My 50-Acre Wi-Fi Network
BY KRIS KORTRIGH T
There are many
aspects of life on a
150+ degrees (tested). I added a small pump
and heater to keep the system above freezing
in blizzards, and the custom waterproof acrylic
tanks also prevent dust, bugs,
and everything else from getting inside. I used
acrylic for show, and because it’s easy to see
what’s going on inside.
I STARTED A SERIES OF DIY PROJECTS
aimed at making life easier at Misty Brae
Farm, a large horse farm and pony club riding
center in Virginia. I have found that there
are many aspects of life on a farm that can
greatly benefit from technology. The farm
owners had some specific requests, including a wi-fi network, video camera system, and
riding lesson schedule management system.
RiderNet is the first of these projects, which
added wi-fi throughout the 50-acre farm.
To cover the entire farm, several of the
wi-fi routers needed to be outdoors, mounted
on trees and exposed to weather extremes.
I looked at many enclosure systems and
couldn’t find the right one, so I decided to
make my own using mineral oil as a medium.
When submersed in mineral oil, the electronics
work perfectly fine, and the oil provides thermal stability even when conditions are – 50 or
RiderNet is managed by an Arduino Mega,
an Ethernet shield, and a custom RiderNet
shield combo with a PowerSwitch Tail and five
sensors, including internal/external temperature and a custom float sensor to detect the
oil level. The wi-fi routers are linked together
using XBees, Adafruit XBee adapters, and my
XNP protocol, creating an out-of-band network
that can be used to power-cycle wi-fi routers
and get power/temp/oil sensor readings every
5 minutes from each unit. The management
system was inspired by LadyAda’s tutorials,
and we plan to use RiderNet to carry data and
instructions around the farm for all kinds of
pony-related DIY projects! ;
Kris Kortright is an internet technologist, DI Y devotee, and
horse enthusiast from Misty Brae Farm in Virginia.
176 Make: makezine.com/31