Growing Tobacco Indoors (Update #2)

Only six days after transplanting my tobacco seedlings into new pots, and it looks like they already needs a new home.

Image

The last week have been somewhat moody visiting my grandmother at the hospital where she is preparing for her last journey.
Such times brings up the existential questions of life. It’s very easy to get carried away, searching for answers to these questions.
This can quickly get mentally exhausting, so looking for the meaning of life on earth rather that our existence can help us feel a bit more grounded, and let the existential questions rest for awhile.

Working with plants, digging in soil, getting our hands dirty and helping new life emerge, are one of the best ways to take roots in reality and getting real a feeling of groundedness.

So let’s get started!

I didn’t feel for going to the store to buy new pots today, so I took some old yoghurt containers and used my Dremel to make some drainage holes in them. Reuse karma points right here!

ImageApproximately 13mm (1/2″) in diameter and height. So I will probably have to do some more transplanting soon, but that’s alright.

Image

The plastic shavings tends to stick to everything so I did put them in a paper container to minimize the mess.

I was going to use ~30% Vermiculite mixed with organic potting soil mix, but I was short on vermiculite so I used some Perlite in there too.

ImageImage

I think the mix came out pretty good. Just had to use some time breaking up the soil lumps.

I was a bit worried about how I would get the plants out from their old pots, but it turned out to be no problem at all.
I just had to wiggle them a bit, and press on the sides of the pot to release the soil, and each one came out in one piece.
Image

Now that is one beautiful plant! I was surprised of how developed the roots had become in just 6 days.

Getting them into their new homes was no problem at all. After transplanting I do like to moisten the new soil from the top. Here I’m using my Sriracha hot sauce bottle which works great for doing this.

Image

At some point I think I’ll need to supplement them with some additional nutrients. So any suggestions for an organic fertilizer rich in nitrogen, either home made or store bought would be very much appreciated!

Image

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading, and feel free to leave a comment.

Have a nice day!

Growing Tobacco Indoors (Update #1)

Image

Today I have been transplanting the fittest seedlings from my starting trays into some larger pots.
After almost one month with a lot of thinning (unexpected high germination rate on the organic Virginia tobacco seeds I bought of eBay), the remaining seedlings looks very strong and healthy.

Soon they’re ready to go back into my grow tent and enjoy the precious lumens.

Some info on the LED LENSER M7R charger

It’s getting darker for every night here now. So I dug my LED LENSER M7R flashlight out of my closet.

However. I couldn’t seem to find the charger anywhere around..

And since I wasn’t sure if the charging circuitry was embedded in the flashlight itself or in the charger, I did a mini teardown before trying to hook it up to my PSU (in fear of damaging the battery).

It turns out the charging circuit is embedded in the back of the flashlight on a small circular PCB (sorry for no pictures).
There was, I think, 2 ICs on the PCB. But I could only read the markings on one of them without desoldering the springterminal.

It turned out to be a LM3658 (marked L111B on IC) from TI:
http://www.ti.com/lit/ds/symlink/lm3658.pdf

I gave it 5V with current limit at 600mA from my lab PSU. And it went into Pre-qualification mode, drawing 50mA, for a couple of minutes, before going into constant current charging mode at 540mA.

Center is positive (5V) and outer ring is negative (0V).

LED LENSER M7R Charging

Charging LED LENSER M7R with lab PSU.

This might not be useful information for anyone, but you never know.

CA3080 Tremolo effect (with audio samples)

Image

Here is a tremolo effect I made this weekend. It’s CA3080 VCA is based on a design from Thomas Henry’s “Making Music With The 3080 OTA”.
The modulation signal is generated using a 74HC14 inverting schmitt trigger configured as a relaxation oscillator.

I’ve built and tested the circuit on breadboard and stripboard. And as long as the input signal level is kept in range, it seems to work pretty well.

The next version will definitely have a mix/bypass-potentiometer.

schematicBreadboard proto Stripboard

 

Nord Electro 3 Electric Piano

Nord Electro 3 Organ

 

All audio recorded trough Focusrite Saffire 6 USB soundcard. No other effects applied.

 

 

Feel free to ask questions.

-odinhg

Simple RIMS brewing system

Me and my friend Torstein have always enjoyed a good beer, and have recently got hooked on home brewing. Actually, Torstein did some extract based beers, and then I joined him on brewing a partial mash brew (extract + special malt). And now we’re doing our first All Grain beer! This gave me a perfect opportunity to do another DIY build.

Mash Tun

I got a 37litre stainless steel tank from a colleague, which I polished and attached some hose barbs, a ball valve, some handles and a fitting for my temperature sensor.

Handles (left side), temperature sensor connection (front), hose barbs and ball valve (right side). The inlet and outlet got swagelok fittings on the inside for connecting the false bottom and the top manifold.

False bottom and top manifold

False bottom made from stainless steel pipe sandwiched between 2 perforated aluminium sheet metal pieces using 3 stainless threaded rod and  acorn nuts. Pickup tube is ø8mm swagelok.
A bit pain to clean this, but it does a great job at holding the grain away from the pump.

Top manifold is just some bent SS tubing, with some holes I made using a dremel. It’s not perfect but it works for now.

Wort Cooler

I made the wort cooler of some ø10mm SS swagelok tubing and connected a PVC hose with some hose clamps.

Temperature control and circulation

The temperature control is just a PID controller switching a solid state relay which then switches the hot plate. Pt100 temperature sensor for sensing the mash temperature.

The pump is a circulator pump which can withstand temperatures up to 110 Degrees C. It got 3 preset speeds which can be selected using a switch on the pump itself. I also got some hose barbs for the pump.

Here’s some more pictures (by Torstein)

Automatic drink mixer (aka Drink-O-Matic Deluxe)

While browsing the web, I found this automatic drink mixer called Bar2D2. A very nice build, which inspired me to do my own automatic drink mixer. I didn’t need it to move around by itself, which simplified the construction a lot.

Instead of using compressed air, I went for a solution using pumps. This might be the biggest flaw in my design, as it shows under testing that the pumps stirs the beverage  so much, that there’s is no CO2 left when it hits the glass. So be careful if you’re planning to go for a pump based solution and need to mix carbonated beverages.

Mechanical

  • 6 tanks (juice bottles with the bottom cutted off)
  • 6 pumps
  • 6 solenoid valves
  • PVC cup for mixing the 6 lines together (milled on lathe)
  • Aluflex (aluminium profiles) based frame

The bottles, I bought at my local grocery store. Pumps, solenoids, hose barbs and silicone tubing I bought on eBay.
The PVC cup and aluminium for the frame was just old cuts laying around.

Electrical (and software)

  • 12VDC Pumps and solenoids
  • Atmel mega48 Microcontroller
  • Powertransistors for pumps and solenoids
  • USB to UART adapter for communication with PC
  • IR proximity sensor for cup detection
  • RGB LED strip for increased fancy factor and machine state indication (fading colors = idle,   green = cup detected,   red = filling in progress,   blinking green = drink is ready)

Old, extremely current hungry power transistors, with smaller signal transistors in front. Poor design, but it was what I had at my hands at the moment.

A simple description of the firmware on the microcontroller:

  1. The atmega idles until it detects a cup.
  2. Waiting to receive mixing ratios from the PC.
  3. Now it will begin to fill the cup, as long as the cup isn’t removed by operator.
  4. When the filling is complete, the LED strip will blink green until the cup is removed.
  5. Return to idle mode

Some of the key features in the PC client software:

  • Choose the currently loaded ingredients, and set cup size
  • Select drinks that can be made with the ingredients loaded
  • Make your own custom drinks
  • Randomizer function, which makes a drink with random mixing ratios
  • Manually run each line (pump+solenoid) for testing and cleaning purposes

All AVR code was written in AVRStudio4 and compiled with avr-gcc/WinAVR. All PC code was written in LabVIEW 2011.

Conclusion

Building the Drink-O-Matic was great fun, both the mechanical, electrical and software part. But I learnt a few things (which is the biggest reason I build things like this):

  • Air in the pumps, causing bad pump performance (Allow venting, or see next point)
  • Loss of carbonation because of the stirring (Go for a compressed air solution with pressure regulation instead of pumps)
  • Inlet pressure on pumps dropping propotional to the tank level, giving a flow rate dependent of tank level (Speed control of pumps with calibration curves in firmware or see previous point)
  • Burned some transistors by forgetting current limiting resistors on some of the power transistors (Don’t be me)

Feel free to ask me questing about this build in the comment section or via mail.

Here’s some more pictures (by Torstein) and a short video clip. And remember, drink responsibly!