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Custom Tank Electronics


New member
Greetings, I do electronics design for a living, and have been experimenting with a prototype for tank control, I am using a Pi as the base controller which allows the Pi CAM, but I also have a relay board I can control (I have 8 channels on my prototype), I have a single DHT22 temp / humidity sensor on it at the moment, and a plug for WS2812B LED strip. I have proofed out all these things in a prototype and I am going to design up a board to order from China for the next stage of my prototype, I am curious what you guys might find useful in a universal tank controller? Let me outline what I already have planned for the first PCB revision (I know its a bit overkill for most setups but some people would find use for all of the features especially in big setup):

* 8 temperature probe channels
* 4 DHT22 Temp / Humidity channels
* 1 WS2812B LED Strip channel
* 8 relay channels (expandable 8 at a time)

Software Features

* A web UI for config and control
* Full scheduling for all controls
* Up to 8 PID looped thermostats (using temperature probe and relay channels)

Some of you non-hardware people might not see the uses in this, so I will explain some of my current and planned uses:

First, I have a humidifier on relay channel 1, the software monitors the ambient humidity in the VIV, if it drops below say 30% it will kick on the humidifier, if it goes above 50 it shuts it off.

Second, since I am live streaming my camera 24/7 and snakes are usually active at night, I have 2 watts of IR LED's (also plan to make a PCB for these) on relay channel 2, so when the led strip is faded off at 9pm. the IR LED's are turned on automatically, and at 7am the LED strips are faded on, and the IR LED's are turned off.

third in the future I plan to do a water feature maybe with feeder fish stock, I could automated water temperature, I could automate objects in the viv like waterfall lighting, etc.

Also planned is better software features for the camera, currently I am just streaming directly to youtube, but eventually I want to overlay viv temp, humidity, last time the snake shed / ate, etc, also instead of streaming you could have it just record DVR security style, could have motion detection only recording, etc.

So basically I am looking for any ideas I have not thought of that would require hardware design since I am starting that today, software stuff can come later. Also if anyone is interested in helping on software side I will open source this project soon.

Live CAM (Color is CRAP ATM cause my prototype Pi Zero melted down on me and I need to fix the WS2812B channel so only an external light ATM):
Wow, what a great idea. I have programmed PLCs and controllers for years. I would use the PID loops for humidity control, if you have valves that modulate. I think if you had multiple enclosures with a single humidity source, you could get precise control. For straight on/off of relays, I'd be more inclined to setup a dead-band with hysteresis to prevent cycling.