ARC - Ultimate DIY Reef Controller
A Reef Controller that gives the power to the user, allows your reef to be left without worry, and can be shown off to its full extent.
This project's aim is to give reef users the most power over their aquarium in the easiest form possible. Unlike other reef controllers, this strives to be as simple or as complex as the user wants by being programmable, extendable, and above all affordable.
The ultimate plan was to create a modular system that ran in a hierarchy. Each controller can perform basic functions on their own, but ultimately would answer to a master which syncs everything together so it would all function properly and efficiently.
The Plan: The plan was to design this board to be the head honcho of everything that happens in the reef tank. Everything would answer to it and it would send commands down to all subordinate controllers to ensure everything was running smoothly. It would also be the board that allows communication between the user and the system. It would hold a small touch screen that will display statistics, warnings, and status's of the tank as well as the GUI for the user to set parameters, timers, and any other settings they need to run the tank the way they see fit.
Current State: Currently the only thing that is not fully functioning yet is the wireless capabilities. Everything else however functions properly. It includes a small RTC to keep track of an accurate time, several connection ports for sensors and communications, and a slot for an xbee chip for testing wireless capabilities.
Aspirations: Eventually I want to integrate a processor into the board itself and make the connections Bluetooth instead of physical cables. This would allow the boards to be placed anywhere the user needed without having to worry about pesky wires as well as make the Brain board itself smaller and more portable.
The Plan: The plan for this was to control the actual dimming of the LEDs for the reef tank. It would hold Meanwell LDDs of the user's choice to accommodate the color LEDs they wish to use. There are seven slots for LDDs and a port for a power supply. It can handle up to 48v 7.3a which should be able to handle almost any lighting issue you have.
Current State: Currently everything is actually running properly. It has a single cat5 connection to the Brain board and all LED channels are being dimmed by the Arduino. Each LDD is interchangeable to allow the user to use lower or higher powered LDDs according to which LEDs they use.
Aspirations: Eventually I want to add a small processor to the board so it can function on its own. This would come around when the system starts to use Bluetooth as it's main form of communications between boards. This would allow the Sun to perform basic functions like dim on and off at certain times in case the Brain breaks, has to be removed, or the user simply wants a basic lighting system instead of the whole package.
The Plan: The plan for this was to provide the interface between the sensors and the dosing pumps. It is fitted to add Atlas Scientific probes and up to 4 to allow the user to get the data they want instead of being forced to purchase the whole package or limited to only certain types. It also has 4 connections for adding up to 4 dose pumps.
Current State: This board still hasn't been fully tested and optimized. Currently it requires several connections for power, communications, and even separate power for the pumps. I have a board now that is going into testing soon, but there might be a couple revisions before the final product comes around.
Aspirations: Eventually, like the Sun board, I want to add a processor to this as well so it can perform basic functions like a timed dosing and basic water quality readings.
The Plan: The plan was to have a solid state relay board to control outlets for wavemakers, filtration, basic lights, just about anything a reef user will plug into the wall. It allows the user to turn things on and off via the Brain board, put them on timers, or really control almost any way they want.
Current State: This board is still going through testing mostly for safety. There are fuses included so if something were to go wrong, it would break for the certain outlet instead of completely frying the board or blowing the house's circuit. This board may still see a few revisions before the final product is produced.
Aspirations: This one I'm not sure if I want to add a processor to or physical switches to manually turn them on or off when it needs to stand alone. Testing and feedback will probably determine the future of this component.
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenge so far is the wireless capabilities. There's not a lot of support for Arduino and WiFi communications and even Bluetooth communication becomes difficult when you try to embed it into the board and talk between multiple systems instead of just two. I'm not sure if wireless capabilities will make it to the final product or not yet, but I would very much like to see it incorporated down the road on perhaps a second version of the system.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (50 days)