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Author Topic: monitoring environment in solar kiln  (Read 1642 times)

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Offline vfauto

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monitoring environment in solar kiln
« on: December 11, 2017, 03:26:04 PM »
What type of devices are you all using to monitor temp and humidity in  solar kilns? I would like a wifi device so I could check it on my phone, but most that I found only go up to 140 degrees.
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Offline scsmith42

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Re: monitoring environment in solar kiln
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2017, 07:50:15 PM »
I don't have any remote monitoring but I have a thermometer and humidistat mounted inside the kiln with a window next to them that allows me to see the information.
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Offline losttheplot

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Re: monitoring environment in solar kiln
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2017, 11:16:03 PM »
You can get Humidity/Moisture meters, designed for a terrarium, which have a 6 ft lead on the sensors.
They cost about $3 - 4 on E-bay.

Some take a AAA battery but others take a large "watch" type of battery which I could not find to buy anywhere.
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Offline DDW_OR

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Re: monitoring environment in solar kiln
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2017, 10:10:52 AM »
how about a weather station?
place the sensor before the fan so you can see how fast the air is moving
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Offline vfauto

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Re: monitoring environment in solar kiln
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2017, 03:49:30 PM »
None of those devices go higher than about 160F
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Offline WLC

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Re: monitoring environment in solar kiln
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2017, 10:04:34 PM »
If you are just wanting temp inside the kiln, how about a remote reading oven thermometer.   
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Offline ChugiakTinkerer

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Re: monitoring environment in solar kiln
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2017, 02:19:52 AM »
You could put together a small monitoring box using an Arduino and a sensor like the Bosch BME280.  The sensor operating range is -40 to 85 C.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Arduino-Easy-Weather-Station-With-BME280-Sensor/
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Offline 21incher

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Re: monitoring environment in solar kiln
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2017, 01:07:32 PM »
ThermoWorks has some wifi stuff.  http://www.thermoworks.com/TW-WiFi-TH Temp / humidity logger. Don't know if it would work in a kiln, could contact them, :)
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Offline ChugiakTinkerer

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Re: monitoring environment in solar kiln
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2017, 03:29:41 PM »
ThermoWorks has some wifi stuff.  http://www.thermoworks.com/TW-WiFi-TH Temp / humidity logger. Don't know if it would work in a kiln, could contact them, :)

ThermoWorks has some neat stuff!  The item you linked has a max temp of 140 F, but they have a wide collection of sensors and loggers that should be capable of sampling temp and humidity in a kiln.  This one looks a little pricey but might even be able to upload to your computer.

http://www.thermoworks.com/RTR-507
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Re: monitoring environment in solar kiln
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2017, 06:03:47 AM »
With a baby 12v battery you could use a chinesium k type thermocouple probe and lcd display.  Theyre common for grilling temps, exhaust temp etc. 

Inkbird is a brand that comes to mind.
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Offline vfauto

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Re: monitoring environment in solar kiln
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2017, 06:29:44 AM »
I would like a wifi device so I could check it on my phone, but most that I found only go up to 140 degrees.
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Offline ChugiakTinkerer

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Re: monitoring environment in solar kiln
« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2017, 01:02:36 PM »
The details on this unit are a little thin at the product web page:

https://proteussensor.com/wireless-wifi-temperature-sensor.html/

The temp sensor allegedly is good up to 257 F.  It looks like you plug this sucker into an AC outlet and it just goes.  Somewhere on that web site it says the sensor can be routed outside the box on a short pigtail.  That might be long enough to run through a kiln wall while keeping the transmitter box outside the kiln.
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Offline ChugiakTinkerer

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Re: monitoring environment in solar kiln
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2017, 06:37:12 PM »
Would you want to check kiln environment when away from your location?  This would require transmitting data to a server that can then be accessed anywhere.

If instead you only need to check it when within wifi range of the kiln, then that could be accomplished with a Raspberry Pi.  Check out the image at the top of this blog article: http://patriot-geek.blogspot.com/2017/11/node-red-mqtt-dashboard.html

Are you thinking of something along those lines?
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Re: monitoring environment in solar kiln
« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2017, 11:49:29 PM »
The one measurement that would really be useful would be a thermocouple or RTD drilled and mounted at the core of a board or two.  This would let you know how close it gets to sterilization temps. 



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Offline ChugiakTinkerer

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Re: monitoring environment in solar kiln
« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2017, 05:40:23 PM »
I'm sketching out a system that would make use of low cost components.  A microcontroller such as an Arduino Uno board would be able to handle all sorts of inputs.  But for web interfacing, a system built around a Raspberry Pi with wireless capabilities would be a lot more capable and user friendly.

A Raspberry Pi doesn't do analog to digital conversion like an Arduino.  A thermocouple, on the other hand, outputs a voltage that would need to be converted to digital.  An alternative means of measuring core temperature would be to have a block of wood that has a digital temperature sensor embedded in it that is placed in the stack and then connected to the data logger.  Using a dummy block of wood instead of the product in the kiln would introduce some inaccuracy, but might it be close enough?  It would simplify things if all sensors are reporting digital output. but if it doesn't yield useful information then there's not much point.

Edit: This is the temp probe that I'm contemplating: https://www.elecrow.com/wiki/index.php?title=One_Wire_Waterproof_Temperature_Sensor

And here's one option for a humidity/temp probe: https://www.adafruit.com/product/1293

They both have some decent protection against dust, damage, corrosion, etc
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Offline vfauto

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Re: monitoring environment in solar kiln
« Reply #15 on: December 20, 2017, 06:58:27 AM »
I'm sketching out a system that would make use of low cost components.  A microcontroller such as an Arduino Uno board would be able to handle all sorts of inputs.  But for web interfacing, a system built around a Raspberry Pi with wireless capabilities would be a lot more capable and user friendly.

A Raspberry Pi doesn't do analog to digital conversion like an Arduino.  A thermocouple, on the other hand, outputs a voltage that would need to be converted to digital.  An alternative means of measuring core temperature would be to have a block of wood that has a digital temperature sensor embedded in it that is placed in the stack and then connected to the data logger.  Using a dummy block of wood instead of the product in the kiln would introduce some inaccuracy, but might it be close enough?  It would simplify things if all sensors are reporting digital output. but if it doesn't yield useful information then there's not much point.

Edit: This is the temp probe that I'm contemplating: https://www.elecrow.com/wiki/index.php?title=One_Wire_Waterproof_Temperature_Sensor

And here's one option for a humidity/temp probe: https://www.adafruit.com/product/1293

They both have some decent protection against dust, damage, corrosion, etc

Keep us posted on your build,sounds interesting!
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Offline Jason_WI

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Re: monitoring environment in solar kiln
« Reply #16 on: December 21, 2017, 01:50:02 AM »
You can use a Particle Photon on WIFI or Particle Electron on 3G cellular with a control everything breakout board and an I2C k type thetrmocouple board. A little programming and your data goes to the cloud where it can be retrieved anywhere by almost any device.

https://store.particle.io

I2C temp sensor:

https://store.ncd.io/product/mcp9600-k-type-thermocouple-i2c-mini-module/

Breakout board:

https://store.ncd.io/product/screw-terminal-breakout-board-for-particle-photon-with-power-supply/

Example code:

https://github.com/bhaskar-anil429/MCP9600/blob/master/MCP9600.ino

Forum help:

https://forum.ncd.io/content/MCP9600-and-photon





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Online GeneWengert-WoodDoc

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Re: monitoring environment in solar kiln
« Reply #17 on: December 21, 2017, 09:34:06 AM »
One might ask “What action will I take and what benefit will I achieve if I know the temperature and or humidity in a solar kiln?”  Also, the question might include some information on how accurately do I need to know these values.  I have never seen any solar kiln operating instructions that are based on temperature or humidity readings.  So, I suggest that spending a lot of money on such devices is questionable.  The VT kiln design is based on the safe rate of drying.  Further, with air dried hardwoods, there is virtually no chance of quality loss no matter how the kiln is operated.
Gene - Author of articles in Sawmill & Woodlot and books: Drying Hardwood Lumber; VA Tech Solar Kiln; Sawing Edging & Trimming Hardwood Lumber. And more

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Re: monitoring environment in solar kiln
« Reply #18 on: December 21, 2017, 12:53:50 PM »
I don't disagree with WoodDoc at all.  I don't have a kiln, solar or otherwise, and don't have an answer to the question he poses.

What I do have is a compulsion to collect and analyze data.  I'm in the process of designing and building a remote automated weather station to set up on our property that is 20 miles off the grid.  In addition to barometric pressure and wind, I'll be measuring temperature and relative humidity.  That project is so remarkably close in functional needs to the kiln monitor that I want to first cut my teeth on a prototype system for a kiln.

I suspect that a basic monitoring system can be assembled for around $100.  I intend to post plans and programming examples such that a peron person with some DIY know-how could put one together.  Anyone that wants could then assemble the components and build a monitor.  Even if it doesn't end up being useful for kiln operation, they'll have the start of a fine weather station.

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Offline btulloh

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Re: monitoring environment in solar kiln
« Reply #19 on: December 21, 2017, 05:01:48 PM »
I'm with you on that, CTink.  I'm going to build something like you're describing, just because . . .

We can trade notes on the builds.  As soon as I get started.  ;D

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Re: monitoring environment in solar kiln
« Reply #20 on: December 22, 2017, 07:50:02 AM »
C Tink...
Your activities reminded me that my first job after graduating from high school was with the US Weather Bureau assembling an automatic weather station (Automatic Meteorlogical Observing Station called AMOS).  Back then we used transistors and permanently wired the computer by plugging wires into circuit boards.   The AMOS stations communicated with the world automatically using teletype machines every 30 minutes or so.

Well, on July 3, another employee and I were told to go to a station in Front Royal, VA and test a new precipitation sensor.  We took squirt guns to make it seem like it was raining. We took dry ice, which we scratched to make it seem like snow...at least the sensor thought so.  So, after our successful tests, we drove back home to Washington, DC for the 4th of July holiday.  When we showed up back to work on the 5th, our boss showed us an article in the NYTimes that commented that it had been snowing in VA in the mountains a few days earlier.  He was not too happy, as we had forgotten to take the station off-line when we did our tests, so the dry-ice snow event was sent throughout the world as an official event.  Of course, I was only 17 years and 10 months old, so what did I know?  Seems funny now.  Some day I have to find that article and show it to my grandkids.
Gene - Author of articles in Sawmill & Woodlot and books: Drying Hardwood Lumber; VA Tech Solar Kiln; Sawing Edging & Trimming Hardwood Lumber. And more


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