring the various challenges in implementing a garden automation system. And since each part is designed as a module, it is relatively easy to expand the system.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Plants use Twitter to tell you to water them

The gang from Botanicalls used one of Adafruit's new open source hardware ethernet shields for Arduino (open hardware too) to make some plants talk - and now you can too! That's right, having your houseplants Twitter you when they need water and more! You can see what one of the plants is doing now...

Server Room Environmental & Security Monitoring

Monitoring temperature and humidity in a server room environment can be expensive. The Arduino is an ideal platform for this application, and with the addition of a Sprout Board, it's very flexible and inexpensive.

Possible sensors:

  • One additional remote temperature sensor installed at the AC vent.
  • One magnetic reed sensor installed on the door to the server room to act as a entry monitor.
  • One Smoke Detector with a built in alarm I/O port connected to our digital I/O.
  • One simple water sensor plate connected to our analog inputs.
  • One AC powered relay to detect City power Failures.
  • One solid state relay connected to an emergency exhaust blower.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Arduino APRS AX.25 Interface

The Radio Shield is an add-on kit for the Arduino development board that provides AX.25 packet radio send and receive capability, a prototyping area, and an HD44780-compatible LCD interface.

Packets are sent and received in AX.25 UI frames. This allows operation on the APRS network.

Autonomous Vehicle Control with Ardupilot

Autonomous vehicle control is a fancy way of saying a vehicle is self guided, based upon onboard sensor input. GPS, Sonar, IR, and other sensors can help a unmanned vehicle (plane, boat, car, etc.) navigate on it's own with out human input. There are tools available to enable this. The main tool is called Ardupilot. Failsafe ability allows a remote control link to take over if Ardupilot loses control.

Learn how to build your Arduino guided vehicle at

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Arduino Ethanol Distiller Controller

We have been a fan of brewing your own ethanol fuel for many years. It's basically a higher purity (less water) version of what is commonly called moonshine or everclear. Gasoline engines need some minor modification to run this, but it burns clean, it's non-toxic and can be made at home (not imported or spilled all over the Gulf). There are many resources to teach you how to distill alcohol, but this article is about how to run an automatic still with an Arduino.

The core functions are to read up to six temperature inputs, run a single power controller for the boiler and be able to operate up to three solenoid valves. That's enough for most purposes and there are more digital ports available if you've got more things to control. Six temp probes, AC power controller and three switching outputs is enough to do most automatic stills.

Circuit Design Software

Fritzing is an open-source initiative to support designers, artists, researchers and hobbyists to work creatively with interactive electronics. We are creating a software and website in the spirit of Processing and Arduino, developing a tool that allows users to document their prototypes, share them with others, teach electronics in a classroom, and to create a pcb layout for professional manufacturing. Works on Linux, Mac, and Windows!
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