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General => Users => Topic started by: Armor Gnome on June 23, 2013, 10:49:48 am

Title: Adding a special "room"
Post by: Armor Gnome on June 23, 2013, 10:49:48 am
Greetings old friends!

I am still happily using 10.04 in my home and have enjoyed LinuxMCE for about 5 years now.
For reasons of roommate consideration, I have downsized the number of rooms with devices and dramatically reduced the amount of control and automation active.  -Of special note to those who have watched me struggle with old/unsupported equipment, this means only the best, most supported, newest equipment is in use now.

With extra time and automation equipment on my hands I have decided to pick back up the aquarium/vivarium hobby and think I could greatly benifit from some of my unused equipment and all I have learned about automation with and in LMCE.  My first question is about lights as I ran out and bought before asking before.  Following that question I will list a few ideas I have and if anyone is interested in following along or discussing this application I would be happy to update.

Innotech? Z-Wave Dimmable Light switch controlling 1-3 5000k LED bulbs?  Dimming with CFLs was not very successful for me using this switch and having watched TSCHACK's LED dimming YouTube video I have my doubts. (Congratulations btw TSCHACK on your recent family addition)
These lights will ideally provide a gradual increase in brightness each morning to simulate dawn and then a gradual reduction in the evening for dusk.  I am hoping for input on wide coverage bulbs that don't "beam" a narrow area, work well with z-wave fed fixtures and dim in small increments to very low intensities.

The whole picture of this new "room"

125 gallon (72x18x20) eurobraced glass aquarium w/ 40 gallons extra in refugium and sump
Paludranium (spelling may be off) meaning 50/50 water and land with many live plants
Two juvenial axolotls will call this home

Non-typical or creative aquarium ideas

Axolotl require cooler water than most aquariums (60-64F) and do like intense light.
Sumps and refugium overflows will function normally but I would like to add a refrigerated resevoir which would pump to 'cool rain' sprinkler heads when the tank goes above 64F. My thought is to use the relays on the gc100 to open automatic sprinkler valves but I have not found a good submersible temp sensor that could talk to LMCE.
Rain simulation would mainly be used as a cooling method but will also be added to accompany seasonal changes around breeding time.
Lightning storm effect: simple x10 or z-wave wall outlet would need to quickly turn on and off a cheap strobe light dialed in to lightning flash speed and mounted in the canopy.
Cloud movement: my idea is to have dark areas of a rolled film pulled horizontally from roll to roll between the lights and the glass top to give a moving cloud shadow effect.  Z-wave blind controls?
2gig z-wave thermostat: used to control the air temp inside the dry top half of the tank.  It would be cool only and would output to PC fans on either side of the tank.  Battery life of the thermostat or supply of voltage through a wall wort adapter are my thoughts.
Closed loop x10 use? I have a cm15a and a dozen x10 devices I would like to have on an isolated circuit for various sound effect, moonlight control, other effects.  Is there a way to isolate x10 or does the signal have to return to the breaker box each 'loop'
Mechanical or gravitational failsafes for all light/cooling/water level automation.
Event logging
Notifications, audible or email/text/VoIP recordings for out-of-spec conditions, water change or maintanence reminders.
Database logging and note taking (ideally via orbiter near the tank) for last fed, how much, breeding info, health etc.
Aeon-Labs energy monitor switch: connected to a mini-fridge housing my chilled resevoir.  This would turn on when the tank water temp nears my high limit, preventing wasted power keeping the cooling water cold when not needed.  This could also show me power usage and give me notice of other cooling issues.
Long term scheduling to automate seasonal changes in light and temperatures.  I can pull weather info from these amphibians natural range and duplicate those settings in my enclosure.
Title: Re: Adding a special "room"
Post by: daballiemo on June 24, 2013, 09:00:54 am
Hi there,

I think your special room is not that special   ;D but more or less a combination of elements one could find in a house, that are tied together using LMCE.

Lights... check
Heating/Cooling... check
Blinds... check
Sprinklers.... check

What I like to recommend is to have a look at Arduino and have that interface into LMCE if needed. That will give some other form of stability and offer many ways to interface to the real world in ways you have not thought at now. I have used the Arduino platform to interface to a RGB led string and I am working on a interactive alarmpanel with RFID now.



Title: Re: Adding a special "room"
Post by: Armor Gnome on June 28, 2013, 02:44:37 pm
Thank you for your input.  I had not considered an ardurino but now that you mention it, that could be exactly what I am looking for to handle some of the special on/offs such as my weather effects.  Going that route I am assuming the ardurino program is performed when an event triggers LMCE to send an "execute the thing you do" command?  This would help with some of my on for x seconds, off for y & then on for z.

I have struggled so far in my prototypes with water temperature so am still prototyping my chilled resevoir idea.  What I could really use assistance on to move forward with control is LED light selection as now I think I may move away from the open top and instead do a cooled canopy.  Here are my new questions:

6500k Dimmable LED (as recommended for aquariums)
Somewhat moisture resistant (probably less than shower area)
Dimmable to very low % levels
Wide illumination pattern (no spotlight effect)
Plays well with z-wave dimmers
Title: Re: Adding a special "room"
Post by: daballiemo on June 28, 2013, 07:16:11 pm
How and if the arduino responds to LMCE is in fact up to you, its fully depending on the code you write in both systems. If you have a close look at my example you can see that LMCE can control the RGB Leds in On/Off, but also in RGB levels. On the other hand the Arduino remembers the color and brightness in between On-Off-On situations.

The example is not really using comms from Arduino to LMCE besides some logging. This will be used in a new system I am building right now, a sensor and alarmsystem based on wireless connected arduinoś interfacing into LMCE.


Title: Re: Adding a special "room"
Post by: RayBe on June 28, 2013, 08:03:50 pm
Armor Gnome,

Fibaro is releasing a new module:
You can hook all kinds of analogue sensors to it.
It's a different approach, but worth investigating imho :)

Title: Re: Adding a special "room"
Post by: Marie.O on June 28, 2013, 09:10:55 pm
For a simple RGB control, hari created the chromoflex device driver. Very nice for these kind of things. Alternatively, the 1-wire device might be interesting as well.

Before *I* would start with Arduino type of things, I would take a look what's available readymade.
Title: Re: Adding a special "room"
Post by: Armor Gnome on June 28, 2013, 09:30:53 pm
In the reef-tank world there are lots of ready made options and several have PC connectivity and web-browser control/monitoring.  Digital Aquatics has a simple temp monitor that can have expansion modules connected for O2, CO2, water level etc.  If I was building this for a customer I would recommend that route but the hope in using my excess automation gear (x10, z-wave, gc100 relays, etc) was to both use some excess and to have access via the same orbiters that control the rest of the house.

With seperate floor plans and assigning all aquarium devices to this "room" I could have exceptional visibility not to mention alarms and notices broadcasting to all MDs or if critical limits are exceeded it could kill power to malfunctioning devices.  For something typical such as an overflow clogging I could install a float switch to stop the return pump, but I could also connect the float switch to a gc-100 sensor and get a notice that tells me I need to get home or have a roommate/neighbor check if out.
Title: Re: Adding a special "room"
Post by: Armor Gnome on July 01, 2013, 09:30:33 am
I have decided to go ahead and build these controls into a much smaller tank for the time being.  When I begin on the much more expensive 125 gallon tank I will hopefully have some lessons learned.  I have most of the plumbing set up but am now pausing before cementing pipe together to plan out actuated valves.  The cost of RainBirds controlled valves is very reasonable and allows me to open/close water pathways for various effects.

Z-Wave has several radiator and in-floor heat devices.  Has anyone used these and had any issues creating events?  I am in the US, if availability changes my options.

Dimmable (standard socket) LED bulbs?  Anyone have any recommendations based on the above few posts?