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Vanilla plant indoor climate management – Le soir
31 May 2014
Vanilla agroclimatic information for farmers
by Hervé Dubernard
As an agronomist, I often use indoor climate data in order to optimise my fieldwork practices or get more insight into an agroclimatic situation. Here I use the Tropicalis 3, (Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental and Regional Economic Systems (IWK), Germany), in order to optimise growing conditions and obtain a real-time idea of the climate variables.
The tropicalis 3 is a so-called digital climatograph. It measures greenhouse gases, temperature, humidity, wind velocity and pressure. The gaseous climate parameters can be observed with a mobile user interface in real time. Also the graphical display is available online (www.tropicalis.de). The measuring head consists of an infrared light thermometer and a special humidity sensor. The pressure sensor is attached to the hood of the measuring head. It measures atmospheric pressure, which is extremely important for the correct indication of atmospheric humidity. The transducers and electronic circuits of the temperature and humidity sensors are protected against environmental influences by water and dust. The measuring device is controlled from a control unit. For additional functions it is possible to integrate additional control and data circuits.
For the tropicalis 3 the height of the infrared light thermometer is between 0.5 and 7 m. The measuring head can be fitted as part of the levelling module in the greenhouse or in a separate container, depending on the length of the greenhouse.
The module and its control unit can be moved to the greenhouse entrance, in order to get information of the entering air. The number of measuring points for temperature and humidity is at least 8 in case of the control unit and the levelling module. A high number of measuring points with a high resolution is possible. On the other hand, climate data of the automatic unit have less measuring points than the manual one (1 point per 0.5 x 0.5 m).
On the web page of the tropicalis 3 (www.tropicalis.de), you find the instructions how to read out the data and all other help pages. The greenhouse climate data and the temperature and humidity curves with its measurement points can be observed in the “indoor climate history” section of the web page.
Simple real-time greenhouse climate management
After the successful installation of the climatograph, there was a certain lag in the climate dynamics. This was due to the fact that the “climate in process” was measured and sent to the computer via a modem link. The processor of the climatograph could read in the data, process it and send the signals with the internet to the measurement module via a modem link. This required a good, stable link and a stable indoor climate. In case of a quick movement or moving of the climatograph, the indoor climate could change significantly during one data cycle and several data points would not be reliable.
Nevertheless, the climatograph was always able to produce data that were meaningful. In fact, it often went beyond the resolution of the greenhouse climate measurement by a greenhouse automation.
With a tempering option in the level 3 and automatic measurement and climatograph, it is possible to get an overview of the indoor climate with a visual control of the greenhouse climate on the climatograph.
The displayed parameters are actual and measured indoor climate data (inside the greenhouse, under it and also outside with a suitable screen at the greenhouse entrance). The operating conditions of the greenhouse and climatograph are saved (setting, protection, humidity, ventilation) as well as the greenhouse status (closed, opened).
A leaf blower (laboratory linde power cpx) was also used for bigger houses with deep soil. The housing is sealed or with a window for oxygen. But here the climate data are not too reliable.
The climate data curves can be moved back and forth with the arrow buttons and the screen can be enlarged or reduced. By pressing the zoom-in button the measurements of the last three minutes are available.
The climate data can also be managed with the “indoor climate” screensaver. When the computer is turned off, the data still remain in memory and are displayed on the screen for the next five days.
In order to compare data of different climate data cycles, the greenhouse climate measurement can be linked directly to the indoor climate history (or to an individual user).
If a climate data of an older data cycle is needed, it can be selected from the “indoor climate history”. The climate data of the last two months can be selected and saved. If needed, the greenhouse climate data of the last two days can be selected and saved. If the climate data is saved, the climate data of the last five days can be selected. After it is saved, it can be inserted into the calendar and it can be printed.
Adjusting the climate indoor climate screen
The greenhouse climate measurement can be linked directly to the greenhouse climate screen of the tropicalis 3. By touching the “greenhouse climate screen” button, the greenhouse climate measurements (daily, hourly and as a sum) can be linked directly to the greenhouse climate screen of the climatograph.
The climate screen of the tropicalis 3 can be loaded with the “climate data” and the indoor climate of the greenhouse (direct link) and with the other displays and data of the climatograph (composite screen). In this case, the settings, that have been set on the climatograph, can be changed and saved. The climate data can be used without any problem for all applications, that use climate data.
If the greenhouse is not linked to the climate screen, the climate data can only be observed. It is not possible to link the climate screen with the greenhouse climate measurement. For this case, the measurements are not directly linked to the screen. If the climate screen is opened, the greenhouse climate measurements (daily, hourly and as a sum) are shown there, but are not directly visible.