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anobviousplatypus
Posted (edited)

hey there everyone, I'll just start out with a little preface:

 - I'm a complete newb to mycology (even consuming) and am mainly interested in this as a hobby

 - my background is in technology; software, electrical design, custom circuit boards, robotics, mechanical designs and prototyping, etc

A friend of mine asked if i could help him build a system to maximize/standardize growing for consistent and big yield results with a minimum of human intervention. There's definitely lots of ways I can accomplish that, but there's some parts of the puzzle I'm missing. I have done quite a lot of reading so far about bulk and shotgun methods of grow chambers, and that got me thinking about some of the things I'd like to build into an automated fruiting chamber. I'm hoping you, as an experienced community, can give me feedback on what parts of that concept can work, what's unnecessary, and what's dumb and should be avoided. 

planned automation features:

  • NodeMCU (ESP32 or ESP8266) units for each chamber, featuring air temp/humidity sensor (DHT22), and soil/substrate temp/moisture sensors (D18S20 / ADC comparative circuit), as well as environmental control units. 
  • Environmental control will be effectuated with:
    • Peltier TEP on the air intake. Applying voltage causes air to be either heated or chilled depending on the polarity 
    • Piezoelectric transducer for vaporizing water in the case that humidity drops 
    • PWM controlled LED lights for fruiting stage (not sure what wavelength to use yet) 
    • Intake/outlet fans controlled on the a schedule by host server over MQTT with activated charcoal sheeting to address any escaping odors 
  • MQTT Enabled host server (Raspberry Pi or other cheap SBC) for data acquisition and aggregation (this will be used to host a web interface displaying sensor data and allow for manual control over environmental devices) 
  • Theoretically one rPi server could handle any number of these units 

physical construction plans:

Let me know what you guys think! 

Edited by anobviousplatypus

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Mush Zombie

If you can answer the question of why do mushrooms form primordia, then you can absolutely do what it is you want to achieve. You may find however that for each thing you add to a SGFC (etc) you add 5 more variables you did not account for. 

I like that you’re engineering this yourself instead of buying the cookie cutter stuff. Following this

I saw a guy on YouTube using raspberry pi to automate his whole aquaponics system and it’s huge. Very promising. 

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anobviousplatypus
Posted (edited)

Well the first units will be using some cookiecutter off the shelf stuff. The microcontroller and sensors I've chosen are cheap and easily available and have ready-made code libraries. I'll probably keep using the same base components and sensors in the final version, but will create a single self-contained circuit board. 

Are the soil/substrate sensors worth adding? Since they work through contact, I imagine they have a greater chance of introducing contamination. I added those to the project because I plan on making this system adaptable to other types of grows like normal vegetation.

I was planning on adding some filters in-line with the irrigation lines, hopefully will mitigate another point of failure.

I'm also looking into what it would take to get a CO2 or O2 sensor working to better address the mycelium's atmospheric requirements

Here's another little bit of info I'd like. In regards to air exchange, I know the gold standard filtering seems to be polyfill because it doesn't allow for microorganism colonization, but I wonder if I should be using that in concert with the HEPA and carbon filters for the inlet/outlet fans. In what configuration? Since polyfill is sort of the bio-barrier, should that be something like a pre-filter?

Here's a couple of example configs:
Legend: 

  • ||  -  plastic retaining structure
  • # - polyfill
  • % - carbon filter
  • @ - HEPA
  • \ / - tub sides

#1:
~~> ||#|| @ ||\%                                          %/|| @ ||#|| ~~>
~~> ||#|| @ ||  \%                                     %/   || @ ||#|| ~~>
                           \                                      /
                              -------------------------------


#2:
~~> || @ ||#||\%                                            %/|| # ||@|| ~~>
~~> || ||#||  \%                                       %/   || # ||@|| ~~>
                            \                                       /
                               -------------------------------

#3:
~~> ||#|| % ||@||\                                                /||@|| % ||#|| ~~>
~~> ||#|| % ||@||  \                                           /   ||@|| % ||#|| ~~>
                                \                                      /
                                   -------------------------------

 

Edited by anobviousplatypus
more detail on the diagrams

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Mush Zombie

Poly fill is not used as a bio barrier. There is no need for hepas etc during fruiting. Polyfill is used to limit the rate of fresh air exchange and it does not wick water up into it from the air. Too much fresh air is just as detrimental as not enough.  

Healthy mycelium is immune to competitor spores and bacteria. It defends itself very well. The use of hepas and carbon filters is completely unnecessary for fruiting the mycelium.

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anobviousplatypus
39 minutes ago, Mush Zombie said:

Poly fill is not used as a bio barrier. There is no need for hepas etc during fruiting. Polyfill is used to limit the rate of fresh air exchange and it does not wick water up into it from the air. Too much fresh air is just as detrimental as not enough.  

Healthy mycelium is immune to competitor spores and bacteria. It defends itself very well. The use of hepas and carbon filters is completely unnecessary for fruiting the mycelium.

Understood. 

One of the requirements I was given is that there be some filtering to limit the odors escaping from the chamber. I understand that the fruiting stage isn't as much an issue for this as when drying, but I plan to add a similar filtration module to the drying chamber as well.

In regards to limiting the airflow, I'd planned on doing that through the automated system. Here's a concept workflow I had in mind:

Misting timer trigger --> Outlet fan turns on, pulling humidity from the air --> Irrigation system mists for X time --> Inlet fan turns on, starting evaporation cycle for Y time --> All fans deactivate --> Humidity check, activate piezoelectric humidifier to bring air humidity back up to ideal range

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Mush Zombie

The only time I’ve noticed an odor is when pressure cooking substrates like compost and grain spawn but if that’s what he wants, then that’s what he wants, I suppose. 

That system will work for evaporation but it will need to be adjusted once pins start to pop or you will have lots of little fruits. If larger fruits are what is needed you will have to back off with fresh air exchange throughout the day, after pins have been seen. 

Also are you planning on using heated probes or sensors for humidity readings? Because sensors don’t work well in high humidity environments unless they are heated. Water collects on them and you get false readings. There’s probably some other way around this situation potentially but I’m still not sure if they would be accurate. 

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anobviousplatypus

I was planning on using the DHT22 temp/humidity sensor, which I believe is passive only. I'll do some research on heated sensors.

Workflow scheduling should be easily configurable with this system, but I can probably make a couple of presets for pre-pinning and post-pinning stages

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Mush Zombie

What language are you planning to use for programming 

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anobviousplatypus

At the moment I'm using Lua for the NodeMCU modules as it's a quick and easy platform to do prototyping on. The final versions will most likely be written in C/C++/Arduino. Depending on a number of other factors, I might switch to MicroPython/CircuitPython

The host server is going to be running a combination of things, Mosquitto for the MQTT broker, with a MySQL/MariaDB/SQLite database. I haven't looked too deeply into the web interface yet, but I plan on using some elements from Plot.ly

Edit: I'd be happy to post my source code if interested. Word of warning that it's currently a hodgepodge mess at the moment cus this is my first time working in Lua and I'm just trying to get a proof of concept going

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anobviousplatypus

pic of the breadboard module in its current state 

IMG_20190612_135205.jpg

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Mush Zombie

That’s awesome! I’ve been learning python and other things for different kinds of automation. You pointed me in some directions that I didn’t know existed. Am looking forward to see where this goes. 

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MagicalCriminal

I looked at a lot of control systems. Not many out there for mush. Most are low power switching lacking large enough relays. If you don't include large relays, you might think of an add-on relay shield so your board can be upsized easily.

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anobviousplatypus
1 hour ago, MagicalCriminal said:

I looked at a lot of control systems. Not many out there for mush. Most are low power switching lacking large enough relays. If you don't include large relays, you might think of an add-on relay shield so your board can be upsized easily.

oh most definitely. I tend to use 30A solid state relays with optocoupler isolation for most things. The 12v fans can all be driven using a simple mosfet + GPIO, or at worst case an IGBT if I need to drive something with higher constant current. I plan on using a 12v water pump for the irrigation misters, and the piezo atomizer has it's own control circuit board that just takes ~3.7v-12v. I'm going to buy one of those and reverse engineer it so I can include a circuit. So yeah all of the actual control system stuff can be adapted very easily. Once I get a full BOM figured out, I can build an all-in-one board that minimizes space used and should have everything onboard to drive fans/pumps/etc

2 hours ago, Mush Zombie said:

That’s awesome! I’ve been learning python and other things for different kinds of automation. You pointed me in some directions that I didn’t know existed. Am looking forward to see where this goes. 

I'd be happy to help you out on your specific use-case if you'd like, and if you want a custom PCB made, I can knock one out in a day or two.

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anobviousplatypus

ok so I thought of another possible enhancement i could add to this system. considering, there's going to be a camera in the system, i could have it snap images of the growth, post them to the control server, and the control server can use machine vision to identify when pins form, and should be able to automatically change the air exchange behavior. 

I assume that each strain has its own preferred amount of evaporative time, fresh air, and humidity, etc? Is there a spreadsheet or some kind of database with the usual figures for that? If so, I could create profiles for each kind of mushroom that could be applied to individual containers, so they each recieve their ideal care 

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