Setup FAQ

A list of Frequently Asked Questions for the kit setup

How can I start the system?

  1. Connect the power chord to the kit’s power supply and a grounded outlet.

  2. Turn on the switch on the kit’s power supply.

  3. Read the documentation on Particularly the software sections.

How can I shutdown the system?

The safest way to shutdown the system is to perform $ sudo shutdown now in the terminal shell of the Raspberry Pi. Next you can unplug the power cord or turn off the power cord button. Turning off the power without running the shutdown command will usually be fine. In the worst case, you may find your Raspberry Pi fails to boot the next time and you will have to reflash the SD card.

How can I log into the Raspberry Pi?

You can log into the Raspberry Pi over SSH or by attaching a monitor and keyboard. The default username for the Raspberry Pi is pi and password raspberry. To connect with SSH from a command line, run:

$ ssh pi@raspberrypi.local

If your Raspberry Pi cannot be found, use a tool like Angry IP scanner to figure out the IP address of your Raspberry Pi. Alternative, check your router's DHCP lease table. Then you can connect via ssh pi@<ip_address>.

How to reset the Wi-Fi network, actuator control and cloud-software settings?

The actuator control and other peripheral devices can be deactivated or changed on the website. The Wi-Fi network can be changed by editing the wpa_supplicant.conf file explained in the Kit software setup section.

I cannot see my sensor data in the web-application.

  • A) The connection to the cloud has been lost. The LCD screen should display in this case a message “Trying to reconnect...”. If the reconnect message stays, we advise to reset the system.

  • B) There is a connection to the cloud, yet I cannot retrieve any sensor data. This is most likely due to a sensor being defect. Go to the web-application and deactivate all sensors. Try to activate sensors one by one, starting from the CO2 sensor. You’ll have to restart the system. You can also verify the LCD screen is not causing issues for the sensors by disabling the LCD screen. To retrieve access via SSH, see gitbook section software, “building your software from scratch”.

The LCD screen is not working.

No blue light

In case there is no blue backlight, the sensor cable is detached or the LCD is broken. Contact support in this case.

Blue light, but no text

In most cases this means that the sensor (I2C) address has been configured wrongly or the contrast on the display is too low.

A) Contrast is too low. Use a screwdriver to screw the LCD contrast settings at the back of the LCD screen (Blue screw section). You'll see black boxes if the screen is on and if the contrast is set to high.

B) Wrong I2C address. Your LCD display module may use a different I²C address than configured in your kit's kit_config.toml. You can try editing that file again, click here for more details. The address of 0x27 is the most common; the next one to try is 0x3f. If this doesn't work either, you can use the I2C-detect tool on the command line to find the address of the LCD screen. Bare in mind that the LUX sensor also uses I²C at address 0x23.

The fans are off when I start the system.

The fans stay off by default when the system is in configuration mode. Once the actuator time schedule for the fans has been set, the fans should turn on.

A white dust is accumulating on the LECA pebbles, is this harmful?

In most cases, this white dust as seen in figure 1 is not harmful. Because AstroPlant uses a drip-irrigation system, the pebbles at the surface are wet most of the time. When part of this water evaporates, it leaves behind crystals of the nutrients in the solution.

When the pebbles are rinsed again after a full experimental run (so after a harvest), the crystals will dissolve again. Only when the buildup becomes abnormally high, could you consider to try and 'rinse' during the experiment by pouring on some additional tap water.

Figure 1. LECA with deposited mineral crystals.

Be sure to check that what you see in your kit is actually a dust composed of crystals. If it occurs only locally, seems 'hairy' and uneven in thickness and/or colour, you are more likely looking at a fungal infection!

The water is not coming through the irrigation ring properly.

This is likely because the transparent inner tube has been pushed too far up the split-T of the irrigation ring. This cuts off the water circulation in the irrigation ring.

Figure 2. Step 5 in assembly of the GHE hydroponic system.

The plant is infected by a pathogen.

If you think there is a fungal or bacterial infection on the plant, check the growth protocol ‘common infections’ section to see if you can confirm and classify the infection. Follow the steps outlined in the growth protocol. In case of a (minor) infection the experiment can still continue, with containment measures in place. At the end of the experiment, even if the infection was easily contained, the entire kit needs to be cleaned thoroughly. Report all actions in the manual measurement file or the AstroPlant app.

The plant is not growing properly.

In principle the experiment is meant to investigate plant growth under various conditions, some good, some less so. A plant not growing as quickly as expected or dying off might be the result of environmental conditions that are being recorded. In this case it is not a failed experiment, just one of the possible outcomes of the experiment. In fact, these results are crucial to the goal of understanding plant growth and development. If you have reason to believe another factor might be at play (e.g. a hydroponics defect or poor germination), contact AstroPlant support.

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