I am a newbie to electronics, but I do have experience working with electrical wiring in the UK, so I am comfortable working with 240V reasonably safely. I have also built a camper including all the 12V electrics from scratch. I am fairly technically able, as a building physicist and academic researcher. However, my expertise is in mechanical engineering and physics rather than electronics or electrical engineering.
I am designing a new generation biltong box. My previous biltong boxes had electrical devices wired individually into plugs and then manually switched.
For those who dont know 'biltong' is the South African equivalent of US jerky. We simply dry the raw beef as opposed to light cooking.
The first generation boxes worked great - they were a test bed for the physics - airflow/heat and drying rates. However, they lacked finesse and were technologically challenged. So I have set myself the goal of building a new smaller box, laser cut from acrylic and packed with more intelligence.
My inspiration is drawn from this great project
The biltong dryer design currently comprises of:
- 1no 240V AC 60W tubular heater - this one specifically. I might want to add another in the future.
- 2no 12V DC 14.4W axial fans - these ones
- 1no 12V LED strip light - not yet selected
What I want to do / Problem Statement
I would like to have an Arduino based system, to facilitate the following features:
- 2no temperature and humidity sensors (one at the inlet at the bottom and one at the outlet at high level)
- Touch screen to: 1. display temperature and humidity over time, 2. enable manual control of the heater, fans and LED light, 3. allow me to modify the temperature and humidity setpoints
- The ability for the Arduino to control the heater (on/off) and the fans (ideally variable) based on setpoints for temperature and humidity. But also to allow me to operate the heater and fans individually from the touchscreen - on / off / auto for all.
I know all the kit I am trying to control and how I want to do it (conceptually). Now I need some advice on how to make this happen please.
To kick things off I have purchased an Arduino MEGA 2560 board and kit and have experimented with a few small projects. I now want to use this to control the above.
- Is my idea sensible and achievable (technically)?
- I know that I will need a 240V relay to control the heater. Is this safe and reliable? ** This is my biggest concern. What can you recommend for this - there are so many available on the market.
- I think I will also need 3 more additional relays for the 2no fans and LED strip light. Is this the best way to control the 12V fans and LED light?
- Can I control the speed of the proposed 12V fans? And how is this achieved?
Huge thanks in advance.
My calculated current for the heater is 60W / 240V = 0.25A
- So for a SSR - this looks like a good option - what do you think?
- Found a four channel, four route MOSFET - what do you think? Once I have the switching working, i will consider working out the PWM. But switching will be fine for now.
- How do I go about designing the circuitry - are there any good online Arduino resources for this?
Not sure where to go from here!
Also, cannot find MOSFET's in Fritzing.