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NU - AutoAquaponics: Summer 2020 Update

AutoAquaponics Progress From Summer of 2020
Added by Bill Yen about 1 month ago

Being the first full "quarter" the AutoAquaponics project is in operation, we were happy to welcome Jazmyn Lu, Christian Colon, Mady Corrigan, Niv Landau, and Diogo Costa to join the team with existing members Mark Galperin and Bill Yen. Being a team that worked completely remotely with members from 4 different time zones (CST, EST, China Standard Time, Western European Summer Time), we faced some logistical challenges. However, we were still able to meet and communicate on a regular basis to develop the software, electronics, and plumbing aspects of AutoAquaponics. At the start of the summer, we mainly focused on the software aspect of this project, and continued to develop a control system program with a graphical user interface that runs on Raspberry Pi using Python. We added settings functionality to the program that allows the user to set the minimum and maximum levels of various water parameters (temperature, pH, TDS, etc.). If the detected value surpasses that bound, then the graph on the GUI turns red, and the user receives a text message from the Raspberry Pi. In addition, we’ve built the UI for the control panel page to the program that will eventually allow users to toggle a Raspberry Pi controlled power strip remotely. The setting and data logging functionality were all being done using CSV files for the summer, and our goal for the Fall is to transition the saved data/configurations to SQLite in order to boost system performance on the Raspberry Pi.

GUI Dashboard (green graph means everything is normal):

Remotely accessing the GUI displaying live data from an iPhone:

Control Panel that will be used to toggle a Raspberry Pi controlled power strip:

Settings page to set the data boundaries:

On the electronics side of the project, we have designed a 16-outlet power strip that can be controlled through the GPIO pins from our Raspberry Pi, and we are currently in the process of applying for funding from the Associate Student Government in order to purchase the materials needed to build the device. Despite many of our members being sophomores and not able to come to campus, we have devised a plan to ship materials to team members, have them build their respective parts, and then ship the parts to one person for assembly. Because some of our members will have access to an established aquaponic system near campus, we plan to deploy our sensor there to test both their performance and longevity. We have a few new sensors that are scheduled to arrive early October, and we are also planning on applying for more funding in order to expand our available materials. The goal for the electronics team in the Fall is to (1) build a Raspberry Pi controlled power strip, (2) build a preliminary housing device for the sensor probes and Raspberry Pi in order to protect them from water/debris as we deploy them in the existing aquaponic system.

Current electronics setup with a Raspberry Pi, an ADC chip, and pH probe:

Last but not least, our plumbing design team came up with a system design for the overall structure of AutoAquaponics, and we are now in the process of turning that design into a 3D CAD model to help us finalize on the exact components we need and streamline the construction process. Since only two of our members are upperclassmen, we expect the bulk of the plumbing construction to occur in the Winter when we will hopefully have more members back on campus. We have included some structural materials (plywood for fish tank construction) in our grant application, however, so we will also try to begin building this quarter if funding becomes available.

Example of a system component we created in CAD (fish tank we aim to build out of coated plywood and a glass sheet for the window cutout):

Stay tuned for more updates as we expand our team in the Fall and continue to build our system!

Pictured: Top row: Jazmyn Lu, Christian Colon, Mark Galperin Bottom row: Mady Corrigan, Bill Yen, Niv Landau Not Pictured: Diogo Costa


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