Flashes Firmware 11 times a day?

Hi everyone
I know that when Auto update is active the FB is checking for updates sometime between 3 and 4am. So from my perspective it should check if there is an update. If yes it should do the update and if there is no update it should just stay as is. But it seems that mine went crazy yesterday and flashed the firmware 11 times during the day.

Ist that normal or is there an issue?

I think I’ve found out some more related information.
I planted some vegetables today. After I’ve planted everything I tried my watering sequence to be sure that it works. Within the sequence after it startet watering the ninth plant it kept watering. Fortunately I had the pin guard on watering active and it stopped after 30s. But the RasPi was Red (low voltage) and tried to get back on. So I expect the eleven times booting above is coming from isufficient power for the RasPi.
Last year I bought the Farmduino 2.2 because there was a power issue with the version before. Now that issue seems comming up again.

Honestly I’m quite disapointed. After investing >5k $US over all for the FB and the raised bed it seems that it is not more than a non reliable toy. Do I really need to modify the Board and RasPi myself to have reliable power to the RasPi?

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I’m not sure if it helps , but it would be possible to move the raspberry pi to a power source other than off the farmdunio. Such as its own charger, I’m using a buck converter with a type c connector to power my pi. Just connecting it to the 24v in, that way I can use my 5v pins for a cooler on the Pi. [Buck converter ](DC 12V/24V to 5V USB C Buck… https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BNQ9XXCZ?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share)

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@Schmitz I already thought about that solution. But to be honest: I expect that a PCB, which costs about 275 $US and is designed to power a RasPi fulfills the power specification for the RasPi. It’s not the first Farmduino PCB and the RasPi specifications are available and open communicated by the RasPi foundation.
Secondly I also expect a better power connection than a special designed USB A - USB Micro cable which you can’t get anywhere else. Sure its the easiest way but far from reliable. Especially because the whole FarmBot relies on the RasPi. No RasPi => limb crops!

Suggestion: Make the Farmduino PCB bigger so that the RasPi also has it’s space on the PCB. Then use a 2x20 header strip where you plug in the RasPi and then screw it down on standoffs on the PCB. This would be much more reliable in terms of connection and power distribution (2x5VDC and 8xGND). It would still be possible to use the HAT if you select the correct 2x20 header strip on the RasPi or alternatively add another 2x20 header which is 1:1 routed to the RasPi one.

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Great suggestion, but you need to send this heads-up to the FarmBot Inc. people !

I expect them to read this here. It’s their forum. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

@masze sorry to hear you are experiencing power issues. The root problem is most likely the Raspberry Pi Power Cable, which we have had quality issues with in some production runs. I have just generated a free replacement parts order for you (check your email for order confirmation) that includes an upgrade to a Raspberry Pi 4 and a USB-C Pi Power Cable which has been more reliable for us than the micro-USB cables. When you receive the parts, please note you’ll need to reflash the microSD card with the version of FarmBot OS for Pi 4.

Many areas of Genesis have lots of room for improvement, and the electronics are no exception. In a future version we plan to direct-mount a Raspberry Pi 4 Compute Module onto the Farmduino, allowing for power and data sharing without any cables - much like how the FarmBot Express line’s electronics are configured. This architecture will also eliminate the need for a separate Pi Adapter Board (or HAT), and provide for better I/O overall.

It has however been difficult to secure stock of many Raspberry Pi models and we admittedly do not have strong electronics expertise on our team, so there has been some reluctance to jump to this next iteration. Your feedback though is valuable and we hear it!

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@roryaronson Thanks very much for your feedback and shipping a replacement! I knew that you will read it when you’ve found some time to do so. :wink:
I’m also aware that the availability of RasPi’s, beeing it 3 or 4, is extremely limited. I want to play around with Home Assistant since about a year but have not been able to get a Pi4. :woozy_face:

I’m always open to give feedback from a standard user perspective. I’m quite experienced in that because somehow I’m able to set myself in the position of a standard user to see it from their perspective. In the past I developed user interfaces for district heating plants. The user is a heating plant operator which usually does have very limited computer or automation experience. So you have to have their perspective if you develop the user interface with which they have to work daily.
On the other hand I’m Swiss. So quality and precision more standard than exception. I also have to admit, that I have issues when I see that things could be easily made better but instead are somehow just knotted together that works mostly but not reliable. I’m often told that I’m a perfectionist even from Swiss people. :sweat_smile: But at least I always try to explain why and how it should be made different and what the benefits are. So always happy to help! :sunglasses:
All that beeing said: In general I really like the main concept of the FarmBot and would buy one again! But unfortunately there are still several small things which make the user experience for a standard user more frustrating than satisfying. As example the LUA integration: Great and perfect for nerds but unusable for a non IT experienced standard user. So if I have to use LUA for the watering curves it’s not usable for a standard user. After seeing that watering curves are available I thought GREAT! and defined several curves. I then expected that I can calibrate the watering within the settings like “Put a graduated mug under the watering nozzle and hit “Start” after that put the amount measured here”. I also expected a new command where I can select a pant or group of plants and the according watering curve. But maybe my expectations are to high. :man_shrugging:t3:

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@roryaronson the compute module is nice idea but the rpi connector can be mandatory for some users. For example I use MIPI active extension which is connected to this connector.

@masze thank you again for the helpful feedback! I have a lot of perfectionism in me as well, and always strive to continuously improve things. Its always a tough balancing act though with adhering to a timeline to ship something. Ie: taking a list of 10 things that need to be improved, choosing to tackle just two and half of them and shipping the improvements to everyone sooner, while saving the rest of the issues for the next version.

For the issues you mentioned, I am happy to report that we already have features for most of what you’re asking for! (Which means we really need to improve our documentation a bit and the ways in which we communicate updates to users like yourself :sweat_smile:) Here is some info you may have missed:

Calibrate water flow rate

You can indeed place a graduated mug under under the watering nozzle and with one click get a WATER FLOW RATE (mL/s), which can be used by the FarmBot via the dispense(mL) and water(plant) Lua functions, which are used in some of our featured sequences. Here is more information:

Water using curve

Once you have the flow rate defined, you can use that in your own custom Lua code and/or with one of our featured sequences, such as this simple one to Water Using Curve. Just import the sequence into your account and then you can use it as a command in other sequences :wink:

Lua for all

Stay tuned for some AI magic :magic_wand:

Regarding future electronics

@jan.janson thanks for letting us know you use that connector for your camera extension. Hearing more how our customers use the product as well as which add-ons/modifications they are using help inform us where to evolve the platform. I can’t make any guarantees that that exact modification will be supported in future versions, as we generally need to focus on the 95% use case the most. Though rest assured, even when a new electronics platform comes out in a new version of the FarmBot, you’ll still be able to use your existing setup.

Up until this point we have always tried our best to ensure backwards compatibility, but at some point the course of technology is that you have to make breaking changes to move the platform forwards. Those changes will simultaneously not be compatible with some legacy use cases, but also open up many new use cases!

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We just released some cool new features to make our Lua API more accessible to less technical users. Check it out:

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