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A Distributed Control System for Low Pressure Plant Growth Chambers

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  023078,  2002 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.9174) @2002
Authors:   Denise Brown, Ronald E. Lacey
Keywords:   advanced life support, CELSS, closed systems , controlled environment, growth chambers, microprocessors, space science

This paper discusses the development of a distributed control system for low-pressure plant growth chambers using microcontrollers, a computer, and a process gas chromatograph. Variables that are critical to supporting long-term, manned exploration of space and may affect plant growth and development are monitored and controlled. The system incorporates six low pressure growth chambers, each controlled by a single PIC16F877 microcontroller. Data from the microcontrollers are routed through a PC running LabVIEW, which returns setpoints for total pressure and oxygen, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen concentration to the microcontrollers. The gas composition is monitored by a process gas chromatograph, which delivers data to the PC via the MODBUS protocol. Temperature control and lighting are supplied by an independent plant growth room, which contains the six low pressure chambers.

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