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Arduino Microcontrollers

Solar-powered Hydroponics Project

My Arduino Projects

The first of my Arduino projects worth writing about is a solar-powered hydroponics rain tower is employing an Arduino Uno microcontroller.

The solar panel charges a 12-volt battery bank, which in turn maintains power for the 12-volt nutrient pump and the Arduino controller cabinet. The Arduino microcontroller is programmed to control the pump on and off, for varying intervals of time, based upon the time of day. The Arduino also datalogs the various pump events, battery voltage and temperature/humidity to an SD card. The time is maintained by a shield (circuit board) that I built around a DS1307 real time clock integrated circuit.

The nutrient pump has a decent-sized current draw, so it is controlled by one of the two relays seen in the picture below. The second relay will be used to control a second pump, inside a deep water culture 5 gallon bucket nurturing two varieties of lettuce, also at intervals controlled by the Ardino, once I acquire a second solar panel.

Arduino hydroponics cabinet with various system boards
Arduino Controlled Hydroponics Rain Tower

The rain tower, as originally setup. It has been modified slightly since this picture was taken.

Arduino Boards

Arduino Boards

Arduino-brand Uno - My first Arduino hardware was the Arduino Uno R3 Board, purchased from Amazon.com, along with the book, Programming Arduino Getting Started with Sketches by Simon Monk. Delivery of these two items from Amazon was hyper-fast, even considering that I went with the free delivery. Mid-February, 2013.

The Uno was part of a bundle, by Newsite, sold through Amazon. It is an authentic Arduino board. The bundle included: Arduino-brand Uno R3, Breadboard, Holder, Jumper Wires, USB Cable and 9V Battery Connector

Arduino Kits

Arduino Kits

The ARDX Starter Kit for Arduino, Level 1 Entry Level, by Seeed Studio, is a great starting point. These can be purchased from Radio Shack, as well as from Amazon.com. It provides a great assortment of parts, components, wires of various lengths, harnesses, leds, a stepper motor, breadboard, plexiglass substrate to mount an Arduino board and the breadboard onto, a 9-volt battery clip, light sensor, buzzer, pushbuttons and much more. In addition to these components, you also receive a small poster of various projects that you can create, as well as small cards, the size of the breadboard to show the method of component connections.

The enclosed booklet provides clear instructions on installing the Arduino software onto your computer system, a decent Arduino programming primer, a basic electronics primer, the code for the 13 projects described in this kit, as well as links to the code online, so you do not have to type everything in.

Arduino Kits

Arduino Books

There are many Arduino programming and kit resources available to help learn how to use the Arduino-series of microprocessors. The Arduino Cookbook is a very good resource. You can purchase it from various sources, including Radio Shack, Amazon.com and through O′Reilly Books. The option that I chose was through O′Reilly Books, as I found that to be the least expensive, as well as I like receiving books as eBooks, which can be read on any of my devices, Kindle, Nook Color, Nexus 7 or a computer. The eBooks that O′Reilly offers are DRM-free, and you have unlimited downloads through your account. The eBooks are available as DAISY, ePub, Mobi and PDF.

You can save money if you choose to purchase from O′Reilly Books by using a Coupon Code that you can find on www.RetailMeNot.com. In late April 2013, I used the DSUG2 coupon code (50% discount on eBooks) to purchase the $35.99 eBook Arduibno Cookbook, for half of that price, and was able to download the various electronic versions of that book instantly.

Arduino Shields

Arduino Shields

LinkSprite SD Card Shield - One of the first shields that I have purchased was the LinkSprite SD Card Shield. I bought it on eBay, very inexpensively, but it took 34 days to arrive here in New Hampshire, from China. The board is well-made, with nice clean solder joints. This shield is version 1.0b.

AT24C32 Real Time Clock Module - Another shield from China. This one I intend on using to provide date and timestamp information into a text file, in comma-delimited format, for my hydroponics project and my solar panel charging station project (arrived late April 2013. I need to solder some header strip to this board, then I will be checking it out. If this works as expected, then I will buy several more of them. I will be using this RTC module in my Solar-powered Hydroponics project, in my Orchid Case project and in my Solar Panel Monitoring project.

The AT24C32 RTC Shield was a dud, it arrived from China DOA, and when I tried to remove the lithium battery, the clip snapped right off. El cheapo!

So, I resorted to building my own shields, using parts from Digikey and prototyping shields, bought from the local Radio Shack.

DS1307 RTC Homemade Arduino Shield


My Homebrew RTC Shield (I actually made 5 of these, foreseeing that they would be handy for data logging)

Arduino PH Shield by Dormant Labs - I got tired of bidding on these shields on eBay, then waiting, and losing the bid. So, what I did was to zoom in to view the silkscreening on the board, then Googled the manufacturer, which brought me to http://tindie.com/shops/rezahussain/arduino-ph-shield-by-dormant-labs/ where I was able to buy it immediately, and at a price comparable to what the bids have been going up to on eBay. My plans for this shield is to monitor (and log) ph values of the nutrient reservoir, in my hydroponics project (arrived mid-April 2013).

Arduino Sensors

Arduino Sensors

Virtuabotix-brand Temperature & Humidity DHT11 Sensor Module - The DHT11 was the first sensor that I bought, two of them, actually. I got sort of bored with not having an input device, so I chose to go with this for my first imput device. Late-March, 2013.

2013-04-09 - Finally took some time to pop this into the breadboard and play with the sensor. It's accuracy seems to match my Fluke-brand infrared thermnometer right to one-tenth of one degree (Farenheit). The temperature and humidity data was streamed at one second intervals to the serial monitor. Once I familarize myself with the LCD shield, I will stream the data to it.

Arduino Displays

Arduino Displays

LCD Module for Arduino 20 x 4, White on Blue - sold through Amazon, by Pandora's Secret. Arrival Late-March, 2013. I haven't done anything with this display yet. Product specs are here. A Project Tutorial is here.

SainSmartTM 3.2" TFT LCD Display+Touch Panel+PCB adapter SD Slot for Arduino 2560 - Arrival Late-March, 2013. I haven't done anything with this display yet.


Arduino News

Bing: arduino

Bing: arduino

Search results

Please be sure to bookmark and revisit this webpage. The newsfeed items below are designed to update automatically and should always be displaying the latest news on this subject.


04/27/2017 04:05 AM
Arduino - Official Site
Arduino is an open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software. It's intended for anyone making interactive projects.
04/26/2017 09:57 AM
Arduino - Wikipedia
Arduino is an open source, computer hardware and software company, project, and user community that designs and manufactures microcontroller kits for building digital ...
04/13/2017 10:58 PM
Amazon.com: arduino: Electronics
Elegoo Arduino Project Smart Robot Car Kit with Four-wheel Drives, UNO R3, Link Tracking Module, Ultrasonic Sensor, Bluetooth module, Remote, ect.
04/24/2017 01:05 PM
Arduino - Open Source Products for Electronic Projects
Discover New Arduino products: start with Arduino starter kit, find your Arduino board and shield to program microcontroller and share your Arduino project
04/24/2017 07:07 AM
Arduino : Adafruit Industries, Unique & fun DIY ...
Arduino is the popular open-source electronics prototyping platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software. It's intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and ...
08/05/2014 07:57 PM
Arduino Buying Guide - SparkFun Electronics
Arduino Buying Guide. Let’s face it, there are a lot of different Arduino boards out there. How do you decide which one you need for your project?
04/21/2017 04:01 PM
Amazon.com: arduino
Product Features High quality Arduino kit with UNO R3,100% compatible with Arduino UNO R3


About this Webpage

A set of webpages that I have prepared relative to using the Arduino family of microcontrollers as a means of furthering my knowledge of C+ computer programming.

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