Wiring up and testing of the two RJ45 for the two DS18B20 Temperature probes has been completed.
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.
We used a Raspberry Pi camera running our RelOpticCamera software to create timelapse movies of filling the aquarium with water. The second video is the initial planting of the dwarf hairgrass.
We have the support frame built that goes around the tank, and the framing finished for the canopy hardware. The canopy will split the it’s weight between the frame and the tank.
I was never really happy with the original Raspberry Pi aquarium controller I built. For two years, it has served me faithfully and performed without fail. I just wasn’t happy with the way it looked and how much space it took up in the aquarium stand. Heavy and clunky to say the least. It’s amazing how many outlets an aquarium can use, and I rapidly outgrew the initial 8 relays.
During this time, I tried my hand at building a hood with 10 watt leds. It was a good attempt, but it had a couple of issues, and I honestly never felt safe using it. My lighting design was crap, and it was obvious that I was in a rush when I built it. Redoing the lighting quickly made my to do list. I selected the Odyssea T5 Quad Timer 6500K Aquarium Light from Amazon as my new light. The Odyssea light seemed like the best option to interface with a Raspberry Pi.
After much debate and discussion, the decision was made to move the aquarium into the office. This was a good time to redesign the hood and control panel. I have never really been a fan of the big aquarium canopies, but due to lighting requirements, we couldn’t go with slim hood design. As the old saying goes, “Go Big or Go Home”, we went big. Really big.
Twenty five inches tall to be exact. Making it this large allowed us to completely move all the electronics from under the tank to the canopy. No more worrying about drip loops for devices. All power is mounted above the tank. The aquarium has become even more of a massive piece of furniture. The total height is now 80 inches tall from the floor. Something that big is hard to miss, and I really did not want it to look like the typical bookcase or kitchen cabinet style of aquarium canopies.
It has to be unique, after all, it’s the RBA Marketing Aquarium. Our geeky personalities have to incorporated into the design. We made a list of requirements:
- Runs DietPi OS for the Raspberry Pi
- Unattended operation of the Aquarium
- Media Server for the Network
- Jukebox using Subsonic
- Has to be geeky
- Has to be cool
- Pays tribute to popular movie computers.
The list sparked a few ideas and Colossus was born. Colossus is a good name for this massive project. The name was taken from the 1970 movie Colossus: The Forbin Project. The film is about a massive American defense computer, named Colossus, becoming sentient. After being activated, Colossus expands on its original nuclear defense directives to assume total control of the world and end all warfare for the good of mankind despite its creators’ orders to stop. (1).
At this point the idea just really started growing, and that how the GeekAquarium came into being.