With the Arudino my friend Lester and I have been thinking about some awesome projects to do with it. And we thought of an awesome system that I believe that a lot of people would benefit from.
Lester had installed a geothermal unit in his home for heating and cooling which is an awesome thing it seems like, and he loves it a lot. The way that geothermal works is that, for him, he has a lake near by which at the bottom of the lake its like roughly 58F (14.4C) all yeah round, and he simple either brings it in to warm the home or cool it off.
The picture above is similar to what he has, and hopefully gets a good idea as to what it does. Simply it exchanges the heat, or takes away the heat in your home thanks to his lake water. In there had had a total of 7 sensors in there keeping record of things like the temp of the water coming in, water going out and so forth. Well he was using something called DaisyLAB and a simple analog data collector. He used a set of thermal resistors that would help him calculate the temperature of everything naturally, and using some Cat5e cabling bring it all into his closet. Then Lester used the program to sent the data to his computer where he did a lil math and could plot out all his data into a spreadsheet.
Though the system worked wonderfully, it had its problems which he talked to me about and wondered what we could do about it. He had to always have a computer on collecting the data every minute or so. And also if the screen was not focused on the program, it would stop recording. So Lester would have pretty accurate information, but I mean he would have gaps and he admitted he hated how he had to always have the computer running.
Arduino to the Rescue!
I recently introduced Lester to the Arduino and he loved it right away. We played with one of the thermal sensors he had, setting up like a 5K Ohm voltage divider. So we had power, thermal resistor, 5K Ohm resistor, then ground. Taking the reading between the thermal resistor and 5K Ohm resistor we were able to see the resistance of the thermal which would translate to our temperature through some formulas.
He asked me about the things we could do with it, and we found what is called a shield for it. A shield is simply an attachment that will give the simple Arduino more functionality. Well he found a USB shield where you could write simple text files to a SD card. Well we recently talked about it and they have an ethernet shield. I looked at him and was like, why couldnt we just have it write to a website where you can keep all the data there. Get to look at it anywhere you want, wont have any gaps in data, and the Arduino can send an hour’s worth of data.
The Battle Plan!
Oks first off going to need a bit of electronics knowledge to understand some of this, but Ill do my best to explain everything.
First off aside from his current set up of having the thermal resistor, we’ll have a few more sensors adding to it. He would like to add another thermometer that would be outside of the geothermal unit, an anemometer, humidity, and a current sensor (also know as a current transformer).
Have it transfer all the raw data either onto a spreadsheet via usb, or through the net.
This is just a very rough thing on what to do, a lot of the details are unknown and we’ll have to do a bit of experimenting to see what we come up with. Hopefully it will be a lot of fun!