The problem of food items getting spoilt in the refrigerator has limited its power of preservation and thereby increasing the problem of food spoilage and wastage in the community. This project provides solution to the problem and saving food items from getting spoilt in the refrigerator due the harsh unfriendly temperature food items in the refrigerator undergo while they are been kept there. The project aims at monitoring and controlling the temperature of the refrigerator with the aid of short message service (SMS) through the use of temperature sensor that will continuously check the current temperature of the refrigerator chambers and sends an SMSto a GSM module whenever the temperature crosses a set threshold. The system being controlled by arduino microcontroller will inform the user on the condition of the refrigerator temperature for the user to take further action in other to save the items in it from getting spoilt. The end result after testing the project is a system that could remotely monitor and control a refrigerator unit according to system specification.
1.1 Background of Study
The technology regarding controlling devices and circuits is developing at a faster pace day-by-day. This project has applications similar to the controlling devices. So, in the model, Arduino circuit is the main component which could serve in the functioning of the program designed. Up to date, at many places, the refrigerator management is very poor. There are a lot of failures in the development of refrigerator temperature management techniques. So in overcoming these drawbacks, a simple circuit (prototype) which is even economical was developed.
Many centuries ago, geographical barriers were limiting factors to various functionalities of Remote Monitoring and Controlling devices which are now seemingly easy in modern times. These devices are what we see, feel, use every day in our modern world today. Dynamics and advancement in technology has broken down these barriers and today Remote Monitoring and Controlled devices are now at our finger tips.
The Remote Monitoring and Controlling of controllable devices is provided by sending control information to and receiving status information from information appliances over a network. A user is able to monitor and control the information appliances from a remote location. The Remote Monitoring and Control can be facilitated by graphical user interfaces .
Remote monitoring is not new to the industrial automation world as over 25 years ago the first remote monitoring systems were installed using dial-up phone connections. In the 1990s, these early systems advanced to hardwired Ethernet/Internet connections that offered greater speed and reliability. Today, many industries, individuals, groups are benefiting from technologies in which wireless networks and devices are used for easier and more economical Remote Monitoring and Control .
Certain appliance like the home lighting, alarm, heating and cooling system can be implemented using Remote Monitoring and Control technologies. The last two applications constitute part of the HVAC systems which include the three functions of heating, ventilation and air conditioning often combined in today’s modern homes and buildings .
In advanced applications, Remote Monitoring and Control can be effectively achieved through Machine Learning which evolved from the study of pattern recognition and computational learning theory in artificial intelligence .It is aimed at exploring the study and construction of algorithms that can learn from and make predictions on data. Such algorithms can operate by building a model from example inputs in order to make data-driven predictions rather than follow strictly static program instructions .
Machine Learning relates closely to as well as often overlaps with computational statistics which is also focused on prediction-making through the use of computers. It has strong ties to mathematical optimization, which delivers methods, theory and application domains in the field. It is employed in a range of computing tasks where designing and programming explicit algorithms is unfeasible. Such applications include spam filtering, optical character recognition (OCR),  search engines and computer vision. Machine Learning is sometimes conflated with data mining , where the latter sub-field focuses more on exploratory data analysis and is known as unsupervised learning .
Remote Monitoring and Control systems may require certain hardware or software to be interfaced to the microcontroller or the control unit. An interface as regards computing is the shared boundary across which two separate components of computer system exchange information. The exchange can be between software, computer hardware, peripheral devices, humans and combinations of these. Some computer hardware devices such as a touch screen can both send and receive data through the interface, while others such as a mouse or microphone may only provide an interface to send data to a given system .
In certain applications, the microcontroller based systems has to be connected with the GSM network which will enable a user to control the system by sending messages or making a call. The systems can also send messages to the user to alert or inform about the status of the system running. In all such cases a separate GSM module is used rather than using the mobile phones. The advantage of using a GSM communication with a system or device is that the user can control the system wirelessly no matter how far it is kept compared to any other wireless communication, provided that both the user and the device should be in a cellular coverage area .
The refrigerator on the other hand is a common appliance used in households, industries and hospitals which consists of a thermal insulator and heat pump that transfers heat from the inner part of the refrigerator to its external environment, thus making the internal part of the refrigerator cooler than the ambient temperature of the room.
The basic concept of a refrigerator is to reduce the rate of spoilage of food or samples by decreasing or preventing the reproduction of bacteria. The first artificial refrigerator was demonstrated at the University of Glasglow in 1948 and has been developed throughout the years till today. Presently, there are refrigerators with various designs and features to offer.
There is a significant potential of demand for the remote control and monitoring of any system. Hence, a rapid expansion in the usage of GSM enabled devices has been witnessed, mobile devices have a wide application in many areas for remote control and monitoring such as: in homes and offices for security and device control; in industry for getting informed about machine situations; in health for patient care, etc.
Medical refrigerators are used to store medical samples such as: blood, urine, human organs and tissues to avoid them from getting spoilt, so also in a domestic setting refrigerators are used to preserve food items to prevent spoilage. Hence, the primary purpose of a refrigerator is to prolong the life span of items kept within it. It is therefore important to ensure that the refrigerator is always in good condition to ensure that the samples sustain their properties when being used.
1.2 Problem Statement
It has been observed that at certain temperature which is not favorable, food items which are being kept in the refrigerator can get spoilt. This actually means that even keeping food items in the refrigerator is not just enough to stop them from deteriorating. It means certain food items must be kept at some specific temperatures for them not get spoilt. The refrigerator alone cannot guarantee household that it can keep food items and food at a specific temperature. This has called the need to device a refrigerator that its inner temperature can be regulated.
The project which monitors refrigerator temperature remotely brings the solution to these problems stated. It allows user to control the temperature of the refrigerator from the comfort of their offices, shops, business meetings and any place regardless of the distance just by sending a code.
1.3 Aim and Objectives of Project
The aim of the project is to remotely monitor and control the temperature of a refrigerator using Arduino and GSM interface for the purpose of reducing food spoilage. In other to effectively carryout this aim, the specific objectives are as follows:
- To design a system capable of determining the temperature chambers using LM35 temperature sensor.
- To design a switching system capable of switching ON and OFF the refrigerator based on the received temperature value remotely at ease.
- To develop an algorithm for the remote monitoring and control of the refrigerator.
- To design a system that will show the various temperature reading of the refrigerator chambers on the LCD at various intervals.
1.4 Significance of Project
The project is constructed to tackle the problem of food spoilage in the community and today’s environment at large. It also help household in saving time and extra cooking gas use defrosting food items that has exceeded the normal freezing temperature. This is possible because the project allows the user to set the refrigerator to a particular range of that temperature that is convenient for food items.
1.5 Scope of the Project
This project focuses on the design and implementation of remote controlled refrigerator temperature with the use of arduino and GSM interface. It is capable of regulating refrigerator temperature; setting it to a desired range and also switching it off at anytime at will. Its control action is based on data collected from the temperature sensors installed in the freezer and the other compartment of the fridge being used by control program to effect the action of the controlled device.
The major limitation the project is when the Internet Service Providers do not have enough coverage or if there is a network failure on their part; sending SMS to the interface module is not possible thereby hampering the work.
On the other hand, the issue of unsteady power supply poses another limitation to the project. Although in a case of power outage, the project has been equipped with a non-volatile memory to keep record of last tracked temperature so as not to introduce some run time errors in the control program.
1.6 Project Outline
This project will be broken down into five chapters;
Chapter one: it explains the introductory part of the project work to be done, problem statement, objective, significant, and the scope of the project.
Chapter two: it solely deals on the theory of Arduino software; the theory of remote monitoring and control system, literature review and the summary of the reviewed literature.
Chapter three: it covers the method and software adopted for the project and system design analysis, mathematical equation and modeling of the circuit diagram of the project, and the simulation of the work
Chapter four: it covers the system implementation, testing, simulation and result analysis. This includes the step by step procedures undergone to achieve the project work. It also covers the testing done after the designed to ensure that the result gotten is the expected output.
Chapter five: it is about the conclusion and recommendation and problems encountered. After this chapter comes the references and Bill of Engineering Materials.
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