If you are not familiar with Arduino, you need to be. What is an Arduino? Italian Supercar? Star Wars character? The answer is quite possibly the answer to getting more done on the small hold with less effort. Arduino is an open source micro-controller/programming system. These small (deck of cards to postage stamp) sized micro controllers are in fact mini computers/robotic brains, complete with I/O, memory, and processor.
If you have ever wanted to automate any mechanical or electrical device, you can probably do it with Arduino. IF you have a desire to learn electronics and programming. If these subjects are not for you then find a friend that can help you.
Personally I have always been very interested in electronics and robotics (I have undergraduate degrees in both), programming however has been the bane of my existence despite being an IT guy. In fact the last language I wrote code in was Fortran 77! Despite my aversion to code, I realize I must learn this in order to automate the small hold.
To get started I purchased a small Arduino learning kit that includes an Arduino Uno (mid size) board, a couple of sensors and various components to learn how to configure Arduino circuits. I then downloaded the free Arduino programming system and jumped right in.
The first experiment was to flash a simple LED on and off at various intervals, then I located a couple of on-line tutorials on using the LM35 Temperature Sensor with an Arduino board. An hour of typing and reading tutorials later, and I had the temperature sensor reporting Fahrenheit and humidity output every 5 seconds. A bit more work gave me what I was looking for with the Arduino turning on an LED at a specific temperature and/or humidity.
Now this sounds simplistic, and it is but for me it is the first building block to having beehive telemetry. The next step is adding a humidity sensor and achieving the same result. Then the goal is to add an Arduino Wifi connecting board to provide wireless access to the humidity and temp data remotely. Finally we will look at the option to use the output that currently turns on the LED to trigger another action such as a fan or alarm if temperature and/or humidity get too high or low. It is not looking too difficult to have the hive email or tweet this information….
So far the coding seems fairly easy even for an old guy that hates code. I have a proof of concept to begin work on the smart bee-hive that will be the first project to automate the small hold!
// Declare Variables
int tempPin = 0; //temperature sensor plugged into pin 0
int ledPin = 13; //LED in Pin 13
//write setup function
void setup ()
Serial.begin(9600); //opens serial port communications to sensor
pinMode(ledPin, OUTPUT); //Full output to pin
// Control Loop
tempC = analogRead(tempPin); //Takes temp pin reading sets = to tempc variable
tempC = (5.0*tempC*100.0)/1025.0; //will convert analog input to temp in celcius
tempC = tempC *9 / 5;
tempC = tempC + 32;
Serial.println((byte)tempC); //output converted temp to pc
if (tempC >85)