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Farm uses for arduinos and Raspberry pi
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Posted 10/30/2021 10:16 (#9295566 - in reply to #9258155)
Subject: RE: Farm uses for arduinos and Raspberry pi

Don't call it a 'gator, it's a Ranger
The last few Winters I've messed around with Arduinos and other microcontrollers. Mostly as a hobby but I've made a couple of projects that were useful on the farm.

Mostly these have been the "remote" type devices where I can control something wirelessly at a distance. Last Winter I worked with the ESP-32 family of controllers. These have the ability to utilize Bluetooth or WiFi for communication with another device. The choice of whether to use Bluetooth or WiFi depends on the situation.

One project involved using my iPhone (Android tablet or iPad works also) to check the booms on my Hagie Sprayer. I start the sprayer and engage the spray pump, I then crawl out of the cab and stand by the booms. A special app on the phone allows me to turn ON/OFF the various sections. This allows me to observe the pattern, check for leaks etc.

Another project uses the iPhone also but as a remote for the 3 button door openers on an old shed. The shed has a door on the West and another on the South with 3 button wall mounted opener boxes. I was able to create an App again on the iPhone, iPad or Android tablet that allows me to in essence push the UP, DOWN or STOP buttons like the wall mounted remote. For this project I used an ESP-32 set up as a WiFi Access Point. Since this shed is close to my house, sometimes my phone will still be locked onto my home router and I need to force it to look for the Access Point.

Another project is for my shop opener and lights. This is quite similar to the project above but only has one opener. With this project I use a relay to toggle the shop lights ON/OFF also.

For these projects I have used a website called Remote XY. This is a clever concept where I can design the apps appearance which will ultimately appear my phone or tablet. This structure can then be downloaded and contain the basics of the screen appearance. Various buttons, sliders, rotary knobs etc. are available. I then add code which controls what the various buttons will do. This code is then loaded onto the ESP-32. I have a base Remote XY app on my phone. When I launch the app, the phone attempts to communicate with the ESP-32 and if successful, the framework that I have created is transmitted to my phone app. The app can then be used to control the door, lights whatever. This is free if the number of elements used in a sketch is small. If you want to use more elements such as I needed for the doors, I did need to buy a yearly subscription. The app does allow you to "test" your sketch that has more elements for a short time before it locks you out. This allows you to test things and if you are satisfied you can then buy the subscription. My one subscription (per phone or tablet) covers all sketches that I may have made.

A project for this Winter is to use a header height position assembly from an older Ag Leader yield monitor installation on my Hagie sprayer. This assembly contains a good quality "pot". I will mount the assembly on the boom mast and use a light chain to the lift linkage. Thus the resistance of the Pot will change with boom height. I will run this to an Arduino (likely a Nano) which will have a two digit display as an output. The display will then help the operator return to a known height. This will be a direct wire situation and the input will simply be the output from the Pot. The output will be the display.

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