Precise environmental control
Hey everyone! This is a build thread for a terrarium controller. I've been working on this for the last 3 months or so, the first few posts will just be catching up to where I am currently.
I've been growing various orchids in a roughly 60g terrarium for about two years now, and trying to improve my methods. I've messed with different configurations of fans/timers/mistking/lights/etc. and never felt like I really achieved a good balance of airflow vs. humidity. I won't go into details for everything I've tried, but feel free to ask if anything stands out.
I was able to go to the cloud forest in Costa Rica a few years ago, and see orchids in their natural habitat. I was really surprised by how much rain and airflow the plants were exposed to. It POURED rain there daily, but the plants had a constant breeze that helped evaporate the water off them. It was way more rain and way more airflow than I had been providing in a terrarium. They also generally didn't have much material around the roots, maybe some live moss. It really changed my understanding of what these plants need.
Issues I'd like to overcome include things like:
-Hard to evenly water mounted plants without getting some too wet
-Hard to increase humidity without getting leaves wet
-Hard to provide enough airflow without drying out plants
-Fans are either on or off
-even with a repeat cycle timer there are long durations of no airflow
-hard to measure conditions in the terrarium
-VERY difficult to take a reliable humidity measurement
-humidity sensors are cheap garbage (they last like a week then break)
-no ability to log environmental data over time
-conditions in the terrarium vary with conditions in my home (hot days dry out the plants unless I mist extra)
-seasonal variations (timers need adjusting regularly)
-inability to provide stable conditions to plants
-sphagnum mounts cause soggy roots if not watered carefully
-bare mounts dry out too easily
Obviously these can all be overcome with careful husbandry and practice, but I'd like to make something automatic, precise, and super reliable.