# Best way to begin for controlling hydroponics setup

#### pengyou

Joined Jan 9, 2015
12
I am a newb at electronics but it seems that it is a part of the solution for what I want to accomplish. My self imposed goal is to create a model for a hydroponics setup for city folks to use in their home. If I am successful, my presentation will include something like "one cubic meter of space can produce enough vegetables for an average adult." Not sure if that number is correct - that is what I hope to discover in the next 3 years.
Each hydroponic "cube" will have at least 3 sets of lights, pumps, heaters, fans and valves to control. The idea is to be able to connect them, to daisy chain them, so that each "cube" can use the same controller. I know there is the raspberry pi, android boxes and a few other objects that can be used as controllers.

My question: I am looking for some kind of controller that will allow me to control a multitude of devices - possibly as many as 16 per cube, that can be expanded to control other cubes, each with as many as 16 devices, that is "easiest" ( I know that it might not be easy so I choose the relative form of the word) to program, and will provide the lowest overall cost after expansion (some systems I have seen are cheap to buy the initial unit but expansions are more expensive). use of wifi would be nice but I also realize that it will probably raise the cost significantly and probably make management of the system even more complex.

#### bertus

Joined Apr 5, 2008
22,133
Hello,

Perhaps the following query might give you some ideas:
hydroponics setup

Bertus

#### urb-nurd

Joined Jul 9, 2014
269
I am a newb at electronics but it seems that it is a part of the solution for what I want to accomplish. My self imposed goal is to create a model for a hydroponics setup for city folks to use in their home. If I am successful, my presentation will include something like "one cubic meter of space can produce enough vegetables for an average adult." Not sure if that number is correct - that is what I hope to discover in the next 3 years.
Each hydroponic "cube" will have at least 3 sets of lights, pumps, heaters, fans and valves to control. The idea is to be able to connect them, to daisy chain them, so that each "cube" can use the same controller. I know there is the raspberry pi, android boxes and a few other objects that can be used as controllers.

My question: I am looking for some kind of controller that will allow me to control a multitude of devices - possibly as many as 16 per cube, that can be expanded to control other cubes, each with as many as 16 devices, that is "easiest" ( I know that it might not be easy so I choose the relative form of the word) to program, and will provide the lowest overall cost after expansion (some systems I have seen are cheap to buy the initial unit but expansions are more expensive). use of wifi would be nice but I also realize that it will probably raise the cost significantly and probably make management of the system even more complex.
This is down my alley

You are wanting a microcontroller for this application - check out arduino!
Arduino is cheap and simple to learn due to the vast multitude of resources online.
A PLC would work but it wouldn't be my first choice.
The raspberry pi can function as an arduino but may offer additional features if you are wanting things like a webcam to monitor the plants.

This has been something i have been daydreaming about for a while.
You can get alot of ......."veg" from a metre squared! haha

#### pengyou

Joined Jan 9, 2015
12
This is down my alley

You are wanting a microcontroller for this application - check out arduino!
Arduino is cheap and simple to learn due to the vast multitude of resources online.
A PLC would work but it wouldn't be my first choice.
The raspberry pi can function as an arduino but may offer additional features if you are wanting things like a webcam to monitor the plants.

This has been something i have been daydreaming about for a while.
You can get alot of ......."veg" from a metre squared! haha
Thanks! Now that you mention it, I will most likely have light and/or temperature sensors in each level, so maybe the pi is the way to go? How will expansion work? Can I have one pi to "rule them all" with a multitude of hubs spread out to perform the tasks?

#### wayneh

Joined Sep 9, 2010
17,201

#### wayneh

Joined Sep 9, 2010
17,201

#### shortbus

Joined Sep 30, 2009
9,804
Quote pengyou, "they do not use the costs of organic produce when making comparisons." Thats because hydroponic produce is not "organicaly" grown.

#### pengyou

Joined Jan 9, 2015
12
I don't completely understand the term "organic" or the requirements for such, but I have seen chemicals advertised for hydroponics that are labeled "organic". I have done a little bit of research on this - enough to know that there "SEEMS" to be a standard for it. At any rate, there is virtually no need to use pesticides for hydroponics, and pesticides are my main reason for buying organics.

#### pengyou

Joined Jan 9, 2015
12

#### pengyou

Joined Jan 9, 2015
12

#### pengyou

Joined Jan 9, 2015
12
If I can come up with a simple plan (simple plan means simple tutorials for sprouting seeds, simple plan for constructing the green house, simple plan for obtaining the materials, etc) I would like to present my idea to one of the Chinese Federations that deal with the poor in China as a partial solution to helping them get nutritious food, dependably, on a year round basis - something that is a little bit difficult to do in desert like conditions.

#### GopherT

Joined Nov 23, 2012
8,009
If I can come up with a simple plan (simple plan means simple tutorials for sprouting seeds, simple plan for constructing the green house, simple plan for obtaining the materials, etc) I would like to present my idea to one of the Chinese Federations that deal with the poor in China as a partial solution to helping them get nutritious food, dependably, on a year round basis - something that is a little bit difficult to do in desert like conditions.
To accelerate the growth even more, use a diesel generator just outside if your home to power all of those lights. Thenpump all of the CO2 and water vapor exhaust from that generator into your growing area.

#### wayneh

Joined Sep 9, 2010
17,201
The carbon monoxide will do a great job killing off all insect pests.

#### shortbus

Joined Sep 30, 2009
9,804
At any rate, there is virtually no need to use pesticides for hydroponics, and pesticides are my main reason for buying organics.
This is not a true statement. Unless you can come up with a way to seal the growing area off from the rest of the world, like "clean room" conditions. Any pest or fungal disease that can strike an outside environment can be also brought into a hydroponic grow area.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifes...d174f6-91f2-11e3-b3f7-f5107432ca45_story.html

#### rawlings.mat

Joined May 17, 2016
23
However that shouldn't stop you ploughing ahead - just re think the end goal
I have been messing with an automated grow solution for open minded mycologists, not too far from your premise.

I think i know what the score is (i work in the industry in the legal states) with what and why you are trying this.
There is ALOT to consider before you can start looking at control - like what EXACTLY you will control and to what constraints.

Pm me if you wish - should my assumptions tend to truth
@urb-nurd. I would like to communicate further if you get this message.

Mods edit:
Please don't post Email on forum, it will bring the spammer robot to the forum and send the spam your Email box, your Email already deleted.

The member urb-nurd already over 5 months had not visit the forum.

Last edited by a moderator:

#### KMoffett

Joined Dec 19, 2007
2,918
Mat (?),
The OP hasn't been back here in a year and a half.
Ken

#### ScottWang

Joined Aug 23, 2012
7,326
Mat (?),
The OP hasn't been back here in a year and a half.
Ken
He was not asked to the OP, he was asked to another member urb-nurd in #3.