Category Archives: Cabinet

Electronics and Waterworks in a Cabinet How?

The next issue I faced was one I remember well and I think you may actually “feel” as well: You add stuff and add more stuff in the cabinet underneath, and at some point it is just wires, tubes, pipes and devices… Completely inaccessible.

I wanted to do these things differently this time. What did I come up with? Why not install a slider drawer inside the cabinet! I can put all electronics on one side, water-related stuff (osmosis, heating, valves and pumps) on the other side. If I add enough length to all wires and hoses, I’d be able to pull out the entire
“module” to do work on without banging my head ever again! As a picture says a thousand words:

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The Birth of a new paludarium – Palu2022

Yes, I am back! Ok, ok, I can hear you saying: “Yeah we are in 2023 and you are building a 2022 model”. Well true, but these things take a LONG way before they actually see the light of day, especially given the nature of the paludarium projects I run. Every single time there is more pipes, more sensors, more lights, more stuff. This project was started over a year ago…

WHY? Well, welcome to the age of Zoom and Teams calls

I have come to the realization that things will not change much after the pandemic. Especially in the world of IT where I am still part of (#IworkForDell !) the movement back to how things were are slow or maybe even absent. Where I used to be on a plane like once a week I am now cooked up in my house doing online calls. Also, it doesn’t help that I do have a room where I can work, but it is in the “Mancave” and it has NO outside windows. Yuck!!

So what to do?

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Building paludarium 2.5

Yes, paludarium 2.5. Not 3.0 (yet). It was taking too long to construct version 3.0, so now I’ve started to build version 2.5, which is a high-tech version but not in the new acrylic houseing. It will be a classic glass construction like the ones I’ve built before.

Building the wooden table

The glass paludarium is already here, and it is 50cm x 50cm x 100cm (length x depth x height) in size, with 28cm of water. Before building the paludarium out I wanted to construct Read more »

The stuff Paludariums are made of

People are often confused what things are all in the paludarium, what they are called and what they do. In this blog post I’ll explain the different components (sub projects if you will) that make up the paludarium today.

A quick overview

In order to get the paludarium working as it works today, I had to run several different projects and put them all together. First I’ll quickly list all the different components:

  1. The Cabinet – The custom-built cabinets that hold the paludarium;
  2. The Paludarium – The glass structure that holds water and air (the paludarium is a closed construction);
  3. The Land part – The part above water. Filled with tropical plants, and for now no animals here;
  4. The Aquatic part – The front underwater part of the paludarium, where the fish live;
  5. The Sump – The rear underwater part. Any excess water from the Aquatic part is dumped here, and the plants living on the background panel get their water from here (and return it there too);
  6. The Waterworks – The board in the cabinet that holds all the plumbing (water valves etc);
  7. The Canopy – The intelligent armature sitting on top of the paludarium;
  8. PaluPi – A standard Raspberry Pi with an RS232 level converter that sits inside the Canopy and handles all the “smart thinking”;
  9. Apollo units – Named after the god of light, there are around 12 of these units inside the Canopy, each handling up to 4 leds, halogens, TLs or fans;
  10. Neptune module – Still under development, this unit controls all pumps, valves etc in the Waterworks;

Quite a list right? Everything in this list had to be tuned Read more »

The Paludarium Completely Filled

Today I filled the paludarium fully. Now the water levels are exactly as projected, and overflow neatly into the sewer if there is any surplus.

Filled up

Fully filled, the paludarium weighs around 370 kilos right now. And I still need the Canopy on there, sand inside… But the cabinet is holding up perfectly. Nothing bending through, nothing giving way.

If the tap water or the reverse osmosis unit is turned on, it fills the aquatic part. The aquatic part overflows in the dirty-water part in the rear. If that overflows, it is dumped straight into the sewer:

Detail of the sewer pipe in the paludarium. Any access water will flow straight into the sewer. Note how the water is exactly leveled to the edge of the drain.

Detail of the sewer pipe in the paludarium. Any access water will flow straight into the sewer. Note how the water is exactly leveled to the edge of the drain.

The inside of the paludarium is a bit of a construction site right now. It looks like this:

Water in the paludarium fully filled. The aquatic part left is about to overflow to the dirty-water part (right) and in turn that water is drained to the sewer.

Water in the paludarium fully filled. The aquatic part left is about to overflow to the dirty-water part (right) and in turn that water is drained to the sewer.

Hoses ‘n stuff

There are a lot of hoses inside the paludarium Read more »

Water for the First Time!

Today it was finally time… All the puzzle pieces for the WaterWorks could be put together! After testing the WaterWorks for leaks, it was time to mount the board under the paludarium, hook things up and test… For the very first time actual water inside the paludarium!

Mounting the WaterWorks

The waterworks were build on a separate board, outside of the paludariums cabinet. All parts that need to be under the paludarium that handle water are mounted here. The WaterWorks look like this:

The Paludarium WaterWorks. This board is mounted under the paludarium and it handles the water household.

The Paludarium WaterWorks. This board is mounted under the paludarium and it handles the water household.

Today I mounted this board in the cabinet under the Read more »

Paludarium Waterworks

I finally have all the stuff I need for the construction of all of the plumbing around the paludarium. So next was to decide where to place what. And that proves to be quite hard; I have less space than I initially anticipated…

How to place plumbing inside a cabinet

The first question was: How do I place all of the required plumbing in a cabinet while I’ll still be able to work on it properly without having to hang inside the cabinet all the time? The answer was to build everything onto a piece of multiplex and then placing the entire multiplex board inside the cabinet (and then connect up all of the hoses).

I ended up with something like this:

The wooden board where most of the plumbing will go.

The wooden board where most of the plumbing will go.

At the top left tap water will be connected via the hose laying on top. This hose will connect Read more »

Paludarium to be delivered… Tomorrow!

I got an email today, and guess what… The paludarium will be delivered tomorrow!

I just finished prepping the place it should sit:

The protective base where the glass of the paludarium will sit on. Everything is prepped… Let’s hope I drilled the holes at the correct position.

The kitchen cabinet now has holes drilled at the exact position where the sewer drain and the filter drain will sit. These holes to all the way through the wooden top. AT the back of the top plate I removed a strip of material as you can see. Through this strip I will feed any pipes and wires I need to go in and out of the paludarium.

On top of all there is a protective rubber layer. This will prevent the glass from breaking if the plating is not 100% flat (or has any irregularities).

I am fully prepared for the arrival of the paludarium!

The new cabinet has arrived!

After a lot of thinking, rethinking and selecting kitchen suppliers, I finally managed to get a cabinet ordered tuned to my exact requirements! In this blog post I’ll share some of the details that make up “the perfect cabinet” for me.

How it looks on the outside

The first thing to consider, was that the new cabinet should fit neatly into our living room. So we wanted the style of the cabinet to match. That is where the idea of using kitchen cabinets first came to mind (also see “First Idea for the Cabinet“).

The next challenge was to find kitchen supplier that could build what we required. We started out with the supplier that supplied our kitchen. Unfortunately, they where unable to deliver the height we needed. As it turned out, almost all kitchen suppliers were unable to deliver what we needed. Especially the lower part of the cabinet turned out to be impossible for most suppliers to deliver.

Finally we found a kitchen supplier that built all of their cabinets themselves, and were able to deliver any (!!) size we wanted. As an input we had these requirements:

Kitchen cabinet to double as both paludarium and TV cabinet

And here is the final result:

The paludarium cabinet as it turned out; TV on the right on a lower section, and room for the paludarium on a higher section on the left.

We are very happy with the result; this cabinet should deliver enough room and strength to carry my beloved paludarium 2.0. Please note I did not use the original stands under the cabinets. As they are not in line with the vertical sides of the cabinets, the huge weight might destroy the cabinet. Instead, I used small wooden beams positioned directly under the vertical sides that support them from back to front (as you can see in the schematical drawing).

A look inside the cabinet

Inside the cabinet I now have the luxury of having tap water and a sewer drain, so I can completely automate the process of refilling, changing water. Also, the rain can now come directly from the tap water pressure, so I’ll just need an electric valve and no longer any rainwater pumps. The rain will be completely silent apart from the hissing of the sprinklers. I can live with the downside that it will be raining cold tap water:

Details of the drain and tap inside the new paludarium cabinet.

The total space under the paludarium should be more than enough to house all the stuff I need under there like a reverse osmosis appliance, all the plumbing and valves, the external filter and the a bunch of electronics. If I can store all this stuff there, I should not have a problem:

If I can store all this stuff under the paludarium, it should surely be enough to store all filters, valves, plumbing and electronics!

Up next… Finalize all details around the paludarium sizing and pass-throughs, then order the glass…!!!

First idea for the cabinet

As Paludarium 1.0 is sold and gone, I’ve begun to design the cabinet that will be built under the new paludarium. I plan to use kitchen cabinets for this purpose, and include a section to put the TV on as well.

Using kitchen cabinets

When building our new kitchen, it dawned on me that using kitchen cabinets might make the perfect cabinet Read more »