With all of the lauded benefits of aquaponics, there are a number of drawbacks and they primarily lie in the need for electricity. Typically there is at least one pump, but if you also use grow lights, water heaters and other electronics, you'll inevitably increase possible points of failure. Wouldn't it be nice if you knew right away when pumps fail, grow lights burn out or don't come on, water heaters die, water temp plummets, a grow bed or fish tank springs a leak or overflows, humidity gets too high/low or the summer sun roasts your greenhouse?
Automation can immediately act to correct some of these conditions but sometimes you don't have a backup pump, grow light or stock tank heater. Leaks, especially in basement systems, can ruin property if it's not addressed quickly.
What you want is a way to know what's going on as it happens and a very good way of doing that is through text message or email. That's what this guide is all about and it's not unique to aquaponics or hydroponics - it can be used any time the Arduino needs to alert you of a sensor reading.
The Arduino Data Acquisition and Control System (ADACS) uses the mail API to notify owners of failed/blocked pumps, when environmental conditions move outside of user-defined ranges, and when grow lights fail or don't turn on. Additionally, you'll be notified when the Arduino has failed to connect to the webapp for a set period of time to indicate a potential power loss or loss of an internet connection. Knowledge of what is happening in your system is the most powerful tool of all and when you combine the Arduino in your aquaponics or hydroponics system, you get an inexpensive means of acquiring that knowledge.
How It Works
Like all of our web-based projects we'll use Google's cloud infrastructure, App Engine. We'll set up an Arduino Uno with two push buttons, which, when pressed, will send a web request to App Engine and prompt either an email or a text message. The client consists of a very basic form to collect the designated email address and text address.
1 x Arduino Uno R3
1 x Arduino Ethernet Shield R3
2 x Momentary button or switch
2 x 10k ohm resistor
1 x Small breadboard
Breadboard jumper wires
Google App Engine Python SDK: 1.7.4
*These instructions are probably very easy to translate for Windows or Mac, but as we have neither I can't help you there.