Lee's Next Project

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2017 5:38 pm
Hi all,

Sorry I haven't been around for a while. Hopefully this new project gives me an excuse to be around again. I'd like to thank Roberto for giving me the opportunity to play with the long awaited next generation of ReefAngel, the RA Star. You may have seen hints of this around in the libraries, but I don't believe much has been discussed about it.

As some of you know I was looking a while ago for a way to control my remote water station in conjunction with my RA+ (viewtopic.php?f=17&t=4287). I ended up building my station with a prototype of the Star that Roberto had me test (pic of my rebuilt mixing station attached.) In the end I had it just working as a standalone unit. I was able to control the RO/DI for my ATO with a solenoid on the RA+ and the RA Star just controlled my AWC pump, a solenoid for flushing the RO membrane and my mixing pump.

So now that I've rebuilt my mixing station, my next project is to re-wire my relay boxes on the tank upstairs and to swap out the controller with the hopefully production release of the RA Star. Some of the benefits of the Star are that it has ethernet built in, 4 PWM 5V or 10V, Analog or PWM ports. 3 IO ports, a built-in leak detector, 2 USB ports and a mini SD card slot. Oh, it also has a touch screen! (more pictures attached)

With the RA Star upstairs on my tank, you might be asking what this has to do with my mixing station. Well, to answer that is another new device that Roberto has me testing. It's called the Cloud WiFi Hub. This thing is pretty cool. I configured it a while ago (to some degree) but haven't gotten around to testing it yet. The Cloud WiFi Hub connects remotely to the Cloud server. It has 2 USB ports and 2 temp ports. I plan to have the relay box and the multi-Water Level expansion attached along with the temp probes for my two mixing bins. The RA Star will connect to it via the cloud and be able to control my station through one interface! This is going to be awesome, I can't wait!

But wait! There's one more awesome feature. Some of you may have seen it if you're playing with the Web Wizard, but maybe not as you might not have checked under the RA Star board, but there's a new option there. Instead of having to connect directly to your ReefAngel to upload new code, there is a Remote Upload feature! What this means, is that after you compile your code through the Web Wizard, it will upload your RA Star firmware to the portal. The RA Star connects to the portal every 5 minutes and checks for a new version and downloads and installs it automatically. No more cables! Also Roberto fixed a dependency last night so you don't even need the plugin. That means you can upload new code to your RA from anywhere in the world from just about any browser! Very very very sweet. Roberto and I tested this pretty extensively this week.

So, obviously I have a lot to do and won't be able to actually install it until I get some of the peg-board I ordered from Amazon that I wanted. This thread will be a build thread as I go. I should be able to work on a lot of the coding this weekend so that it'll be ready. The swap-out is going to be a major project though. Hopefully you guys will get excited, ask a lot of questions and learn about this new board. Welcome aboard.

Sorry if the pictures look like crap in the browser. Try in tapatalk or open them in a new window if you have issues.

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Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2011 6:20 pm
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2017 8:47 pm
very cool! I should be getting my RA Star sometime soon. Then I'll be able to swap out my setup and use it.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 6:14 pm
So, a long frustrating day of troubleshooting issues with the WebWizard plugin. Looks like at the end it was just a simple fix of having to kill the process and restart it from the GUI (on the Mac). Apparently there was a permission issue after it starts automatically with the installer.

So after Day 1, I have a working RA Star that I can now upload from the WebWizard through the cable, and use the Remote Upload feature. I'm currently waiting for it download my "Feature Complete" code which I modified to work on the Star. I had to remove all the custom screen writing stuff that I never use anyway and also had to change the relay boxes (there's no Main relay box)

Next work will be to get the Cloud hub configured and start testing that aspect.

One major blocking point that needs to be solved is the WiFiAlerts which I rely on heavily to keep me updated on some of the status that I can't use the Portal Alerts for etc. I also send my daily status updates, so this will have to be solved before I can cut over.

Anyway, Remote Upload worked once... will need to do some more work to see it be reliable :)
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 8:04 pm
wifialerts... what's the blocking point for you?

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 11:21 pm
WiFiAlerts class sends a request to a webpage (GET /status/wifialert.asp) on the portal through the Serial out. The Star no longer uses the serial except for debug output and installing new firmware. So we need to modify it to use the PortalClient or another Ethernet class directly to make the call.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 7:32 am
lnevo3 wrote:WiFiAlerts class sends a request to a webpage (GET /status/wifialert.asp) on the portal through the Serial out. The Star no longer uses the serial except for debug output and installing new firmware. So we need to modify it to use the PortalClient or another Ethernet class directly to make the call.

gotcha. i haven't looked at the code at all. i don't use the portal, so i don't use that functionality.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 3:35 pm
I don't use the portal much either, but I do use the alerts :)

Anyway, so far today has been a good day. We debugged a few more things with Robert and got extra temp probes supported by the Star. I now have 1-3 on the head unit which will be for display, sump and stand and then we added 4 and 5 from the Cloud hub. So my Star is currently only showing me the 2 temp probes in the mixing station and I've configured the relay box there as Box 5 and it's now being controlled by the Star. Soo freakin cool. I'm also reading the multi-level expansion from there as well, but it needs to be calibrated. As soon as one of my tanks are 1/2 empty, I'll get to that :)

I now realize that I will need to use my extra expansion hub and get an IO module in order to read the flow switches on the mixing station, but I can live without those for now. So moving ahead now, the only thing stopping me is the alerts and some testing for reliability. I've moved all the code that I was running on the old star (albeit without a lot of customization - but with Remote Upload, I can live with that). It was so nice to finally be able to integrate the RO Flush solenoid with when I open the solenoid to fill my ATO reservoir. Having all the code on one controller really makes this a thing of beauty.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 4:54 pm
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 1:53 pm
That star board is pretty sexy. I like it. Still prefer hard wire Ethernet to wireless though. I like the cloud server UI too.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 9:08 pm
The Star itself is hard-wired. I'll more than likely be using a wifi access point though to give it connection. So it's not much of a trade-off. I've never really had a big issue.

Anyway, have a new blocking point that I'm working on with Roberto. The bins for my mixing station are tall and we had some customization to do so the sensitivity can be adjusted. Need to make this a feature in the code if using the web wizard, or I'll have to change it locally since the Cloud hub doesn't support Remote Upload anyway.

Let's see what Roberto comes back with. Still haven't had much chance to look at the Ethernet code yet to replace the WiFiAlert. I started too...

Anyway, I just got a new 29" Ultra Wide monitor so I'm having fun with that at the moment :)
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