Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Remote Garden Monitor Plan



The following highlights the general plan for the Remote Garden Monitor.

Remote Garden Monitor Plan


Review of the goal:
Be able to know garden weather/conditions remotely (ideally from web, accessible anywhere)

Challenges:
No power, internet, and garden is ~1.6 miles from my home

Method to accomplish this:
-home made weather station built upon Raspberry Pi
-Power via Solar
-long distance transceiver radio (dnt900) used to get data from garden to my home

Project Risks:
-Weather proofing
-Heat management
-Theft
-Solar/Battery able to run components with multiple days of bad weather
-Long distance RF radio link stability/ability
-Nuances of each sensor (how to get weather data)
-Posting data online (need to get familiar with languages/APIs to do this)

Details:
To get data from garden I will  run a base station (at home) with a RaspberryPi connected to a dnt900 radio (PDF of datasheet), and a similar setup in the garden (what I am calling the Remote RPi).

I have choose dnt900 radio's due to their potential long distance capability and the data-rate should be sufficient for my weather sensor data. I did spend some time comparing options at Spark Fun's wireless guide which I found very helpful as well (even though I didn't use any options they provided).

I plan on using the setup and instructions almost identical to what is found here  http://rpi900.com/.  I have already purchased from inMojo here the two RPi900 adapters for the base and remote Raspberry Pis (along with the dnt900 from RFM here).

The Remote device will have all the weather sensors running on it, mostly via i2c. (For simplicity, and to leverage other work I've seen across the web.)

The dnt900 radios (when configured) "link-up" independently of the Raspberry Pi. Matthew Hollingwoth, maker of the RPi900 has also created a line discipline to easily control the dnt900 radios from the Raspberry Pi, found here: dnt900 line discipline, and over-viewed here. Also found on Mathew's  rpi900 site is one of the best Point-to-Point (PPP) protocol setup guides I have found on the web. Using that guide the dnt900 radios, via the RPi900 boards will interface with the Raspberry Pi's and allow the remote radio to be network accessible via PPP over the RF connection.

The remote weather station will take measurements and forward them via the base station to the internet. (Currently planning the  Xively Service to be the recipient, I will then pull data from Xively to my site, perhaps set critical twitter alerts via Zapier  or simply monitor my own Xively feed.)

My garden is a plot is within a larger community garden. Ultimately I want to share my weather data with everyone else in the garden-  so I will almost definitely  set up a website to facilitate that. On the very off-chance anyone else wants a sensor in their garden the dnt900 radio's would support that as well. (other radios would just connect via my remote.)



 

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