3D printer and aquaristics use-case:
As we have promised earlier, let’s continue showcasing some of the use-cases we have done!
3D printer control
We wanted to show through an example that the RB can be used in any industrial setting, where the RPi and the extension boards make it possible to do so. So, we have borrowed a home-made 3D printer from one of our friends! As the 3D printer itself, its control circuits are custom made as well, with a microcontroller that can read coordinates from an SD card. This can be done by a Ratherboard, we thought, and set off to work. Furthermore, our solution is more convenient, since with the help of the integrated Wi-Fi, you no longer need to copy the files containing your printing instructions to an SD card all the time.
Of course, we have ideas for future improvements, as always! If this was our main project, we would concentrate on automating the printing procedure, automatic detection for printing errors, and automatic saving for configuration options, since the printer is very sensitive to temperature, type and even the color of the printing material.
Fish tank control
Gergely’s brother has had an aquarium for at least 10 years, and we have always marvelled its beauty. We had known for years that he was in the need of a device that could switch on and off a few things (lamps, pumps, and heaters) based on a timer, while still being affordable. He told us to go to GreenAqua if we want to learn about currently available solutions, because they are the best aquarium experts in Hungary.
At GreenAqua we were faced by a similar requirement: a device that can control all aquarium-related equipment, does not have a separate control box for every single one of them, and does not make a mess with a bunch of cables under your fish tank. In addition, it would be useful if analog sensors could be interfaced easily, such as temperature or water pH value sensor. We found that these needs suited the Ratherboard rather well, so we set off to work once again and came up with the configuration shown in the pictures.
The fact that our device can store and even visualise all measured data over the internet is just the icing on the cake. In some cases, like if an actuator cannot provide sufficient correction in a control loop, or some measured parameter is over or under a specified limit, the device can send alarm messages over the internet. For example if the pH level has unusual swings, or if the water temperature rises to a dangerous level because of a faulty heating element.
The demonstration of our data streaming capabilities however are not the part of this article, we will discuss that in a next one about a Ratherboard-based weather station! Stay tuned!