Europe based Elmitel and Vinduino, located in California, have joined forces to create a leading edge vineyard management application with unique features. The application, aptly named eVineyard, offers full integration of the award winning Vinduino sensor stations for saving irrigation water. It also supports planning and job assignments, as well as integrated pest management and reporting, saving time and resources.
eVineyard has been developed in Europe in collaboration with local vineyards, and has been localized for use in the USA in concert with Vinduino.
“This is a unique collaboration between Old World and New World companies to combine our know-how of viticulture and IT technology. Our solution covers from sensors to actionable information, and is totally focused on meeting the requirements of winegrape growers”, says Reinier van der Lee, CEO of Vinduino LLC. “This system is designed to meet the requirements of vineyard operations with 1000 acres or more, while being uniquely scalable and affordable for smaller growers due to the use of open data and open source technology.”
“eVineyard offers a complete set of software tools to help wineries of all sizes work smarter, save money, and improve from season to season.”, says Matic Serc, CEO of eVineyard. “Built in tight collaboration with winegrowers, eVineyard is fully adapted to workflow in the vineyard and intuitive to use during vineyard work. The data from sensors, work records, and all other parameters are not just archived and available for the winegrower, but also connected together and processed with the help of the agronomic algorithms, to help winegrowers decide when to irrigate and when to spray in order to reduce environmental impact, save costs, and avoid issues. Involvement in European innovation projects helps us bring state-of-the-art features to both small family-operated, as well as the largest wineries, at a suitable price level.”
“We use eVineyard in our vineyards to help reduce the amount of spraying, and are very happy with the realized savings,” says Izidor Vehovar, winemaker at Vina Vehovar.
Elmitel is a Slovenian privately held company, and developer of the eVineyard management system. Our vision is that the crops we consume should be as natural as possible, and produced with pride in a sustainable way. This is why we incorporate the latest technologies and methods in our simple-to-use software for wineries of all sizes. We help growers around the world produce highest quality crops in the most sustainable and economic way.
The team behind eVineyard consists of people with agronomic and software backgrounds and is involved in EU’s innovation projects on the topic. We won several European awards for our approach. www.evineyardapp.com
Vinduino is a privately held company, based in California. Our technologies provide accurate live information needed for adapting crop management to changing climate conditions. With this information, a farmer can use resources more efficiently, save time, and optimize yield. Our awarded Vinduino sensor stations are proudly designed and assembled in Temecula Wine Country, California. www.vinduino.com
Meet us at AG World Expo Tulare California, February 14-16, booth 1319 & 1320.
World Ag Expo is the world's largest annual agricultural exposition. More than 1,500 exhibitors display the latest in farm equipment, communications and technology on 2.6 million square feet of exhibit space. Free seminars focus on a variety of topics important to dairy producers, farmers, ranchers and agribusiness professionals.
LoRa Sensor Gateway
The Vinduino gateway receives LoRaLAN sensor data from the Vinduino sensor stations and forwards via WiFi to a ThingSpeak account. To date, the Vinduino project has been using an Electric Imp solution, which required some soldering and PCB assembly.
The following project update, describes a gateway that uses a LD20-H USB LoRa dongle from Globalsat, and does not require any electronics tinkering. This dongle is basically a USB version of the Globalsat LM-210 LoRa module used in the Vinduino sensor station, and, alike the module, works as a wireless UART. Combined with a serial terminal program, this makes a great debug tool to check out the LoRa network and sensor stations.
The Vinduino LoRa gateway can handle up to 300 sensor stations within a range of 5 miles, and can be made for less than $100, assuming that an old PC’s useful life can be extended for the task of working as gateway. Because the software is based on the operating agnostic Python-3 programming language, the supported PC platforms that can function as gateway include Windows, MacOS, Ubuntu Linux, and of course Raspberry Pi. For increased traffic handling, more USB dongles can be added, working on different frequencies.
The Python-3 gateway script, although tested to be working reliable for its basic gateway function, can be customized/improved as needed. For locations where access to Internet is not reliable, or intermittent, we added a SQLite database to store all sensor data locally.
One possible application could be to store data locally and upload when an internet connection is available. This may also be a good starting point for developing smart irrigation algorithms.
The Globalsat LD20-H is available on Tindie
PS: This LoRaLAN gateway is not compatible with LoRaWAN sensor stations.
Python modules needed for the Vinduino gateway script:
Linux install: $ sudo apt-get install sqlitebrowser
For Windows, install the Cypress USB serial driver
Linux does not require a special drivers for the USB serial interface, however ensure that you have qt4, gcc, and libusb installed. The USB driver stack in Linux has a built-in driver for CDC-ACM class devices. The Cypress chip inside the LD-20 supports CDC-ACM class, CDC-ACM driver gets automatically bound to the device and creates a device node in /dev/ttyACM*(* -The name of device node will vary based on the number of devices connected).
Here is a good description for testing the USB serial connection in Linux:
I found that Ubuntu and RPI recognized the USB serial port, but assumed it was an AT-command modem.
A solution that worked for me is to bypass the ModemManager:
sudo systemctl mask ModemManager.service
Empty vines in our vineyard. We are looking back at harvest in early September and another season that went way too quickly.
This year was an exceptional year. Not only because temperatures were the warmest ever in recorded history.
We also had a temperature peak in June that severely affected grape yield in the Temecula valley.
Our Vinduino station recorded two days with temperatures reaching as high as 117 F.
Plants get tissue damage when exposed to temperatures over 115 F, and our vines responded by switching to survival mode by selectively shutting down clusters. The picture below shows the dramatical effect.
As a result, average yield loss in the Temecula wine region was around 20-30%. This may be a sign of things to come with global warming. From discussions with other growers, it appears that lowest losses were in vineyards with full irrigation (100% ET0) and good canopy cover. Vineyards that were exposed to early deficit irrigation (before veraison) and canopy thinning had more than average yield loss.
There is also good news, with the Vinduino system we were able to maintain 25% irrigation water reduction compared to 2014, and the quality of the harvested grapes was excellent.
Now we are doing the post-harvest fertilization, giving back to the soil what we took from it.
Preparing the vines for their period of dormancy and next year's growing season.
This blog article covers the LoRa gateway that receives data from Vinduino sensor stations, and forwards the sensor data to the ThingSpeak website where it can be displayed as graphs.
The gateway is based on the Electric Imp 1 and the matching April development board. Other components include a Globalsat LM-210H LoRa radio module, antenna, and Vinduino Gateway PCB. The unit works fine on a 5V USB wall adapter.
During this year's field trials we were able to make reliable connections over a distance of up to 7 miles (10 km) under line of sight conditions.
As the Vinduino gateway is only receiving data, range can significantly be increased by using directional antennas, without violating FCC regulations. The sensor stations (transmitting) only use the FCC approved antennas.
The Vinduino sensor stations are default set to 15 min transmission intervals. This allows for a max of 300 sensor stations to be supported by one single gateway, provided there is collision avoidance in the software.
We tested with multiple gateways and multiple stations this Summer in Temecula wine country, and found no issues with multiple gateways simultaneously receiving data from the same sensor station. The ThingSpeak network server accepts the first message and rejects identical messages coming within 15 seconds.
The gateway is based on the Electric Imp 1 and the matching April development board, available at Amazon.com for $20.
Other components include a Globalsat LM-210H LoRa radio module, antenna (available at Tindie.com as add-on option for the Vinduino sensor station board), and Vinduino Gateway PCB, available at OSHPark. (Order board)
The unit works fine on a 5V USB wall adapter as power supply.
Before you can program the unit, you will need to set up an account at electric imp and connect the electric imp using their interesting "Blink Up" procedure. The Electric Imp website has an excellent tutorial, so no need to elaborate here.
The editor is on line. You can change the software on-line and then activate it to run without physical access to the unit. There is a programming section that runs on the host system of electric imp (Agent), and there is a programming section for the device itself.
The latest code can be copied and pasted from the Vinduino Github page: Vinduino-GW
Luke Beno (analog.io) was the original author, and he kindly agreed to release it to the public domain.
I modified his code to support the ThinkSpeak server.
Testing the gateway and monitoring
The Electric Imp editor has a logging window that is very useful for the initial bring-up and monitoring of the gateway and stations data. As shown below, the device section displays the data as it is received from the sensor stations.
The sensor data comes in readable format. After the channel ID (blurred out in the picture below, there are 4 data fields for soil sensor 1-4, battery voltage, temperature, and
When received and processed correctly by the ThingSpeak server, there is a response from ThinkSpeak with an incrementing number representing the number of correct data lines received for that particular ThinkSpeak channel.
We tested during a full growing season in the Temecula wine region this year with 20 Vinduino sensor stations and 10 gateways, all operating at 915 MHz. Most of the issues encountered were related to the soil moisture sensors and their installation. Although the 915 MHz ISM band is heavily used, we have not experienced interference from other users.
The use of LoRa technology without the overhead of the full LoRaWAN stack can be sufficient for use cases that only need monitoring of non-confidential sensor data over longer distance. For secure bi-directional communications, LoRaWAN may be a better option, but -as always- this comes at higher cost and complexity.
We're getting closer to harvest. The grapes measured 20.5 Brix
(% sugar content) this weekend, so a few more weeks to harvest.
Blogger Jeremy Cook writes "Tindie is the place you go to find bleeding edge electronics without having to wait for those products to make it all the way through the cycle. It’s like getting an inside line on knowledgable-consumer-ready prototypes of the hottest stuff.". That's why we're excited to have our first Vinduino product selling on Tindie.
Vinduino is an open source disruptive irrigation management technology. We want people, including small growers, to have affordable access to irrigation water and cost saving, without need for in-depth knowledge of electronics or extensive programming skills. That's why the Vinduino R3 sensor station board comes with the electronics components assembled and tested. Besides the board you need an enclosure, small solar panel, battery, soil sensors, and your choice of connectivity (WiFi or LoRa).
Example programs are also available on line, and can be easily customized to support a growing number of sensors.
We even offer free shipping in the US! Can we make it easier? Let us know!!
For farmers with remote fields, it's critical to know the wind speed conditions before setting up the equipment and riding out to spray. Too much wind, and you cannot accurately deliver the "goodness". Basically wasting time and materials and risking contamination of the surrounding properties.
Luckily adding a wind speed sensor ( anemometer) to the Vinduino sensor station is an easy task. We used an Adafruit active anemometer with an analog output or 0.4 - 2 V. There are also passive anemometers with an intermittent contact interface, but they take time to count the rotations. I prefer the active model as an analog read can be done very fast, and that helps to save battery power.
The anemometer requires 12V or higher to operate, and the Vinduino station works with a single 3.8V Li ion battery.
So we added an external DC/DC boost converter module. For this example, we used a low cost SMAKN 5V to 12V module, available at Amazon.
Below shows the simple wiring diagram for connecting the boost converter and anemometer.
To save battery power, the Vinduino system is kept in sleep mode until the RTC wakes it up. The Arduino then runs through the sensor measurements and sends the data via a LoRa radio modem to the Internet. We do not need to keep sensors powered on during the sleep period.
The Vinduino board has a load switch chip that can switch battery power to the accessory connector J13. The load switch is controlled using Arduino digital pin 13 (ACC_EN).
See Github for the full Vinduino schematic diagram.
The anemometer electronics take about one second to start up and stabilize after power is switched on.
Windspeed calibration is taken from Adafruit data that 0 m/sec = 0.4V out ,and 32.4 m/sec at 2V. Because there is a small temperature drift, the wind speed < 0.2 m/sec s reported as 0.
Here are some initial results. So far, we only had moderate wind speeds during testing.
Veraison started here in Temecula!
Our goal for this season is to save 25% water and provide data for other growers to use for their irrigation decisions.
By managing irrigation depth to percolate water only into the active root zone, we saved 50% irrigation water thus far this season vs. the two previous years.
We monitor soil moisture in and below the root zone, using our home-grown Vinduino system, to make sure that the vines have enough water to stay healthy and productive. After all we are growers!
Apart from damage from excessive heat that affected many vineyards in the area a few weeks ago, the vineyard looks good.
Reinier van der Lee,