reef-pi :: An opensource reef tank controller based on Raspberry Pi.

Tom Bishop

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@robsworld78 Might have a bug, if you hit reboot while the DC pump is on, it remains on. I'm not sure how much that matters, but something worth noting.


After I remembered to put the NC jumper on, my NC sensor started working... (Once I flipped it to "reverse") and now I have an ATO!

My only complaint now is I hate the chart so far, for that particular device. Trying to track how much it runs right now. I'll report back.


I also keep getting over use macro emails. Saying my timeout of 60 seconds is being hit. Even though the pump isn't on? I'm pretty confused about that.
^this might be due to me being a *******, I've tuned the sensor some more with a screwdriver behind the panel, we'll see!
^Yeah the alert keeps going off, but the pump isn't running. Probably because the sensor is in reverse?


Edit: Weird, it's still sending alerts even after the alerts are turned off for the macro. I had to turn telemetry off entirely.

Looks like you did hit a bug. The DC ports are setup to turn off if no signal is present so I just did a test, when reef-pi is rebooted the pca9685 isn't reset or turned off.

How are you using the DC port?

@Ranjib I tested this with v5.3 by setting up a dosing pump in reef-pi using a pin from the pca9685, if the dose is running and reef-pi is rebooted the signal from the pca9685 is still present when it comes back online keeping the dose running until the next schedule comes around to turn it off. Might be rare that happens but could be serious if/when it does. To test have the dose running then in admin tab press the reboot button and you'll see it.

Sorry can't help with the emails, something isn't right, maybe @Ranjib has some thoughts.

FYI I just wanted to throw this out there, YMMV and this is just my .02 but I had an issue long ago with pca9685 that was stuck in the on position on my doser port, in my case I was around when it happened and caught it but even a reboot and the port still runs...I still have that board and its still in the stuck position, no idea why but that was a valuable lesson at least for me, I no longer have my dosers hooked up to PCA/PWM ports since there are just IMHO to many failure modes that they can get stuck on. I have gone to outlet/timer controlled dosers and will not use the PCA9685 for anything but lights, if a light gets stuck on big deal but I will not use them for dosing ports. I have some posts that should what I am using for dosing but by choosing the rpm of the motor and swapping tubing I can dial in the rates that I need, I have nano tanks and doesn't take a lot to throw them off and a stuck doser is bad juju...:)

If anyone wants to know more about how I have things setup, I have extensive timers that force stuff off when it should be off regardless, timer/cron is great at that. :)
 
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Tom Bishop

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Hi all,

Word of warning for all Reef Pi users. I went away for a couple of weeks with a neighbour watching over my tank and feeding every couple of days together with close my close monitoring via Reef Pi. He alerted me that the tank was a little quiet a couple of days ago, I tried to logon to Reef Pi (via VNC) but it didn't work (I didn't think anything of it and I assumed it was something with VNC). Unfortunately I retuned last night to a tank at 35/95 Celsius/Farenheight and full of dead livestock.

I tried logging into the app via the usual home WIFI - but I still couldn't and had to power cycle the whose raspberry pi and which point I was able to login and I received a flurry of emails that the temperature was too high.

It appears the app/raspberry pi crashed with the heater in the 'on' position. For reference, I'm using a full system built by robo-tank (although to be clear this wasn't hardware related - the relay is working perfectly).

This isn't a complaint or moan I am very grateful to Ranjib and all the other developers of this free platform but:

1. I would strongly advise everyone to invest in an audible temperature alarm (can be bought off Amazon for < $10). I have literally lost 000's of dollars by not having this.
2. I would advise against using a non-thermostatic heater (i had a 500W titanium heater)
3. I would be happy to share any files/more information from my Reef Pi instance that would help prevent this happening again
First off really hate to hear this and sorry for the loss, I'm still trying to get my tank to where I have a lot of coral but I have fish and really would be bummed if that happened, I know they are just fish but man you get attached to them. I haven't been in the game for very long about 4-5 years but I have learned a lot and have read all the horror stories and have tried to minimize the risks as much as possible, here are some things to think about for anyone in the future.

I think the audible alarms are a good idea but I think there are several other things one can do also. @elysics touched on this but wanted to add to it, the main reason I started running a reef-pi was to monitor tank temp and turn off my heater since from what I gather its probably the most common thing that can happen. My rules are I go with 2 small heaters where it takes both to maintain temp and have a spare on hand. The idea is if they get stuck in the on position a single heater will not heat the tank up by itself and give you time to correct the issue. You make a good point if reef-pi is controlling them and they are not thermostatic then both could be stuck in the on position and that is what @elysics pointed out, if you are going to run with those heaters then having a secondary back up controller like a runco (inkbirds work I just trust runco more) is the way to go and I think that is a best practice when not using a heater with a thermostatic control. FYI Inkbirds and other controllers do also fail so in the case with a non termostatic heater you really should have a backup. Something else to think about, where your heaters are plugged into, I have 2 outlet banks, one is wired to reef-pi and the other is using a wifi tpllink kasa strip. If reef-pi locks up I can still get access to the kasa strip and in my case I would have one heater on each strip and I could turn off the heater and not have to have reef-pi operating, by turning off one I would be assured that a single heater could not continue to heat my tank. Lots of ways to do it but with all this stuff you need to have backups and more backups, unfortunately.

Now in regards to reef-pi here are some additional things to think about, I would like to know what rpi version you were running and what reef-pi software version would be helpful to go through the logs and maybe pinpoint what may have caused the issue. At least for me, for reef-pi I only run the bare minimum that I can get away with, no gui, really just reef-pi and a basic OS install, I think they call it the lite version. It's not that you cannot run other things but just provides more opportunities for bugs etc, I like to keep things lean and mean. The other thing that I do is to have a separate device on UPS and stable that monitors reef-pi instance, this can be a simple ping routine or in my case I have grafana instance running that is pulling data from my reef-pi instance, I get notified if the return pump power is cut and other notifications, if it cannot reach reef-pi for whatever reason I get notified and then I can take action to figure out what the issue is. It's all software and there are lots of things that can go south and you just need to get notified that reef-pi is not responding. I would also suggest you look into tailscale vs VNC, not sure if you were port forwarding but at least for me tailscale ( https://tailscale.com/ ) is a more secure way to do things and much lighter weight with less software. What ever you decide to have as your monitor device you can also have tailscale connect to it also and you could then troubleshoot remotely etc.

I just posted on dosing above but the rules are the same for all of these functions that we are automating, things can go wrong and often do, just need to try to have checks and balances and learn and refine as we move forward, again sorry for your loss.
 

Sral

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FYI I just wanted to throw this out there, YMMV and this is just my .02 but I had an issue long ago with pca9685 that was stuck in the on position on my doser port, in my case I was around when it happened and caught it but even a reboot and the port still runs...I still have that board and its still in the stuck position, no idea why but that was a valuable lesson at least for me, I no longer have my dosers hooked up to PCA/PWM ports since there are just IMHO to many failure modes that they can get stuck on. I have gone to outlet/timer controlled dosers and will not use the PCA9685 for anything but lights, if a light gets stuck on big deal but I will not use them for dosing ports. I have some posts that should what I am using for dosing but by choosing the rpm of the motor and swapping tubing I can dial in the rates that I need, I have nano tanks and doesn't take a lot to throw them off and a stuck doser is bad juju...:)

If anyone wants to know more about how I have things setup, I have extensive timers that force stuff off when it should be off regardless, timer/cron is great at that. :)
For anybody‘s interest: as I wrote earlier, the PCA 9685 is stand alone, so the only thing that helps currently is to power off the whole system.
One could also implement a kind of „panic button“ in reef-Pi, that resets/turns off all critical equipment similar to what I suggested earlier when resetting/rebooting/powering off Reef-Pi itself.
 
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Tom Bishop

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For anybody‘s interest: as I wrote earlier, the PCA 9685 is stand alone, so the only thing that helps currently is to power off the whole system.
One could also implement a kind of „panic button“ in reef-Pi, that resets/turns off all critical equipment similar to what I suggested earlier when resetting/rebooting/powering off Reef-Pi itself.
In my case rebooting did not fix the issue, I still have the board and that one pwn pin comiong from the pca9685 is stuck on, I do not know if its the pca9685 itself or a resistor etc but even rebooting that pin is still on regardless...:(
 

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In my case rebooting did not fix the issue, I still have the board and that one pwn pin comiong from the pca9685 is stuck on, I do not know if its the pca9685 itself or a resistor etc but even rebooting that pin is still on regardless...:(
That’s exactly what I meant, rebooting the PI doesn’t help, since the PCA9685 stores the settings locally. only power cycling the PCA9685, e.g. power cycling the whole system, has a chance of resetting that pin.
 

Tom Bishop

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That’s exactly what I meant, rebooting the PI doesn’t help, since the PCA9685 stores the settings locally. only power cycling the PCA9685, e.g. power cycling the whole system, has a chance of resetting that pin.
Yeah sorry rebooting was a bad term, In my case I have a failure even power cycle did not reset the pin, like I said I have it as a spare board and I can power that board up and its still on...:)
 
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elysics

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hi elysics so I registered the nous a1t and set it up in reef-pi. Thanks a lot for this. I assume that the a1t are only for switching and cannot use the power consumed in the ree-pi?
Hey sorry that I just come back to you now, you forgot the @ in front of my name for the tag to work.

yes it is possible.

I was going to change the code of the tasmota driver directly, but laziness won out and I used the file driver for that too. Didn't want to confuse you with even more code during setup

Again, this is only a lazy solution, not perfect code.

First, on your pi, install jq:

Code:
sudo apt-get install jq

Then, in your home folder, or somewhere else, create a folder just for the currents to keep everything neat, I chose /home/pi/currents, and then go into that folder:

Code:
mkdir /home/pi/currents
cd /home/pi/currents

Then create a script currscript.sh:

Code:
echo "curl -s http://\$1/cm?cmnd=STATUS+10 | jq '.StatusSNS.ENERGY.Current'>/home/pi/currents/snsCurr\$1">/home/pi/currents/currscript.sh

sudo chmod +x currscript.sh

Then create another script requestCurrs.sh that calls the first one for all the ips of your plugs, my ips are examples:

Code:
echo "/home/pi/currents/currscript.sh 192.168.178.25
/home/pi/currents/currscript.sh 192.168.178.26
/home/pi/currents/currscript.sh 192.168.178.27" >/home/pi/currents/requestCurrs.sh

sudo chmod +x requestCurrs.sh


Then, again, schedule the last script to run regularly, I chose every 20 seconds, but you can do every minute, it takes a couple seconds to run, type "crontab - e"
And add the following line at the end:
Code:
* * * * * /bin/bash -c ' for i in {1..3}; do /home/pi/currents/requestCurrs.sh; sleep 20; done'

Then you should have text files in the currents folder named something like snsCurr192.168.178.25 or whatever the ip address of that particular plug is, that text file contains the current measurement.

Go into reef pi, Configuration->Drivers

And add a file-analog driver per plug and and input the path to the corresponding file like /home/pi/currents/snsCurr192.168.178.25

Then configuration->connectors->analog inputs and add a input per newly created driver, pin 0

Then go into the pH menu and add a pH Probe per newly created connector, check frequency 20 seconds or whatever period you chose, chart minimum 0, chart maximum whatever makes sense for your device, chart unit you can use "A" for Ampere if you want.

Then you can add those "pH probes" to your dashboard and/or do logic with them or whatever you want.

And now my fingers are sore from typing this on a phone, I hope there are no typos in the code

Edit: if you don't want current but actually power that works too, use

Code:
.StatusSNS.ENERGY.Power

Or

Code:
.StatusSNS.ENERGY.ApparentPower

In the first script instead


Edit2: fixed the crontab code
 
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Sral

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Yeah sorry rebooting was a bad term, In my case I have a failure even power cycle did not reset the pin, like I said I have it as a spare board and I can power that board up and its still on...:)
Interesting, that would suggest that the Pin is either fried internally, or that the settings are saved by an EEPROM or FLASH.
 

Tom Bishop

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Interesting, that would suggest that the Pin is either fried internally, or that the settings are saved by an EEPROM or FLASH.
Yeah there is no eeprom or flash, I believe that pin has failed in a closed manner, @robsworld78 mention that it could be a resistor that the pca9685 uses in the pathway but I've just never taken the time to fully debug it, I had spares and swapped the whole board out its one of these - https://www.tindie.com/products/ranthalion/ml-reef-pi-hat-goby/#specs but it showed me that pca's can fail and in terms of dosing could be a bad thing so I no longer do any dosing with a pca9685 driven doser, thats just me being paranoid but once I saw it happen that was enough for me...:)

I will drive lights with them but thats about it.
 
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Sral

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Yeah there is no eeprom or flash, I believe that pin has failed in a closed manner, @robsworld78 mention that it could be a resistor that the pca9685 uses in the pathway but I've just never taken the time to fully debug it, I had spares and swapped the whole board out its one of these - https://www.tindie.com/products/ranthalion/ml-reef-pi-hat-goby/#specs but it showed me that pca's can fail and in terms of dosing could be a bad thing so I no longer do any dosing with a pca9685 driven doser, thats just me being paranoid but once I saw it happen that was enough for me...:)

I will drive lights with them but thats about it.
Same here, I might use PWM to regulate the speed, but the ultimate on/off happens with an I/O Pin of the PI.
 

eggi55

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Hello @Ranjib
I have a 1-wire relay card there; 8 relays 220V with DS2408 chipset
if you would use that you would have 8 gpios freely available. I also have this card for USB
1666903789265.png
 
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eggi55

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Hey sorry that I just come back to you now, you forgot the @ in front of my name for the tag to work.

yes it is possible.

I was going to change the code of the tasmota driver directly, but laziness won out and I used the file driver for that too. Didn't want to confuse you with even more code during setup

Again, this is only a lazy solution, not perfect code.

First, on your pi, install jq:

Code:
sudo apt-get install jq

Then, in your home folder, or somewhere else, create a folder just for the currents to keep everything neat, I chose /home/pi/currents, and then go into that folder:

Code:
mkdir /home/pi/currents
cd /home/pi/currents

Then create a script currscript.sh:

Code:
echo "curl -s http://\$1/cm?cmnd=STATUS+10 | jq '.StatusSNS.ENERGY.Current'>/home/pi/currents/snsCurr\$1">/home/pi/currents/currscript.sh

sudo chmod +x currscript.sh

Then create another script requestCurrs.sh that calls the first one for all the ips of your plugs, my ips are examples:

Code:
echo "/home/pi/currents/currscript.sh 192.168.178.25
/home/pi/currents/currscript.sh 192.168.178.26
/home/pi/currents/currscript.sh 192.168.178.27" >/home/pi/currents/requestCurrs.sh

sudo chmod +x requestCurrs.sh


Then, again, schedule the last script to run regularly, I chose every 20 seconds, but you can do every minute, it takes a couple seconds to run, type "crontab - e"
And add the following line at the end:
Code:
* * * * * /bin/bash -c ' for i in {1..3}; do /home/pi/currents/requestCurrs.sh; sleep 20; done'

Then you should have text files in the currents folder named something like snsCurr192.168.178.25 or whatever the ip address of that particular plug is, that text file contains the current measurement.

Go into reef pi, Configuration->Drivers

And add a file-analog driver per plug and and input the path to the corresponding file like /home/pi/currents/snsCurr192.168.178.25

Then configuration->connectors->analog inputs and add a input per newly created driver, pin 0

Then go into the pH menu and add a pH Probe per newly created connector, check frequency 20 seconds or whatever period you chose, chart minimum 0, chart maximum whatever makes sense for your device, chart unit you can use "A" for Ampere if you want.

Then you can add those "pH probes" to your dashboard and/or do logic with them or whatever you want.

And now my fingers are sore from typing this on a phone, I hope there are no typos in the code

Edit: if you don't want current but actually power that works too, use

Code:
.StatusSNS.ENERGY.Power

Or

Code:
.StatusSNS.ENERGY.ApparentPower

In the first script instead


Edit2: fixed the crontab code
first of all thank you
I haven't forgotten, I didn't know
 

robsworld78

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Hi all,

Word of warning for all Reef Pi users. I went away for a couple of weeks with a neighbour watching over my tank and feeding every couple of days together with close my close monitoring via Reef Pi. He alerted me that the tank was a little quiet a couple of days ago, I tried to logon to Reef Pi (via VNC) but it didn't work (I didn't think anything of it and I assumed it was something with VNC). Unfortunately I retuned last night to a tank at 35/95 Celsius/Farenheight and full of dead livestock.

I tried logging into the app via the usual home WIFI - but I still couldn't and had to power cycle the whose raspberry pi and which point I was able to login and I received a flurry of emails that the temperature was too high.

It appears the app/raspberry pi crashed with the heater in the 'on' position. For reference, I'm using a full system built by robo-tank (although to be clear this wasn't hardware related - the relay is working perfectly).

This isn't a complaint or moan I am very grateful to Ranjib and all the other developers of this free platform but:

1. I would strongly advise everyone to invest in an audible temperature alarm (can be bought off Amazon for < $10). I have literally lost 000's of dollars by not having this.
2. I would advise against using a non-thermostatic heater (i had a 500W titanium heater)
3. I would be happy to share any files/more information from my Reef Pi instance that would help prevent this happening again
I'm really sorry to hear of your lose, some people here are good at spotting things in the logs, if you can post them maybe the why could be answered.
 
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robsworld78

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FYI I just wanted to throw this out there, YMMV and this is just my .02 but I had an issue long ago with pca9685 that was stuck in the on position on my doser port, in my case I was around when it happened and caught it but even a reboot and the port still runs...I still have that board and its still in the stuck position, no idea why but that was a valuable lesson at least for me, I no longer have my dosers hooked up to PCA/PWM ports since there are just IMHO to many failure modes that they can get stuck on. I have gone to outlet/timer controlled dosers and will not use the PCA9685 for anything but lights, if a light gets stuck on big deal but I will not use them for dosing ports. I have some posts that should what I am using for dosing but by choosing the rpm of the motor and swapping tubing I can dial in the rates that I need, I have nano tanks and doesn't take a lot to throw them off and a stuck doser is bad juju...:)

If anyone wants to know more about how I have things setup, I have extensive timers that force stuff off when it should be off regardless, timer/cron is great at that. :)
I think the pca9685 is a great chip, I don't ever remember hearing of an output going bad except in your case. :( The I2C communications can make it unreliable especially in DIY setups where wires are involved or if some piece of equipment is causing lots of interference such as an LED driver that was mentioned the other day. When a command is sent to the pca9685 it's basically figures crossed it made it in tact so it understands what it should do, if not the pin won't switch until another command is sent. I've played extensively with I2C in the past and quickly learned one shouldn't get carried away with too many devices connected and extra checks in the code is needed to verify things along the way. It is possible to read the state of any output and verify the command sent actually did what it was supposed to, here's a post explaining. If this was implemented chances of a pin not switching would be greatly reduced. Unfortunately I wasn't able to add it to reef-pi.




EDIT: It just hit me, I think the reason your doser port is stuck on is due to the mosfet. You must have something like that being driven by the pca9685 pin. If those are unprotected and get hit with ESD they will get stuck on even if the signal is LOW, I've seen this many times when I was still working out bugs in the controller. I would bet if you removed the mosfet that pin would read 0v.
 
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Tom Bishop

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I think the pca9685 is a great chip, I don't ever remember hearing of an output going bad except in your case. :( The I2C communications can make it unreliable especially in DIY setups where wires are involved or if some piece of equipment is causing lots of interference such as an LED driver that was mentioned the other day. When a command is sent to the pca9685 it's basically figures crossed it made it in tact so it understands what it should do, if not the pin won't switch until another command is sent. I've played extensively with I2C in the past and quickly learned one shouldn't get carried away with too many devices connected and extra checks in the code is needed to verify things along the way. It is possible to read the state of any output and verify the command sent actually did what it was supposed to, here's a post explaining. If this was implemented chances of a pin not switching would be greatly reduced. Unfortunately I wasn't able to add it to reef-pi.




EDIT: It just hit me, I think the reason your doser port is stuck on is due to the mosfet. You must have something like that being driven by the pca9685 pin. If those are unprotected and get hit with ESD they will get stuck on even if the signal is LOW, I've seen this many times when I was still working out bugs in the controller. I would bet if you removed the mosfet that pin would read 0v.
Ok you know me I just know enough to be semi dangerous but which mosfet....https://www.tindie.com/products/ranthalion/ml-reef-pi-hat-goby/#specs and the schematic is hosted there too, I do have spare parts and can replace whatever is on the board but I am intrigued now as to whit component you think went south.

Here is the annotated pic with the pins that i was using, I do not see a mosfet in relation to these pins, looks like the traces do go through a resistor, can't remember which pin it was but it was one of these:

2019-11-03T18_49_19.928Z-goby-front-annotated.jpg
 
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Sral

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Ok you know me I just know enough to be semi dangerous but which mosfet....https://www.tindie.com/products/ranthalion/ml-reef-pi-hat-goby/#specs and the schematic is hosted there too, I do have spare parts and can replace whatever is on the board but I am intrigued now as to whit component you think went south.

Here is the annotated pic with the pins that i was using, I do not see a mosfet in relation to these pins, looks like the traces do go through a resistor, can't remember which pin it was but it was one of these:

2019-11-03T18_49_19.928Z-goby-front-annotated.jpg
Hmm, you are right. There doser pins are fed directly by the PCA9685 through a 220Ohm resistor. Supposedly only by the 3.3V from the PI‘s regulator as well.

Although I think the output of the PCA9685 has to be generated internally from VDD by a MOSFET as well, so the internal MOSFET might be shot.
 
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Tom Bishop

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Hmm, you are right. There doser pins are fed directly by the PCA9685 through a 220Ohm resistor. Supposedly only by the 3.3V from the PI‘s regulator as well.

Although I think the output of the PCA9685 has to be generated internally from VDD by a MOSFET as well, so the internal MOSFET might be shot.
Yeah I actually think the pca9685 is shot, I have spares and I was going to replace the resistor first and then the pca9685 but my guess its the pca9685 thats bad, now how that happened I have no idea...
 

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Ok you know me I just know enough to be semi dangerous but which mosfet....https://www.tindie.com/products/ranthalion/ml-reef-pi-hat-goby/#specs and the schematic is hosted there too, I do have spare parts and can replace whatever is on the board but I am intrigued now as to whit component you think went south.

Here is the annotated pic with the pins that i was using, I do not see a mosfet in relation to these pins, looks like the traces do go through a resistor, can't remember which pin it was but it was one of these:

2019-11-03T18_49_19.928Z-goby-front-annotated.jpg
Now I'm confused. I would have guessed you were using the outputs in the bottom right corner as those go through the ULN2803A. The doser connector you circled is 3 PWM outputs which can only handle very little current and only put out 3.3v, definitely no motors connected directly would work. Did you have a circuit between the board and the pump? What pump are you using, is it PWM controllable?



EDIT: Just noticed he has a dosing adapter, that also has the ULN2803A which explains things. Have you checked the voltage coming out of the plug you circled, if it's stuck on 3.3v there then yeah either resistor or more likely the pca9685 output.
 
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