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Unread 12/24/2015, 07:42 PM   #1
jrhupp
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180 gallon build: Modular control system, 3D printed equipment, open-source

Hi all,

Long time, no post.

I'm a few months in on starting up a new system (been out of the hobby for a few years; kid, house, job... the usual story) and wanted to get a build thread going. I know there are a lot of these around and many enjoy reading them (I do). But I hope this one will be a bit different.

I putting together a large-ish system (180 gallon display, 20 gallon surge and 40 gallon sump) that is mostly DIY. The build centers on a modular control system (I'm calling it ReefMod) that places control and processing for specific tasks local to each module. The modules are Arduino based and talk with each other over an addressed serial bus. As things progress I'll be releasing each module (and eventually the master controller) as an open source project and hopefully making all files available in my threads. The whole thing is being optimized for desk top manufacturing; In my case that means mechanical parts are primarily 3D printed and the with some printer mods, the PCBs can be too.

Here are some pics to get this all started:

The stand getting mounted in place. It is pine and there is a ton of mill work that went into this. Wish I had pics, but I realized only too late that I neglected to take any as I was milling parts. Where the sump sits is all epoxied with a 1/2" bulkhead recessed in it for a drain. The shelf above the tank (for the 20 gallon surge is done the same).


The tank in place as viewed from the family room. Still needs trim on this side.
I topped the stand with 3/4" birch veneer plywood, which you can see a bit in the picture.


Things a bit more together as viewed in the tank room. The rock was just dumped in in this shot. The room doubles as a guest room and I needed it out of the floor.



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Unread 12/24/2015, 07:49 PM   #2
jrhupp
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Here is the rock work. The tank will be mostly softies and LPS, and lightly stocked (I travel a lot for work, so I'm going for large water volume, light bio-load and the inherent "stability" that comes with that). I want a minimalist scape that is a bit different, and think this hits it quite well.

From the family room:


From the tank room:



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Unread 12/24/2015, 07:50 PM   #3
chilli_reef
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Pics not coming through ?


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Unread 12/24/2015, 07:50 PM   #4
jrhupp
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The start of the thread for the light controller and associated hardware:
http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh...1#post24206611


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I ate a jellyfish... tasted like soy sauce.

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Unread 12/24/2015, 07:53 PM   #5
jrhupp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chilli_reef View Post
Pics not coming through ?
Shoot. Thought I had that worked out. I'll see what I can do as soon as I can.


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Unread 12/24/2015, 08:52 PM   #6
jrhupp
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Took too long to get the kid to bed, so it seems I can't fix the links in my original posts. So here are the images (I hope). Should be in the same order.












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Unread 12/24/2015, 08:57 PM   #7
Bogue Chitto
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They came through that time, don't have any trouble finding them now. Ha! You are doing a great job on that stand and the tank is going to look real nice when you get it going.


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Unread 12/24/2015, 09:02 PM   #8
jrhupp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bogue Chitto View Post
They came through that time, don't have any trouble finding them now. Ha! You are doing a great job on that stand and the tank is going to look real nice when you get it going.
Thanks. I realize now that I should have scaled them down a bit; note for future posts.

Edit: Re-sized images so they are not giant. Didn't realized how big they really were.


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I ate a jellyfish... tasted like soy sauce.

Current Tank Info: 180 gallon system in progress

Last edited by jrhupp; 12/24/2015 at 09:11 PM.
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Unread 12/26/2015, 11:27 AM   #9
jrhupp
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Most control and interface hardware will be housed in an equipment cabinet at the end of stand. For form factor, I'm designing everything to be DIN (35/7) mount as best I can. I'm still waiting on a few parts including the DIN rail to come in. But in the mean time here is the first module complete and ready for installation; an eight channel general purpose power control module.

It is configured normally on, and has on/off and pause capability for each channel. I'm using an off the shelf relay board as it was cheaper then laying out my own. The control board is my own. Its not too exciting with one exception, it includes a DC-DC converter that provides complete isolation between the micro controller and the switching circuitry. I see lots of folks using these boards and then tying the grounds together between the board and the micro completely by-passing the usefulness of the opto-isolators. Thats probably fine for all resistive loads, but I think with inductive loads like pumps you are just asking for trouble doing that.

The enclosures are all 3D printed in ABS.

And only the indicator LEDs are wired between the three sub-components shown below. So, nobody freak that I'm running mains over 22 AWG as it might appear at first glance.

The sub-components going together on the bench.


Sub-components built up with a short piece of DIN rail.


Component side of the control board.


Solder side.


Backside showing how they clip on the DIN rail.


If you want to build one, all the files are linked below.
ReefCom library for Arduino
Sketch to control relays
SketchUp model
STL files
Eagle files


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Unread 12/26/2015, 03:17 PM   #10
geekengineer
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lol dam that looking really good. definitely one upping my stuff for sure.

I probably have lots of questions for sure. I considering redoing some of my stuff here at some point especially the controller.


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Unread 12/26/2015, 03:28 PM   #11
geekengineer
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So do you have trouble with splitting on your ABS 3D prints especially boxes like that? I tend to have problems. Although making rounded corners helps.


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Unread 12/26/2015, 05:13 PM   #12
jrhupp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geekengineer View Post
So do you have trouble with splitting on your ABS 3D prints especially boxes like that?
I used too. Delamination like that has to do with differential cooling of the ABS during the print. I enclosed my printer and let the hot bed passively heat the space (run at 105C for the whole print), and I have not had an issue with Delamination since. It also had a huge effect on how well the print sticks to the bed; big improvement.

I'm using a MakerFarm I3, the older all plywood one. I have modified it a fair bit and can post some details if your interested.


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Unread 12/26/2015, 08:40 PM   #13
geekengineer
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yeah I tried to do that but I seem to still have issues, maybe the way I enclosed it wasn't good enough. It was low tech way to do it involving a garbage sack. lol


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Unread 12/27/2015, 08:21 AM   #14
chimmike
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I wish I understood/knew even the basics of programming to do something like this myself :/


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Unread 12/27/2015, 09:34 AM   #15
jrhupp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chimmike View Post
I wish I understood/knew even the basics of programming to do something like this myself :/
Me too!

Seriously though, in this day and age there are some really nice and accessible tools/platforms for getting started. The Arduino platform I am using is designed to be very user friendly to get started with. Way better then where I started; EdLog and CSI's 10 series data loggers (If you are reading this and know what these are, you get a gold star and my sympathies).

For 20$ you can pick up a Arduino Uno and I bet in 15 minutes you have it doing something cool. Tons of internet support for it too.


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I ate a jellyfish... tasted like soy sauce.

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Unread 12/27/2015, 09:47 AM   #16
jrhupp
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Here is what I am using to print parts for the build:


In this shot it was printing part of a large aperture ball valve that will be the heart of the surge system (20 gallon long and 2" diameter pipes above the display in the pics I posted). I'll post more on the surge valve a bit later. There is still a lot of clean up to do with the models and bit of geometry to rework. But here is a teaser screen capture:




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Unread 12/27/2015, 12:54 PM   #17
geekengineer
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damm making your own surge valve.. Lol I'm going to feel rather pitiful after your done. I just made a float holder and a stockman tube for my return. My stuff is just nick nacks like that. lol


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Unread 12/27/2015, 02:52 PM   #18
jrhupp
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I sold the wife on the printer at the time with the line "but I can print all the equipment for the reef tank cheaper than I can buy it... we'll save so much money if you let me buy this printer". So I'm kind of on the hook now to go all out.

I'll post all the files once they get cleaned up and I get the last bits of re-work done.


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Unread 12/27/2015, 03:36 PM   #19
chimmike
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrhupp View Post
Me too!

Seriously though, in this day and age there are some really nice and accessible tools/platforms for getting started. The Arduino platform I am using is designed to be very user friendly to get started with. Way better then where I started; EdLog and CSI's 10 series data loggers (If you are reading this and know what these are, you get a gold star and my sympathies).

For 20$ you can pick up a Arduino Uno and I bet in 15 minutes you have it doing something cool. Tons of internet support for it too.
I majored in business in school; I have zero programming background.

I know it's user friendly, but i'm a total noob with that stuff. I'd love to find a book with general basic building blocks to learn.

Might be fun to pick up an Uno to mess around with it.


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Unread 12/27/2015, 03:56 PM   #20
jrhupp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chimmike View Post
I majored in business in school; I have zero programming background.
If it makes you feel better, I'm a botanist/eco-physiologist. Not fields generally known for much training in programing.


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Unread 12/27/2015, 04:19 PM   #21
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Very interesting build! I cant wait to see that surge tank in action


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Unread 12/27/2015, 06:28 PM   #22
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Why do you put the rock on top of the egg crate? Is that temporary?


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Unread 12/27/2015, 07:03 PM   #23
jrhupp
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Why do you put the rock on top of the egg crate? Is that temporary?
The rock structures are hollow underneath. The logic with the egg crate was that it would lock the base pieces in place so that the structures could be hollow underneath, and that it would let me tweak the position of the two structures without having to disassemble them. Rather I can move them around a bit intact.

I plan to leave it in place. As I understand it, it is fairly inert and the main risk it posses is that it may potentially contribute to detritus build up in the sand bed.


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Unread 12/31/2015, 11:02 AM   #24
jrhupp
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Some updates:

I've been working on getting this plumbed. Fitting the rigid PVC and making sure things are secure, clean, and there is no stress on the surge tank bulkheads has been so slow going. This is three days worth of work!


Here is the return to the tank and one of the surge lines. The return ended up about 1" higher then expected. Thankfully I had not glued the elbows with the line-loc in place yet. So they can still be lowered a bit.


I'm still waiting on the DIN rail to start putting the equipment enclosure together. But in the meantime I have been thinking about cable management in the enclosure. I wanted to use one of the off the shelf cable management systems, but in small quantities these are prohibitively expensive for me. So instead I modeled up a printable version and will now be printing the cable track.

The main down side is that I am limited to about 7.5" pieces. So rather then having one continuous piece down each side of the enclosure I will wind up with four pieces placed end to end.

The upside is, I get the track in black now. With the off the shelf stuff it looks like I would have ended up with tan or grey; not great compliments to neon green and black.

I can print all parts for a single section in one run (it takes ~4.5 hrs):


The track prints flat, as shown above, and then folds into a channel. This makes sure the tabs as strong and won't snap off. It also lets me put the print bed surface to the inside where it is not seen. This is a personal thing for me; I don't like how the bed side of the print looks.

Three supports go into it to help keep its shape (one can be seen at the end). This way the cover can snap in place and stay there, as the sides are held rigidly at 90 degrees at the base, but the tabs can still flex.



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Unread 12/31/2015, 11:22 AM   #25
jrhupp
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I have also been working on the temperature controller for the tank.

It will control two heaters at independent set points and is setup to use two thermistor based temperature sensors. I haven't finished the sensors (though I have the thermistors and the housing materials) or built up the outlet box for it yet (parts are printed). But I have the board done and tested. And have a frozen version of the firmware.

Some features:
- Full isolation between the micro-controller and mains.
- Two independent temperature measurements from two sensors with error checking and reporting.
- Access to individual measurements and mean. Control is done on mean.
- Two independent control channels for heaters, each controlled on its own set point.
- Conditional compiling for SI or american units.

Here is the solder side of the board.


As you may notice, there are a couple of through hole resistors tacked onto the board. My original plan was to put the pull-down resistors in the sensor body. I'm still not sure why I thought this was a good idea; as it was not and in theory I know way better then to do that. And so through holes tacked on are the fix for a bad decision. Without them, the thermistor channels made an excellent proximity sensor.

The Eagle files below have SMD pull-downs included. Also some modified geometry so the board fits better in the enclosure.

Here is the board in the enclosure with everything wired up.


And here is the module all packaged up and powered on.


If you want to build one or just get a better look at what I'm doing here are the files:
SketchUp model
Eagle files for ver 1.1
Arduino sketch


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