Today we are releasing the first set of documentation for the OpenAgTM Personal Food Computer v2.0 (beta).
Check out the [First Documentation Release for v2 Beta] (https://github.com/OpenAgInitiative/openag_pfc2/releases/tag/v2.0.0-beta). This can also be found under the releases in the [openag_pfc2] (https://github.com/OpenAgInitiative/openag_pfc2) GitHub repository.
This release includes just enough to get started building the PFC2 Beta. It includes the Solidworks CAD Model, Bill of Materials for ordering parts (links included), Drawings for parts that need machining, and DXF files for parts that need laser cutting.
We will continue adding documentation to the GitHub repo throughout the week and make another release by Friday 1/13. There will not be any major changes to the Ordering BOM. We also recognize there are a few components that are not available to source yet, mainly the Chiller Unit, LED Light Modules, and Signal Board. These are components that have had to be more custom for a few reasons however we are working to make them as available and accessible as possible as soon as possible.
The Chiller Unit is being made by an awesome maker named Kipp who has been experimenting and innovating on small scale DC chiller units for a few years (among doing many other awesome things). He has been helping us achieve 200-300W of cooling so we can more precisely control the temperature in the food computer chamber in an energy efficient way (compressor based instead of thermoelectric cooler based). He is currently in the process of scaling up his operation to make this unit more accessible. This unit is interesting because while many plants will grow fine in ambient environments, being able to actively control the temperature and go beyond the ambient temperature range is a key feature for the personal food computer to be a precision agriculture device. If you want a very near term solution, mini fridges / freezers and water coolers also have to solve a similar cooling problem.
With regard to the LED Light Modules, we have been working with GE to modify one of their existing products that is energy efficient and runs at 12Vdc. Many of the lower cost light panels you can find on Amazon will work, but they will also add extra heat into the system which reduces efficiency. We are also really excited about these units because they come in chains of smaller 3-5 LED modules which means they can easily be made into novel configurations. Each color (Red, Blue, White) is also on its own circuit so the light spectrum inside the grow chamber can be controlled more precisely.
With regard to the Signal Board, we needed to have a reliable and straightforward way to connect sensor and other communication devices to the Arduino. We also wanted a cheap way to connect Atlas Scientific Sensors to the system so this board takes the best parts of Arduino sensor shields and the Tentacle shield and combines it into a single printed circuit board. This design and gerber files will be put into the [openag_signal_board] (https://github.com/OpenAgInitiative/openag_signal_board) github repo. For those in the community that like designing PCBs, iterating and improving upon this board might be a nice place to start.
We have been working really hard on this version and will continue to do so on the documentation front. A more comprehensive build instruction set will come next week, along with a build video the following. We are very excited to deploy this and even more so to continue building this open ecosystem of next generation food technologies with all of you.
- Jake & OpenAg team