$300 Food Computer - MVP


Hello, my time in MVP dashboard is off on the temperature graph. Is that intended or is there something buggy about my setup. From the linux console the date command shows the correct time but the graphs are off by about 6 hours into the future.

Thanks in advance.

Here is a screenshot.


Right now the data will be stored in UTC timezone, and the UI does not yet convert that into local. This is definitely an improvement that we have planned for the next software release (stay tuned, we’re working on a new UI) but until then the charts will not be localized to your timezone.

FYI: If anyone is interested in participating in the next round of software development please let @webbhm or I know. The core team here in St. Louis has been working on improvements and enhancements and we’re getting close to putting those together into another release. We will be working together under as an organization (non-profit) called “FutureAg STL” and are merging our repo’s into one GitHub now:

The next release of the software will be compatible with MVP hardware and allow for remote monitoring from any device, even if the Food Computer only has access to public Wi-Fi. We have further ambitions to add more hardware modules and software features like headless configuration (no monitor, mouse, keyboard) and data logging of phenotypical measurements.


Hello everyone,

We have been hard at work to evaluate the MVP project and provide a solution for remote monitoring of devices. This has required us to invest some time into developing a software development workflow on an organizational GitHub and researching various approaches to a hosted cloud IoT platform.

We hope to release a version of this software to some early adopters shortly, and I am looking for anyone who has built an MVP that is interested in collaborating to a larger extent. We are looking for people with experience in javascript or Polymer to help develop a progressive web app UI.

We could use help resolving some of our issues in GitHub as well as continuing to develop job stories based on feedback from real users. Hopefully, this gives you a better understanding of what some of the next steps are. Feel free to ask questions!

I appreciate any help people are willing to offer. If you have already developed code that is compatible and meets similar requirements I’d be very interested in seeing that as well.

@house @rbarta @wsnook @dashohoxha @danb @radiodave

OpenAG in South Africa

@seybling and I installed the TeamViewer on the Raspberry and on our devices. With that solution we have access from our mobile and other devices. We can also change any settings and code.


Can you post some screenshots of that UI? Any other information on TeamViewer or your codebase would be appreciated.


Thomas in our team (AstroPlant) will be working on our backend system, we’ll keep you in the loop once we figured out our own requirements. Hopefully there is overlap and we can work together on this.


The time is GMT/UTM, not local time. We may need to revisit the decision, but we decided to synchronize everyone to the same Greenwich standard.
Hopefully in the future we can keep the time standardized, but give people a choice on what timezone to display.


The UI is basically the Desktop Interface of the Raspberry, like when you connect it straight to a monitor. We didn’t had to change something on the basic code.


I have a question for your bill of materials: In the prepared parts documentation you cut off one end of the extension cord. As I see it the other end is “just a plug”, so can i take any “normal cable”? ( I can’t order the exact same cable as there is no Lowe’s here in Europe and the cable wouldn’t fit anyway :wink: ) Thanks in Advance!


Yes. Other cords should be fine, we just needed a male section and 2’ section for wire and it’s very cheap in U.S.

Edit: I misread your post and found an error in the documentation. We’re missing a slide showing the second cut of the extension cord in prepared documentation. You have to cut the wires 2.5 times. Hope that helps. @drewthomas89 @bennis this is definitely something we need to fix! Please add this to the list for the next revision of documentation, here’s how it should be:

Well, I’m certainly no artist. :joy:


Be careful here. I believe you are using 220V systems in Europe, here in the US it is only 110V. Make sure your light relay can handle your voltage. We had a situation where the lights shorted on the mylar. Electricity is dangerous.


Ok thanks. Why the second cut? The “half cut” is for the relay, right? And the full cut is for the Connection to the bulb socket, right?


Thanks for the remark. Yes I thought of that. We have 230 V root mean square so peak voltage 325V. The relay proposed in the Bill of Materials(https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KTEN3TM/ref=ask_ql_qh_dp_hza
) says “Equiped with high-current relay, AC250V 10A” so is that enough or not? I could not find any information if this is about RMS or peak value.


I am afraid I don’t know. Since I have 110 I have not had to look into it very much. We are actually considering trying to find 12v lights so we have something safer for schools and children.
Sorry I am not helpful.



I think you’re fine. They are rated for AC250V.

The MVP is being used in a lot of schools and by people who have very little experience with electricity and we want to make sure that no one gets hurt. I think Howard (my father) was more concerned about the issue outlined here: $300 MVP Food Computer Variant - My Build

It’s a big priority for me to develop a safer lighting assembly (I have a dozen 12V COBs in front of me) and I am more than open to suggestions for the next release of this project (yes we’re making another) for which I’m beginning to think a “smart plug” hack might be ideal. I think a big part of what has made the MVP successful is not using any OEM parts that require a dedicated manufacturer and I’d like to keep it that way.


ok thanks. one more question and this one might be stupid: in the prepared parts documentation you distinguish between the neutral wire and the other one. but as i can see from the picture (and it’s definitely the case for european cables) one could plug the cable in to the socket one way or the other so theres actually no chance of telling which wire is actually going to be the neutral one? does it make anz difference for the relay which wire is plugged into it?


Hi! Peter. After getting some hints of sensors from fergman on PFCv2, I surfed again many themes on OpenAg and finally I found this unit which is unique and affordable for me to start. Thank you.


Hi everybody!

Here Jtan, I’m from Argentina. and Linux DevOps
In Arg, some pieces are very expensive or almost impossible to get (… do not arrive), so maybe I should replace some products
I am very happy building the MVP and I would like to being able to contribute to the advancement of development.
The idea is to build the MVP and the proceeds will be to build the V2.
Here we have a large place to build a farm server …!

Endless thanks for all the documentation!
Later I’ll tell how it’s going

So lets get to work.


Technically the relay will work with either the neutral or power. The issue really has to do more with consistency and safety (the relay keeping power from being live in the MVP when the switch is off).
The easiest solution is to get a cheap multi-meter and run a continuity check on the wires (test with the power off!).


Here’s an update showing the direction we are heading for the next generation of Food Computers. For anyone who doesn’t know, @drewthomas89 is who built the alpha version of the MVP: