09/20/2015 at 00:51 •
I finally finished the "promo" video of sorts and it is barely in time for the judging next week. No big deal really as that is not the primary driver of this project. I have to say I am thuroughly pleased with the results of this entire project. I set about to create a device to grow what I want, when I want, right in my own kitchen. That is, indeed, exactly where it landed.
The project still needs finishing of the PCB/relays and investigation of creating a commercial plug-and-play unit for the general public- but for now it works fantastic. People should be able to recreate this wherever they are without issue now.
I will end up changing the DHT-11 sensor out for a better one but beyond that I have zero plans to change the basics beyond re-implemnenting the heating function with my H-bridge and slightly modded code.
Here is the video. Take this project and make it better. I think it can truly make a difference in the world if we all started to grow just a little bit of food in our very own kitchens...
09/14/2015 at 01:23 •
I finally got the PCB assembly video edited and posted. I figured this would help others to easily understand the basics of the assembly and also some of my "process" for testing out a new design. The female headers allow me to quickly test the board and make any changes needed while still maintaining a functional unit.
I have a bit of a plan for the next revision- first off the routing needs to be fixed as it breaks just about every rule in design :) Although functional I need to clean it up a lot then also fix the schematic view in the Fritzing project as I did absolutely nothing with it. Sad I know...
Next revision I plan to set it up with screw type headers and the relays on board (or easily interfaced) so basically any wine cooler could be modified by anyone with a very basic understanding of the components. As we only re-use the fans and peltier- this is only 6 wires any person needs to deal with. Even better plan would be to commercially manufacture this unit from start to finish. That is, however, a stretch goal :)
Enjoy the video and feel free to reach out here or on the forum for any help needed for your own build!
09/04/2015 at 21:57 •
Finally I'm back from a work road-trip and can get back to work on the project. Here is a video showing how I grow sprouts in the garden. This technique works quite well to utilize the extra space in the taller cooler units when you don't need the headroom for tall plants.
I had to put the current grow on hold while I was on work assignment for 2 weeks so I will start a new grow soon. I think a mix of some herbs and lettuce greens might be quite nice for the fall weather. As well I will do some videos/updates on the custom PCB assembly so thers can more easily reproduce the garden themselves.
08/21/2015 at 02:44 •
The custom PCB's have arrived from OSH Park and I couldn't be happier! I know the design/layout isn't the best as it was my first time using Fritzing but I really think they should be great to get anyone started! I will improve the layout in future revisions soon (the acute angles on the traces are driving me nuts haha)
Thanks @hackaday for the early bird prize which made these possible. So neat to see these come to completion.
I have to leave on business for 2 weeks but when I return my goal is to start working on some easy conversion kits to make it even easier for someone to convert any existing cooler. i just need to design some basic connectors and universal PCB/LCD mount etc.
I have also been working on some contacts in the industry whereby I might be able to purchase the raw coolers without the electronics which isn't needed for these units. Perhaps I may just be able to assemble a complete finished consumer product. This would truly open up this product to anyone in the world regardless of skill.
Last video I showed how anyone can plant the garden with some lettuce and spinach greens. After 14 days here are the results:
Yes it indeed grows greens like crazy! With the light cycle currently simulating full summer hours and warm temps the lettuce has thrived. This lettuce still has room to grow (leaves are still developing their "adult" form) but I can take a harvest tonight with no issue if I wanted.
The beauty of greens like this- you don't need to harvest it completely. You simply give them a "haircut" removing the top third or so of the leaves to make an instant salad. The plants will continue to grow and you just keep giving them a trim off the top any time they need it- or you need a fresh salad.
From garden to table in under 10 seconds- handy!
Upcoming update will be how I grow bean sprouts under the main crop.
08/11/2015 at 02:30 •
Finally made time to start a new crop in the Urban Kitchen Garden. This is the first part showing how I start my "greens" in small trays. In this case it is mainly lettuce and spinach for tasty sandwich toppings/salad. In the next update I will show how I use the remaining space in this "tall" version of the garden to grow bean sprouts.
Here is the full planting instruction:
Here are the happy little seedlings after 72 hours on the garden. Only 3 hours of time lapse so not a huge amount of growth but they are indeed happily sprouting up and moving around...
08/05/2015 at 18:52 •
Finally got all the files posted to GitHub for everyone. Hopefully this will make it much easier for anyone else to take this project and make it their own!
In the repository you can find the full Arduino source code, the master Fritzing design file, PCB design files as well as the system design document.
I still need to verify the PCB works so use at your own risk right now. You can find this noted in the "issues" on GIT. OshPark should have them delivered to me very soon. Loving this project and hopefully tomorrow I will start a new grow in the chamber of some lettuce, greens and other goodies.
I'll document this via a video when I do. Cheers!
07/28/2015 at 05:19 •
Well I finally took the plunge today and began designing the PCBs for both my projects. The board for the Urban Kitchen Garden was definitely a challenge for me being completely new to Fritzing. After numerous mistakes and tonnes of routing issues I finally settled on a layout I think will work (although I can already see many areas I could improve).
I took all the remaining (unused) pins for the 328 micro controller and broke them out so future additions can easily be made. This will allow anyone to use the remaining spare I/O for anything they wish! I even gave each a 5V and Ground pin so no messing around needs to be done- just hook up your component and add your desired code. I'm really glad I took the time to do this :)
I exported the files and headed to OSH Park to get them ordered. I already had a gift code from a Hackaday early bird prize so the cost was free!
Hopefully I didn't make too many mistakes. I labelled the revision right on the board so I should be able to correct and release new files if there is trouble. For now I'll hold off posting the files until I can verify it functions :) After that it will be posted here for all to download and enjoy. Hopefully everyone who decides to replaicate this project can take the files and make them better so all can benefit.
This has been on of my favorite projects ever. Simple, effective and the personal satisfaction of creating- priceless.
07/14/2015 at 21:39 •
Finally got the Arduino code posted up for all to use. This project is fully open source so take the code, make it better and share it back!
I commented the code heavily so others can hopefully understand what it is doing. I remember struggling with some code early on and really wished the author had commented more. My hope is I have made it as easy as possible for others to adapt and use.
Link is in the main project as well as you can find it here:
06/26/2015 at 20:39 •
I've been working on the code on and off all week in preparation for release. It's a bit funny because I didn't do a single thing to the logic or function- it was all commenting and format.
I should have the code posted soon and within it are enough comments and explanations that even someone completely new to microcontrollers / Arduino should be able to understand what it all means. I remember really struggling with other peoples code early on in my experiments and I would really love to avoid that. I think the results should be great. I already think I have more comments than code :)
As well I will update the build instructions in the future to break each step apart and add pictures whenever possible. Ideally anyone will be able to recreate this open-source project. Update soon! Best of luck with your projects, whatever they may be.
One snip of my code:
06/19/2015 at 19:23 •
So far the garden has been working great. I finally managed to take a full video overview of the project showing the systems and function. I find video works far better than long text articles. Here is the full YouTube walk-through:
I'm just tidying up the code and will publish it here soon. I'm really trying to ensure the Arduino code is usable by anyone. To do this I'm commenting just about every line in the code. Right now I think there are more comments than code :) Should make it easy for other people to easily replicate this in their own home.