Used Laptops as a Computer Brain or not.
I’ve been thinking about this concept of using laptops for “computer brains” for grow systems and I think its a no go. One can purchase cheap computer boards such as a Raspberry PI Zero W that contain both a Linux based computing environment and I/O capabilities such as I2C and digital pins. The Pi Zero can be had for around $5 to $15 (http://www.microcenter.com/product/486575/zero_w). Even if you get a laptop for free you still need I2C, digital pins, and possibly other buses in order too interface to a typical “food computer” (mvp, fcv1, fcv2). On the other hand with a board like the Pi Zero you get the I2C, digital pins, etc AND you get a full featured Linux platform. Just my two cents.
@sachinm VERY similar thread was made recently:
Agreed with @ferguman though, it’s a nice idea but in practice it’s hard to beat the low cost and ease of use that open-source micro-controllers have.
If your food computer is a v1 or v2 food computer as designed by the MIT OpenAg group then you could in theory run the control software on a laptop as long as you had 2 or 3 spare USB ports (or a USB hub). You would still need the Arduino in the food computer but you could replace the Raspberry Pi. BTW: You can get fiber optic USB cables (https://www.amazon.com/Optical-Cables-Corning-Cable-Meter/dp/B00M2FYSYA/ref=sr_1_4?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1533491447&sr=1-4&keywords=fiber+optic+usb+cable) that would allow you run your food computer over 100 feet from your laptop or desktop.