FAQ

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 https://astroplant.gitbook.io/join-mission/. Particularly the software sections.

How can I shutdown the system?

I installed the AstroPlant Hotspot Image

The recommended approach: If you wish to shutdown your system, open the top-panel and press the SW2 (GPIO6) button on the extension board for about 15 seconds. After a few seconds you can switch off the power supply (AC/DC converter).

I installed the AstroPlant Bare Image or installed the software from scratch.

The safest way to shutdown the system is to perform "sudo shutdown now" in the terminal shell of the Raspberry Pi. In turn you can unplug the power cord or turn off the power cord button.

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

The actuator control and other peripheral devices can be either deactivated or edited in the website. Another common case for resetting the wifi network is if you want to transport the system to another location. See below or more info:

I installed the AstroPlant Hotspot Image

If you wish to reset your wifi connection or AstroPlant credentials, press the SW3 (GPIO7) button on the extension board for about 15 seconds. This will reboot the device and enable you to reconnect with your computer. If you can see the AstroPlant setup network, you can safely turn off the AstroPlant kit explained in “How can I shutdown the system?” in case you wish to move the system to another location.

I installed the AstroPlant Bare Image or installed the software from scratch.

Wifi network can only be reset by changing the wpa_supplicant.conf, explained in the software 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 back light, 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 filled in wrongly or the contrast 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) I2C wrong address. In case you have installed the hotspot image. You can try the two I2C addresses explained in the Quick software setup one by one. Reset the device each time.

C) I2C wrong address. In case you have installed the bare image or installed the software from scratch. You can verify the sensor address with the sensor test script "lcdi2.py" available here https://github.com/AstroPlant/sensor-test-scripts. If the script fails you can open the script and change the I2C address. In most cases it is either 0x27 or 0x3f. If both fail you can use the RPi tool "i2c detect".

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 tapwater.

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.