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February 1st, 2015

tony_osp: (Default)
Sunday, February 1st, 2015 11:05 am
The multi-station system is mostly working - all core functionality works. I can start/stop/schedule Remote irrigation zones from the Master, can read Sensors connected to Remote from the Master, the system keeps time in sync and updates both Master and Remote UIs when operating Remote zones.

Main missing part is some WEB UI work to create something like Dashboard to show current sensor readings across the whole system, and WEB UI rework to support full set of 64 zones. Currently the back-end supports up to 64 zones, but the WEB UI (which is based on the original Sprinklers_pi UI) can handle only 15 zones, unfortunately simply increasing the number of zones in UI is not possible (due to the way how the UI communicates with backend for certain operations), and partial rewrite is required.

I posted the code for the Remote station on Github, the code is generally working (Alpha-quality).

I have not posted the Master code yet - waiting for resolution for the licensing issue for components created by Richard Zimmerman. Some of the components in the Master (WEB server, Scheduler, NNTP, TFTP) came from the original Sprinklers_pi code, and they are (c) by Richard. In e-mail exchange Richard stated that he intends this code to be freely used for non-commercial purposes, but there is no explicit license attached.
We discussed it with Richard in e-mail, and he said that he intends to attach suitable CC license, once it happens I will post complete Master code.

Next steps: I'm planning to focus on the hardware, building a couple of Remote stations in weatherproof boxes suitable for installation outside, in wet and humid conditions. In parallel I will continue to work on the software, to fix WEB UI and get it to v1.0.

Eventually I would like to move the Master controller code to run on a small-size tablet - it will be a lot more powerful and efficient hardware base. Remote stations should stay on AVR (Arduino).

tony_osp: (Default)
Sunday, February 1st, 2015 11:48 am
Recently I came across an interesting Arduino-compatible MCU module - Moteino. It is specifically designed for building low-power, RF-connected nodes. Moteino includes AVR chip, necessary power/reset/clk circuits, as well as RF module and even 4Mbit Flash chip. The whole thing is built as a small (1"x2") micro-module. The circuitry is designed for low-power operation.

The most interesting (for me) is the Moteino Mega version - it uses 1280p chip, which provides best hardware specs in Arduino world - 128KB program Flash, 2 serial ports, decent number of GPIO and 16KB RAM - which is actually double of the standard Arduino Mega, and 8x times of Arduino Uno.

Moteino price is also pretty good - base Mega module is under $20, and with powerful (long-range) RF module and 4Mbits Flash chip - about $30. This is actually cheaper than long-range XBee module alone, and I'm considering moving SmartGarden system to Moteino base. Moteino can also work with XBee RF, but if the onboard high-power RF module delivers on the promised specs - I just don't need XBee at all.

I ordered one of the Moteino modules and will be experimenting with it, if it does work as promised - it will be great technology base for SmartGarden.

Moteino Mega