PiPlanter | Big Overhaul Update

Okay! So I leave for college in less than 30 days, but I’d like to make sure my tomatoes to continue to grow once I leave so I’ve taken some steps to make sure that my departure goes smoothly.

Here’s a video of my revised setup:

There are a few key differences between this setup and my previous one:

The main one is that the watering system has been 100% re-vamped. The water distribution happens via a hose with holes in it instead of using the tray at the bottom of the plant grid in the previous video.

It also takes, uploads and tweets a picture of itself using a raspberry pi camera module.

It also creates a new mysql table every two weeks, and in turn, renders a new kind of graph. The renderscript.php file receives an argument from the python script which is the table code.

Here’s the python script:

Here’s the .php script:

Thank you for reading!

PiPlanter – A Plant Growth Automator

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This post is many months in the making and I am very proud of the thing’s I’ve done here, and very thankful to all of those (specifically at www.reddit.com/r/raspberry_pi) who have helped me along my way to getting this project up and running.

This page contains every single post related to this project, please feel free to go back and look at my progression and pick up tips along the way if you want to try something like this.

Let’s get this going, here’s an overview video:

There are 8 parts to this system and, you guessed it, I’ll be going in-depth about every single one!

Sensor Network

So at it’s core, the PiPlanter is a Sensor Network & Pump System. Here’s a video explaining the sensor array:

This project uses a TMP35-37 sensor to get a pretty precise temperature reading of the room. Later down in this post you can find out the algorithm to determine the temperature in Fahrenheit. It also uses a basic LDR to get the relative ambient light level in the room. Along with those two sensors, there are 4 relative humidity sensors of my own design, here’s a picture of them as seen in this post:

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They’re hooked up to the ADC (mentioned later) in the same way that the LDR is, with a voltage dividing resistor, and then fed directly into ADC. The principal behind this sensor is that when you insert it into soil, the water in that soil connected the two probes, causing a voltage to flow across them. So if there is more water in the soil, more electrons will flow across them, and the analog value will be higher. It’s very basic, but it works. I’ve done several long term tests, and over time, as the soil becomes dryer, the value gets lower, indicating relative dryness. Here is a picture of the four probes in the soil, with the plants.

The TMP sensor’s output is plugged directly into the ADC and the LDR is very basically connected to the ADC as well, this is essentially how how the whole thing is setup on the breadboard:

Capture

Pump System

The pump system is pretty dead simple. Essentially it is a PowerSwitch Tail II switching the mains to a 9v DC power supply. The 9v power supply is connected directly to a 12v DC submersible pump. Instead of using a motor driver chip, which requires 3 pins to do, and the chip would get hot and whatnot, I’ve decided to go with this method.

The pump is not self priming. This means it cannot make the transition from pumping air to pumping water. I wrestled with this problem for a long time, and came up with what I think is an elegant solution. I submerged the pump directly into the water, which means the pump will never fill with air, and will always pump water when activated. Here’s a video explaining the pump system:

Raspberry Pi ADC

The next system is the ADC connected to the Raspberry Pi. It is an 8 bit, 8 port analog to digital converter that can easily run on 3.3v so it’s perfect for the pi. Here is the chip, and you set it up as follows (I took this from an earlier post I wrote)

Now we need to set up the specific libraries for python the first of which being spidev, the spi tool for the raspberry pi which we can grab from git using the following commands:

You also need to (copied from http://scruss.com/blog/2013/01/19/the-quite-rubbish-clock/):

As root, edit the kernel module blacklist file:

Comment out the spi-bcm2708 line so it looks like this:

Save the file so that the module will load on future reboots. To enable the module now, enter:

To read from the ADC, add the following to your python code. The full code will be listed later:

So just use “readadc(n)” to get a value.

Python Code

I’ve made a real effort this time to comment my code well, so I’m not going to do a line by line breakdown like I often do, but I will clearly state the installs and setup things as follows. I’m assuming you have python-dev installed.

Download and install: APScheduler, this is a very straight forward install

Download and install: tweepy, you will need to go through the API setup process.

Download and install: flickrapi, you will need to go through the API setup process.

Here’s the source code for the python component of this project:

There you go! Essentially, every hour, the raspberry pi samples data from 4 humidity probes, an LDR and a tmp sensor. Once the sampling is complete, it dumps the data into a mysql database. From there the data is rendered into a graph using pChart in the form of a .png image. From there, that .png files is uploaded to flickr using this api. Once the file is uploaded, it returns it’s photo ID to the python script. From there, a tweet is built containing the brightness at the time of the tweet, the temperature at the time of the tweet, and the average moisture of the plants. It also uses the photo ID from flickr obtained earlier to build a URL leading to that image on flickr which it tweets as well. The final part of the tweet is a url that leads to this post! (taken from)

MySQL Database

The database is extremely simple, after installing MySQL set it up and create table that follows this syntax:

Pretty basic stuff, the table is just where the python script dumps the data every hour.

PChart Graph

The software driving the graphing part of the project is a bit of php graphing software called pchart. It allows me to graph mysql values from a table in a variety of ways. It is very important, and the code for the php script is as follows:

As you may be able to guess, upon the calling of this script, the program looks for a table called “piplanter_table_17” and does a bunch of stuff as commented to produce a graph. This is what a sample graph looks like:

Wed Jun 26 19:39:17 2013

This is data taken over 6 days, and it’s a lot to look at, but it’s good stuff.

Twitter & Flickr Integration

As you hopefully derived from the python code, this project uses Twitter to send data to me. Instead of using an email server or sending sms messages, I decided on twitter because of a few reasons. I use the service constantly, so I won’t ever miss a tweet. The API seemed really easy to use (and it was!) and allowed more than one person to acess the data at any one time. I decided to use flickr as my image hosting service for a lot of the same reasons, but the main one was their 1TB storage per person. You’ve already seen a sample flickr upload, so here’s a sample tweet:

That’s essentially it! Thank you for reading, and please ask questions.

PiPlanter | Bringing most of it together

Last night I finished the majority of the software for this project. Here’s a video of me going over what happened and what the program does in simpler terms:

Essentially, every hour, the raspberry pi samples data from 4 humidity probes, an LDR and a tmp sensor. Once the sampling is complete, it dumps the data into a mysql database. From there the data is rendered into a graph using pChart in the form of a .png image. From there, that .png files is uploaded to flickr using this api. Once the file is uploaded, it returns it’s photo ID to the python script. From there, a tweet is built containing the brightness at the time of the tweet, the temperature at the time of the tweet, and the average moisture of the plants. It also uses the photo ID from flickr obtained earlier to build a URL leading to that image on flickr which it tweets as well. The final part of the tweet is a url that leads to this post!

That was a lot of explanation, but this program does quite a bit. The source comes in two parts, here’s the python script that handles the brunt of the processing. You will need a bunch of libraries to run this, you could pick through past posts of mine to find what those are, but when I do a final post for this project I will include all of those.

Here’s the .php script that renders the graph from the mysql data. It is called by the python script.

Thanks for reading!

PiPlanter | Basic package setup and bringing everything together

I’m in a hotel trying to occupy myself with something interesting so I’ve decided to work on this. I had to re-image the SD card I’ve been developing this project on, but I saved to code so there’s no problem there. Now I need to re-install all the basic packages.

First I need to get the components of a LAMP server with the following commands:

Once you get the mysql server setup, you’ll need to create a database and tables in mysql.

To create the database you’ll be using run the following command:

And then grant the proper privileges to use later with the command:

Then we can enter the database and create a table:

Now we need to set up the specific libraries for python the first of which being spidev, the spi tool for the raspberry pi which we can grab from git using the following commands:

You also need to (copied from http://scruss.com/blog/2013/01/19/the-quite-rubbish-clock/):

As root, edit the kernel module blacklist file:

Comment out the spi-bcm2708 line so it looks like this:

Save the file so that the module will load on future reboots. To enable the module now, enter:

We will also need WiringPi:

Then you need to get APscheduler, the timing program used to execute the incremental timing with the following commands:

You will need mysqldb to interface python and mysql:

Once you reboot, the following program should work:

And there you go! The program should log data every minute and then every hour to two different tables. To view those data sets as php tables you can use this php script:

Sometime later I’ll get to graphing the data.

PiPlanter | Going from analog data to the web using python, mysql and php

Here’s a video:

Essentially, the adc reads an analog value and sends it to python. Python connects to a mysql database and adds the data to that. Once the user accesses the php script, a table, containing all of the values, is rendered.
First of all, you’ll need to make a mysql table with the correct specifications:

This creates a table that is found in the python script so it is very important that the TABLE values match as well as the column names.
Here’s that python script:

This reads the values from the adc (it is wired up as seen in this post)
Here’s the php, it reads the values from the adc_input_data_10 table on the adc_database.

This is all very preliminary stuff, and I’ll tighten up the code as time goes on.

PiPlanter | Graphing With PHP 2

This is a much more refined version of that graph I created earlier.

This one is much more detailed, and the sizes of the graph can easily be controlled with the imageSizeX and Y Vals.

This program will render:

This image:

And by modifying the values mentioned above to:

You will get this image:

A comprehensive guide to controlling a lamp via the internet on any web enabled device.

Hello! sorry about my absence, I’ve been very busy with school/baseball over the past few weeks, but summer is soon, and I’ll be updating with a higher frequency once that happens.

So. you’ll need a few things in order to make sure this whole process works.

1. Multiple ethernet connections.

2. An Arduino and a compatible wiznet device (ethernet shield)

Yay Chinese knockoffs!

Here I’m using an arduino knockoff I got 2 years ago when I first got into hobby electronics, and an “ETHERNET 4 NANO” by gravitech. I didn’t want to permanently implement my arduino nano, but I still wanted to be able to do the project. It’s powered by 5v from my computer (well from a powered hub) and the brown striped wire goes to the + on the powerswitch tail II. The blue cable is ethernet.

3. A webserver with php installed on it. (Mine’s just LAMP’d)

This is the important part. The arduino is accessing a .php document on the server to tell weather or not the lamp should be on. The UI is also hosted out of the servo. That laptop is my old HP laptop that I’ve had for almost 6 years, it’s now got ubuntu 10.04 LTS on it and it’s been LAMP’d among other things.

4. Something that can SAFELY switch line voltage. (I’m using a powerswitch tail II, because I really don’t want to get killed, and it’s also very simple – if you’re using naked relays, please for the love of god, be careful with line voltages.)

This thing is a beast. I can drive it via 5v easily, and it switches line like a champ. It’s been in constant use since my last post about home automation.

START OF GUIDE

1. So first, we need to hook up the shield, the arduino and the PSTII. It’s really easy.

2. Get linux on the computer you want to run the server out of. I made a video a long time ago back when I was first getting into linux. The installation process is still the same, you can find that video here.

3. Install various programs your server. First things first, you have to install openssh by running the command:

sudo apt-get install openssh

This will make the server headless, and it will enable you to access the server via command line. Specifically through PuTTY for windows. You can then ssh to your server which is key. You then need to install LAMP by running the command:

sudo apt-get install LAMP

This will install PHP on your server as wells apache and mysql. The two ladder objects are not essential for this project, but if you are going to use the server for other things, I strongly recommend you get them as well. The install process is very easy, just make sure you WRITE EVERY USERNAME AND PASSWORD YOU USE DOWN. I’ve had to reinstall several times before I learned my lesson on this.

After you are done with that, install vim by running the command:

sudo apt-get install vim

Vim is a text editing program for linux. You also need to get pure ftp to upload and download files from your server. Get it by running the command:

sudo apt-get install pure-ftpd

Congrats! you are now an owner of a very powerful linux server. Wasn’t that easy?

4. Upload the call.php, res.php documents to your server.

This is the call.php text, you just need to make it into a .php document and upload it to the server. This document creates a form that the user accesses to turn the lamp on and off.

This is the res.php. It is what the user is taken to once they have entered the information in the call.php.

If you walk though the code. You will see that once the correct password gets entered, the res.php document creates a functioning document stat.php. This is the same document that the arduino reads, and compares to.

5. You need to upload the arduino code.

Here it is, upload it to your board with the shield attached, and everything should work. Access the call.php via your server, and go through the process.

At this point everything should work, please let me know if it doesn’t in the comments.

Progress on Web Controlled Arduino (A line-voltage Powered Lamp now!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5m6KFgQ3HJQ

Watch the video above for context. In summation though, what we have is basically an arduino that fetches a string from a php file on my server, interprets  it, and compares it to a predetermined char array.

In the future, this WILL have a GUI that can be controlled from a website and do the lamp that way from any source inducing mobile (maybe even twitter!).

Source-wise the code isin’t very well commented but the Arduino is here, and the php is here. A word of warning: unless you want me to be able to control a leigon of lamps across the world, I would suggest changing ip addresses / filepaths on the Arduino side.

On another side note all of my sources for stuff I write about on this blog here

Beginnings of a web controlled Arduino

So I’ve made a bit of progress with the project that I’ve been undertaking lately. I’m trying to control a powerswitch tail from an arduino via the internet using the Ethernet shield and a PHP server. Right now I can edit a the name of a string (well, echo) in putty on a document on my PHP server (the very same LAMP that’s allowing me to type this post!) and have the Arduino decode that string (echo) and print it back to the serial console at 9600 baud.   You can grab the source for the Arduino here and the PHP script here See comments in the arduino code for notes about setup. Also deduction is your friend 🙂 Happy programming!

Learning PHP [1]

Hello to anybody reading his!

I’ve decided to teach myself the language PHP. This won’t be the first time I’ve  attempted to teach myself a language sans-instructor before, but i’m sure i’ll make due.

This will however be the first time that I attempt to do so while I have a website! You can follow my progress at the index of www.esologic.com/learn_php. Right now I’ve got a sample for arrays in there.

You can right-click -> save as the documents and open them in your favorite text editor, (I know for sure it works in vim in debian, as that’s where i’m editing it in) or click the document to see the output.

Happy Programming!