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Member Since 14 Jun 2011
Offline Last Active Jun 20 2017 09:27 AM

#52509 Call for Secret Labs to Kick Start Go! Bus

Posted by mcinnes01 on 02 September 2013 - 10:46 PM



I have been a happy user of Secret Labs products for many years, I have enjoyed the fantastic, friendly and helpful community and Secret Labs energy and commitment to improve their products.


Now I feel it is the communities chance to help Secret Labs...


I would like to propose that Secret Labs start a Kick Starter campaign to help fund the development of the Go! Bus protocol which is holding back many avid netduino users and the exciting new products Secret Labs have on backlog. The community have all been waiting patiently for ethernet, SD and the Gadgeteer hub for sometime and it seems focus has shifted and the forums have gone a little quiet.


I would like to know the viability to allow the community to "give a little to get a little", by funding Secret Labs so they can employ some additional resources to either work on the Go! Bus protocol, or work on the AGENT smart watch, freeing up other resource to work on Go! Bus.


I would love to start getting some use out of my N Go! and would love to see the netduino forums that bustling hive of community interest they were previously.


What are your thoughts on this?


Many thanks,



#52328 New book: Netduino Home Automation Projects

Posted by mcinnes01 on 24 August 2013 - 08:21 PM

Ordered! Can't wait I am just starting a major home automation project so this could be useful, although my spark is quoting 11K for the infrastructure I want putting in place :o

#31225 Netduino Firmware v4.2.0 RC5 (Netduino + Netduino Plus)

Posted by mcinnes01 on 26 June 2012 - 07:17 PM

Source access would be very handy for me as well, as i need some SPI specific tweaks to the firmware for my current project to run with adequate performance, and i cant evaluate 4.2 fully without making the necessary changes, and i would really really like the GC improvements and increased codespace for the extra headroom it gives in my project.

Would it be possible to release source as well as the compiled firmware and bootloaders with each Beta, (obviously with a suitable disclaimer of here be dragons, etc.) as it would allow the community to help test and speed integration of highly requested features such as the OneWire extensions etc.


Plus 1 on that I am dying to get 1-wire in 4.2!

#24109 Waterproof temperature sensor?

Posted by mcinnes01 on 11 February 2012 - 04:25 PM

I tested out the stainless steel ones in an empty tank for a few weeks, you need to be sure about the quality of the probe (mine was quite cheap probably like the adafruit ones). The probe I have lost its stainless steel coating revealing the copper underneath it, obviously not good putting copper in a fish tank. The first link for pratical maker that was posted seems a good route I too looked at that, although you could get a glass test tube and seal a probe in with aquarium safe silicone. As suggested further up glass seems a sensible option, and as it will be fully submerged and temperature of a large volume of water is not likely to change very quickly, the glass should be a good enough conductor. Also if you think most thermometers are glass. The ds18b20's seem very accurate in my testing and I believe there are some other versions that allow you to assign an address, in case you have multiple probes e.g. sump, filler tank, main tank etc this would make it easy to identify the probes.

#23151 Powerful Aquarium Lighting

Posted by mcinnes01 on 22 January 2012 - 09:45 PM

Hi Geancarlo,

I am going to control the LEDs from 1 netduino using 2 TLC5940s, Nevyn has done some fantastic work with these PWM drivers and they make controlling many LEDs possible. Unfortunatly they aren't really designed for high power LEDs and there is probably a better IC for what I am trying to do, but I quite like the idea of using the TLCs and creating individual drivers for each LED. Thanks for the formulea my electronics knowledge is in its infantcy currently so please bare with me....

As an example my LEDs are each rated with a 750ma current drop, with a voltage drop of 3.5v - 4.0v, I am not sure what this range is for on the voltage drop?

Would this be the right calc for R2: 0.5/0.75 = 0.666ohm so 0.68ohm
Then the power rating would be 0.25/0.68 * 2 = 0.735W so 1Watt like these?

Could R1 be 100k ohm?

In terms of Q1 would this be right?

For Q2 Power = 4v * 0.75a = 3W
In terms of Q2 would thisbe right?


In terms of the open drain with the mosfets can you show me how I could include a PNP in the circuit? Also do you think the circuit would be better with a diode in like these?

Here is another circuit example I have found that contains a diode, could it be adapted to take in to account your advice about the open drain mostfet issue, and do you think this is a better circuit than the one above? With the diode in R1 would be 22k ohm right?

Thanks again for all your help,


#23031 Powerful Aquarium Lighting

Posted by mcinnes01 on 19 January 2012 - 11:21 PM

Thanks for the link Pete, epic thread! Finally finished reading it and there is some useful info there. Glad I am on track with the 3w LEDs. Already ordered my blues but got some ideas for what to look for in the White LEDs. Funny you say that, I was thinking of that exact same thing the other day, the problem is, copper and aquariums are a proper no go. So in order to achieve this I would need to circulate the water over or through the heatsink without any copper being envolved. Just trying to work out how to drive the LEDs now whilst controlling the brightness using the PWM from the TLC5940s. Any ideas? Cheers, Andy

#22895 Powerful Aquarium Lighting

Posted by mcinnes01 on 17 January 2012 - 11:47 PM

Hi Mario,

Thanks! I like the way you get to the point, on reflection and a little more research I have discovered, although the 10, 20, 50, 100 watt led are available and sold for fish tanks, although not useless these higher power ones would be better for very deep tanks, where the par is reduced due to added discipation that occurs as the water is made deeper. See here

Here is some overall info from wikipedia about lighting in aquaria:

The most recent addition to the list of aquarium lighting technologies is LED lighting. These have the potential to be much more efficient than any other technology, but are not fully developed. LEDs have the advantage of point source lighting, but are also adjustable to most power levels. This allows for more advanced lighting schedules, the simulation of cloud cover, or even lightning storms. So far, LEDs have found use mainly as lunar lighting in commercial products.

Reef-keeping enthusiasts have began to build their own LED light fixtures as well. Debate over their effectiveness towards coral is still inconclusive, particularly with respect to their ability to give off UV radiation, critical to obtaining a vibrant array of colors that most people interested in LED lighting are looking for.[3]

LED lighting can be considered one of the most energy efficient and low impact options to lighting a reef tank as well, with a projected life expectancy of seven years.

[edit] Overall lighting considerations
When considering lighting for an aquarium, there are generally two factors to consider: wattage and color temperature. Depending on the type of lighting (i.e. fluorescents, metal halide, etc.) the wattage of light emitted may vary considerably, from tens of watts to several hundred watts in a lighting system. Wattage, while not indicative of color, is equivalent to power and essentially determines how brightly the light will shine. Due to the scattering of light in water, the deeper one's tank is, the more powerful the lighting required. Color temperature, measured in kelvins (albeit slightly unrepresentively) refers to the color of light being emitted by the lamp and is based on the concept of blackbody radiation. Light from the sun has a color temperature of approximately 5900 K and lighting systems with color temperatures >5000 K tend to be best for growing plants in both the marine and freshwater setting. 10,000 K light appears bluish-white and emphasizes coloration in fishes and corals. Higher up on the spectrum there are 14,000 K and 20,000 K bulbs that produce a deep blue tint which mimic the lighting conditions underseas, creating an optimal ambience for invertebrates and livestock present.

Along with this information from

For live plant customers, Eco Exotic has come out with 8000k led aquarium lighting to use in addition to their regular 10000k and colored stunner strips, so you can customize your lighting to your specific needs.

It would appear that, other than providing enough light to allow plants and corals to grow, the color temperature is somewhat your own choice. That being said sunlight it around 5500k and so this should be the minimum with the tank depth taken in to consideration.

If anyone can elaborate or supply further info on colour temp/ intensity for aquariums I would appreciate it.

So back to the project...

I now plan on getting a 750mm x 250mm x 4mm thick aluminium sheet to act as my heat sink, do you think this will be ok heat disapation wise for 3 watt leds spaced 3 inches (80mm) apart?

Next I have pretty much decided to go with 3 watt leds, I have seen a few other projects people have done and alot of people are using the cree 3 watt leds. How do the ebay ones I listed in my first post compare with the cree ones?

The other projects don't seem to have any dimming or colour control really, well not netduino powered any way, that I have stumbled across any way! So an based on the above about colour temp and intensity and the actual colour of the light in general, I want to make this controlable to some extent also so it can be adapted to different situations. Would I be right in saying that colour temp changes with intensity (dimming level) and is there any set rule e.g. a light with a colour temp pf 20k @ 50% pwm cycle would be 10k or would it just be a dimmer 20k?

So the plan numbers wise is 30 LEDs in total (3x10)

----- W ---------- W ---------- B ---------- W ---------- B---------- W ---------- B ---------- W ---------- B ---------- W -----

----- B ---------- G ---------- R ---------- W ---------- G ---------- R ---------- W ---------- R ---------- G ---------- B -----

----- W ---------- B ---------- W ---------- B ---------- W ---------- B ---------- W ---------- B ---------- W ---------- W -----

13 x White
10 x Blue
3 x Green
3x Red

Total 90 Watts.

To control the leds independantly from the TLC5940s, I guess each will have its own driver, this will be made in to one board.

For the suggested LEDs how do I calculate what power supply I would need and how do I provide the power to the LEDs by using the TLC5940s to supply the pulse width?

I guess a transistor will be used, a resistor and a capacitor maybe for each LED? I am happy to go with an IC for each one, I believe you can use a 555, there were a lot of circuit options on the in instructable link, but I am not sure the best route or if there is a better option?

I quite like the idea of the buck and boost circuits, I think its good to allow for changes in current, yet still supply the LEDs with what they need, also it would be great if the circuit could be tuned to suit the LEDs and be as efficient as possible.

Many thanks again,


EDIT: This link shows someones study on par and depth in an aquarium.

#22867 Powerful Aquarium Lighting

Posted by mcinnes01 on 17 January 2012 - 11:02 AM


I am working on a few things at the moment all for my aquarium project, however recently whilst building my relay enclosure I started thinking about how I want to power it all. The relay enclosure has a couple of pc fans that I am going to use to aid my heat sinks in thermal management. To be honest like usual I may have gone a little over kill on the thermal management, well on everything but thats my style ;).

Any way the fans require a 12 volt power supply, the majority of the project runs off the netduinos 3.3 and 5v, a little of the mains that my relays will provide and final I think.... What about the LED lighting?

I was planning on feeding the netduino a 12v supply and then splitting this to feed the LEDs and Fans, however my LED enlosure is starting to look quite powerful all of a sudden...

Despite some opinions I will be controlling my LEDs from my 2 tlc5940s, this provides me with 32 channels of PWM. Each of the LEDs in my aquarium lighting unit are going to be individually controlable (again yes you may be thinking THIS IS COMPLETE OVERKILL but there is method to my maddness...).

As part of the LED lighting I am planning on writing my application so that it retrieves real Lunar cycles from well where ever I want, perhaps where the fish are from to provide times on when to dim and the intensity of moon light (produced from blue LEDS still need to research the wavelengths required). Any way, I plan on trying to simulate a natural environment as much as possible, effects include cloud cover (created by dimming different areas of lighting unit and having this gradually move across the tank), also lightening (a little strobing from single leds again occuring randomly across the lighting unit) and sunrise/sunseet and lunar patterns to affect blue light intensity.

So my questions....

I am going to use powerful LEDs I was thinking either a mixture of 3 watt LEDs and 10 watt LEDs or just a load of 3 watt LEDs.

My first idea was something like:

5x Warm White 10W
5x Blue 10W
5x Red 3W
5x Green 3W
10x Cool White 3W

Or my other idea using just the 3w leds above

14x Cool white 3w
8x Blue 3w
4x red 3w
4x green 3w

I am total open to suggestions, the aim is to do the effects mentioned above, run the most efficient circuit possible and keep costs down. Also thermal management is quite crucial in my book (any UK heat sink suggestions would be much appreciated also?).

What I want to know is can you suggest a driver circuit that I can PWM control the LEDs, I am already thinking each LED is going to have have it's own driver, but I will just make a driver board with a repetition of the circuits(s).

So circuit wise I would like protection for the LEDs as they are current sensitive, thermal protection also and high efficiency, and I would like to keep it as cheap as possible.

I have read this instructable, but I simply just don't know what the best option would be, remember I will be providing PWM from the TLC5940s. And to go back to what brought my thinking of this part of the project forward... What would your recommend power supply wise? Can I get away with 12v for the fans and the LEDs or, will I be looking more 24v and however many amps for the LEDs?

Many thanks in advance for your help,


#18938 Navigate data on an SD

Posted by mcinnes01 on 08 October 2011 - 07:54 PM


I am just looking a little further in to data logging, I building an aquarium controller and will measure multiple temperatures, ph and maybe a few other things as my project grows...

Basically I want to know if its possible and how I would go about navigating through data that I log, and logging multiple things?

Background: I am using a netduino standard and a sparkfun microSD shield and a gain span wifi module. (Not the N+)

I also want to store user variables on to the sd that can be used to reset the device if the power is disonnected.

Eventually I plan on having the data upload to an SQL database, but it will always write to the sd as a backup, then reconcile the server when the connection is restored. Perhaps keeping a week of backup on the SD, so the navigation will come in to select all records that are older that 1 week and delete them. I just about have my head around databases but I don't really understand how data is held on the sd?

This is the code I have used to write to the sd so far in testing:

using System;
using System.Threading;
using Microsoft.SPOT;
using Microsoft.SPOT.Hardware;
using SecretLabs.NETMF.Hardware;
using SecretLabs.NETMF.Hardware.Netduino;
using SecretLabs.NETMF.IO;
using System.IO;

namespace SDCardTest
    public class Program
        public static void Main()
            StorageDevice.MountSD("SD", SPI.SPI_module.SPI1, Pins.GPIO_PIN_D8);

            using (var filestream = new FileStream(@"SD\dontpanic.txt", FileMode.Create))
                StreamWriter streamWriter = new StreamWriter(filestream);
                streamWriter.WriteLine("This is a test of the SD card support on the netduino...This is only a test...");

            using (var filestream = new FileStream(@"SD\dontpanic.txt", FileMode.Open))
                StreamReader reader = new StreamReader(filestream);

Thanks in advance for the help, also how would I go about having this as a background process, I am totally new to multi-threading and still don't understand it much, but I guess this project is going to end up with a lot of processes occuring symultaneously. I've seen OMAR's example but could do with understanding how I could apply it to a situation like data logging while other things like readings are being taken and decisions made to turn things on and off at the same time, along with pwm lighting control and fan control etc.


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