Caleb and #NerdFarmers everywhere,
We are excited to be a part of this community, and wanted to formally introduce ourselves to everyone here since we have a unique story and are really geeked out about the PFC v2.0.
Our username is called “ZahnAgtech” since we don’t have an official company name, but are repping ourselves as ambassadors and innovators and from the City College of New York (CCNY’s) Zahn Entrepreneurship Program. We are a team of 3 engineers and entrepreneurs (Alex, Adrian & Dan) who are committed to helping develop and understand urban agriculture technology.
We joined together to create a business in the space, and saw the PFC v2.0 as a truly unique opportunity to get hands-on experience building closed-loop systems using sensors, actuators, pumps and more to create optimal environments for plants. While none of us are really “farmers” we are all passionate about technology and have the drive to figure out how we can leverage these systems to make farmers smarter, and maybe even work on building smarter farms for non-farmers!
Our goals are to follow the instructions provided by MIT as much as possible and have put in about 45 hours to this point. We wanted to share a few notable things:
We have found that Amazon is our best friend for sourcing many of the parts, they have most everything, from power supplies to acrylic sheets, often at the best prices, and with Prime, can really be trusted to deliver components on time
** We were using the BOM with prices put together by @dlerman , but have found a few differences in needs, sources or prices. We will be putting together an update based on our experience so far
The wires are a BEAST! So far, of our 45 hours, we estimate we have spent between 12-15 hours just making the custom wiring needed for this project, and its meticulous, sometimes annoying work to add the leads and molex to the wiring . There are about 40-50 unique wires to make, and each can take between 10-30 minutes to make (depending on how good you are at molex)
** We will look to see if we can figure a way to simplify the wiring needs and try and minimize the variety of different configurations going forward
We are located here in NYC, and are more than excited to have been in contact with others here in the area working on the project! If you are in NYC or the tri-state area, please reach out!
Going forward, we want to make our experience as beneficial for the community as possible, so we have a few ideas on where we can add value:
- Update BOM, with links and prices
- Blog and describe any issues we have as they come up
- Buy boards and other components in bulk
- Create the NYC community (hat-tip to @Webb.Peter from St. Louis with helping us here)
- Blog, and write thought pieces on some of the markets for Agtech products. The first one we are planning on is a breakdown of the at home “Food Computer” market
What else can we do to help the community out? We are all ears, and look forward to working with everyone!!
Ready for the adventure!
Alex, Adrian & Dan