More build pictures

Here’s some more photos from the final stretch of this project.  We decided to  adjust the center trim piece which sadly means some more painting.  lol

Final Canopy Build Stage

Paintbrushes, screwdrivers, and drills.  Yup, we have moved into the final stages of building the canopy.  We are installing the mirrored plexiglass, putting on the trim pieces, and performing cable management where needed.

Aqeuon 300 Watt Heater Added

My last heater was a 200 watt Aqeuon.  When I reset up Colossus this summer, I was suspicious that the heater wasn’t working properly. During the summer, the heater was not a priority as the tank stayed close to normal due to room temperature.  With cooler temperatures approaching,  I ordered a 300 watt model from Amazon.

We set the temperature dial, and installed it into the tank.  After waiting a hour for the temperature to adjust, we turned on the heater.  A short time later, my suspicions were confirmed,  the other heater just wasn’t doing the job anymore.  After some time the tank warmed up and held at 79 degrees.

I them modified the colossus control program to auto turn the heater relay on or off depending on the temperature.  See commit for more code.

An additional commit to the code added an emergency overheat feature.  When the temperature reaches a certain level, Colossus Control double checks that the heater is off and will blink the mood lights until the situation is resolved.


Colossus Hardware Specifications

Current Hardware Configuration

The current hardware specifications as of August 3, 2017.

1 – Raspberry Pi Model 3
1 – Raspberry Pi Model 2b
1 – Seagate 4tb Backup Plus Hub USB Hard Drive
2 – Sainsmart 8 Channel Solid State Relays
1 – Sainsmart 4 Channel Relay
2 – VSDispaly HDMI LCD Driver Boards
2 – 17.3″ LCD Replacement Laptop Screen
2 – Power Adapters 12 volt – 3 amp (Laptop Screens)
2 – Power Adapters 5 volt – 2 amp (Raspberry Pi)
1 – 4 Port 10/100 Switch
1 – Odyssea T5 Aquarium Light
3 – MCP23017 I2C Expansion Chips
2 – Waterproof DS18B20 Temperature Probes
1 – DS18B20 Temperature Sensor (Non-Waterproof)
1 – DHT11 Temperature/Humidity Sensor
4 – RJ45 Jack Sockets
1 – Cover plate for 4 port RJ45 outlet
1 – PIR Motion IR Sensor
1 – GFCI Outlet
6 – Always On Power Outlets
16 – Relay Controlled Power Outlets


Raspberry Pi Aquarium Build Update

We started connecting all the individual pieces today.  We upgraded the unit to handle an additional Raspberry Pi.  That’s right!  Dual Raspberry Pi(s).  We also added a 4-port network switch so the the Colossus and Guardian could talk to one another.  Next step was to connect the aquarium light relays to the main electronics board, followed by hooking up the LCDs.

After running a few tests, we used masking tape and cardboard to mask out the areas of light coming from around the LCDs.  Once the plexiglass is in place, the tape won’t show.  The plexiglass will hold the LCDs firmly in place.

The canopy base got several coats of black latex and once it’s dry,  it’ll be installed around the aquarium.

Controlling the aquarium light with a Raspberry Pi

In this post, we are going to talk about controlling the aquarium light with a Raspberry Pi.   The light we are going to modify is the Odyssea T5 Quad Timer Aquarium Light.  We chose this light for it’s mod-ability.  The aluminum channel allows for easy access to the ballast and wiring.

Our initial plans for this light was to bypass the built in timer, and control the light with the pi by using relays to turn on each of the three sets of lights.  We also knew that we would require an additional cooling fan due to the way we are mounting the light.  We have also had to move the power cord due to canopy restraints.

The first step was to open up the light and remove the timer.  After removing the end cap, we slid out the small front panel piece to access the main wiring.

I drilled a set of holes into the casing and used led holders to protect the wires.  I also added one hole in the center of the unit for a fan.

Using disconnect pairs connectors to hook into the existing wiring, we ran the wires up through the led holders and into the power box.  We recycled an old seagate hard drive enclosure to house the relay and power connections for the aquarium light.  We used Cat-5 cable to connect to the Raspberry Pi.


Motion Sensor added to Colossus

Being a couple of home-office based geeks means that we work strange hours.  It’s not uncommon for one or both of us to be working in the early morning hours.  Those hours are peaceful and you don’t always want to turn on a bright light.  You know how geeks avoid the light.  lol.

We added a passive infrared sensor (PIR) to Colossus for night time lighting operations.  In addition to the other lighting modes we have planned, this feature will run from midnight to 6 am.  During these hours, if Colossus detects motion in the office, it will turn on it’s floor lighting for 15 minutes at a time.

The final floor lighting will most likely be LED strip lighting, but for the current time we are using Christmas lights.

Relays are now wired

I spent a couple hours with the wire cutters and the crimping tool.  All 16 outlets have been connected to their corresponding relays and are ready for mains power.