You’re used to seeing smart gadgets that are supposed to turn couch potatoes into health-obsessed marathon runners. Here’s a device that helps bring crop potatoes one step closer to becoming chips or french fries on regular peoples’ tables.

The ongoing IoT hype made space for a slew of useless gadgets. Solutions for problems that didn’t exist. Some such products are impressive demonstrations of new technologies and people’s ingenuity, getting their 15 minutes of fame on social media before making room for the next. However, the highest value for invested engineering hours is created when ingenuity meets utility.

Bernhard Brettmeister works for his father’s company that builds those agricultural machines that look like giant mechanical catrpilars attached to tractors.

Bernhard’s role is to create the electronics for controlling the equipment. We wrote about his work on the Minimaus beet loader last year.

This time he created a controller for Brettmeister K3, a machine that transports potatoes from the harvester to the road transporter, cleaning them along the way.

Brettmeister controller

The original Minimaus beet loader controller wasn’t up for the task as it wasn’t resistant to dirt. This is, according to Bernhard, a much more modular device. Like the Minimaus, it also incorporates a mikromedia for PIC32, along with a shield that has connectors for potentiometers and joysticks. They also have a version without a display, for which they’ve built a custom PCB. The firmware for both is written in mikroC.

The device uses a one-wire bus system called Qubus (patent pending), invented by Bernhard himself (you can read about it on his webpage, it’s in German so try Google translate). The electronics control the machine via hydraulic valves.

What are you working on? Tell us your story. As you see we write about more varied projects than what’s regular tech blog fodder.

Yours sincerely,

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