DIY reef-pi build log

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Michael Lane

Michael Lane

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I finished the layout for another version recently. It's going to be quite a beast to assemble with nearly 100 components, but includes indicator LEDs on-board. Can't wait to get the pcbs! Plus it will be useful for adding interrupt driven capabilities to reef-pi so I can use physical buttons to trigger macros.
upload_2019-3-15_22-56-19.png
 
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Michael Lane

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Boards arrived! It took over 2 hours for me to assemble a single board, even with a stencil. I also had several problems with components shifting off the pads since I was using a rework station hot air gun. The connectors also started melting a bit. All in all, it was fairly a fairly challenging build. I think I'll try a toaster oven next time.


On the bright side, the test script ran without a problem!
 

Ranjib

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Boards arrived! It took over 2 hours for me to assemble a single board, even with a stencil. I also had several problems with components shifting off the pads since I was using a rework station hot air gun. The connectors also started melting a bit. All in all, it was fairly a fairly challenging build. I think I'll try a toaster oven next time.


On the bright side, the test script ran without a problem!
It works , that’s what matters. I’m stoked to see these smt based boards :)
 
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Michael Lane

Michael Lane

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I love the UK, but dangit all the development over there in the US has me very jealous - postage is a killer :( - Fantastic work and just what I need as a noobie!
Yeah. I wish it was cheaper and more reliable to ship things out of the US.

The v2 build is possible to assemble by hand if you have bit of experience (although I don't recommend v3). It would also be cool to see someone in the UK build and distribute some boards.

Wykat also created a nice mostly through hole design that might be worth checking out. https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/reef-pi_-pcbs.513733/
 
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ph123uk

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Yea, seen them all, and i know its not your fault for the prices! and its great work you guys are all doing, right up my street - WHEN I actually get this working I will be one of the first with a reef-pi build in the UK, if not the first :D - Will then showcase it on our forums and hopefully garner more interest this side of the pond.

8way relay module is on order with the other parts to make a controllable power plug, i'm going to dismantle an old 8 gang socket extension to get it up and running!
 

Cary

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Jimi Hendrix kept me company while I assembled this batch of boards. One board is for me and one board is for my uncle in Florida. Now I'm looking forward to designing another version! I want to integrate the test indicators into the board, but I feel like I'm running out of room...

20190301_233821.jpg


I have the extras on my Tindie store.
can't go wrong with Jimi!
 

Cary

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I have been trying to get off the ground for a long time, ask Ranjib (I helped write some documentation in the pre and post v1 days). Do instructions for the wiring come with your board?
I don't do (or understand) electronics very well, hence the reason I still don't have a reef-pi with more than a temp sensor running. I barely even understand what a hat is.

I really need to get going. I have a SB Reef light, temp sensor, power heads (2 sides), ato, and a few wishes to add to my tank. I also have a Pi3. All I need is a push.

I would even be happy to Beta test your v3 board and create instructions, if you need them.
 

Bigtrout

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Nice pic. A picture with old folks and grey hair would be more applicable in my case. LOL
The hat simplifies and speeds up a build tremendously. It is just a board that stacks right on top of the pi 40 pin I/O header so those conenctions are already made...easy as putting on...well a hat.

What size tank are you controlling? If its a larger tank the Mike lane hat is very expandble and configurable. For instance I easily added a real time clock and a ph board.

Are the power heads just going to be an on off thing?

I will have to see how a sb reef lightcan be controlled...i think someone has done it already.

Read thru my build thread and @Mikeneedsahobby build thread which is entertaining and informative. That may give you a better understanding of what you will be doing.
 
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Michael Lane

Michael Lane

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@Bigtrout describes it perfectly and asks the right questions.

@Cary - I don't know how SB Reef lights work, so I'm not sure if it can be automated via PWM. The temp sensor is probably supported (as long as it is the commodity 1-wire sensor). On/Off can be controlled for the powerheads, but there isn't really built-in software support for wavemakers. ATO is pretty much built in, and I'm sure a couple of wishes would fit in.

The biggest thing is to identify what you are looking to control/monitor and compare that to what reef-pi supports. My boards are basically just a convenience that incorporates the ULN2803 and PCA9685 with a bit of input/output protection. Tag me if you start a build thread; I'd be happy to offer any advice.
 

Cary

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Thanks guys. I have an old 29 gallon wide tank with a 10 gallon refugium. I have 2 powerheads\wavemakers (hydor koralia\siccee) on each side that alternate every 10 minutes through the use of a hydor controller.

I believe the SB Reef light uses 0-10v control. I am pretty sure I have read where a couple of people have controlled it.

I do have a 3 wire temp sensor that is connected to my RPI at the moment.

what I would like to control

8 plug power
SB Reef light
fan\heater
3 wire temp sensor\ or purchase a different 1 wire if needed
output to 2 sets of powerheads\wavemakers to alternate flow
ATO

Eventually
Salinity
PH
Feeder
Moonlights that work on lunar schedule


I am not sure if I need to control the water pump (in refugium), but I would like to make it easy to turn it off for feeding. This would also apply to the powerheads\wavemakers and automatic feeder (turn on when the others are off).

I am pretty sure that is more than 8 controller outlets, but I haven't really thought it through.

Thanks again for your help.


PS. I have read both ML build and Mikeneedsahobby build. They were both really good. Mike, you write very well for a person whos native language is not English.
Cheers
 
Legendary Corals

Bigtrout

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You should be fine, grab a hat and start a build, with the expertise on this board, we will guide you thru it and get a working reef pi going!

The things you want are definitely doable, your wishes are all coming soon, 3.0 will have support for the ph board...the moonlights are controllable, the moon schedule in not sure about but I think are doable with setting up something with the api calls like @sfgabe. A feeder depends on the setup, and the salinty monitor is the only thing that may be iffy right now.

GO 4 IT!

If you look at the build threads, including my own, most started and got a few things running and slowly built up to the build they wanted, learning as they went. If you get stuck there is plenty of help to get you pointed in the right direction.

Im controlling a freshwater planted with 3 temp sensors, 3 canister filters, 2 heaters, and 2 led lights controlled with pwm. When the ph board is supported I have the board all ready to go. I will soon be adding a 40 breeder sump to my 75 gallon setup with another light to light my excess plant refugium. The controller has been stable and dependable. I built a controller for a hundred dollars or so that rivals a thousand dollar aquarium controller and had fun doing it. I LOVE reef pi!
 
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Cary

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All, thanks for the encouragement.
@Bigtrout, your freshwater setup and reef-pi sound great. I have loved reef-pi almost since Ranjib joined R2R, I just get confused with the setup.
I have been reading some builds and enjoying the successes. I am planning to buy @Michael Lane 's hat, but I wonder if the new version would be more "stupid proof" for me because of the led's. I also need to be able to get 0-10v for the sb reef light from the pi or from the hat, I believe. I have watched a video on you tube, but am not sure...I was hurried during lunch time because of a customer issue.
 
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