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paul wheaton
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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I think there are two primary needs:

Collecting/recording general weather stuff. Collecting/recording temperature throughout the day at dozens of points: lemon tree site, hugelkultur, in wofati, wofati freezer, buried in the soils, south slope, north slope, tefa projects ....

It seems like it is time for me to start gathering data on this.

 
kadence blevins
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cool idea! especially going to be neat to see the records for wofati freezer and all projects.
 
Nick Kitchener
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If you want to do t on the cheap then something like this solution is an option:
Arduino Temperature Logger
If you want to get really geeky then you can add humidity and light sensors...

I would personally modify it to take readings of multiple sensors.

You'd be able to construct a logging unit for $50 - $75 and I guess you'd need a few of them positioned around your property.

Again, I'd personally use these parts:
http://dx.com/p/arduino-nano-v3-0-81877
http://dx.com/p/sd-card-module-slot-socket-reader-for-arduino-arm-mcu-133709
to build a data logger and then add these sensors:
http://dx.com/p/arduino-digital-temperature-humidity-sensor-module-121350
http://dx.com/p/arduino-compatible-3-pin-light-sensor-module-red-144386

You could construct a module with sensors for under $30 excluding power supply (solar?) and casing.

You'll need to visit them every so often to collect the data of the SD cards, but such is life away from the net and wireless.

Here is a total controller project that is modular so you can leave out the controlling:
http://gardenbot.org/howTo/


This stuff is programmed in C, so for a Java guy like you then the Raspberry Pi is an option.
 
Ryan Barrett
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Good info Nick,

Paul, I'd been spec-ing out a system similar to this for a couple years. (Now that I think of it, I was talking about how it could work in a large permaculture installation, with a fellow PDCer... crazy)
The idea was for monitoring greenhouses, remote locations, notification, fancy wireless communications, etc. It would monitor humidity/temp and potentially controll heating/cooling and a solenoid watering system... but I got distracted with permaculture

Here are my thoughts: To build a system and keep it running would be a relatively large commitment and likely require someone onsite to check up on them regularly, or a relatively robust wireless communication network to transmit data and ensure functioning machines. A few months of data per station would not do much good and be a big waste of time and money.

I'll get some further information together and pop some more ideas up here. My first thought is going with a big agricultural environment monitoring system. (I've put in a call to http://www.coastalenvironmental.com/portable-weather-station.shtml Ya know, Just for fun.)

-Ryan

 
Nick Kitchener
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I've been slowly putting together a system for controlling a meat curing chamber using similar components. It will control air circulation, heating, cooling and humidifying (using an ultrasonic mister unit).

It's amazing how cheap and powerful these microcontrollers have become. Wireless networking (including mesh networking), GPS, proximity sensing, process control...

There's some pretty fantastic brewing automation stuff out there now as well.

So many projects, so little time
 
Ryan Barrett
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I'm seeing about $100-150 for a super basic temp/humidity "data logger" battery powered 1-2 year

Anywhere from $500 to $1200 for Full blown Wind/Temp/Humidity/Soil
Normally expandable to add other features.
Something like this: http://www.microdaq.com/occ/u30/usb-energy-monitoring-system.php

 
Nick Kitchener
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This could be what you're looking for.
They don't list a price, so it must be mega expensive:
http://www.libelium.com/uploads/2013/02/agriculture-sensor-board_2.0_eng.pdf
 
Nick Kitchener
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Eric Jennings
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Hi there, I'm Eric, co-founder of Pinoccio. Very happy to see you found our little project! I'm a budding permaculture nut myself, as my wife and I slowly transform our small backyard into a much more balanced micro ecosystem. Sally, my co-founder and the one drawing in the video, is also a bee-keeper, so we both definitely vibe with most of you on this forum.

We have a half-dozen "backpacks", or small sensor boards, that can plug into Pinoccios--and several of those are specifically around tracking environmental data. Sally is asking for a microphone-based backpack to let her know when the bees start to swarm (when their collective volume gets louder), so she can go check it out.

Let us know if we can answer any questions!

- Eric @ Pinoccio
 
Ryan Barrett
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I love the power saving features of the Pinoccio! That was one of my biggest obstacles with the design I was working on. I'll certainly be watching for the retail release.


So here is the big question for wireless, What kind of distance between nodes would we be looking at?

I'm seriously shying away from wireless just because we'd have to cover 9 million square feet with a signal. That's a lot of square feet. From my knowledge we'd have to use something like 802.11a and we'd need something like 55 meshed nodes to cover the 200 acres (not accounting for terrain).
I'd think there would be significant cost in buying tech that could accomplish that.

Where as an SD card and some feet once a week/month are relatively inexpensive
 
Nick Kitchener
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Hi Eric, nice to meet you!

So, what is you and your wife's take on wireless / RF and bees? I read some rather disturbing studies recently, especially concerning certain frequencies (like the cellular network).
 
Eric Jennings
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Ryan Barrett wrote:I love the power saving features of the Pinoccio! That was one of my biggest obstacles with the design I was working on. I'll certainly be watching for the retail release.


Thanks! We spent a lot of time to get the power usage extremely low. We haven't published this publicly yet, but the battery life is actually even better than on our Tech Specs page--up to seven years on a single charge if the board wakes up once per hour, and it's on for 50ms or less for each duty cycle. At that point, the battery itself will drain faster than the board will draw.


Ryan Barrett wrote:So here is the big question for wireless, What kind of distance between nodes would we be looking at?


Well, since we're using 2.4GHz, we're limited to around 100 meters line-of-sight. This isn't great for long-distance wireless mesh.

Ryan Barrett wrote:I'm seriously shying away from wireless just because we'd have to cover 9 million square feet with a signal. That's a lot of square feet. From my knowledge we'd have to use something like 802.11a and we'd need something like 55 meshed nodes to cover the 200 acres (not accounting for terrain).
I'd think there would be significant cost in buying tech that could accomplish that.


Yeah, that's quite a piece of property you're talking about! We considered looking into the 900MHz radios which give longer range, but that range is regulated differently in different countries, so we settled on 2.4GHz since it's unregulated worldwide.

Ryan Barrett wrote:Where as an SD card and some feet once a week/month are relatively inexpensive


An idea would be to find the various areas of the property that need monitoring, and then position sensors there. Pinoccio's mesh networking stack does allow routing between nodes to extend range. So if you had Pinoccio A one hundred meters away from Pinoccio B, and Pinoccio B was another 100 meters away from Pinoccio C, Pinoccio B will route messages between A and C.

How far you can extend this route is limited, but our estimate is that if you have fairly infrequent updates (~10 minutes or so), 10 or so hops shouldn't be a problem. That also lets you route around terrain or obstacles by simply placing Pinoccios nearby.

Another idea is to place the standalone sensors all over your property, and then mount a data-collection Pinoccio on your vehicle and just drive around the property. When your data-collection Pinoccio gets within range of the sensors, they'll start streaming their data log to you. Then you don't have to get out of the car.
 
Eric Jennings
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Nick Kitchener wrote:Hi Eric, nice to meet you!


Nice to meet you too!

Nick Kitchener wrote:So, what is you and your wife's take on wireless / RF and bees? I read some rather disturbing studies recently, especially concerning certain frequencies (like the cellular network).


Well, my wife and I aren't doing bees at our home. Sally, my cofounder, does keep bees in her backyard. I can't speak to the pros/cons of RF frequencies and bees, as I haven't heard a thing about it. It would certainly be of interest to us though if you have links to the research for us to take a look? (There are specifics of RF that would be important to know about--both in the frequency in which it occurs, and the power at which it is transmitted.)
 
Ryan Barrett
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Eric Jennings wrote:Another idea is to place the standalone sensors all over your property, and then mount a data-collection Pinoccio on your vehicle and just drive around the property. When your data-collection Pinoccio gets within range of the sensors, they'll start streaming their data log to you. Then you don't have to get out of the car.


OH! I like that.... And it really sounds like a solid way to go.


 
Eric Jennings
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Ryan Barrett wrote:
Eric Jennings wrote:Another idea is to place the standalone sensors all over your property, and then mount a data-collection Pinoccio on your vehicle and just drive around the property. When your data-collection Pinoccio gets within range of the sensors, they'll start streaming their data log to you. Then you don't have to get out of the car.


OH! I like that.... And it really sounds like a solid way to go.


A big benefit of mesh networking is that it lets you approach problems in a lot of different ways.

I could see a device on your dashboard that, when it gets in range, initiates a "get datalog from sensor" message. Once the log is completely captured, the onboard RGB LED would blink green three times, alerting you that the transfer is completed and you can continue.

Or attach a Pinoccio to one of the 3DRobotics UAVs and program it with GPS waypoints to automatically fly over the property and gather the data.
 
Nick Kitchener
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Maybe our bee experts on the forum can better inform you but here are some links.

Bees and cellular signals:
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/11/07/Honeybees-Face-Towering-Threat-From-Cell-Phones.aspx
http://www.fastcompany.com/1752894/are-cell-phones-killing-bees-updated

Bees and cordless phones:
http://www.zdnet.com/blog/ratcliffe/would-you-give-up-wireless-services-to-save-the-bees-how-about-to-save-money/283

And there is this very interesting research not on RF radiation and bees, but on the discovery that bees use very sensitive electrical field detectors to communicate with flowers:
http://eartheasy.com/blog/2013/03/bees-guided-by-flowers-electric-fields/
 
Eric Jennings
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Nick Kitchener wrote:Maybe our bee experts on the forum can better inform you but here are some links.

Bees and cellular signals:
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/11/07/Honeybees-Face-Towering-Threat-From-Cell-Phones.aspx
http://www.fastcompany.com/1752894/are-cell-phones-killing-bees-updated

Bees and cordless phones:
http://www.zdnet.com/blog/ratcliffe/would-you-give-up-wireless-services-to-save-the-bees-how-about-to-save-money/283

And there is this very interesting research not on RF radiation and bees, but on the discovery that bees use very sensitive electrical field detectors to communicate with flowers:
http://eartheasy.com/blog/2013/03/bees-guided-by-flowers-electric-fields/


Thanks Nick, that's super helpful.

I found the original paper here: Favre Study

Has no other studies been done since 2009? I'm also interested in how similar the effect of the 900MHz/1800MHz cellular data frequency would be to the 2.4GHz that we're using with Pinoccio.

Also, I wish I kept bees, because I'd love to reproduce Daniel's experiment. I'm curious as to the choice to have the radio play into the phone, as that seems to be adding additional variables to the experiment.

Sally's husband is a PhD student at the University of Michigan in biology. It'd be great to get some experiments going with devices within the 2.4GHz spectrum and their effect on hives (WiFi, Pinoccios, Bluetooth.)

Very interesting! Thanks for posting!
 
Nick Kitchener
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FWIW I've been playing around with some bits and pieces...

You can make a logger that has the following capability for under $45 (not including an enclosure or sensor packaging):

Logs data to a 2 GB micro SD card
Measures air temperature, humidity, and dew point
Measures soil temperature
Measures soil moisture
Measures light levels
Runs on 4 AA batteries

I've put together the a program to run it that allows you to add about a dozen additional temperature sensors (at $2.80 each) , up to 8 humidity / temp sensors ($7.20 each), and a combination of 8 light or soil moisture sensors ($2.50 and $3.80 each).





 
Ryan Barrett
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Awesome Nick!
Let's get together on this. I've been thinking on and looking at some things too.


At the moment, here are my thoughts, and what I'm currently working with, on a simple test system.

Data format: JSON

Permanent parts, the collection server:
Raspberry pi as a data collection server (node.js/non-relational database mongodb or something similar )
USB hard drives for redundant backup and some way to push backup data offsite (amazon S3?)
Possibly running a http server to serve up some pretty graphs and simple data. This could be setup elsewhere if speed is an issue.

Temporary parts, the monitor units:
Arduino/fez panda with SD card shield
Temperature sensor
Battery/solar setup
Manual data transfer to data collection server.
Install one at BC and one at TL

When the Pinoccio systems are available, I think a pinoccio with the Agricultural shield will be perfect to swap in as the collection devices.
This would consist of a bunch of Pinoccio's monitoring data at TL and BC. A Data collection pinoccio that would receive data wirelessly when in range of a monitor unit. This collection unit would then upload data to the collection server.


Thoughts? Do you have a parts list for your setup (or can I give you $$$ to ship a couple working unit to me)?
($45 is coming in way less expensive than my arduino based test system)
 
Ryan Barrett
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So far I've got a super basic front end. No options other than to look at the data. And no humidity/soil monitors, just space holders at the moment.


 
Ryan Barrett
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Ran across this kickstarter today.
It's doing pretty much exactly what I'm working on (though I'm using inexpensive existing technology).
And they have a much better name, though, I've not named mine yet.
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/lthiery/apitronics-wireless-platform

 
Nick Kitchener
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I saw a project on FarmHacks and got me thinking about this project...

Yes I can send you a parts list and program. It's an Arduino based system and outputs xml. Not exactly what you're looking for, but you can tweak the program to output json instead.

The prototype records air temp, humidity, dew point, light level, soil moisture, and a separate temperature measurement (for soil or whatever). I'm using an Arduino nano and so the whole thing fits in the palm of your hand. Actually, the battery pack is the biggest component.

Either way, activity here seems significantly more advanced than others I've seen. Most are pretty expensive too. I figure that price is a big deal because I'd want a few of them to monitor various micro-climates.
 
David Livingston
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I was interested to see the stuff on mobile phones as the view over on Biobees.com was that this was part of a black propaganda exercise by " certain chemical companys " to distract attention away from the harmful effects of pesticides on Bée health.
This view was arrived at because of the lack of verifiable independant research , how the News was promoted And the use of strangers( paid trolls? ) to promote findings on Bée web sites across Europe And North America at the same time.

David
 
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