Volume 12 Part 1 Article 54: Developments in a Microcompoter-Based Environmental Control System

Volume 12 Part 1 Article 54
Year 1989
Title: Developments in a Microcompoter-Based Environmental Control System
Authors: S.W. Burrage and R. Noble


Control of the mushroom growing environment, which involves interactions of temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide, has provided a suitable application for computer-based control systems. The development of such systems in recent years has been rapid, notably in the Netherlands. The use of hybrid strains with more specific environmental requirements has increased the need for precise environmental control. In 1981 there were only 3 companies in Europe producing computer control systems for mushroom production, now there are almost 20. Systems may be based on either a single central computer or a series of microcomputers, one per shed, linked to a central host computer, the so called distributed system. In the distributed system, each cropping house can be operated independently, even in the absence of the central host computer (Zomeren and Hendricks 1985). While this type of installation has the advantage of independent operation and lower wiring cost, the cost of individual processors is still high, particularly for the small grower. A centrally based system with a single processor has considerable cost advantages for small and compact farms.

A low cost single microcomputer-based system providing integrated control of air or casing temperature, relative humidity and carbon dioxide level during the spawn running, case running and cropping stages of production has been developed at Lee Valley Experimental Horticulture Station (Burrage et al. 1987). This paper describes experience, developments and improvements to that system which have been made during the past two years.

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