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Project - Nuclear power plant control room simulator

Sat Jul 06, 2019 7:08 pm

I am planning to make a nuclear power plant control room simulator for many years and now I finnaly would like to start. It really doesn't matter what I want to do, all the problem is - I want to have some buttons, some switches and some LED pilot lights, displays and so on. What I have in mind is, that this all will be working on internet base - when I switch the button, signal will be send to some kind of server, then it will process and some parametres will change so one LED will turn off, another turn on, display will show different value etc. But I do not really know, how it should work. I have experience with Python programming, some basics with Arduino and I have Raspberry Pi as my personal webserver at home. So my though was that the Raspberry Pi would work as "the server" for this controll room and I will have some arduinos somehow connected to network which will operate all the displays/LEDs/switches etc. Or there is another option, that it all could be operated by one separated Raspberry Pi. Or do you have any other ideas? I know that I will have to use some shift registers, because there is not much pinouts on both - arduino or RPi. I wanted to start with 16 segment display - 4 digit display on PCB with shift registers somehow controlled by that is the problem - I do not know how. I do not really know how to start, so I will be grateful for every advice!

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Re: Project - Nuclear power plant control room simulator

Fri Jul 12, 2019 12:28 pm

Very cool idea.

So your going to want to interface lots and lots of switches and LEDs, cheaply.

I2C is your answer. There are countless cheap chinese 8,16,32 Digital I/O modules for I2c on Alliexpress/Banggood. Most will drive the LED's directly, and a bit of software will debounce your switches. There are also I2C keyboards, 7 Seg, LCD display, rotary encoders and DAC units (to drive analog meters).

I would use RPI's for both the I/O controller and the server.

Your RPI controller code would handle all the I/O and the mundane tasks like flashing lamps or scanning for inputs. Freeing your server code to run the simulation.

The server code will be an interesting software project, simulating industrial or physical processes is complex. I would do some research on how to approach this. I would approach the problem by establishing each 'device' in the reactor (core, pump, winch, valve) as a seperate realtime process, working independently but listening to specific control channels inputs and simulating the response outputs. A lot of AI frameworks work like this.
DO keep us posted, sounds exciting.
..the only thing worse than a stupid question is a question not asked.

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Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:34 pm
Location: UK

Re: Project - Nuclear power plant control room simulator

Fri Jul 12, 2019 5:50 pm

However you do it start with building the foundations. Get to understand how to control LED's, directly, though i2C, SPI or shift registers, understand how to read button inputs, again, directly or via other means.

I think you'll also benefit from having separate 'servers' for things. One which can be told how you want LED's set and it just gets on and does that, another which can let you know when a button has been pushed. maybe others.

That way your 'master control system' is just responding to events, button pushes, temperature readings, and sending out commands, light a LED, show a value on a 7-segment display, sound the klaxons.

MQTT may be a good thing for that.

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Re: Project - Nuclear power plant control room simulator

Wed Jul 17, 2019 6:26 pm

And if you want some authenticy get this. :lol:
https://www.varusteleka.com/en/product/ ... plus/60862

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