First Batch of Environmental Shields

Update: 6/5/2013
For those who emailed about purchasing the blank PCBs, you can find them above:  Blank PCBs.

The new Arduino Environment Shields came in today.  The major improvements are the use of screw terminals, which allow for the replacement of parts, a new prototyping area for customization and a new connection for a relay bi-color LED indicator.

Arduino Aquaponics Environment Shield.
More significantly, the new layout takes the two old boards (DAQ and Controller) and combines them into a single board - you may start out only interested in data acquisition and decide to add the control components later.

Environmental Controller mid assembly.

Obviously, hardware wasn't the only area we expanded upon, in fact, the software improvements are where the real changes can be seen.

The new timezone module streamlines the handling of time transitions and comparisons as well as Daylight Savings Time.

The real-time data visualizations in the cloud application now include context by plotting data against preferences, specifically minimum and maximum values for parameters.  Below is a gauge of the current temperature.  Instead of hard-coding red/green/yellow ranges, the ranges are set by user preferences and can be changed on the fly in the Settings tab.

Preference Range:  65 to  95 degrees Fahrenheit. 

The Environment Shield can be set to one of seven different modes: one for data acquisition only and then six for controlling grow lights, foggers, dehumidifiers, portable heaters, fans, etc.  All seven modes feature the data acquisition.  Changing modes is as easy as pressing a button and plugging in your device.

Memory cache has been implemented reducing datastore requests to one-third the original number and increasing service speeds.

The final two upgrades are perhaps the most important.  First, we have implemented Responsive Web Design, giving you an optimized interface across any device and screen size.  No more pinch-to-zoom on your mobile smartphone or tablet, the visualizations and layouts dynamically adjust.  The visualizations themselves are SVGs and built using AJAX; by including RWD practices we have removed the platform barriers separating iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Windows.

Lastly (but most exciting) the new cloud applications for the Environmental Controllers can sync with Aquaponics Tracker, providing a means of interfacing multiple controllers across a number of systems into a single screen with water quality and grow bed tracking.

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