There are several aspects around the farm where automation helps with our own power consumption control by utilizing micro-controllers. These micro-controllers, Arduinos, are great little hobbist toys for those long cold winter nights. Coupled with a plethera of sensors, shields and wires; there isn’t too much (within reason) that you can’t do with these bad larrys.
Here’s what we’ve started utilizing them for thus far:
This project is a self-sufficient chicken coop management system . It uses light detection sensors to determine if its day, night or twilight and opens or closes the door servo accordingly. It also maintains an ambient temperature via a heat-lamp and exhaust fan within the coop. Rounded off by an interior light, lcd screen, wireless communication and push button overrides.
We converted a free stand-up chest freezer into a refrigerator via an Arduino Uno, relay shield, and a thermometer. By utilizing the freezers extra insulation and setting it on its warmest setting this toggles the compressor on and off as needed to maintain an correct internal temperature.
This Arduino Mega unit manages a self sufficient weather-station with a solar charger and wireless communication system to relay all the data to a base station. This unit measures rainfall, wind speed and direction as well as wind gust speeds.
This system manages an exhaust fan to vent off gasses from our battery bank. The Arduino Uno reads in a pin connected to a MidNite Solar Classic 150 aux relay. This relay is set within the Classic to issue a 12v signal to that relay. By stepping down the voltage to 3V allow the Arduino to toggle its own relay activating a DC powered vent fan.
This originally started as an Arduino project, but soon ported over to a Raspbery Pi. Should be renamed Project ApplePi, I suppose… This will be the main display and control center communicating with the various Arduinos via XBee2. All data will output to a touchscreen lcd display on a Pi3 running Debian as well as post the data to our site for offsite management.