Heater Controller

Introduction

There are plenty of times that you might need to control the temperature in something. Just a few are:

  • Homebrew
  • Germinating Plants
  • Fancy 'sous-vide' cooking
  • Heating your house

and so on...

Here we'll show you a very quick, easy way to control the temperature of something. There are plenty of other ways (especially if you have more control over your heater than just On or Off), but this is a good starting point.

You'll Need

  • An Espruino Board
  • A DS18B20 temperature sensor
  • A 4.7k resistor (for the temperature sensor)
  • A heater of some kind. I'll be using a P21W car indicator bulb, and a 5v Power Supply that will supply at least 1 Amp to power it
  • A relay module, to turn the heater on and off

Wiring Up

Heater Setup

We need to wire up 3 things:

Temperature Sensor

You can follow the instructions here, however for convenience you need to connect:

Sensor Wire Espruino 4.7k Resistor
Black GND
Red 3.3v 1st wire
White A1 2nd wire

Heater to the relay module

We just need to make a simple Bulb + battery circuit here, where instead of a switch, we use the relay. Connect as follows:

Wire From Wire To
Metal shell Bulb GND on Power Supply
End of Bulb 2nd pin on relay (marked K1)
5V on Power Supply 3rd Pin on relay

Relay module to Espruino

Relay Module Espruino
GND GND
VCC Bat (5V)
IN1 A0

Software

The software itself is really simple, just copy and paste this into the right-hand window, then click the Send to Espruino button.

// Turn the heater on or off (depending on the value of isOn)
// Also turns the red LED on and off as an indicator
function setHeater(isOn) {
  digitalWrite(LED1, isOn);
  digitalWrite(A0, !isOn); // 0 turns the relay on, 1 turns it off
}

var ow = new OneWire(A1);
var sensor = require("DS18B20").connect(ow);
// Target temperature to reach
var targetTemp = 30;

// Every second...
setInterval(function() {
  // Get temperature
  var temp = sensor.getTemp();
  // if Temperature is a bit too low, turn the heater on
  if (temp < targetTemp-1)
    setHeater(true);
  // if Temperature is too high, turn heater off and let it cool down
  if (temp > targetTemp+1)
    setHeater(false);
}, 1000);

Now, if the temperature is below 30 degrees C (the value of targetTemp), the bulb will turn on and will generate heat. When the temperature is exceeded by a small amount, the bulb will turn off. When the temperature drops a bit below 30 degrees the bulb will turn back on again!

Note: If the temperature sensor and the bulb aren't close enough together or aren't in an enclosed space, the sensor will never reach the correct temperature. Try placing the bulb and sensor in a small cardboard box, or taping them together.

We use targetTemp-1 and targetTemp+1 in our if statements because we want a bit of hysteresis. This is what is built into all thermostats (for instance in your fridge or house's central heating), and it makes sure that we don't reach the stage where we're turning our bulb on and off every second!

If you type sensor.getTemp() in the left pane while your code is running, you should be able to see the current temperature. You can even add the line console.log(temp); after the line var temp = sensor.getTemp(); and re-upload, and Espruino will show you the temperature automatically so you can see how it rises and falls.

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