In our last post we introduced you all the new hardware features of AquaShield 2.0 and now it is time to go through all, what’s new with the software. Some of the new features are for the support of the new hardware functions but we have some cool new features beyond those as well.
AquaShield 1.0 runs our own operating system, the AquaShield Connect, that is already loaded with useful features, such as real-time sensor monitoring, time-based or sensor-based controlling, alerting and much more. But thanks to the new hardware we will take the AquaShield Connect to a new level! Let’s see what’s new and how it could help you to win the soilless farming game!
VPD (Vapor Pressure Deficit)
Vapor Pressure Deficit (VPD) is a particular way to measure how close or far is the humidity at the given condition to the dew point (saturated air). As you might know, all plants have an optimal humidity level, that is changing during their life cycle. If the humidity level is too high, a water film can form by condensation on the leaves that helps to develop diseases on the plant. On the other side, if the humidity is too low, the crop will take more water (irrigation) and evaporate more water through its canopy.
The Humidity and Light modul tracks humidity, light and temperature (and also enables VPD and dew point calculation)
The VPD shows how close or far you are from the saturated air condition. As the VPD grows, the air becomes less humid (the partial pressure of the water is smaller in the air) and the plant will evaporate in a faster rate. The VPD has a more direct relation to the evaporation, than relative humidity and gives a temperature independent indication about the water content that the air can take.
Checking humidity with the Humidity and Light module
It is very important to measure the temperature and the humidity at the canopy level, close to the leaves to get a realistic idea about the leaf conditions and evaporation rates. Hence we calculate the VPD from the temperature and the relative humidity that are measured by our Light and Humidity module. This can be placed / hanged to the right spot into the canopy. Even multiple modules can be connected to a network to get proper measurement from every part of your greenhouse.
If you want to be a hardcore analyzer of your system and want to have a global view, you need to see the relations between the sensor values and the changes of those values. We want to help you by giving you the opportunity to plot multiple sensors into the same chart. This will give you the power to analyze and fine tune your system even easier and faster.
PH temperature compensation
Probably you already noticed that, when the temperature changes in your nutrient / fish tank, the PH changes as well. This is a well known effect, partially because of the measurement methodology of the sensor and partially because of the properties of the water. (equilibrium of the H+ and OH- ions with H2O molecules based on the temperature).
To help you analyze your system and calibrate more accurately we will implement an optional automatic temperature compensation based on one of our water temperature sensor. How cool is that?
Pulse With Modulation. This is technically a variable voltage analog output. It allows you to control adjustable LED lights, variable speed pumps and much more. In our case, these outputs are primarily optimized for driving 12V DC dosing pumps and adjustable LED lights. This function allow you to reduce your pump flow down to 10% and dose much more precisely using small amounts of nutrient liquid. On top of this, you will be able to do this based on your EC or PH sensors. So you will be able to balance your PH with PH- and PH+ liquid or refill your nutrients based on the EC values.
With PWM you can connect and control 2 dosing pumps to the AquaShield 2.0
(Now we will get a bit more technical, so if you are not interested, you can skip this part and jump to the next “0-5V generic input”)
The PWM technology is simply a switch that can turn on and off the 12V supply very fast, I mean VERY FAST. Let say if you see a 10 sec window if the 12V signal 2,5sec (25%) ON and 7,5 sec (75%) OFF the average output voltage during this 10 sec is 3V. We could change this switch 16 000 times in every second. (16kHz). So the output at the and is a quite smooth signal. (the generic PWM output with an Arduino or Raspberry Pi software PWM is around 1 kHz) We use a dedicated PWM output legs of the Raspberry Pi, so the feature doesn’t load the processor. We need this otherwise the pumps would stall and wine at lower speeds. Other FAT diode are used to make the signal 0-12V and capable to drive pumps directly.
End of technical stuff 🙂
0-5V generic input
So far AquaShield worked with dedicated sensors (e.g.: PH or humidity). From now on, you will be able to connect any generic sensor with 0-5V outlet as well (PAR, CO2, soil moisture, ammonia, nitrite, nitrates etc.). With this feature you could be the architect of your measurement system. You can use any type of sensor and you will be able to include these sensors into the trigger logics. Hence you can control solenoids, motors, light or other active components based on your unique sensor.
These inputs will be available as dedicated input on the SSM2 card (2 PCS) and also as an interchangeable (extension) card on the SSM1 module. So if you want you can even use our unit for a totally different purpose than what we intended for if you use project specific 0-5V sensors.
HOME ASSISTANT AND MQTT
We love smart home systems and integrated IoT devices, so we want you to be able to integrate AquaShield to your IoT systems (like Home Assistant). We are already working on this feature and our schedule is to release the API gateway details in June, this year. With the API gateway we will also release a plugin for Home Assistant so you will have more options to fully integrate the Aquashield to your home automation.
The first test hydroponics setup, that has been controlled by Alexa through the Home Assistant (connected to the Aquashield :D) Also check the video!
Congratulations, you finished the post, you are a PRO :)! I know it is not an easy thing to read but I really wanted you to see, how much useful features we packed into the new software! We hope you found something, that grabbed your attention!
Also if you would like to know even more about the AquaShield Connect, you should check out our previous post in the topic here: https://www.aquashieldcontrol.com/aquashield-user-interface-guide-video/
We plan to launch on Indiegogo this March. Once the Indiegogo campaign is launched, you can have your AquaShield 2.0 for 819 USD, that is 35% off the retail price. Once the campaign is over, the retail price (RSVP) is going to be 1260 USD.
This discount only will be available for VIPs, who reserved their AquaShield before the Indiegogo launch.
I hope you consider to reserve your Aquashield and become a VIP: https://www.aquashieldcontrol.com/smart-home-system-for-hydroponics-and-aquaponics/
Also let us know if you have any questions about the new features! See you!