Guest Post: Arduino Water Depth Monitor

Author: Nathan Mannes, ’19

With supplies from the Geology Department and with the advising of Andrew Wilson, we have created an Arduino-based water-depth monitor. The grey cone you see at the bottom of the photo is a sonar-device that measures how far the closest solid object in front of it is. That could mean a wall, but we intend to put it over a body of water, like Lyman Lakes, to measure its depth over a long period of time with little maintenance. Because it is solar powered, we can leave it outside and let it send readings on its own.

On the right side you see a 3G shield module (with the antennae) mounted on an Arduino. It uses mobile data to send readings over the internet. But it has to send data to somewhere, right? We are setting up a public-facing webserver so that we can keep track of this data long-term. Then, much like the water tower, we will always be able to check what the depth of the Lyman Lakes are. In the future, we intend to expand this to conduct other readings on the water, like its pH or temperature, or volume of flow.

Randy’s Spring 2018 Update

This Spring Term I’ll spend a great deal of my time ensuring that all the scientific instruments in the natural sciences are running as expected. The move from Mudd Hall caused a lot of disruption to the communication between instruments and computers. The spring term is just one small step before summer research begins and I want to ensure that things go smoothly.

I’ll also continue my work with the College’s Mobile App Development group. I call it MAD! There is no official name for the group yet but I hope my nickname for it sticks! We are working on a process so that anyone interested in making a mobile app for their teaching or research knows how to proceed. I’m hopeful Spring Term will allow me more time to help faculty develop their app ideas and possibly even publish a working mobile app.

One of my other projects is working on LabArchives (LA). LA is an online Electronic Lab Notebook that was designed to replace the traditional paper lab notebook within the science communities. But that has all change now that Juliane Schicker, Assistant Professor of German, broke through the disciplinary boundaries and began using LA in her teaching! I’m hoping to use the example of Juliane to spread the word across the curriculum that there is an easier way to manage lab notebooks and student journaling.

I’ll spend some time this spring learning more about the MakerSpaces housed about campus. I currently learning about Blendor and Inventor software packages for 3D printing. Knowing these two packages will help with future 3D printing needs.

Finally, moving the scientists wasn’t the only move I had going! I moved my family to a new house over winter break and most of January. I must be crazy to move in the coldest time of the year but some of you know that I like to do things the hard way. This move included two adults, two kids, one parent, two dogs, five cats, two businesses and because I am a tinkerer LOTS of shop “stuff”!