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Tinkering with monitoring and control

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by Nofossil, Nov 15, 2012.

  1. Nofossil

    Nofossil Moderator Emeritus

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    Some of the longer-term members here may remember when I started putting together a control system. Lots of folks here have helped in one way or another. Development has been on a hiatus for a couple of years, but I've started playing with the code again. I'm gradually migrating from the original controller (still running - see photo below) to a new Version II controller. One of the fun pieces of code is the real-time control panel - screenshot below. I've migrated most of the monitoring to the new unit, though you might notice that the top floor and DHW are not connected to real data yet.

    Half the reason for heating with wood is having an excuse to tinker.

    Lots more work to do, but it's good being back in the saddle.

    [​IMG]
    Old controller - still controlling system...

    [​IMG]
    Interactive control panel
    arrowe44 likes this.

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  2. 2.beans

    2.beans Minister of Fire

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    Glad to see you back in the saddle!
  3. Clarkbug

    Clarkbug Minister of Fire

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    Glad to see some updates on this NoFossil! Very curious to see what your Version II controller will bring about. That first one looks like it was quite the beast!

    I was actually thinking of you the other day when I saw the specs for a Rasberry Pi device.

    http://www.raspberrypi.org/faqs

    I dont have the right background for this sort of thing, but for a $35 dollar investment, Im sure that someone that knows how to interface things could make a pretty rockin' control system out of it.....
    arrowe44 likes this.
  4. Nofossil

    Nofossil Moderator Emeritus

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    I've done a lot of work with the Arduino - I have one with three-axis accelerometers, gyros, and GPS. I mentored some high school kids who built an Arduino powered robot that could dance and sing. They were salivating over the Raspberry Pi and I think at least one of them bought one.

    However, I prefer industrial-grade hardware and a networked multitasking OS for my control system. Cross-compiling C code every time you want to tweak something gets old.
  5. Donl

    Donl Feeling the Heat

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    Going into my fourth year using NFCS to manage my overly complex heating system. All I have to do is supply dry wood and light the fire. Much fun still to come.
    arrowe44 likes this.
  6. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    I've thought about your control system every time I've daydreamed about this:

    www.theelectricbrewery.com/

    I'd never leave my basement if I could whip up a control system that both brewed my beer and ran my boiler. My wife would not approve.
  7. dzook

    dzook Member

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    Clarkbug, I am using the pi with pbxinaflash for a PBX , read all about it at nerdvittles http://nerdvittles.com/?p=3026

    Nofossil, The NFCS is still running on my heating system but mostly to view stuff. I made a lot of heating system changes this past year so I didn't get all the parts hooked back to the control. Are you still using an arm controller from technologic for the Version II?
    It is all about the tinkering!
  8. Nofossil

    Nofossil Moderator Emeritus

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    Depends how much your wife likes beer ;-)

    You'll be happy to know about this application of the BFCS (Beer Fermentation Control System). This is a real and live control panel, but fermentation is not hooked up at the moment. I've build a four keg cooler with separate temperature and carbonation control for each keg - all controlled by the NFCS, of course.

    Now some might quibble about the relevance of home brewing discussion in a wood heat forum. Clearly, they don't have a grasp of the big picture - it's all about self-reliance, using tools and technology to meet your basic needs.
  9. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I've forgotten what you eventually settled on for a "flame catcher" under your nozzle, Nofo. Were you ever able to build something that held up?
  10. Nofossil

    Nofossil Moderator Emeritus

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    Good to hear it's still running. Had one guy with a problem in the variable speed control, and I had an SD card die. There are about 40 of them out there.

    Still using the Arm controller, though we're looking at a custom version to reduce the cost and board count. We've also designed circuit boards to replace all of the hand wiring:

    [​IMG]
  11. Nofossil

    Nofossil Moderator Emeritus

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    Good to hear from you again, Eric. I'm using a much simpler 'hallway' design made of 3000 degree high-alumina firebrick splits. Held up for two years at this point. Starting to see some nozzle erosion, though.
  12. Clarkbug

    Clarkbug Minister of Fire

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    I have no idea what that last sentence means at all...... :)
  13. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    LOL, this takes me back to my college days. Ah, time and money............

    TS
  14. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    I do have faint memories of compiling C code back in school.

    And Fortran.

    I still find this gadgety stuff interesting, but have no interest in trying to re-learn any bit of coding I used to know - I think my gray matter is beyond help for that stuff now.
  15. Donl

    Donl Feeling the Heat

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    I'm curious if anyone has seen anything new on the NFCS. I haven't seen Nofossil for a while on this forum and there has been no activity on the nofossil.org web site for quite some time.

    I have my own NFCS which I have added some functionality such as scheduling and email alerts. I am now looking at moving to a higher performance hardware platform in order to add a lot more functionality. Just want to know if the original NFCS is still moving ahead or is it closing out?

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