Ryan Crepeau

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since May 21, 2015
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Recent posts by Ryan Crepeau

What kind of fan are you using?  A half amp 12v fan doesn't move much air so I am assuming these are smaller spaces.

A 10w solar panel in a good position should be able to power a .5 amp 12v fan.

They can all be on the same circuit.  A solar panel connected to a charge controller connected to a battery.  Then from the charge controller a snap switch connected to the fans.  The battery is there to buffer the charge on partly cloudy days or hot days in the spring and fall.  It is bad to have power constantly flow into a battery.  The charge controller will stop charging a full battery and stop providing power when the battery is low.

Here is a $15 charge controller. I have had one of these running continuously in a project for two years now.


Snap switches are set to turn on at a set temp and turn off at another.  They do not require power and will work on AC or DC.  This one is adjustable, non-adjustable ones are cheaper.


If you have water pressure solenoid valves can be powered by the same battery.  Without water pressure there are 12v DC pumps that can be powered on the same system.  This is one I've used.  It will pump a gallon a minute with 3 meters of head at 4.2 watts.  (Still assuming this is a small space.)


I haven't looked into over the counter timers or controllers for pumps.  If all you want to do is fill a tank that gravity feeds the plants that would be easy enough with a float switch.  If the pump only runs occasionally a 15w panel should cover the fan and pump but a larger charge controller might be needed.

Happy tinkering!
2 years ago
There is a lot of good material on instructables.com. Try searching google for garduino, gardening + Arduino.

Arduino code is pretty basic. There are some great tutorials on the web but it can be difficult to figure out were to start. I found the Vilros Starter Kit to provide a good introduction. It is $55 on Amazon and comes with some components. I really like the tray that a bread board and Arduino can attach to, it makes developing so much easier.


Most solenoid valves need more pressure than a tank of water can provide to work. There are 0 pressure solenoids though. This link has a discussion about it.


For my project I ended up going for a small half amp pump since my goal was to have everything run off of a solar panel.

Also if you are working with water there is a quick and dirty moisture sensor that you can use to detect a leak and shut things down. Among other things this link has instruction for making the sensor and the code.


Happy tinkering!
3 years ago
If you want to see one from a few different angles there is one in a Denver suburb that you can see from google street view.

90th and Wadsworth
Westminster, CO

It is on the northwest corner.

Between the rough trunk bark and twig litter it looks like a Siberian Elm to me. I've never heard of one planted on purpose though.

A lot of counties list them as noxious weeds. They are crazy hardy. I've one growing under a power line that I've been cutting to the ground every year for several years and it just keeps coming back. The qualities that make them weeds in some places make the Siberian Elm a great pioneer species in others.
3 years ago

1) There are two different plants that I've heard called wild lettuce. This looks more like Lactuca Serriola, aka prickly lettuce.

4) Common mallow has one of my favorite latin names, Malva Neglecta

Happy foraging!
3 years ago

The stems are a bit darker than I remember. I've seen the leaves go from thick like a succulent to thin and leathery. The stuff around here has a tiny lemon flavor to it. Since you mentioned encouraging it, it also seems to like growing on rocks or concrete.

Happy harvesting!
3 years ago