Subsystem Build & Test
Team Vision for Subsystem Level Build & Test PhaseDuring this phase, the team's main focus was on beginning testing. We found out right away that our original design was not capable of withstanding the rigors of the tests. We dealt with leaks, flooded plants, dry plants, and overall failure. We redesigned the system, using buckets instead of milk jugs and had extremely limited success. Nearly all of the plants died on account of the water delivery system. The dripping system was too uncontrollable to work. Next we decided on a wick system to deliver the water/nutrients to the plants. This is currently going through testing and has potential to be a success.
Accomplishments Since Last Review
- Previous water delivery system leaked so test bench water delivery updated to wick system
- Benchtop testing started
- Surculus transported to RIT
- Aeroponics design completed
- Dimming system design completed
Test Results Summary: Benchtop Testing
The Iterations of the Benchtophere
Test Requirements and Data CollectionFactors now tested in benchtop include:
- light exposure
- light wattage
- nutrient levels
The data collection and experiment guide can be found here. The document is updated weekly from data collected from google forms during maintenance.
Nutrient levels had to be adjusted due to testing constraints so all plants are receiving 5ml/gallon currently of each nutrient part. The nutrients used are General Hydroponics 3-part Flora series consisting of FloraGro, FloraMicro, and FloraBloom.
- FloraGro: provides nutrients for structural and
- In combination with FloraMicro it produces a specialized nutrient for rapidly growing plants during the structural and foliar growth phase.
- FloraMicro: provides rapidly growing plants with Nitrogen, Potassium, and Calcium as well as a combination of chelated micronutrients and trace elements.
- FloraBloom: provides minerals for the reproductive growth stage- Flowering, Fruiting, and Seed Production.
The original nutrient plan and an more detailed explanation of the nutrients can be found here for anyone looking to implement two nutrient levels for future testing.
Test Results Summary:LED Testing
So far this phase testing has begun on the lighting subsystem.
Lighting Test: Dimmer System
Through testing it was discovered that the original component purchased would not work due to their mechanical nature and new parts would have to be purchased to work with our system. A summary of the testing and process of choosing the lighting can be found here
LED Testing: Dimmer System
Updated Lighting System: Dimmers
A decision was made to update the current lighting system to a basic system (explained in document) based on original testing, giving us the ability to alter the brightness of the lights. A document explaining the details of this process with all possible lighting options can be found here
- Budget & Time
- Submersible Water Pumps are too expensive
- Design changes made
- Understanding of the current reservoir
- Aquatec 8800
- Decreased the budget by about $150 - current about $300
Testing of the Aeroponics System
- Mists from the nozzle must spray above 6 inches from their position
- The water pump has to be able to run 24/7 without shutting off.
A comprehensive Aeroponics write-up can be found here
- Calculated theoretical surculus current rotation speed is 2.14 rph (Goal rotation speed to meet aeroponics requirement is 4 rph)
- Next step: measure actual surculus current rotation speed
- Most likely scenario is to purchase a new gearhead and switch it out with a current gearhead to obtain the needed rotation speed
Sensor Subsystem Decision
Sensors did not fit into the scope of this project due to complexity, budget, and time. For this reason, it was decided sensor would not be a subsystem in MSD II. If it is decided in future MSD teams to implement a sensor system information collected can be found the Detailed Design section of the Edge page.
The project will proceed with four major subsystems: lighting, aeroponics, motor, and trays.
Surculus Build UpdateThe Surculus has been delivered to RIT. Assembling has been placed on hold due to a missing part. The problem and solution is explained in the Problem Track document below.
Risk and Problem Tracking
For the updated Problem Tracking document, click here
For the updated Risk Management document, click here
Purchase History and Budget Outlook
More purchases were made since last review session. We bought timers and connector wires for our electrical component of the project. Total money spent to date is $768.24.
Plans for next phasehere. Action Items list can be found here.
Action Items From Review
- Add nutrient explanation- Updated on this Edge page as of 2/20
- Sketch for new aeroponics layout
- Talk to MSD office about pump (write out documentation for justifying why we need to order this pump from this source)
- System design
- Rotation speed
- Identify goal rotation speed in motor design- Updated on this Edge page as of 2/20
- Lead time for motor
- Update Bob- Done 2/20
- Problem tracking aeroponics- Updated on this Edge page as of 2/20
- How to get money from Bob (Dr Debartolo)
- Master BOM (including all subsystems)- Updated on BOM link 2/27
- Wick system pictures- Updated on this Edge page as of 2/20 in build summary of the test benches