iFarm System Control
iFarm – farming process controller.
What it does?
The iFarm controls electrically operated devices according to defined condition. It can operate up to 8 devices at a time independently or as groups. Different sensing devices can be used as a condition input (up to 2 sensors) as well as timing parameter – predefined timeline (8 timelines) or a timer.
Actually – it is a very flexible controlling hardware for your environment control.
What can I control?
iFarm controller can accept up to 12 sensing inputs and control up to 8 devices simultaneously! All operated devices can be grouped or work independently, time and/or timer operated. Although the built in power outlets are limited to 3 Amp per output, there are external relays available so it's possible to operate heavy loads like arrays of HID lamps. The iFarm system described on the following illustration can be equipped as follow:
- One or two high power light outputs
- One light sensor - checks the light intensity and recognizes light intensity degradation. Can generate an alarm or enable additional light source.
- One or two pumps.
- One or two water level sensors connecter thru DryCon adaptor (see below). Can operate alarms and/or disable pump's operation.
- One peristaltic pump for nutrition control - connected to the DC source by power module.
- One EC/TDS probe connected thru EC adaptor.
- Two peristaltic pumps for PH balance - one for PH UP solution and second for PH DOWN solution. Both pumps are connected to the DC source by power module.
- One PH probe connected thru PH adaptor.
- One CO2 valve.
- One CO2 sensor.
Of course, the system can be configured in different way, for example you can connect up to 8 peristaltic pumps and implement full nutri-doser - the PC program has an utility for easy dosing configuration
How does it work?
Very simple – you assign your device's behavior by setting couple of parameters and the iFarm will operate the devices according to these settings. Such setting called “power entity” and describes working behavior for single power output – built in (Pline1-4) or external (see Power eUnit for details) . Several power entities can operate the same power output.
You can build your controlling system exactly as you need it and expand it later.
Three modes of operation:
1st – Stand alone. In this mode the power entity operated continuously, according to timer or sensors' setting. If none of the above are set, the power output will be constantly on.
2nd – Profile. In this mode the power entity may be assigned to one of eight timelines, which enables the operation in 24 hours with resolution of one minute. Actually, you can assign every minute of operation in the 24 hours cycle. The profile may combine stand alone beside the time operated power entities.
3rd - Grow plan. You can assign number of different profiles and schedule them for execution in different time. The plan can be repeated or stopped after one cycle. The stages can be as long as 31 days and the plan can schedule 16 stages. Seven day stage called “week” and stage longer than 27 days called “month”.
iFarm has intelligent alarming system – the alarms can be operated by sensor or power output which makes possible to notify power malfunction. Also, alarms can be operated by timeline or continuously.
All eight alarms are part of profile, so the setting will stored in working profile when changed.
Each iFarm Controller includes...
The iFarm controller comes with four builtin outlets which can draw up to 3 Amps each. The unit supplied with high current (13 Amps) power cord, so you can load up to 12 Amps per controller.
DON'T LOAD MORE THAN 3 AMPERES PER EACH OUTLET.
The controller has USB connection for fast operation. The iFarmCommander software can run on Window or Linux operating system, and can easily control all the iFarm's settings. There is a command line application available, so you can operate your iFarm from command line or third party scripts.
On the top of the box four ports called A,B,C and D, which can accept up to four eUnits each.
eUnits states for “external units” and can be one of three types:
1-Sensing unit. The sensing unit may include a built in sensor (Humi, aLight e.t.c), or external probes (PH, TDS e.t.c). The eUnit connected to external probe called adaptor eUnit.
2-Power unit. The power unit controls external power devices and isolated from the operated voltage. It also senses the output so if there is no demanded voltage on the output, you'll get a notification (or Alarm can be operated).
The Power eUnits are available in different voltage ranges – 12VDC, 24VDC, 24VAC and 110VAC.
3-Communication unit. These unit provides wireless communication – WIFI, GPRS and Wireless extension modules. Also there are two special communication modules – hub and extender. Both are used for increase connection wire length. WIFI and GPRS module also have log memory for stand alone logging (they are not commercially available yet).
There is no strict connection to the controller – every eUnit can be connected to every port at any time. If the unit was assigned for one of the power entity as a sensing input, the iFarm will issue a warning which will disappear as soon the misalignment solved.
Some units include different appliances, like pumps eUnit. The unit is configurable and can operate the pumps separately or as groups.
All eUnits are connected to the iFarm controller by connection cord 6 feet long. Each port can accept up to four eUnits – expanded by a HUB or virtual units, like Humi eUnit. The Humi eUnit measures three parameter and iFarm represents the data as three different eUnits. When several eUnits connected to the controller thru HUB, only first virtual unit of each physical eUnit. In this case the eUnit can be configured to display appropriate virtual unit.
All the eUnits are configurable. All the settings are kept in the eUnit's memory and will apply every time the unit connected to the controller.
Some of eUnits need to be calibrated. Refer to the eUnit's data sheet for proper calibration procedure.
When the power eUnits are universal, most of the sensing eUnits has predefined functionality. To make life easer, we provide a sensing unit called DryCon. This unit has a BNC input and flexible configuration, so you can connect your own sensing device to iFarm (like door switch, or resistive level meter)
iFarm controller informs its user about different events by several ways: It types – all events are displayed on the display (if there are more events than can be displayed, most important are shown). It sounds – alarms, eUnit attachment/detachment and keyboard events will issue an audible signal (of course it can be disabled, or volume can be changed). And the last one – it flashes! iFarm changes its colour according to current stage/event. This very useful feature when the device is far from the operator and the sound can't be heard...
Write-up and images from http://www.sesadsn.com/ifarm