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How I built my own Irrigation Controller
Submitted by Shree Kumar (@shreekumar) on Tuesday, 4 November 2014
Section: Hardware - full talks Technical level: Intermediate
Encourage developers to create their own devices, plus give them some idea of what it might take to build your own. Actual devices, I mean, and not just hacked up prototypes.
I will talk about how I am building a full Irrigation Controller, suitable for a small garden. The core technical part of the talk deals with Bluetooth Serial communication, and design of a suitable (and custom) protocol for talking to ultra low cost microcontrollers.
I can also set this up in a demo stall and show everything in detail to interested folks.
I was bitten by the maker revolution an year ago. It started off as an effort to water pots in our balcony garden during our absence. Buying many boards - Arduino, MSP430 Launchpad, etc followed. Soon, I found myself putting a lot of effort into creating a full blown Irrigation Controller device, configurable via an Android application.
This session will talk about how I built the device. I will touch lightly upon concept, design and implementation. A good part of the talk will detail an API implemented on top of bluetooth serial communication protocol, designed in a way suitable to communicate with microcontrollers with really low amounts of RAM – 512 bytes or less.
There are no standards yet w.r.t talking to such hardware, so I feel Open APIs are a way to go. The source code of the API and controlling application will be available in time for the conference.
I will give a quick high level overview of all the steps (and learning curve) that I went through - including making my own PCB, and designing an enclosure. A whirlwind tour of suitable open source tools (FreeCAD and KiCAD) is included in the talk.
Shree works at Innominds Software Pvt Ltd. He leads a small software team that creates Android devices for enterprise and consumer markets. He likes tinkering with hardware - microcontrollers, interfacing, and such. This talk is related to work that happens post office hours!
Shree has been a past speaker at Droidcon India 2012 and 2011, and FOSS.IN.