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“Pot Wings” recipe (Cannabis Infused Hot Wings)

You will need the following:

  • One Bottle Hot Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup Cannabutter (recipe can be found below)
  • 24 chicken wing parts (12 wings separated into 2 pieces)
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • Canola Oil (for frying)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Heat 3 inches of canola oil in a heavy pot to 375 degrees F. 
  2. Add half the chicken wing parts to the oil and fry them until they’re golden brown and fully cooked, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the other half of the wing parts. In a saucepan, heat the hot sauce and butter over medium-low heat. Add a splash of Worcestershire sauce. Let it bubble up, and then turn off the heat. Place the wings in an ovenproof dish and pour the hot sauce over the top. Toss to coat, and then bake in the oven for 15 minutes. 
  3. Serve with blue cheese dip, celery sticks… and your favorite cold, fizzy beverage.

Cannabutter Recipe:


Directions (slow cooker):

  1. Grind the herb using a hand grinder (you don’t want it to be powder fine—think dried oregano).
  2. Add butter or oil to a slow cooker. If using butter, add 2 cups of hot water (some people choose not to add the water if using the slow cooker method since the chance of scalding is very small; however, as a precaution, use water the first time and as you get to be a butter-making expert, adjust your method to suit your needs). Turn the heat to the low setting and add the ground herb. Cover the cooker. The infusion is finished when the top layer changes from watery to glossy and thick, 8 to 24 hours (the length of cooking time depends partially on the herb that you’re using; know that cooking for a longer time won’t hurt the butter, just in case you need to leave the slow cooker on overnight or while you’re at work).
  3. Set a sieve over a medium bowl and line the sieve with cheesecloth. Pour the infusion into the sieve and let it sit until all of the butter or oil is filtered, about 5 minutes. Wrap the ends of the cheesecloth over the herb and use a rubber spatula to press on the solids to extract all of the liquid (discard the solids). CannaOil can now be transferred to a jar and stored at room temperature for up to 3 months. For CannaButter, cover the bowl tightly, and refrigerate the strained butter for at least 3 hours or overnight.
  4. The next day, lift out the solid block of butter and discard any liquid remaining in the bowl. Pat the solid butter block with a paper towel, then wrap the butter in two layers of plastic wrap and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 months or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

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Spicy Shrimp Étouffée Recipe by CMVet

Shrimp Etuffee (CMvet @ HT)
I started making this after moving back to California, and was craving Alligator Soul(in Seattle)!
I recommend using a porcelain coated cast iron pot like a Le Creuset or similar.
Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 small green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 fresh tomatoes, chopped (or 1 can of stewed tomatoes diced)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Pueblo Dynamite Powder
  • 3 tablespoons seafood seasoning (Old Bay)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons I’m So Chile Hot Sauce
  • 1 cup fish stock or chicken stock
  • 1 pound crawfish tails ( I never do)
  • 1 pound medium shrimp – peeled and deveined

Directions
Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Gradually stir in flour, and stir constantly until the mixture turns ‘peanut butter’ brown or darker ( I prefer Mohagany), will take 20 – 30 minutes. I use a flat edged wooden spoon. This is your base sauce or ‘Roux’. It is very important to stir this constantly. If it burns, start over. This is where the depth of your Etouffee will come from..
Once the roux is browned, add the onions, garlic, celery and bell pepper to the skillet, and sauté for about 5 minutes to soften. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and fish stock, and season with the seafood seasoning. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Season the sauce with hot pepper sauce and cayenne pepper (if using), and add the crawfish and shrimp. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until the shrimp are opaque.

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How To Grow Ghost Peppers

This is How To Grow Ghost Peppers.

Timing
In most regions of the U.S., ghost peppers will need to be started indoors 10-14 weeks prior to the last frost for your area. They need around 5 months (140+ days) of very hot and humid weather in order to succeed and will not tolerate any temperatures below 73° F. Your soil temperatures must be around 80° F – 90° F for successful germination. A geographical location with about 70-80% humidity is also ideal for growing ghost peppers.

Growing Location
To have a chance at growing a successful ghost pepper plant, you need to recreate the harsh environment of northern Bhutan, India. This means that outdoor growing in the U.S. may only be possible for regions 5a-11b. Raised beds or very large pots are ideal for ghost peppers because the soil will be much more warm and will stay that way. Choose an area of your secret garden that receives as much sunlight as possible for as long as possible.

Bhut Jolokia (ghost) Peppers can be grown indoors if all ideal conditions are achieved. This will mean grow lights in a room separated from the rest of the house so temperatures and humidity can be kept high.

BEST SOIL FOR GROWING GHOST PEPPERS
Ghost peppers need a loamy soil. A peat containing soil tends to work considerably well. When growing ghost peppers you will want to avoid heavy clay and potting mix like miracle grow. The soils pH should around be 6.0 – 6.8 in order for nutrients to not get locked out causing a plethora of problems. It is always a great idea to amend your soil with compost, bonemeal, and fish fertilizer prior to transplanting. This will normally guarantee the plants will have the nutrients they need properly.



PLANT NUTRITION
Ghost peppers  benefit from a regular diet of organic nutrients or compost tea. You will want to avoid high nitrogen fertilizers. The plants will look nice but your peppers wont be.

PLANTING
Starting seeds is the first tough thing to accomplish when trying to grow Bhut Jolokias. For best results, you should consider germinating your seeds indoors. You will need to soak the seeds in water overnight before sowing. plant one seed in each compartment of your seed starting tray. Provide constant bottom heat, such as from a heating pad or the top of your refrigerator. The soil temperature must remain steady around 80° F – 90° F for successful germination. Keep the planting medium moist, but never sopping wet. You will need to keep out of direct sunlight until the first sprouts appear from the soil. You may  cover the top of your seed starting container with plastic to help maintain moisture in the soil. Germination should occur around 7-21 days but  can take up to 40 days, so be patient and don’t cry.

You should transplant seedlings into 3 to 4-inch plastic pots as soon as the second set of true leaves appear on your plant. Please do not transplant outdoors until temperatures reach a constant 70 degrees F or higher, even at night.

When you are ready to transplant outdoors you will have to harden off your seedlings. This means bringing them into the outdoor environment very slowly so they get used to fluctuating temperatures and higher amounts of light.You will need to place the seedling pots outdoors during the day for a couple hours the first day adding an hour or so every day after. Do this for about ten to twelve days. On the 10th day you should leave them outside overnight. The next day you should transplant into some moist soil before it gets too hot outside. Transplant seedlings 2-3 feet apart.

WATERING & CARE
Water on a schedule. Give them a good long soaking about twice per week during dry periods. Keep the soil moist but not drenched or saturated. The best times to water are early in the morning or after the sun starts to set. NEVER water during high noon or you are asking for your plants to get cooked

You will also want to keep your ghost peppers free of weeds and other nasty things.

POLLINATION
Proper pollination is key to growing successful ghost peppers. Try to introduce bees and other beneficial insects by growing lots of flowers in your garden. Make sure the peppers are grown in a spot with good air circulation and spaced properly. If you are not noticing lots of beneficial insects in and around your pepper plants and if they are producing flowers but not fruit, you may need to hand pollinate. Use a small, clean paintbrush and gently brush the center bud of each flower. The idea is to spread pollen from flower to flower.

HARVESTING
Your ghost peppers will change from green to orange and then to a brilliant striking red when they are ready to be picked. You will always want to wear gloves while handling your new ghost peppers and remember avoid contact with the face or eyes AND KEEP AWAY FROM CHILDREN. You can pull them directly off the plant or you can cut their vines. You can eat or prepare them fresh or dry them. Use this recipe as a beginners guide!

Other Thoughts

Ghost peppers can be very tasty if you use them in proper ways. I personally enjoy smoking ghost peppers over a nice bed of Apple Wood! Please treat ghost peppers and hotter peppers with respect, they can seriously hurt you if you do not know what you are doing. Super hot peppers are NOT to be used as pranks and are to be used responsibly. From pest deterrent to supreme culinary works of art, ghost peppers are a great tool. A suggested use is to make your very own hot sauce!

A lot of people only know one way of growing plants and that is in soil. Did you know you could grow in a water and nutrient solution? Beginning your own hydroponic system will help you learn why plants need particular nutrients and growing environment as well as giving you the best from your plants.

Why do you want to grow in hydroponics? Lets take a look at some pro’s and con’s.

PROS:

  • More control over growing environment
  • Better nutrient uptake directly correlates to better yields, hotter peppers, and better tasting fruits.
  • Faster growth.
  • Semi-pest resistant

Cons:

  • Can get expensive

There are many different types of hydroponics setups, a few of them are: DWC (Deep Water Culture), Ebb and Flow (flood and drain), NFT (Nutrient Film Technique), Aquaponics (sustainable relationship using fish and plants), and more!

We are going to be going through DWC systems today. It is called deep water culture because the roots are suspended in a light nutrient solution that has an aquarium air stone in it to oxygenate the water so the plant can actively uptake nutrients to grow.

For a basic DWC system you will need the following:

First you need to get yourself a 5 gallon bucket at your local hardware store. Black or dark blue is preferable so you dont have to deal with algae problems that you would have if you used white 5 gallon buckets.

Take your net pot lid and drill a 1/4 inch hole in the top about 1.5 inches away from the center like so. After completing this step, run your air tubing from the air outlet of your pump to the air stone while passing through the hole you drilled in the net pot lid earlier

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Fill with water to the bottom of the net pot like so and add nutrients to water. Follow the directions on your chosen nutrients (THEY MUST BE HYDROPONIC NUTRIENTS, NOT MIRACLE GROW)

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Put a seed in the rapid rooter in its proper orientation making sure the seed hole faces up.

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Place rapid rooter into the net pot and surround it with hydroton

Turn on the pump and grow light and for the first 8 weeks of the plants life set the light to 18 hours on and 6 off.

This should be enough information to get you started with your very own hydroponics DWC setup! So get out there, research more on it and come on back and we will explore more about hydroponics.

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Camarones a la Diabla by K. Castellanos

Camarones a la Diabla is a spicy shrimp dish thats sure to please the seafood lover! Spicy shrimp is here for you.

  • 2 lbs med shrimp
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1 small can tomato sauce
  • Juice from 1 large orange
  • 1/4 cup Pueblo Red hot sauce
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 3 chile chipotles
  • 1 Tbsp knorr chicken base
  • Pepper and salt to taste
  1. Blend onion, tomato sauce, orange juice, Taco Fuego, Garlic, Chicken Stock, Knorr chicken base, and chipotles for 3-4 min until well blended
  2. Add a stick of butter to a pan and cook shrimp 3-4 min then add sauce mixture cook until shrimp are done
  3. Serve with rice
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Painapple Carolina Reaper Pepper Jelly

Want a delicious hot pepper jelly recipe? Look no further! Pepper jelly can be used in replacement for almost any jelly. Put it on your bird this Thanksgiving!

You will need the following ingredients.

  • 6 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1 bottle Painapple Hot Sauce
  • 1/2 tsp margarine
  • 1 pouch Certo Liquid Pectin
  • 8 half pint canning jars with lids and bands

Directions:

  1. Bring boiling-water canner, half-full with water, to simmer. Wash jars and screw bands in hot soapy water; rinse with warm water. Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan off the heat. Let stand in hot water until ready to use. Drain well before filling.
  2. Combine Painapple Hot Sauce, Vinegar, Margarine, and Sugar in a pot. Bring mixture to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn’t stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly.
  3. Stir in pectin and then return mixture to a full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute while stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon.
  4. Immediately fill jars while filling to within a quarter inch (7.5mm) of tops. Wipe the jar rims and threads and then cover with the two-piece lids. Screw bands down tightly and then place jars on elevated rack inside canner. Lower the jar rack into the canner. Your water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches. You can add boiling water, if necessary. Cover the canner and bring the water to a gentle boil. Process 10 min. Remove jars and place upright on towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing middles of lids with finger. If the lid do springs back the lid is not sealed and refrigeration is needed



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How to make red chile enchiladas

Want to know how to make the best enchiladas with a red chile sauce? You’ve found the right place! We have been tinkering with this enchilada recipe ever since we moved to Pueblo, Colorado. For this recipe we use Pueblo chiles as they are local to the area. You can get away with using almost any red chile for this recipe, even red habanero for some ultra spicy enchiladas! We have designed this recipe with some built in flexibility so you can tinker with it too.

For delicious red chile enchiladas, just follow this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Pounds red chile, we used Pueblo Chiles.
  • 3/4 to 1 cup water
  • 1/4-1/2 cup vinegar
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 cup red onion
  • Salt to taste
  • 1-2 cups cheese of choice
  • 8-10 corn tortillas

 

Defrost your Red Chile

 

Preheat your oven to 450° F (230° C). While it is heating up make the red chile enchilada sauce by combining the ingredients in a pot and boiling until all ingredients are tender and transfer to blender. After this, strain (optional) and return to pan and continue to heat on low

 

Spread some red chile sauce on the bottom of your pan and set aside.

Brown whatever type of meat you are using, and season to taste.

Take your Corn Tortillas and soften them in a pan with a bit of hot oil in it over medium heat.

 

Roll up your red chile enchiladas like so with the overlap side down.

 

Cover enchiladas with more red chile sauce

 

Sprinkle with the cheese

 

Bake in 450° oven for 12-15 minutes or until your cheese is how you like it. It feels good to make your own enchiladas, doesn’t it?



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Pueblo Joe (Sloppy Joe)

You’ve all heard of a Sloppy Joe sandwich, now try the Pueblo Joe!

You will need the following.

  • One Bottle of Pueblo Red hot sauce
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 white onion diced/minced
  • 1/3 cup hot water
  • 1 tsp corn starch + 2 tbsp water mixed. (corn starch slurry)
  • brown sugar to taste

Directions:

  • Brown ground beef and white onion together.
  • While meat is cooking combine your bottle of Pueblo Red, hot water, and brown sugar.
  • After meat is browned and heat still on medium-high, pour over sauce mixture and corn starch slurry; let thicken
  • Serve on buns!

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DIY Greenhouse Control Box Build

Intro

This is a guide to recreate the control box unit I have built for my grow space, lovingly dubbed THE REGULATOR. When I started this project, I had zero experience with: the Raspberry Pi, Linux, python, JavaScript, Node-RED, any kind of web or network interface, or even breadboarding. What I did have rudimentary experience with: basic electronics & circuit design, AC voltage wiring, other programming languages (C++, VB, MATLAB, MS-DOS). While creating the box, I searched for a lot of guides and surprisingly found no one had attempted (or accomplished) what I was out to do – automate the basic functions of my grow space and provide a way to remotely monitor and control the system. It needed to use minimal programming languages which have to interface with each other, and tech savvy gadgets. So, I pulled together the best tools I could find and applied them to growing. I wanted to document what I did in hopes that others who are trying to do the same can have a reference. Or that others who may have thought this project to be beyond them would see it is doable if you’re willing to learn.

At this point in development, the control box has the following functionality:

  • Monitoring & charting Relative Humidity, Temperature, and calculated VPD
  • Monitoring & charting of reservoir liquid level (optional)
  • Manual on/auto and kills witch controls for all devices + master kill switch
  • Status indicator “lights” for all relay outputs
  • Light timer, override-able with user input times
  • Light Dimmer slider (requires PWM-compatible driver) with calculated wattage gauge (not a wattage meter)
  • Upper and lower limit settings for temperature and RH
    • High RH activates exhaust (built in dead band to avoid exhaust/humidifier bounce), deactivates humidifier
    • Low RH activates humidifier, deactivates exhaust
    • High temperature activates exhaust (overrides Low RH)
    • Low temperature deactivates exhaust (does not override Low RH)
The finished dashboard UI, including reservoir level sensor.

This guide is geared toward the novice, but not the totally inexperienced. I will assume you have some basic knowledge about electronics, especially AC wiring (seriously, do not mess with AC wiring if you don’t know what you’re doing), basic programming logic/flow, and soldering. I trust anyone who tries to follow this guide will use some common sense.  I won’t pretend like this build is optimized for ease or cost – it is just a recreation of what I have made and I am wide open to suggestions and corrections. As a disclaimer, I take zero liability for any damage or injury to you, your plants, or whatever location you implement this design. I am still a novice myself and cannot provide you troubleshooting help or support.

With that out of the way let’s do this. First, here’s what you will need – one of each unless described otherwise:

DescriptionLink/SourceCost
Pi starter kit w/ NOOBS pre-loaded. Has everything needed to get started.https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0748NK116$34.99
MOSFET modules for PWM dimming of the driver(s) – kit includes 2 moduleshttps://www.amazon.com/DGZZI-Transistor-Trigger-Regulator-Electronic/dp/B07PT4MMCK/$7.99
Solderless breadboard, for pre-assembly and testing of electronics. OPTIONAL IF you are confident with soldering all connections to the permanent breadboard (below)https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B072FC35GT$5.97
Half sized solderable breadboard, for making connections permanent.https://www.adafruit.com/product/1609$4.50
50 ft Ethernet cable, to be stripped and used for wirehttps://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01HI5SXZI$6.25
10″ x 6″ x 4″ enclosure box to house control modules & Pihttps://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0786ZT7G3$16.99
8 channel 5VDC relay board for 110V devices – to control all AC devices like lights, fans, humidifier, etc.https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01NBUDHPB$8.59
DHT22 temperature & humidity sensor module with necessary resistors/capacitors built inhttps://www.aliexpress.com/item/1set-DHT22-single-bus-digital-temperature-and-humidity-sensor-module-AM2302-electronic-building-blocks/32852519897.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.17824c4dql4iIA$2.57
Kit of dupont jumper pins, perfect for breadboarding and acceptable for solderinghttps://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07F1PG5QV$9.99
5 connection Wago nuts, for connecting AC wires, 10 packhttps://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06XH47DC2$8.95
15A Outlets (x5)https://www.homedepot.com/p/Leviton-Decora-15-Amp-Residential-Grade-Self-Grounding-Duplex-Outlet-Light-Almond-R56-05325-0TS/202066687$10.95
4 outlet face platehttps://www.homedepot.com/p/Leviton-4-Gang-Decora-Rocker-Switch-Wall-Plate-Light-Almond-80412-T/301349140$1.90
1 outlet face platehttps://www.homedepot.com/p/Leviton-Decora-1-Gang-Wall-Plate-Light-Almond-R59-80401-00T/100669048$0.49
Wire Strain Reliefshttps://www.homedepot.com/p/Halex-3-8-in-Non-Metallic-NM-Twin-Screw-Cable-Clamp-Connectors-5-Pack-20511/100133208$1.71
14ga solid core wire – red – 50fthttps://www.homedepot.com/p/Southwire-50-ft-14-Red-Solid-CU-THHN-Wire-11581683/204834084$10.17
14ga solid core wire – black – 50fthttps://www.homedepot.com/p/Southwire-50-ft-14-Black-Solid-CU-THHN-Wire-11579083/204834040$10.37
14ga solid core wire – green – 50fthttps://www.homedepot.com/p/Southwire-50-ft-14-Green-Solid-CU-THHN-Wire-11583283/204834085$10.17
20A 14ga cord w/ 3 prong plughttps://www.homedepot.com/p/Husky-9-ft-14-3-Power-Tool-Replacement-Cord-AW62632/100661452$12.97
Misc: electrical tape, resistors, solder, double sided foam tape, terminal blocks/wire nuts/wagos


Total$165.52
Tools Required

Needle nose pliers

Screwdriver (Phillips & Flathead)

Dremel w/ cutting bit

Soldering iron

Wire cutters / strippers

Keyboard, mouse, and HDMI monitor
Computer on the same network as the Pi



Optional Upgrades

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/HY-SRF05-SRF05-Ultrasonic-ranging-module-Ultrasonic-sensor-Quaranteed/32810476490.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.574a4c4dWybsSIHY-SRF05 SRF05 Ultrasonic ranging module Ultrasonic sensor for reservoir sensor – will require two additional resistors to avoid damage to the Pi! See guide for details.$0.99
https://smile.amazon.com/Raspberry-Complete-Starter-Cooling-Heavy-Aluminum/dp/B07BDQZ2TBRaspberry Pi Model 3 B+ starter kit – HAS BEEN SUPERSEDED BY THE MODEL 4, kits available ~8/15/19$79.99

There are many commonly owned materials on the list which can significantly cut down on the cost of the project – copper wire, for example. Beware substitutions (like alibaba or ebay equivalents) at your own risk.



Step 0: Tips

  • READ THIS ENTIRE GUIDE BEFORE PURCHASING ANY PARTS OR ATTEMPTING ANY STEPS. I cannot stress this enough. If you read through this guide and it seems too complicated, you should probably hold your horses and do some more reading or practicing on the fundamental subjects. You also may read something that confuses you, but makes sense once you read subsequent steps.
  • Step headings contain links to the guides I used when finding my way through this project. They helped a lot and that is why I linked them. They said it better than I possibly can so use them – I will provide specific insight where I can from a novice’s point of view.
  • Remember to run wires through the control box housing as you are building the unit, or plan on building outside the box, then rebuilding inside it. I encourage building outside the box for those who are less experienced.
  • Make permanent wire connections when your design is finalized. Solder wires in place, use screw terminals, wire nuts, wagos, etc. Do not twist wires together and cover in electrical tape, do not leave all your wires plugged into a breadboard, etc… this only causes intermittent and inexplicable behavior for the control box at best, or catastrophic shorts, failure, or fire at worst.
  • You may want to opt for the more powerful Raspberry Pi Model 3 B+ [Note: as of 6/24/19 the Model 4 has superseded the Model 3 B+, however I have not attempted to build nor run this program on either Model 3 or 4 and make no guarantees for its compatibility] for this application. My original intent with the Pi was to run basic python scripts, but as I learned it was capable of much more, I wanted to add that functionality. At times, the Pi Zero may bog down, the dashboard web page may be unresponsive for a few seconds, etc. and you cannot run the Chromium browser via the desktop UI while also hosting the Node-RED server since the Pi Zero does not have enough RAM. I personally believe that a Model 3B+ or a Model 4 could run the Node-RED server, the desktop UI, Chromium browser, and VNC server with ease. This would make the UI accessible from any device, anywhere with an internet connection.

Step 1: Assemble the Pi kit

Solder the header pins to the Pi if needed. Put the SD card in, plug in the power, the USB hub, the keyboard and mouse, monitor, and boot up the Pi.

Step 2: Install Raspbian OS

Use NOOBS to install Raspbian operating system. You can opt to use a desktop interface if you’d like, but if using a Pi Zero you will not be able to both host the Node-RED server and use a browser on the Pi to edit it very effectively due to RAM and CPU constraints. The desktop UI may still be easier for newer users to navigate during installation, and can be disabled at boot-up to preserve RAM once installation is complete. Enable SSH access as well, using the “raspi-config” command from the prompt.

Step 3: Connect to the network/wifi

This might even come before step 2, but by the time you get to the desktop you should be able to set up network connections, either hardwired or wifi. Find your local network, and connect to it.

Step 4: Install Node-RED

Some installations of Raspbian have Node-RED installed by default, from what I’ve read. If you have it installed, skip to the part in the linked guide where it shows how to launch the Node-RED server and start it on bootup. Once the installation is complete, start the Node-RED server on the Pi and navigate to the IP address of the Pi, port 1880 like this: http://192.168.1.9:1880

Be sure to set Node-RED server to start on bootup with the Pi, as it will eventually be running “headless”, aka with no monitor/keyboard/mouse.

Step 5: Install the required Node-RED palettes

Palettes are like script libraries in other languages. Kind folks before us have done the hard work of decoding the interfaces with many different sensors, as well as nodes to simplify the programs (flows) and even add a dashboard UI which we’ll need. Install the following palettes using the linked instructions:

  • node-red-contrib-dashboard
  • node-red-contrib-dht-sensor
  • node-red-contrib-bigtimer
  • node-red-contrib-moment
  • node-red-contrib-ui-led
  • node-red-contrib-pigpiod

At this point we’ll pause on the software side to do some wiring, so feel free to explore in Node-RED and familiarize yourself with it.

Step 6a:  Drill wiring holes in the box

You will need to drill or Dremel out two (or more) holes in the side of your control box to accommodate the strain reliefs. Slide the strain reliefs into the holes and tighten them down. Loosen the clamps or remove entirely but keep nearby. One hole will be for the AC main power, one hole will be for the DC power in, and all signal wires. You can run the USB hub wire through this hole as well, leaving the USB ports exposed on the outside of the box. This may come in handy if you ever need to plug back into the Pi after initial setup.

Step 6b: Wire the DHT22 sensor

Time to start wiring. First, you’ll have to strip the CAT5 cable and pull out several feet of the wire pairs inside. I’m sure this can be done much simpler, but I wanted color coded wire pairs and didn’t want to buy 8 spools of 23 gauge wire. Substitute with different type of wire if desired. Then, wire up the DHT22 sensor with 3 nice long leads of wires from the CAT5 cable. The wires will need to reach from the control box into your grow area, where the sensor will be placed. Wire the sensor up to the Pi at the GPIO pin designated on the wiring diagram in the Appendix.

Step 6c: Wire the ultrasonic distance sensor (optional)


This is the sensor used for reading the reservoir level – if you don’t have a reservoir or don’t want to monitor/log the level, skip this section. Otherwise, follow the linked instructions up until the “Python Script” section. Wire the sensor according to the diagram in the Appendix of this guide. Do not forget the resistors for the voltage divider or the 5V signal will damage your Pi! Make your lead wires long enough to reach your reservoir as with the DHT22 sensor. When mounting the SRF05, make sure the emitter/receiver are pointing straight downward at the water. Any angular tilt will distort the readings and make them less accurate.

Step 7: Import the control box program

Copy the code from the appropriate link below:

Click HERE if you HAVE NOT installed the SRF05 distance sensor 

Click HERE if you HAVE installed the SRF05 distance sensor in step 6c

Follow these instructions to import the program. After importing and deploying the code, you should be able to navigate to your UI dashboard. If your wiring has followed the wiring table diagram, you should see readings being collected from the Pi for temperature and RH, and see VPD being calculated! But now it’s back to more wiring…

Step 8: Wire the relays and outlets

WARNING – INVOLVES MAINS VOLTAGE WHICH IS POTENTIALLY LETHAL! I AM NOT AN ELECTRICIAN! MY DESIGNS ARE NOT UL CERTIFIED! DO NOT MESS WITH THIS STUFF IF YOU ARE INEXPERIENCED!

You will need to wire the relay board to the AC outlets as well as DC & relay signal control from the Pi. AC wires should be the positive (+), or LIVE, or HOT (usually red or white) wires coming from the main to the relays, and going from the relays to all of the sockets. You should wire the relays in the “Normally Open” (NO) orientation. This way if all voltage from the Pi cuts out, everything shuts off for safety.

I wired all negative (-), or NEUTRAL, or COMMON wires together, and all GROUND or EARTH wires together. Always use reliable, insulated connectors to connect multiple 14-16 gauge wires. I highly recommend using wago connectors over wire nuts, as they are infinitely easier to work with. If you’re using solid core wire, your outlets are probably floating above your relay board by this point, held up by the numerous wires. I recommend writing the relay numbers on each outlet with a sharpie.

Relays wired to outlets. Below you can see the box lid with cutouts stenciled for the outlets.

You’ll want to wire one additional pair of outlets, directly to the mains power line and not through a relay. This outlet will be always-on, and used just like a wall outlet to power your Pi and perhaps one other outlet-fed device.

But wait, there’s more! Wire the VCC to the 5V rail of the Pi, and GND to the ground rail. All other control pins should run directly to the Pi GPIO’s, as labeled on the wiring diagram.

Control voltage, ground, and signal pins that go back to the Pi GPIO’s. Note pin 2 (relay 2) isn’t used in my configuration. I joined the two outlets so the lights would always run together off relay 1.

Step 9: Wire the dimmers (optional)

You must have PWM controllable drivers for this method to work. You will need to wire from the Pi PWM pins to your MOSFET unit, as labeled on the wiring diagram (see appendix). Use more wire from the CAT5 cable to connect to your drivers’ DIM+ and DIM- leads. Accommodate distance between your control box and the drivers with a longer stretch of wire, similarly to wiring the DHT22.  If you have multiple drivers, I recommend using one of these MOSFET units for each driver though one PWM signal can drive both.

The MOSFET dimmer board as mounted in the control box.

Step 9b: Set up the dimmers (optional)

PWM on the Pi is hardware-driven only on a few pins, and the code / wiring table are designed to utilize one of those pins so that the lights do not flicker as they would with software-driven PWM. But for the dimmers to work properly, you will need to do two things: 

First, have the “pigpiod” daemon running in the background. Luckily, this should already be installed with your default Raspbian OS installation. The best way to ensure that the daemon starts and runs each time the Pi boots is by using a built-in program called “crontab”. From the Pi command line, enter (without quotes): “sudo contab -e”. This will open crontab for editing. Add a line below any existing lines that says “@reboot /usr/local/bin/pigpiod”. Press Ctrl-O to save changes, and Ctrl-X to exit. Then type “sudo reboot” to reboot the Pi, and pigpiod daemon should be running.

The second thing you’ll need to do is enable Remote GPIO on your Pi. From the console, enter “sudo raspi-config”, and navigate to Interfacing Options > Remote GPIO, and enable it. You will be prompted to change your password at this time, as leaving the default pi/raspberry username and password is especially risky if remote access can control the inputs/outputs of the Pi.

Step 10: Test the program with relays & dimmer

Boot up the Pi and navigate to the dashboard UI on your PC. You should be able to toggle all the relays on and off using the manual controls, as well as setting limits for temp/humidity and manipulating the sensor to trigger them. For example, hold the sensor in your hand, set the max temp for 80F, and wait for the exhaust relay to come on. If any relays are not triggering as intended, troubleshoot the wiring but TAKE CAUTION when dealing with the AC wiring and DO NOT TROUBLESHOOT WIRES WHEN THE UNIT IS PLUGGED IN.

If installed, test the dimmer by plugging in your driver to the lights relay, flipping the relay on (either manually or via the timer), and sliding the dimmer switch to various points. The dimming setting is only set when the slider is released, not in real-time.

Step 11: Cut outlet holes and mount outlets

Using the 4 gang faceplate as a stencil, trace the holes you’ll need to cut out of the lid to mount the outlets. Also mark where the screw holes will go. Use the 1 gang faceplate to trace the cutout for the always-on outlet. Use the Dremel with the cutting bit and the router guard to keep the bit square, and cut out the holes for the outlets.  This part will be messy – plastic chips will fly everywhere. Keep a shop-vac handy and don’t do it somewhere you don’t want getting messy!  Mount the outlets to the box lid, and mount the faceplates over the outlets.

Outlets mounted to the lid. I used a GFCI outlet for my lights since I had it laying around. In hindsight I probably should not have, since the startup current of the drivers could potentially trip the breaker in the outlet.

Step 12: Mount the Pi, breadboard, and other modules

Time to mount the small electronics into the box – I recommend using double sided foam tape to  insulate the circuitry while adhering it. I am terrible at project box layout, so I apologize but I don’t have a suggested way to mount the hardware. You’ll ultimately need to fit in the Pi with case, the relays, the breadboard, and the dimmer MOSFETs. All the wires (especially the AC wires which are hard to bend) may make it difficult to close the box, but take care while doing this as not to pinch or break any other wires.

Step 13: Close the case and tighten the strain reliefs

Fit the lid onto the box and snug down the screws. Gently tighten the strain relief clamps down around the wires so they do not move freely, but not so tightly that they are pinched.

Side view of the box, closed and with the strain reliefs snugged up. Note the USB hub is left dangling outside the box in case needed for hard wire hookups later on.

Step 14: Test all functions

Boot the Pi back up, and repeat all the testing steps. Switch all the relays on and off manually while listening for the click, or do it with a device plugged in (a basic lamp works fine). Make sure all sensors are reading accurately, data is being logged, etc.

You should now have a fully functioning control box! If you followed my wiring tables and diagrams exactly, and you have exactly the same sensors and devices, everything should be working as intended. If you want to make customizations such as using Celsius, changing scales on the gauges or charts, reorganizing the dashboard, etc… go nuts. But I am not going to write instructions on how to customize every single bit of it, because all of it can be customized. So I encourage you to learn more about Node-RED and its capabilities. If you already know JavaScript, you’ve got a huge advantage.

This is what my finished box looks like – I ended up plugging a kill-a-watt into the light outlet to gauge wattage while setting up my UI. The other plugs are circulation fans, exhaust fan, and humidifier. Not the prettiest, but she does the job well.

Step 99: Customizations

Everyone’s setup is a little bit different – different spaces, different lights, different humidifiers, exhausts, fans, etc. Therefore there are some customizations that you will need to know how to do for your controls to work properly. Such as…

Temperature and RH offset for calibration:

If you find your DHT22 is not accurate for temperature or humidity, you may add a constant offset to the value to read accurately.

Go into the “temperature” function node:

Add or subtract  an amount to the +32 value (for Fahrenheit), or delete the “*1.8+32” portion to return the reading as Celsius and add a +/- offset in C (note, other gauge legends and tooltips will still say F even if the values are C).

Go into the “humidity” function node:

Enter a +/- offset as shown here – this example has a -12% RH offset.

Leaf temperature offset:

Leaf temperatures are naturally a bit cooler than the surrounding air, due to transpiration. Since VPD should be calculated based on the temperature at the leaf surface, we will need to offset the sensor reading to have VPD calculate appropriately.

Go into the “calc VPD” function node:

The leaf temperature offset value on line 1 can be modified. Example shown is -1 (values in Celsius) and leaf temps are typically 1-2C cooler than the air. Also be sure to enter the same RH offset in this formula on line 2 as you entered in the humidity function.

Humidifier Deadband offset:

This offset allows the humidity to go X% above the “Max RH” before the exhaust kicks on. The humidifier will turn off exactly at the Max RH, but humidity may take a few minutes to come to equilibrium, which often results in overshooting the Max RH by a few %. The offset is set to +5% in the example shown below:

Change the +5 value to whatever you would like the deadband to be.

Lights Wattage Scaling:

This scaling is to show the approximate wattage of your lights when using the dimmer. This will require some data collection on your particular setup, and a Kill-A-Watt meter or similar. Plug the lights into the meter, and record the wattage at every 10% of PWM as you increment the slider via the dashboard. In my experience, 90-100% scales MUCH more rapidly, so I would gather wattage at 1% intervals 90-100%. Enter this data – PWM % and Wattage – into Excel, plot a X-Y scatter plot, and add a trendline as Exponential. Show the trendline equation in the graph.

Now, go into the “Scale PWM to Wattage” node:

And modify the formula to match your trendline formula. JSONata uses the markup “$power(base, exponent)” for exponential equations. The constant “e” is approximately 2.71828, which is more than precise enough for this application. So if your excel trendline formula was:
y = 32.953e0.0276x  

then the JSONata expression would be:

32.953*($power(2.71828, (0.0276*(payload)))

The resulting formula in the node will look like:

Lastly, you’ll have to go into the “Wattage” gauge UI element and adjust the scale min & max to reflect your lights’ true minimum and maximum wattage.

Appendices:

Wiring Block Diagram

Pi Pinout Table

Dimmer Module Wiring

Ultrasonic Distance Sensor (SRF04/SRF05) Wiring


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Eggplant and Potato Chili Con Carne by Yesenia’s Mom

This recipe was brought to us by Yesenia’s Mom!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 medium white potato cooked (fried or boiled or oven roasted)
  • 1 Small oven roasted egg plant
  • 1 can sweet corn
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1 red bell pepper minced or chopped
  • 1 small onion minched
  • 1 tbsp PexPeppers Pueblo Dynamite Seasoning

Directions:

  • Grill or oven roast potatoes and eggplant
  • On medium temperature cook ground beef with adobo seasoning, garlic, minced onion, and bell pepper until meat is browned.
  • After ingredients are cooked, add tomato sauce or puree.
  • Let the sauce cook in with everything for a bit and then add the sweet corn and, eggplant, and cooked potatoes.
  • Add half of cup of water and Pueblo Dynamite powder to taste.
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Super spicy beef jerky recipe using hot sauce

3 words. Super Spicy Jerky

You will need the following

  • 6 large limes
  • 1-2 tablespoons of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of pepper
  • 3 oz liquid smoke
  • about 1 oz Atom Splitter or Cherry Popper
  • 2.25 lbs meat with fat cut off and cut into strips

Marinate your strips of beef in our Atom Splitter/Cherry Popper hot sauce, some lime juice, pepper, salt, and liquid smoke for 18 hours (24 hr for max burn/flavor)

Put on a pair of NITRILE gloves and transfer meat strips to your dehydrator @ 165 until it is dried to your tastes. Eat quickly as this an uncured beef jerky.