What's new
Joined
Feb 22, 2014
Messages
1,496
Location
Oregon
SA = South America? I suppose it depends on exactly where you live, but a terrarium likely isn't necessary, and isn't the easiest way to start with CPs. There's a lot of plants that will grow just fine at moderate, and even very low humidity.
 
Joined
Jan 14, 2016
Messages
95
Location
SF Bay Area
[MENTION=12241]Arries[/MENTION] short answer, I don't see why it wouldn't work with Nepenthes.

Then as nimbulan mentioned it may not be necessary, depending on many factors.
Most Nep are quite happy even in partial sun and for me are growing outside with only 1-2h of morning and 1-2h of evening sun, protected by the shade of a tree during hottest hours. This was clearly not enough sunlight for droseras, vft and sarr that looked terrible.
Neps can be happy behind a window so you may be able to grow them in your house without any additional light.
Of course all of that depends a lot on the actual conditions where you live. I'm like nimbulan on this one, not sure either what SA stands for. I was thinking of South Africa, but it seems SA is the official country code for Saudi Arabia. Definitively different weather and Neps may not survive outdoor conditions everywhere.
It also depends on the neps you want to grow. You will probably find more advices in the Nep section of the forum for specific species.
 
Joined
May 17, 2016
Messages
2
Hi yes sorry SA=South Africa.. Well humidity is like 30% and that's winter..My 1st nep would grow but not pitcher due to low humidity..Stuck him in a old aquarium with 10x40w cfl's and keeping humidity at 80-95% and he has 4 new pitchers forming now.. But anyway going off topic.. I will give the lights a try and see what happens.. Stuff is just hard to find here and very expensive if you do.. And don't always trust the EBay stuff...
 

gill_za

Never Knows Best
Joined
Jan 30, 2011
Messages
997
Location
Philadephia, PA
[MENTION=12066]emc2[/MENTION],

Curios to see how plants are doing under yous lights are they getting nice coloration?
 
Joined
Jan 14, 2016
Messages
95
Location
SF Bay Area
[MENTION=8211]gill_za[/MENTION] as far I can tell they do. I will try to take a few pictures of what I have, maybe by this week end.

I don't really have plants that should be dark red (until the cephalotus produce a new mature pitcher to compare with existing ones), but my H. minor x heterodoxa seems to grow nicely and I think that's my most light hungry plant.
 
Joined
Mar 29, 2015
Messages
127
Location
Fairbanks, AK, USA
Pretty cool project, emc2! I'm still an Arduino beginner, so I don't completely understand the purpose of the custom PCB. Is it mainly controlling the DC side of the LED driver? What is the advantage of your custom PCB over using a 120VAC relay directly controlled by Arduino? For the monitoring, you can just directly connect DHT22 etc to the Arduino, right?

I'd like to learn more about micro controller because I want to eventually make CO2 injection controller. So far, I've tried ESP8266 with DHT22 as the remote node, and OpenHAB on RaspberyPi as the logger. But I'm having a reliability issue with ESP8266, and I became busy with other things.

MySensors webpage is not easy to understand. Is it an Arduino library, which you can use to program Arduino?
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jan 14, 2016
Messages
95
Location
SF Bay Area
Thanks.

Yes the main purpose is controlling the DC side of the LEDs, a DC 12V to control a fan, and host a few sensors or at least convenient spots to wire them.

Advantage of DC control vs AC:
- I can power everything from the DC line, no need to add an independent AC/DC converter.
- safer to do DIY on low voltage (especially when humidity / water is involved around)
- Ability to use the arduino to dim the LEDs using PWM pins. You can either have an expensive (and bulky) LED driver, or DIY using a cheaper one (but still a very good quality dimmer)

You can connect a DHT22 to an arduino, correct. I prefer alternative I2C sensors as all the logic is 3.3V and some DHT22 are unstable at this voltage, they usually prefer 5V. But technically you can yes. CO2 detectors exists in I2C so you can definitively monitor your CO2 levels with the arduino too: Air Quality Sensor | MySensors Forum

I had an ESP8266 gateway, but it was not reliable either. Since then I switched by adding directly my wireless gateway to the Pi GPIO using GitHub - emc2cube/MySRaspiGW: MySensors Raspberry Pi GPIO SMD gateway with DomoticZ as the controller. So far so good.

Yes, MySensors is a bundle of libraries to create a mesh network of arduino devices (sensors, actuators) that you can control with various softwares such as OpenHab or Domoticz, ideally running on a Raspberry Pi. The community in the forums is really nice, don't be shy to ask questions there, they are very knowledgable.
 
Joined
Mar 29, 2015
Messages
127
Location
Fairbanks, AK, USA
Thanks for the additional info, emc2! So it is connected downstream (DC side) of CC driver (LPC-60), and this DC is getting used for driving fan (and other things). Am I correct? If so, is there any efficiency penalty?

When I was adding a thermal protection (thermal switch attached to the heatsink), I heard that the cut-off switch should be at the AC side of the CC driver instead of DC side. When you cut off the DC side, the CC driver try to increase the voltage to get the current, then over-voltage protection circuit (of decent drivers) kicks in and shut it down. Some people said that this is not so nice for the driver. I'm not sure if I should believe it or not, but the person seemed to know. When you are turning off, you are basically cutting off the DC side, right? Do you happen to know if this is bogus or not?

Here is an example: Message #14 of this thread.

Thank you for the other info, I need to learn about MySensors!
 
Last edited:
Joined
Apr 18, 2011
Messages
251
Location
Finland
I think you definitely should cut off the AC side. But of course if the AC side is high voltage (like 110 or 220 V) it's much more difficult to make safe connections. I myself have made the controllers from scratch so my thermal cutoff switches cut off the DC coming in to the controller from a separate power supply. I also have made a separate safety circuit which have to be reset by hand if it trips.
 
Joined
Jan 14, 2016
Messages
95
Location
SF Bay Area
[MENTION=11565]naoki[/MENTION] yes my setup is connected on the DC side.
A small switching regulator do a 34V to 12V conversion and that this 12V that is used to control CPU fans. It's also used by the linear reg to supply 3.3V to the arduino, radio and sensors.

From what I read it is totally fine to play on the DC side of recent CC drivers. These are technically voltage and current limited, so they won't try to supply infinite voltage (LPC-60 is limited to 34V, which is what I want to get 60W). Old analog CC should not be used.
You also need good MOSFETs to be sure to have a clean regulation.
Then, it may be true that the driver don't like it I don't have enough background in electronics to be sure. Only thing I can tell you is that other people did it before me (sadly I did not invent anything) and it's been running for about 6 months (4 months on breadboard before getting to the custom PCB point) without any trouble, no overheating of the driver or anything. Also these LEDs driver are only $14 so even if they die in 5 years it would not be a big problem.

As [MENTION=8344]pmatil[/MENTION] say, it may be cleaner to cut AC but I don't think you could dim the light this way (~500ms for current rise of the driver) but if you just want to turn something on/off it would be easier, and you can directly use a commercial solution. If you want to do it yourself with arduino, I would recommend you to look for a good SSR (solid state relay), plenty of options on the mysensors forum too for that!
 
Joined
Jan 14, 2016
Messages
95
Location
SF Bay Area
[MENTION=12066]emc2[/MENTION],

Curios to see how plants are doing under yous lights are they getting nice coloration?

I took a few pictures this week end to get some coloration ideas. I bet you can have better coloration with more / better quality lights but for the overall price plants seems healthy and nicely tanned.

All pictures available on Imgur and just a few below for illustration purpose:

D. 'Albino' having its nice pinkish coloration
rCYgGL6.jpg


Young adult H. heterodoxa x minor pitcher
5HMJKu6.jpg


Plain old vft
YGoMUnX.jpg


New acquisition still aclimating, P. 'Titan', growing under the LEDs for the last 2 weeks. New leafs are gently turning pink.
tWPPHwS.jpg
 
Last edited:
Joined
Nov 28, 2016
Messages
13
Location
Waterloo, ON, CAN
I was excited to find this thread during a Google search for DIY LED lighting. I've recently started growing CP and orchids again. I've set up a temporary sensor in a small aquarium where I have a Nep. And 2 VFT. I already have Domoticz running with a MySensors and RFLink gateways. I'm looking forward to starting on this project.
703068666b69743353bb4f8748abe9bb.jpg
 
Joined
Jan 14, 2016
Messages
95
Location
SF Bay Area
Awesome!
Let me know how it goes and feel free to ask if you have any questions, especially directly on the mysensors thread if it's related to the MySensors part.
I do have a few other projects that I did not publish yet, such as a small CR123 battery operated PCB that will allow the use of up to 3 I2C sensors (ideal for one or two temp+hum Si7021 module and a BH1750 for light level) and run for a couple of years. If you are interested I can send you the files and more infos. I have this on my shelves and it's working flawlessly.

As far as the plants go so far so good, everything is still having a nice coloration etc.

Since last year you have a bunch of new LEDs that came out, from very nice white ones such as used by [MENTION=11565]naoki[/MENTION] http://www.terraforums.com/showthread.php?t=139997 but also some "7 Wavelength" ones such as on https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Pla...-1-Blue-440Nm-4-Red-660Nm-3W/32748984587.html that seems pretty promising (but are ~$35 each for a 50W)
If you stick to "full spectrum" LEDs you will probably get something a little less efficient (but probably on par with middle range white LEDs) as they are based on a blue LED + phosphor dye but as it currently runs at ~$9 a piece it's still not bad.
 
Joined
Feb 22, 2014
Messages
1,496
Location
Oregon
All the "white" high power LEDs are phosphor-based with a blue LED base, that's why they appear yellow when turned off. It's the most efficient way to construct them.
 
Joined
Nov 28, 2016
Messages
13
Location
Waterloo, ON, CAN
Awesome!
Let me know how it goes and feel free to ask if you have any questions, especially directly on the mysensors thread if it's related to the MySensors part.
I do have a few other projects that I did not publish yet, such as a small CR123 battery operated PCB that will allow the use of up to 3 I2C sensors (ideal for one or two temp+hum Si7021 module and a BH1750 for light level) and run for a couple of years. If you are interested I can send you the files and more infos. I have this on my shelves and it's working flawlessly.

As far as the plants go so far so good, everything is still having a nice coloration etc.

Since last year you have a bunch of new LEDs that came out, from very nice white ones such as used by [MENTION=11565]naoki[/MENTION] http://www.terraforums.com/showthread.php?t=139997 but also some "7 Wavelength" ones such as on https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Pla...-1-Blue-440Nm-4-Red-660Nm-3W/32748984587.html that seems pretty promising (but are ~$35 each for a 50W)
If you stick to "full spectrum" LEDs you will probably get something a little less efficient (but probably on par with middle range white LEDs) as they are based on a blue LED + phosphor dye but as it currently runs at ~$9 a piece it's still not bad.

Thanks for the quick response, I'll keep you updated. I have actually built the LED light from [MENTION=11565]naoki[/MENTION] for my 20 gal aquarium, mainly because I can get parts from Digikey.ca overnight and parts from China have been taking 6-8 weeks.
 
Joined
Nov 28, 2016
Messages
13
Location
Waterloo, ON, CAN
I do have a few other projects that I did not publish yet, such as a small CR123 battery operated PCB that will allow the use of up to 3 I2C sensors (ideal for one or two temp+hum Si7021 module and a BH1750 for light level) and run for a couple of years. If you are interested I can send you the files and more infos. I have this on my shelves and it's working flawlessly.

I'd definitely be interested in that project, I've now done a bit of reading on the Si7021 and BH1750 sensors. Does your design use the SMD sensors or the BOB version. I have a couple of the BOB versions on the way to play with. I'd also be curious about using 18650 battery since I have a pile I've scavenged from battery packs.
 
Joined
Jan 14, 2016
Messages
95
Location
SF Bay Area
I'd definitely be interested in that project, I've now done a bit of reading on the Si7021 and BH1750 sensors. Does your design use the SMD sensors or the BOB version. I have a couple of the BOB versions on the way to play with. I'd also be curious about using 18650 battery since I have a pile I've scavenged from battery packs.

I uploaded everything on open hardware and github.
This design use BOB sensors, easier to work with, even if they always have different pin outs.

MySI2CNode_temphumbatt.jpg


I'm not a big fan of 18650 in this case, as they are >3.3V you need to keep the voltage regulator on the arduino so battery won't actually last very long (2-5 weeks in the few tests I did a while ago).
Using a ~3V battery such as a CR123 will last at least a year, probably 2-3 if you don't update the readings every 5min and each battery only cost ~$2.

Readings updated every 30mins
qObKtmq.png
 
Last edited:
Joined
Nov 28, 2016
Messages
13
Location
Waterloo, ON, CAN
MySGrowLED PCB is on it's way, hopefully it will arrive before the holidays so I can work on it while I'm off work. I got the Si7021 and BH1750 sensors today so I can experiment with them on a breadboard.
 
Top