How many additional devices/sensors/widgets can one add to the current hw/sw setup?


#1

I am wondering what the maximum number of other devices, sensor, functions or other I/O “things” one can add to the current (or upcoming) FarmBot system is.
Say I want to add a weather station (ambient temp, wind speed, rainfall, humidity, etc), a soil temp sensor, a web cam (for “Farm view”), some kind of pest control (see a raccoon - flash a strobe & make a noise), some type of light control, etc… ( the list can go on). I understand that the coding aspect may get complicated, but for now I just want to understand what the physical limitations are.
Thanks in advance for any feedback!
~Tony


#2

I definitely do not want to frustrate you, @Intelbotfarmer but I do not see the FB in a position today to support these features today or in the near future. As you can see in my threads about the pull up change in the Arduino code that I would be able to use my distance sensor with the device, the team is not able to support those different configurations, drivers etc. pp… Therefore it will be quite heavy in future for them to support those things and I wonder wether they will decide about a clear interface of all of those aspects in future.

I would recommend to you, to use openhab for these purposes. The bindings as they are called (drivers) for all of the different hardware and software interfaces (light bulbs, weather stations, garage servo drivers etc.) are enumerous and you can do pretty much what you are thinking of… the farmbot can be driven via MQTT so no problems.

Hope it helps, regards!


#3

Thanks for the reply, Klimbim!
I am reading up on Openhab now. Even though I do not fully understand the MQTT protocol yet, I can see how this is a preferred (only?) way to get data into the Farmbot SW. is that a correct statement?
So, having said that…
Is the path to creating a FarmBot setup that can also use “other stuff” to have a master controller (computer) that can call and controll FarmBot, call and controll “other stuff”?
I am just trying to get an idea of what I can do down the road as I set up a FarmBot.
Again, thanks for the response.
~Tony


#4

Yes, rightly said. Openhab was developed to have one super brain which controls all sorts of home automation stuff; therefore you could use FB for everything which is not related to rule building (if weather is sunshine tomorrow, call sequence water via MQTT) or other sensors (weather station, etc.).

You can even store and display the data in a database, which I already implemented. So you can follow up the soil moisture over time etc. pp.

So MQTT is the interface between openhab (database, display to show current states etc.) and the FB. You can in one direction call sequences and in the other direction FB is sending information on status and readings via MQTT to openhab.

Please ask more questions if you need answers :wink: happy to help!


#5

Ok, you said I could ask more questions…
(Hopefully this topic is in the right forum location and others can benifit from it)
So, let me lay out my situation and thoughts…
I currently have not purchased a FarmBot, but I fully plan on doing so after I have a) researched it extensively, b) have enough $$$ to get the XL (seems like the best for maximum roi) and c) have been able to experiment with devices, tools etc. so that when I implement I have a lot of groundwork already done.
It seems like a good starting place would be to get a couple devices (Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ ?) and configure them to simulate (as close as possible) a FarmBot and a “Master” controller (server). Does this sound like a good direction? Should the controller be more than pi?


#6

I guess a good idea to make yourself comfortable with the equipment and experiment would be definitely to have one raspi to run openhab on (but you could do it also on an old pc or the like) and then the farmbot controllers. This depends on what you want to try out, I do not know how much you can experiment without the arduino board, maybe someone from the community can answer?!

At least I guess you might need a raspbi and an arduino to run farmbot on…