another reef controller?

Discussion in 'DIY' started by fbret, Aug 21, 2013.

  1. fbret

    fbret Guest

    For my entertainment, I am building a reef controller based on an OpenWrt wireless access point. The main advantages of that solution:
    - that the controller will be networked out of the box (wifi or ethernet).
    - accurate time management using NTP.
    - ability to send email alerts (including email to sms).
    - extensible open source platform.
    - logging to usb or syslog.
    - tons of horsepower.
    - very small footprint ( The current prototype holds in a 2"x4"x1" box)

    Currently, I have 2 lights channels and 2 temperature channels. I'm thinking of adding an ATO module, moonlight and potentially pH and a couple pump channels.
    I know this sounds a lot like a Reef Angel, but it's not! No end user coding required and no add-ons necessary.

    Is that a bad idea? What else should I consider? Is there a demand for this?


  2. neuro

    neuro Webmaster

    There are a lot of examples and folks who ran into various issues that could really help aid and cut your development time down on reef central under the DIY forum. They went through a lot of stuff, and I can't imagine doing my own controller without reading through some of their pitfalls and successes.
  3. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    Intruiging. Always fun to see new electronics.
    OpenWrt seems like a good idea for a Linux distribution on embedded router devices.
    Good for all the OS/net/comm type work.
    But I am curious how you get from that to all the I/O, relays, PWM, and so on.

    What hardware in particular were you thinking?
  4. fbret

    fbret Guest

    Yes, DIY forum is a treasure trove!

    Rygh, I'm using a TP-Link TL-WR703N ( I have half a dozen ready for sacrifice!).
    That router has at least 4 GPIOs available for surgery and currently, I am using 2 for an I2C bus that can be used for anything. I currently have several PWM channels and generic ADC/DAC channels in addition to temperature.

  5. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    Hmm, not bad. Beats the heck out of Arduino for CPU performance.
    Lower performance than RasberyPi, which is probably a more equivalent competitor, but both are probably overkill.
    The small form factor, plus wireless ability, are a big plus.

    The usual warning : beware of 5V I/O. Not sure the qualcomm chip is 5V tolerant.
    Long term reliability issues.

    Sounds like a fun project. Hope to see more details.

    Note that someone else on these forums is using Reef Angel expansion hardware, which is I2C based, to connect
    to a Raspi board.
  6. fbret

    fbret Guest

    Yes, 5V is the max... I'm running of the 3.3V line.
    A RasberyPi board + wifi + power is about $50. A TL-WR703N can be had for $20 on ebay :)

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