Category Archives: Arduino

Automating our chicken coop (Introduction)

One of the fun things about holidays is tinkering around on projects that you never get around to normally during the year.  These last few years, I have had fun (and much frustration) tinkering around with Arduino.  The task for the Summer 2013 holidays was to automate our newly built chicken coop.  Whilst chickens actually need tending pretty much every day (to get their eggs and check water) wouldn’t it be good if your coop would regularly measure the humidity and air temperature and tweet you the feed levels?  Well I thought it might be good if it did, so I found some old parts and created a chicken coop bot!

The “proof of concept” bot has the following bill of materials:

  • Freetronics Etherten
  • Grove Base Board
  • Grove RTC
  • Grove Humidity and Temperature Sensor Pro
  • Parallax Ultrasonic Range finder

If you want your bot to tweet information then you will also need to get a https://thingspeak.com/ account and link it to your twitter account.

The great thing is that you can get code to get each of these components working.  However, I struggled to get them all working together at once.  Maybe it was part dodgy programming, part rushing and part quirkiness of arduino.

In the mean time, before my next post, why not get the components, follow the links to the respective component wikis to try out the code in order to familiarise you with how each actually works?

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For something completely nerdy

I finished an engineering degree at UNSW in 1996.  One of my big regrets over the past 15 years is not keeping up with my fascination with electronics – funnily enough it was one of my majors (such a waste of a uni education!)

Maybe it is pre-mid-life-crisis jitters, but that is all changing because over the past few years I have started tinkering with microcontrollers again (I still have flashback nightmares to our transputer labs in 2nd year uni.)  But anyway, the one’s I’ve been playing with are the arduino variety.  Can I just say that electronics have sure come a long way since the old Dick Smith Funway kits of my youth and my kids will definitely be playing with stuff way cooler than I did as a kid!

Any my first real life project is to create a solar powered GPS datalogger.

Components are:

  • Seeduino Stalker v2.1
  • 2A Li-po battery
  • 0.5W solar cell
  • GPS Bee with enhance ucl antennae
  • Water proof enclosure (but it won’t really be if I drill holes in it to mount it to the bike)
  • 2gb MicroSD Card

I’m starting to ride with some guys from church next week.  I’ll tell you how it goes!!!