Beginner An Idiots guide: DIY Water Drop Controller with Arduinos and stuff.

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GarethB
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Gareth
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#81
Something to put it all in!

It's about time I made a box to put all this stuff into and make it look a little more presentable.
I could have bought a box, but there were two very good reasons why I didn't:

1 - They are mostly square or rectangular boxes...made from plastic or aluminium - not very nice looking.
2 - The ones that did look quite nice, were very expensive!

So again, I thought those very dangerous words...."How hard can it be to make my own?"

Answer: not too hard, but certainly time consuming!
(And painful at one particular moment....I accidentally sliced my thumb open with a sharp knife!!)

Here is a list of the supplies I used:

  • 1 sheet of 5mm plywood (600mm x 1200mm) - sourced from B&Q, but it's readily available at most hardware stores.
  • 3 lengths of 25mm x 25mm planed timber - as above.
  • 1 2mm thick sheet of aluminium (100mm x 250mm) - BITSBOX LINK
  • Lots of M3 bolts of various lengths and matching nuts and washers - BITSBOX MECHANICAL FASTENERS LINK
  • Lots of M3 threaded inserts - LINK AS ABOVE
  • Nylon standoffs of varying lengths (to mount the LCD screen) - BITSBOX LINK (6mm M3)
  • Some suitable glue - I used 'No More Nails'....proper wood glue would have been better but I didn't have any.
The whole build took nearly two weeks of evenings (two to three hours per evening)
This is what I ended up with...
(Ignore the rough finish on the aluminium plate....it will be sanded smooth and primed for paint later)





This image shows the rear panel where the external equipment (camera/solenoid valve/power supply) will connect.
Aligning the hole for the Arduino USB socket was very fiddly!!
You'll see that I used a 3.5mm jack socket and a Phono socket - this is so there is no possible way to get the camera and the solenoid valve connected the wrong way round!



I was pleased with how the box turned out.
I wanted to make a kind of 'Marshall' amp style box, so I plan to paint it black and maybe even place some snazzy lettering on it for the controls.

Here's some more photos...

This one is without the front control panel - you can see the circuit board mounted inside, although only the Arduino is attached so far.
The control panel is mounted using M3 nuts and bolts....I could probably have used fewer, but I wanted it to be very secure.



A front view of the front - again showing the nearly empty circuit board and the rear connection panel.



This one shows the entire front removed so as to facilitate the removal of the entire circuit board.
The front section is secured using M3 bolts and M3 threaded inserts.
The inserts were glued into 5mm holes drilled into the main structure at the correct angle so that the main front panel would sit squarely.



continued below....
 
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GarethB
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#82
Continued from above...

Here is the circuit board sliding out from its mounting.
When it is in position, it will be held securely by the front panel, when the bolts are tightened down.



Sharp eyed amongst you will have no doubt noticed that the front controls are far from straight!!
I was using wood cutting drills to make the mounting holes for the switches, buttons and knobs etc.
It was indeed a frustrating endeavour, and proved unsatisfactory!

Here is an image of how bad it looks
(Note the potentiometer dials....yuck!!)



And the back of the panel...



It doesn't look too bad from this angle...


I was willing to let these minor mistakes stand, as they are not that visible, but then....

....horror of horrors, I broke the cardinal rule - "Measure twice, cut once!":facepalm:
I didn't check my measurements for the main on/off switch, and this is what happened...
You can just about see the gaping hole above the switch!
The switch needed to be a tight fit, since there are clips top and bottom to secure it in place.
It's wrecked!!:mad:



I have decided that this front panel plate is going to be a 'test' piece!
I have another sheet of aluminium on order, and will be making the whole thing again.:banghead:
As it is all hand drilled and filed with hand tools, this was a frustrating moment, but it was entirely my own fault.
I spent about a four days (~three hours every evening) painstakingly filing out all the holes and getting a good(?) fit for the switches etc, but right towards finishing, I go and make a stupid mistake and ruin the whole panel!!!
I've learned a valuable lesson!!

I shall certainly be much more careful when my new piece has arrived, and I'll always remember:

"Measure twice, cut once!"

Or maybe for me it should be...."Measure fifteen times, then measure again, then check the diagram, then measure again....and then maybe cut!!"

Thanks for reading folks, more to come soon!!
:)
 
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Sérgio
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#84


The time delays were actually:

D1 - 00
D2 - 51
DD - 41
CD - 142
Sorry i did not understand! When it shows 351 it means 51???
In fact what i notice in mine is that when i power on it shows only 2 digits but if i rotate the pot to full scale it shows 102 but when i decrease it than shows 3 digits .... !! Dont know whats happening(even with the capacitor).

Leave here another 2 photos .....i think i had exagerated on the Xhantun gum in the first concentrations with water.....this one is more mixed with water.
 

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GarethB
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#85
Gareth what a beautifull piece of wood art that you had made!!!....stunning!
Muito obrigado!(y)

Sorry i did not understand! When it shows 351 it means 51???
The LCD display shows 351, but the time delay was actually 51.
It's a weird anomaly, and I don't really understand why it happens.
It's definitely an error in the way the LCD displays numbers.
You seemed to describe a similar issue in your earlier post.

When I turn the pot to a maximum value (three digits), and then turn it down again (single or double digits), it seems to still 'remember' the third digit.
It doesn't restore the single or double digit readout of a lower time delay.

It becomes more confusing and random the more I turn the pot!
Therefore it was virtually impossible to see what the time delays were, even though the program cycle ran perfectly.

I think I read about the solution (placing the capacitor) on the Arduino forums.
It worked for me, so I hope that it will work for you.
:)

And those images you posted just now....beautiful, the first one is amazing, you've clearly put a lot of time into your project, and it's paid off, well done Sérgio (y)
 
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#86
The bug of the lcd still exist in mine....even with the capacitor.....when i reach the "102" than i get 3 digits until i reset the power supply.
Wonder if there will be a way to work always with the range of 0 to 999 ??
Other thing is that i have to change the pots conections because when i rotate clockwise the values displayed on the LCD will decrease....
I think it's just changing the polarity :)
 
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#87
The bug of the lcd still exist in mine....even with the capacitor.....when i reach the "102" than i get 3 digits until i reset the power supply.
Sounds very strange!
I know you have probably checked, but are you sure your capacitor has no polarity?
I tried mine both ways, and although mine have no polarity, it still seemed to work a little better one way round compared to the other.
Might be worth a try.

Wonder if there will be a way to work always with the range of 0 to 999 ??
We should both try to research this....I would be interested to know too!(y)

Other thing is that i have to change the pots conections because when i rotate clockwise the values displayed on the LCD will decrease....
I think it's just changing the polarity :)
I did this exact same thing too!:giggle:
Indeed, just swap the wires and you'll be sorted!
 
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Lee
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#88
If I recall correctly, I am pretty sure that I have read about this issue before.
I think that whenever a three figure number is printed to the display which then changes to a two figure number, one digit of the original three figure number is left on the display.

I think the way around it was to print three spaces to the display in the correct location prior to the command that prints the actual figure. That way, the display is blanked each time erasing any previous item on the area of the display required.

I hope I have remembered that correctly. If I find where I read it I’ll post a link here.
 
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#90
I think i did it!!!!...thanks to Leebert!
Add this lines to each pot in the sketch:

LCD.setCursor(9,1); //set cursor position as bottom line, 9 characters from left
LCD.print(" ");
LCD.setCursor(9,1);
LCD.print(solDELval); //print the calculated time value dropTHREEval
delay(100); // make display more readable

Looks like this in the skecth:

void loop() {

dropONE=analogRead(potONE); //read analogue value from potentiometer 1
dropONEval=dropONE/(10.); //divide dropONE value from potONE by 10 to increase accuracy
LCD.setCursor(0,1); //set cursor position as bottom left
LCD.print(" "); //<<<<<<<<
LCD.setCursor(0,1);
LCD.print(dropONEval); //print the calculated time value dropONEval
delay(100); // make display more readable

dropTWO=analogRead(potTWO); //read analogue value from potentiometer 2
dropTWOval=dropTWO/(10.); //divide dropTWO value from potTWO by 10 to increase accuracy
LCD.setCursor(4,1); //set cursor position as bottom line, 4 characters from left
LCD.print(" ");
LCD.setCursor(4,1);
LCD.print(dropTWOval); //print the calculated time value dropTWOval
delay(100); // make display more readable

solDEL=analogRead(potTHREE); //read analogue value from potentiometer 3
solDELval=solDEL/(5.); //divide dropTHREE value from potTHREE by 5 to increase accuracy
LCD.setCursor(9,1); //set cursor position as bottom line, 9 characters from left
LCD.print(" ");
LCD.setCursor(9,1);
LCD.print(solDELval); //print the calculated time value dropTHREEval
delay(100); // make display more readable

camDEL=analogRead(potFOUR) ; //read analogue value from potentiometer 4
camDELval=camDEL/(5.); //divide dropFOUR value from potFOUR by 5 to increase accuracy
LCD.setCursor(13,1); //set cursor position as bottom line, 13 characters from left
LCD.print(" ");
LCD.setCursor(13,1);
LCD.print(camDELval); //print the calculated time value dropFOURval
delay(100); // make display more readable

LCD.print(" "); //print a blank line (16 spaces) to keep LCD clean
 
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Lee
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#93
I hope you don't mind me posting my progress in your thread @GarethB. Please let me know if you rather I didn't.

Progress so far... It was a colder then expected afternoon in the garage. The box was 'borrowed' from another project as it was too small but ideal for this. I mounted the display and pots along with the switches and sockets. I also made up the solenoid valve lead and plug. I used heat shrink to reduce the outlet bore to about 3mm or so.

Looking okay so far I think.



 
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GarethB
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#94
I hope you don't mind me posting my progress in your thread @GarethB. Please let me know if you rather I didn't.

Progress so far... It was a colder then expected afternoon in the garage. The box was 'borrowed' from another project as it was too small but ideal for this. I mounted the display and pots along with the switches and sockets. I also made up the solenoid valve lead and plug. I used heat shrink to reduce the outlet bore to about 3mm or so.

Looking okay so far I think.



Amazing job Lee!!
Very nice work....looks great in that transparent box.
I certainly don't mind you posting any images here!(y)

Yours looks almost ready to go. I have just finished remaking my front control panel again....after messing up the first one! (See earlier posts!) :facepalm:
I've bought some cheap black spray paint....not sure I'll paint it just yet though....I'm anxious to get mine soldered up and working.
I've been putting this off until I absolutely have to!! Still a bit nervous about soldering....but it's going to have to happen sooner or later!!

Great to see yours is progressing well, definitely keep me posted, and keep the pics coming!!:)
 
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Lee
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#95
Amazing job Lee!!
Very nice work....looks great in that transparent box.
I certainly don't mind you posting any images here!(y)

Yours looks almost ready to go. I have just finished remaking my front control panel again....after messing up the first one! (See earlier posts!) :facepalm:
I've bought some cheap black spray paint....not sure I'll paint it just yet though....I'm anxious to get mine soldered up and working.
I've been putting this off until I absolutely have to!! Still a bit nervous about soldering....but it's going to have to happen sooner or later!!

Great to see yours is progressing well, definitely keep me posted, and keep the pics coming!!:)
Thank you. I hope your project is going well too. Don't be too concerned about the soldering. What you did on the display looked absolutely fine. Making sure the pins / wires / strip board etc. are clean is the best advice I can give there I think.

Today, I soldered on the Nano to another piece of strip board mounted under the pots and have put on the TIP120, regulator, opto-isolator and diode. The next bit of work is to put in all the interconnections and program the Nano. I should be good to start testing at that point I hope :)
 
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