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FAQ

Add your questions by editing this page. As you find answers, please come back and share your knowledge with the community!

How can I contribute to the OpenAg project?

Yay! We welcome contributions from anyone. Here are some ways you can help:

What is a Food Computer?

The Food Computer is a controlled-environment agriculture technology platform that uses robotic systems to control and monitor climate, energy, and plant growth inside of a specialized growing chamber.

For more details check out this pagehttp://openag.media.mit.edu/hardware/

Why Food Computers?

See our TED Talk.

How can you make one?

The plans are all open source (see latest release - Personal Food Computer 2.1

Where can I find the parts?

See our Bill of Materials (BOM) on our GitHub.

Are OpenAg Food Computers open source?

Yes! The code and hardware plans are all open source.

What's the difference between the different Personal Food Computers?

Please see the Personal Food Computers page for info on all versions of the OpenAg™ PFC.

The Personal Food Computer v1.0 was our first go a the problem of creating an open source tabletop growing chamber. It could run limited environmental recipes for light and nutrients.

The Personal Food Computer v2.0 was a next-gen system. It included:

  • Stable environmental control with robotic feedback loops
  • More sensors and more ways to control the environment
  • An new open source chassis with better insulation, and cheaper to manufacture, but still easy to source from scratch.
  • A better app for controlling climates.
  • Data collection, so nerdfarmers and scientists can make use of environmental data.
  • A scalable software stack that can be used in larger scale applications like Food Servers

The Personal Food Computer 2.1 is the latest release, and an evolution of the PFC v2.0. This release includes a new light panel and the latest release of the openag_brain v1.0.0. It has several updates and many bug fixes.

The MVP 1.0 is a minimalist Personal Food Computer developed by OpenAg Community.

What's a Climate Recipe?

What is Hydroponics/Aquaponics/Aeroponics/Fogponics?

Hydroponics is an irrigation method for growing plants. We use it to recreate climates with Climate Recipes.

There are lots of kinds of hydroponics. You can drip water over plants, mist the plants, or use soil.

Can I buy a Food Computer Kit?

There's some vendors who sell kits based on the open source materials available. They're not affiliated/endorsed by the Open Agriculture Initiative at MIT, which is the academic research arm of the OpenAg community.

What can I grow?

Lots of things! Leafy green and herb are good first choices. They are fast, easy to grow and fun. We've grown lots of plants that are frequently grown hydroponically (basil, tomato, chard, kale, …) and a lot of plants that aren't usually grown hydroponically too. Join the experiment and see if you can grow your favorite plant!

How long will it take to grow my food?

It depends on the plant. Many leafy greens and herbs take 2-3 weeks to grow from seed to full plant. Tweaking the Environmental Recipe can also cause faster plant growth, more leaves, and different tastes.

Do I need a team to build it? Can I do it myself?

1-2 experienced makers can source and build a Personal Food Computer 2.1from scratch. The OpenAg Community Forum is a great place to ask questions, source alternative parts/materials, and follow along with other nerdfarmer builds.

Can I eat the food that grows in it?

We like to use food-safe bins and safe fertilizers so that the plants we grow are edible. Yum!

Of course, the Food Computer is open source, so safety is up to you! Make sure to use clean water and food-safe materials/ingredients if you plan to eat your plants.

Do I have to go to MIT to work on the Food Computer?

Nope! There are folks all over the world building Food Computers, and we welcome contributions from anyone.

If you wanted to troubleshoot…where would you go?

The forum is a great place to start if you have a question.

Debugging tools/scripts

Troubleshooting or doing development on a Food Computer? Check out development for tools.

How much of the v1.0 is portable to the v2.0

And, if any mods are possible, how to upgrade the v1.0 to the v2.0?

Can I set up a developer environment on my laptop

(i.e., not Linux/RPi but on OSX/Windows)?

My camera isn't working, any tips?

Check the output of dmesg right after you plug in the camera. If you see something like:

[1648506.064410] usb 1-1.2: new low-speed USB device number 8 using dwc_otg
[1648506.164390] usb 1-1.2: device descriptor read/64, error -32
[1648506.384347] usb 1-1.2: device descriptor read/64, error -32
[1648506.604409] usb 1-1.2: new low-speed USB device number 9 using dwc_otg
[1648506.704412] usb 1-1.2: device descriptor read/64, error -32
[1648506.924382] usb 1-1.2: device descriptor read/64, error -32
[1648507.144360] usb 1-1.2: new low-speed USB device number 10 using dwc_otg
[1648507.584367] usb 1-1.2: device not accepting address 10, error -32
[1648507.684377] usb 1-1.2: new low-speed USB device number 11 using dwc_otg
[1648508.124522] usb 1-1.2: device not accepting address 11, error -32
[1648508.124603] usb 1-1-port2: unable to enumerate USB device

then it is likely that you need to switch the two data pins on the white plug that attaches to the camera (they should be the two middle pins)

Where are the CAD files?

How much will it cost to build?

How much will it cost to keep it running?

How long will it take to build my food computer? How much time should I allot?

What tools will I need to buy?

If I’m a non-technical person, how can I help out?

Who started this Food Computer?

How much do you think it will cost to buy one in the future?

If I live in a very cold place, can I still build a food computer? Will it wreck the hardware?

I live in a small community, how can I find other collaborators around me?

What is the brain? What do you put into the brain? How do you get data out of the brain?

faq.txt · Last modified: 2018/01/29 21:15 by hildrethengland