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By Supercazzola
Posts:  1466
Joined:  Sun Nov 22, 2020 1:57 am
I had a runaway chest freezer control system. To say I am devastated is an understatement. More money in plants than I want to admit…
I may give up on growing highland and try any future ones in the intermediate tent.
I’m still crying so don’t rub it in. Note: photos were taken after I brought them out of the chest freezer to thaw out.
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By Huntsmanshorn
Posts:  892
Joined:  Wed Sep 03, 2014 6:32 am
Ouch, that's brutal! My sympathies for sure, but at least your Heliamphora looks like there may be some hope.
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By Supercazzola
Posts:  1466
Joined:  Sun Nov 22, 2020 1:57 am
No matter how much redundancy you build in, external controllers and even internal built in thermostats can fail. I should have expected something like this could have been possible, but I was concentrated on providing redundancy in all areas except where it mattered the most. I had redundant power, temperature probes/sensors, etc…, but I neglected to create a redundant routine that would have cut power when the temp fell below 45 degrees for two mins or more. I had only one. And it relied on the average / mean temp of all the probes. When two of the 5 failed and started reporting high temperature, it skewed the average temp, which caused the unit to say “it’s still warm, keep cooling.” The same average temperature was the one used for when to cut / kill power.

I now have a plan to replace the built in thermostat with one designed for wine coolers, which should help some, and have updated the cut / kill power routines, and removed the sensors that were faulty from the calculation of average. I will introduce additional hardwired sensors as well.
I should have done this all before, but you don’t know what you don’t know.
Hopefully my pain will help others from feeling the same. As an aside, once I get beyond this, I will gladly accept any unrooted cuttings of highlanders. I won’t let this ruin the joy for me.
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By Bluefire
Posts:  599
Joined:  Thu Jun 30, 2022 4:58 pm
If mine were bigger, I'd gladly give you unrooted cuttings of highlanders. As is stands, few of them are much larger than the "small" size I bought them at. All I can cut are hybrids and common plants.
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By camsdad66
Posts:  447
Joined:  Wed Jun 26, 2013 7:39 pm
Man. So sorry for the loss of your plants! It's something all of us long-time growers have been through one time or another. But it sucks! And totally out of your control. Hope some of them bounce back. You never know, plants are tough!

Sent from my SM-G990U using Tapatalk

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By DragonsEye
Posts:  1196
Joined:  Sat Oct 01, 2016 1:22 pm
Sorry to hear this, Supe! The Helios looked okay, so there is that,
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By specialkayme
Posts:  272
Joined:  Tue Apr 13, 2021 11:02 am
Super shitty! I'm so sorry for your loss.

The Helios look like they did survive, so there's a glimmer of some hope there.

Do you mind if I ask what you lost? Hamata, jamban, and rajah?

I'm also really interested to see what you come up with in the end. Hopefully it'll help EVERYONE a little better, which means the highlanders that were lost weren't lost in vain.

Personally I'm sitting on two hamatas, an edwardsiana, along with a few highlander crosses, without overnight temp control. Although not big enough to take cuttings off of. If they were, I would totally share!
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By Supercazzola
Posts:  1466
Joined:  Sun Nov 22, 2020 1:57 am
specialkayme wrote: Tue Apr 25, 2023 10:49 pm
Do you mind if I ask what you lost? Hamata, jamban, and rajah?
I lost jamban, robcantley/nebularum, hamata, jamban x dubia, talangensis, veitchii barei, edwardsiana x veitchii, and rajah.

So far I decided to replace the thermostat with one for wine coolers. In the meantime, I found the coarse adjustment screw (center of the top of the thermostat)
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on the existing thermostat. and with the freezer set to MIN (which means the hottest it will run) and with the coarse adjustment screw all the way clockwise, the freezer will not go below 40. So combine that with some additional rules and additional thermometers, and I think I am ok again.

Once the new thermostat comes in, I won't let it get below 50, and that will give me more margin in case the control system fails again and the compressor would run based only on the wine cooler thermostat.
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By optique
Posts:  1730
Joined:  Fri May 24, 2019 11:15 pm
I have seen cheap sensors for aquariums that an alarm sounds when temps go out of set bounds. A extra backup in case you are home and something fails. I am sure you could setup a raspberrypi to alert you of issues.
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By NightRaider
Posts:  411
Joined:  Mon Jun 07, 2021 4:01 am
optique wrote:I have seen cheap sensors for aquariums that an alarm sounds when temps go out of set bounds. A extra backup in case you are home and something fails. I am sure you could setup a raspberrypi to alert you of issues.
The only problem is actually finding a raspberry pi post-Covid, I've been looking for a second one for a couple years now with no luck. That aside, I've got my controller/monitoring/alert system I'm running on mine posted on Github if it helps anyone.
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By Supercazzola
Posts:  1466
Joined:  Sun Nov 22, 2020 1:57 am
I don’t want to bore you but just so you have a very high level understanding of what I have.

I have 6 temperature sensors. A mixture of hard wired, Bluetooth, and zigbee. They all are monitored by a home assistant instance which does run on a Raspberry pi. All are double battery backup, whole home generator. There is a smart switch which is plugged into another smart switch. The first one is main power. The second is power to the freezer compressor. I won’t even get into the light situation, which is itself in another smart switch.
The mistake I made had everything to do with the built in thermostat on the freezer, which I didn’t modify from the start. Which means when power was continuously applied, it did what it’s designed to do. Freeze.
So, long story short, the 6 temperature sensors are averaged. Home assistant creates a virtual thermostat. When sun comes up, it’s target is set to 75F and it basically commands the smart switch to the compressor to turn on, which cools the freezer to 75, as needed, and then when it gets to 80, it kicks back on, etc… when sunset happens, the target is 55 and it cools to that, then stops, etc…

What happened was some some my esp32 controllers that talk to the Bluetooth thermometers hung up, and was reporting the (incorrect) warm 72 temp to the home assistant. So when the device was calculating the average, it was skewed by these “stuck” temperatures. The temp was actually in the 50s but the controller thought it was hotter, and kept cooling. Until below freezing. I have a rule that says when the average temp goes below 45 for more than 2 minutes, cut power to the whole thing (via that first smart switch).

My logic was flawed because that rule was based on the mean temp, which was skewed. The skewing wouldn’t happen if the Bluetooth battery dies and the unit doesn’t report back. But because the esp32 controller kept sending the wrong high temp, it failed.

So now I have these rules to monitor each of the thermometers and if any of them get below 45F it will kill the power for an hour and then start up again.

In addition I modified the built in thermostat in the freezer so the coldest it chilled was 40F even if let it run all night. In the end I will replace this with a wine cooler thermostat so the unit will not get below 50.

So hope that helps you all understand why I’m not going with any alarms or other additional things. The system I have sends me text messages to the phone and Apple Watch, so I can be away and know. I can also manually kill any power to anything remotely….from anywhere.

It was just a simple logic mistake that cause me to lose my favorite Nepenthes. It’s only money, and time. I hope one day to get another of these ones I lost. In the near future, I will just keep hoping that something survived… I’ll keep the forum updated if they do.
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