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. The "quick software setup" chapter contains the information for most of our users, you can skip burning the SD card as we prepared them for you in case the SD card is inside the RPi you retrieved.

How can I shutdown the system?

The system should not be turned off in normal operation during the full growth cycle of the plant. If desired for various reasons there are two options:

  • A) 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).

  • B) This option is in case of emergency: Remove the power chord from the outlet and turn off the switch.

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

A common case for resetting the wifi network is if you want to transport the system to another location or if you want to adjust actuator settings.

If you wish to reset your wifi connection, schedule and 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 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 either by resetting the AstroPlant configurations (button SW3) or by achieving direct access to the Raspberry Pi via the SSH protocol each time you re-activate a sensor. You can also verify the LCD screen is not causing issues for the sensors by disabling the LCD screen at the AstroPlant configuration screen. To retrieve access via SSH, see gitbook section software, “building your software from scratch” step 4 and “quick software setup - option 2” step 3 for getting the default username and password.

The LCD screen is not working.

In most cases this means that the sensor (I2C) address has been filled in wrongly. Verify the sensor address by checking the label on top of the LCD screen.

In case there is no blue backlight the sensor cable is detached. Contact support in the latter case.

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 timeschedule 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.