Thursday, August 30, 2007

Conical motion using two stepper motors

Conical motion can be performed using two stepper motors. The assembly is shown in the figure above. Steps are,

Step1: rotate motor B so that the rod is in an inclined position when we look from the top.
Step2: move the rod down so that vacuum pump assembly can pick the page and hold.
Step3: move the rod up by turning motor A in the opposite direction.
Step4: actuate motor B and rotate so that rod moves to the other side.
Step5: move the rod down if needed

Figure below shows the steps.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Kalam Sakshi

Theekkanal moodiya vazhiyiloode
Ekanthanay nadannu neengunnu njan
Neerum mizhikalum novum hridayavum
Tharattu pattay ormakalum.

Innite vidhikale vyakkanikkan padupettu njan
Bhoothakalatheyorthu vithumbi njan
Jeevithathile avasthakale koottikkizhikkan parishramichu njan
Orupadu swayam samskaranathinu idamundennu ariyunnu njan.

Vidhiye nam pazhikkaranu pathiv
Daivam manushyanil adichelppikkunnathu pole
Ente vidhiyil enikku pangundo?
Orikkalum swayam chodikkatha chodyamanithu.

Kanappetta, Vilappetta chodyagal nam chodikkarilla
Swayam marachuvechu odiyolikkunnu nam
Yadarthyangalkku nere kannadach
Nerine kallamakkan kinanju shramikkunna manushyan
Ethra nikr-shtan, ahangari
Swayam illathakunna balahena swathwam.

Varthamana kriyakalkk bhaviye niyanthrikkam
Prabhavakendrathil ninnum kathamakale uyarunna prakambanam pole
Kriyakalkkadharamaya manassinte avasthayanu mukyam
Manassakshiyude vyakthamaya bodhyamanu manadhandam
Manassinte vyavaharam vidhiyil swatheenam cheluthunu
Swantham jeevithathil pachayaya yadharthyamay thelinjukanunnu
Ithu jagatheesharante niyama-manu
Kalamanu sakshi, en jeevithamanu sakthi.

Vendathe veruthe pedikkunna manass
Munkaruthalennonam sathyathil ninnu puram thirinju nilkkunnu
'Sathaya'thinu koochuvilangukalilla
Prathikara vanchjana mu-tti-nikkunna swathwam
Avaganaye prathikarathode neridunna 'Sathyam'.

Sathyathinu vashyamaya sundaramaya manamundu
Pinthudarnnal, kurayathe thulumbunna manamundu
Nerine nenjilettuka nam
Ethoravasthayilum athinay poruthikkondirikkuka
Athirukalillathe Sathyathe Pinthudarnnukondirikkukka...

Monday, July 02, 2007

Bubbling Mind

Life is felt to be full of contradictions, uncertainties, unfinished decisions, strange thoughts, loneliness, continuously changing judgments, unsatisfied partitioning and utilization of time and effort, suspected prioritization and vacuumed sections of entire life… still I am pleasant, healthy, stout, energetic, active and confident, which reveals my contradictory life. I am scared of things happening around the mind, the third eye. Weak mind crushes on feeble reasons. I don’t know if the feelings are positive or encouraging. may be the deeper
thoughts and meanings read and stitched on all matters weigh a lot and affect the senses of mind. It is always hard to accommodate and deal with diversity in life… sections of life always cross link each other, even after prioritizing the execution neatly. I don't really know if the priorities are pleasing and have a good future. Thinking patterns dances with a complex rhythm behind, having an unknown wavelength... suppressed waves comes behind as echoes and do peaking sometimes, I see them as the remains of past, the learning of past and a moment to be calm and realizing. I shape those peaks, blunt the sharp edges and hardness so that next time it comes, it won’t hurt me much. There is really no one else other than God to whom we can express the ripples of mind, the great reader of thought patterns… putting things in his hand is the best intelligent decision one can do. The great happiness we feel even at these kinds of agitating moments.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Treks around Chikmangalore

It was 16th and 17th June 2007 that we chose for our Student Islamic Organization (SIO) meequath tour to "somewhere" in Karnataka. Initially plan was to trek around Madikeri in coorg and because of heavy rains prevailing there; we decided to go to Chikmangalore, which is near to coorg. Mudassir bai was our ameer (leader) of the trip who has the prime responsibility to lead the pack of 36. We started friday evening at around 11.30pm and bus stopped once in between at some place at around 3am... by the time the sun is about to rise, we were about to reach Chikmangalur. But we couldn't see any mosque on the way so had to do thayammum [doing cleaning with mud] and do our subah prayer inside the bus. It was wonderful and first experience for me of having a congregational prayer from inside the bus. Also prayers like this will really touch our hearts positively.

Reached Chikmangalore by 6.30 in the morning. Everyone had sound sleep it seems and everyone was in a thrill to explore the nature. We roamed around the city in small groups just to get a feel of the town. Chikmangalur is very small town, looks clean and calm. There are many tourists’ places near and far to this city. We freshened up from a masjid and we had enough time to take a peaceful breakfast. we started by 10am only and the weather was cloudy with no sun shine... we decided to go to Abbe falls(Hebbe falls) which is around 40Km away from Chikmangalur.once we came out of the city, roads become narrow and bad with patches, but it gave a wildness tune to the journey.. People had already started to return home from paddy fields and other lands after their work... many fields found to be ploughed and kept open with out any on going cultivation in it.. for a moment i happened to glance at the current situation of my village and understood the similarity of its past and the present scene i am having in front of me... I remember how cattle egrets roamed around the cows while they were on the fields and now I had to come to Chikmangalore to see such a scene!!! i felt so moved to see the man controlling his cows, pushing hard on the bar with his muddy foot to break the clay blocks, once I had enjoyed this when I was on the way to my primary schools.

Scene in front was amazing.. though trees hide the front view, hills are huge enough to reveal their elegance and beauty in the cloudy morning... hills were really shining in the limited sun light available and moving snow felt to have added to their beauty. some times we could see the hills very near and feel the plumage of them, the uniformity and diversity in their arrangement, the wildness in the trees occupied, new born tender leaves of the tall trees etc. It was a great feeling of acquiring the magic of the nature spread over the horizon with a 2cm eye, which revealed the creator and sustainer of the worlds. Sure these beautiful "big monuments" will stand as a witness for divinity. We had to take a diversion from the main roads to go to Abbe falls and we need to still travel 10Kms.. Bus was going very slow through the road surrounded by tea plantations. On the way we stopped at one place, from were the horizon is limited only by the hills...we traveled further and it started drizzling and strong wind was blowing...

Once we got down from the bus, we divided ourselves to three groups and started climbing down the hill. Wind was blowing wildly at the top and as we climbed down, we felt the force dwindling as we move... but the path was sloppy, slippery with rumbles and rocky. after this initial path, the route was open and fine with less vegetation around the way. later the scene changed to coffee plantations at one side and forest at the other side... and here comes the fourth stage, the wildness of the nature. We had to climb down the slippery mud which has more than 60 degrees of slope, there was hardly no targets for our foots to step on to control the forward movement and here the intermediate trees were also less. the way was surrounded by a good jungle... then we could see a barrier which had been kept down to the earth by some trekkers... the fifth part of the trek was still interesting slope increased further to more than 70 degrees and definitely there is no grip other than the shoe grip. I believe every member of the pack was thinking or formulating their own tactics to tackle the challenge and people even discussed about it. Since it is rainy season, there are enough leeches and by this time people have started looking inside their socks.. and most of the people are new to leech stories and the power of it...see how we are away from the nature... it is a wonderful creature with many abilities, it's attack is slow and steady without any harm, we wont even know if it is there own our body or not. the first process in any leech bite is application of a chemical substance which will prevent clotting of blood, this will ensure continues flow of blood and it has a special hook antenna that it put in to the vein and the more interesting part is how it finds the location of veins correctly. amazing, the creature of almighty God. Now comes the sixth part of the trek, journey through the side of a stream, we could hear the sound of the fall from here. we crossed the stream three times, we got lot of sweaty small mangos on the way, which was enough to satisfy all of last we saw the fall which was around 168 meters height in two stages. We took around one and half hours to reach here after getting down from the bus.

we cant see the first stage from the bottom of the fall. There had enough water to have a satisfying bath and we took it... we climbed up the fall to some extend over the slippery rocks to explore the shower like arrangement there. Believe me the force of the falling water thread over the rock was strong enough to destabilize our head and uncontrol the flow of water to our ears. water made loud sound, water drops sprinkled around and cold climate motivated us... nature keeps perplexing us with its charming forms... we felt the rocks were too slippery and some of us I had to pay them back two times for checking them for once, and my second injury was enough to harm my tongue. We spent more than a hour there and by that time, rain started to shower. we took our shelter under a rock which had enough space to accommodate more than one third of us. Leech biting became an interesting this by this time and people started help each other get out of them. there were people who kind of raced in leech biting and counting their bites... i feel that we are helpless if two leeches bite simultaneously, we become panic and we can't just do any thing... see how helpless we are ourselves.. May be God teach ourselves some lessons that looked to be silly, but holds immense principles. We took less time to come back.. we had our lunch at 5'o clock from the place we started our trek. Wind became more vigorous and risky and we had to offer our prayer from inside the bus. We returned to chikmangalore and stayed there.

Second day, we started a little earlier, by 9am. We rocketed to Z-point which is in Kemmangudi hills. The route is almost similar to yesterdays but the weather was shiny bright morning... I took my seat in the cabin of the bus to have a taste and better feel of the route. Could see people waiting for the bus for a long time, and Anwar told me that some times it even takes hours to catch a bus in these types of interior areas. I felt that he too liked to enjoy and explore nature more closely than others, he shared some his thoughts too on his exploration. there had fascinating hair pins bends on the route with a top of vast cultivation lands down the valley. we could clearly spot the divisions made in it and the difference in cultivation... after that the route was nearly horizontal and later we started climbing the hills one to another through roads. we could feel how we are tackling the height and the depth of the valleys...the route is being cut over the curvature of the hills with sharp bends because of scary steep is almost like feeling the shape of the hills, really wonderful feeling!!!

we reached the place, it is also called kr hills. we had to walk some 3kms to reach the Z-point. the initial part is very easy and striaght forward with a good jungle around the road... then the path becomes narrow with astonishingly arted rocks on the right side and steep valley on the left some places, steepness is such that we can't see the bottom of the valley as such. Water seen to be coming in drops from the rocke in one area and there is a small waterfall too. then we had to take a zigzag path because the slope was almost 90 degrees. the path is like going 45 degrees in vertical plane, going back straight and then moving forward at some angle... felt like an inverted 'Z'. we could feel the height of the location from the force of the wind and towards the end of the journey to the peak, the height increased drastically and so the wind speed. we reached the top and grouped there.. wind was too wild that it tended to take us along with it and the risk was the peak has lesser surface area. some times some us had to keep sitting on the ground to save ourselves from the stormy wind. this was my first experience of a wind having this much air flow force... that too is a sign of almighty God and the disability of man. Praise the Lord!!!

I was more scared about climbing down the initial part of the hill... my shoes had already gave a signal about it's inability to save me and indicated that myself had to take full care. there is a beautiful green cattle feeding land down the peak, but it is almost not accessible from the top since it is very steep. we returned from there and gathered in garden called "rock garden" to discuss some things about leaders of world Islamic movements and had our prayer from there. after taking our lunch, we returned to Chikmangalore..on the way we went to Kallathi falls, we found many people drinking there in the falls and we couldn't take a bath. we continued our journey to Chikmangalore and reached there by 6pm. we took 3hours rest there and started to Bangalore. we had our dinner from Hasan and we met my brother and his friends there. we reached Bangalore on Monday 2am.

Chikmangalore trip is my first two day trekking experience and I enjoyed it in the full true sense. Intention of the trip was clear among all of the members of the pack and for me it is for the first time that I am in to a pack having a uniform spirit like this. The team was calm and understanding each other even though the pack was more than 35. I thank God for having a wonderful trek like this with lots of everlasting natural sittings and good moments...

Friday, June 08, 2007

Starting with AVR microcontrollers: Code to burning

Microcontrollers are widely used in the electronics design arena, whatever may be the application we have. With the continuing competition among the microcontroller devices, more and more software and utilities are coming in to picture. Microcontrollers have drastically changed the design approach of an electronics engineer. In today’s world, even a so called complex design can be realized with minimum time, effort and resources. Microcontrollers are loaded with all resources in the form of on chip peripherals, both analog and digital; utilizing them effectively is the only design aspect that a designer has to do.

I have been using 8051 family of microcontrollers starting from 2002. There had been lost of effort, money and search I put to prototype one design using a microcontroller, finding the intended microcontroller in market, more than that getting the programmer, selecting suitable easy development environment etc. I remember when I bought an 8051 microcontroller programmer for 2400/- rupees. Things has been changed drastically nowadays, in the sense, resources are available right at our finger tips with less cost and full documentation. It was in May '06 that I seriously searched and thought about AVR microcontrollers. They really amazing in the sense, blessed with plenty of on chip functions, freely available development/ debug tools, plenty of articles and sample projects etc. A simple example for AVR's power is, most of them come with onchip 10 bit ADCs. They really help you to design your system fast and aviod much of the integration work, so that you can concentarte on the actual design problem. They have In System Programming (ISP) capability too, that really help during the initial stages of development of a design, where you will download the code to the flash many times. Else we have to take the chip out of the circuit and put in an external programmer.

I have woked with ATMEGA8515 and ATMEGA32 AVR microcontrollers. My main design was an Automatic Incubator using ATMEGA32, that used many on chip facilities of AVR. Out of them, the on chip I2C facility was the important one that I utilized much. It helped me to speed up interfacing of thermometer chips with the AVR. The negative side of the game is the device cost. But I think that can be balanced if we look at the utility of the device. If you are going for a uC+ADC design, compared it with a single AVR device with built in ADC.


1. Development Environment:

WinAVR I use C programming with WinAVR for code development. WinAVR contains different tools for code development and debug. Programmers notepad is an easy to use coding environment and it is a continuesly upgrading free software. C compiler used by WinAVR is avr-gcc. It has built in definitions and macros for onchip peripherals and their access. This ease the code development very much, we need to concentrate only on the high level implementation. Currently I am using WinAVR 20070525 release. Latest WinAVR release can be downloaded at Lets go through the code development steps.

I. Download WinAVR to your HDD and install it to a suitable location
II. For every project you develop using WinAVR, you need to keep a Makefile along with it, which will specify or hold the details about the project like, device used, name of C file, frequency of operation etc. It is better to keep the Makefile in the directory where your C code resides. Some of the important fields are

# MCU name
MCU = atmega8535
#Proseccor frequency
F_CPU = 12000000
# Output format. (can be srec, ihex, binary)
FORMAT = ihex
# Target file name (without extension).
TARGET = nokia_3310_lcd
# List C source files here. (C dependencies are automatically generated.)

III. write your C program using Programmers notepad and compile it Use Tools -> Makeall
IV. Output window will show the warning and errors, if any. else it will show that *.hex file has been generated successfully. This file is in intel hex format and this is to be downloaded to avr flash.

2. Programmer/ Programmer software:

Initially I started with PonyProg which used parallel for ISP. Look at for AVR ISP (STK200/300) parallel port interface[ If you plan one, download atleast 2.06C version of Pony programmer software] It is very easy to build with fewer components and easy to use too. It comes with its own programming software. I was really satisfied with it, but I found problems with parallel port when I used in other PCs. It requires some parallel port settings to work it properly, that I couldn't summarize till now. So I thought of looking for an ISP USB programmer for AVR. I could find one design from . Thought of trying once, and believe me or not it took less time to develop this programmer compared to my first parallel port programmer. I used PonyProg to program the ATMEGA8 present in the USB programmer. USB driver and README files are available to download at the above mentioned webpage.

I have incorporated one 28 pin IC socket and one 40pin ZIF socket with a common crystal for both. The above figure shows only 28 pin socket. I have also provided a 6pin male connector on the board which can be utilized to use the programmer for ISP purpose. I didn't provide any separate power supply for the board, else I am directly powering from USB. I couldn't find 68 ohm resistor in my component box so I used two 150 ohm resistors in parallel to form 75ohms. Also, I used 3.3V zener instead of 3.8V zener as prescribed in the above webpage. Other than these connections that are intended for USB, all others are straight forward. Going forward, I am planning to use USB code to utilize for my future projects to give PC access to the microcontroller system through USB. So we can configure settings, transfer data etc between PC and the design board. My practical Programmer circuit is shown in the first figure.

To download the hex file to flash, go to the folder where avrdude is available[…/WinAVR/bin/], run avrdude -c usbasp -p atmega8 -U flash:w:main.hex

3. AVR devices are available at,

Universal Electronics
#4, Mandi Veerappa Lane
Silver Jubilee Park Road
Parallel to Sardar Patrapa(S.P) Road
Bangalore 560 002PH:080-22238686,080-41140023

4. Sample project would suggest to use AVR for your newer designs. Surely that will help you much all through out your design phases.

I am happy to share and discuss designs with you if you like to do... Happy designing!!!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Bird and Butterfly Resources

Some quick bird resources on internet

1. List of Indian birds
2. Photographs of birds
3. Indian Birds news letter
4. Threatened birds of India - RED Data book
5. Bird Life international
6. Taxonomy browser
7. Birding in India
8. Sound of Birds

For Butterflies

1. Check list of butterflies of Kerala
2. Check list of peninsular india butterflies
3. Photo of Indian Butterflies

Ooty Tour

It was last year christmas holidays that we chose for our Ooty trip from Bangalore. Ooty is around 284 Km away from Bangalore. We started by 4.30 in the morning on 23rd Dec 2006 in Ratheesh’s car. Ooty road takes a diversion from Gundalpettu [Bangalor-Mysore-Gundalpettu] and then goes through Bandipur National Park. We could see deers, peacocks, elephants, monkeys and lion tailed macaque. Road through the jungle is not too bad. We were in full spirit to spot wild animals and photograph them. It was by 10.30 am we reached Theppekkadu. From here we can take two routes, they are kind of parallel routes.

Route1: through Masinagudi which is 7Km away from Theppekkadu. Road in this route is narrow some times, contains 36 hair pin bends and most interestingly 40 to 50 degree slop in those bends! This route is open from 6pm to 8pm after that it is closed to ensure easy crossing for the wild animals. But there won’t be any lorries carrying luggage in this route and the road is also good. There are many scenic spots in this route, mainly hills and valleys.

Route2: This route touches Goodalur and later we knew that roads are in too bad conditions, we really thanked God that we took route1.

First view point in the Masinagudi route is Bison Valley viewpoint. This view point is very near to the main road and it is at one the steep bends. We could see three hills tending to join and form a wonderful valley there. Though the weather is not good to form water falls, some water streams were distinguished in background because of the colour difference from green. There is a small “traffic island” from which we can view the surrounding, nothing was viewable towards the bottom since thick rocks and tree leaves hidden the sight.

Kalhatty waterfalls is 2Km away from Bison Valley view point. There wasn’t water in this fall and so we didn’t get down there to trial our fate. Time was nearing 11.30, sky was clear and weather getting colder and colder as we passed each hair pin bends. We stopped near a hotel named “Rock Picnic”, the view from here was superb, and on the hill in right side, we saw large number of houses arranged in rhythm. I had collected some data about Ooty and the people living there, so I was keen to know more about those houses. A malayali is running that hotel and we met Pratheesh from Manjeri who is working in that hotel. He said that Badagas are the main residents of this area of Uthagamandalam, and the east side is inhabited by Todas. Badagas live in villages and these villages are called “hatti” in their Badaga language. Pratheesh said that those groups of houses are hattis – he told me their names too. Ekkuni, Ullathi and Melullathi. There are more than 100 Badaga hattis in Ooty. They are mostly farmers and cultivate carrots mainly. Pratheesh said that from one acre of carrot they will earn one lakh as profit, and this is with in three months time. We took our lunch from there and resumed journey by 1.30 pm.

After covering 8 Km we reached Thalakkada by 1.45 pm. We decided to see Pycara lake which is 16 Km away from this place. Upper lake view is 2 Km away from Thalakkada and the way to the lake is steep enough that we can’t control our steps. Next point was Film shooting point, which is a sloppy hill with a vast view over the horizon. Towards the other side of the hill, there is a valley with uniform curvature. The beauty lies in its uniformity and structure. By the time we descended the hill, it was 3.50 pm. We reached Pycara by 4.20pm. We went for boating there for 20 minutes. That experience was not that much as we expected. All of us dreamt a speed boat, but we could hire only motor boat. Even then we could feel the depth of the lake and its serenity… Heard that this lake has inclined muddy bed, so lake has more depth towards the centre. This lake is a part of Kamraj sagar power station reservoir.

Second day, we decided to explore in and around Coonor. We started by 8.30 in the morning from the hotel, where we stayed last night. Route to Coonor was picturesque, has good road compared to first day, lots of valleys enclosed with mist, plenty of tea plantations on the way and could see different ‘Hatties’ as we moved. Most of the time we had the direct and deep view of the scenes with a pleasing cold wind. The heritage train track is laid along this route. With in 45 minutes we reached Coonor. We had break fast from there. Coonor is a small town.

Our next plan was to go to Catherine falls. We passed Kottabettu, which is 12Km away from Coonor. In this route, there are bends where we stopped and enjoyed the wide scene. We can’t capture the loveliness on this scene in a camera as the view is more than 180 degrees. By 11 am we reached Kottagiri after covering 8Km from Kottabettu. We have to take the right diversion from Donnigton, which is a junction in Kottagiri town along Kottanad route. We had to travel 10Km more to reach Catherine falls from this junction. Then the road takes a right diversion from Aravenu. This place has a Hatti named Aravenu Hatti. Road was steep and covered with mist. We stopped here and there, that we reached Catherine falls by 12.30. We walked one and half kilometers through the tea plantations to reach the falls. Thanks to not having a direct road to this falls, the fall is clean and felt as unexplored by most of the tourists. Mavukkara tea estate is the main estate here. At 2.15 pm, we returned from Catherine falls.

Roads to Kotttanad is the best of all that we took till that time, surrounded by tea estates which are well maintained and beautified to a certain extent. Canopy of the plantations and trees in the valley which shined in the evening cold sun light was a fantastic view. It is sure that they are spending huge money for the maintenance of the estate.

We reached Kottanad view point at 4.15pm. The view from this point is ultimate and the view angle is more than 200 degrees. We could see Moyar river, a pale grey mark in green background, flowing down through the thick forest. The lighting effect showed that there are many small hills surrounding this river. Rangaswamy peak is the main attraction from this view point, which is the fifth highest peak in the Nilgris [1786 meters]. This peak is 30 Km away from Kottagiri. We spent 45 minutes at this view point.

At 5’o clock we started our return journey to Ooty. There is a direct route to Ooty [19Km] from Kottabettu, with out touching Coonor. We took that way; this route was misty and too dark. We reached Ooty by 8.30pm.

We returned Bangalore on the next day. The trip was incredible with lots of good natural sightings and nostalgia. Nature really calm us and bless with an overwhelming feel in which we can’t fully realise the magic it shows. We are eager to attain and experience more and more as we explore this nature.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Hridhaya Spandanam...

Kalathinu manushyane matti marikkam
Thikachum vyathasthamaya chintha sheelukal
Adukkum chittayumillatha manassinte vyavaharam
Engottanu yathra ennu nishchayamillathe...

Njan shanthananu,
En manassu prakshubthamanegilum
Athanallo lokam vayichu-kondirikkunnathu
Kathayariyathe attam kanunnavar

Njan ariyathe njan theeram vittakalukayanu
Ennanu thuzha nashtta pettathu ennu nishchayamilla
Kara nokketha doorathengilum,
Oru vela shramikkamennu manassu manthrikkunnu
Manassinte shakthi aparamennu aptha vakyam
Uracha theerumanagalkke pratheekshakal kondu varanokkoo ennum vyaktham
Swantham bathyatha nirvahanathil kathirippinenthu sthanam?

Samayam odi-kkondirikkunnu
Second sooji nishchalamakumennu ninechengilum,
Alpam vegatha koodiyo ennu samshayam
Samshayangal Jeevitha sathyangalayi parinamikkaranu pathiv
Samayam apekshikamennathu aswasa vachanam
Parajayangalil ninnu olichodanulla thuruthu
Swayam ashwasippichu nir-vrithi-yanayunna hridayam
Oru mattathinum koottakkatha kooriruttenna pole...

Hadees Resources

Hadees are words or approvals or resctriction from Prophet Muhammed [PBUH]. After Quran, Hadees has got the highest authority in Islamic law. Hadees are explanations and commentry of the vast topics covered in Quran. It also depicts how to pratically apply a book of laws - Quran. Some useful links for hadees

1. Translation of Sahih Muslim
2. Translation of Malik's Muwatta
3. Translation of Sahih Bukhari

Monday, January 15, 2007

Vermicompost - economical way of Kitchen waste management

Vermicompost is an earth worm based waste degrading system, which can be easily setup in houses with a reasonable cost. Most popular earth worm species used for this purpose are Brandling Worms (Eisenia foetida), Redworms (Lumbricus rubellus) and Eudrilus eugeniae. We have setup a small vermicompost system at our home using Eudrilus eugeniae earth worm species. They cost 500 rupees for one kilogram.

Let’s discuss the construction, factors to be noted and maintenance of the system.

Container: It can be plastic, earth pot (best), cement pot, metal etc. Idea is the container shouldn’t contaminate the system, or shouldn’t degrade and produce toxic substances which will kill the worms. Problem with plastic containers will be, container become too hot during summer days that can seriously affect worm’s life.

Size and Shape: If the container is in rectangular shape, recommended size is max, two foot height, 3 foot width and there is no restriction for the length. If the container is round in shape, it can have a diameter of half meter.

Construction: Form a bed of basic layer using dried coconut husk (chakiri) in the container, next layering is with cow dung [optional] and then put the earth worms over that. Don’t use any mud or sand. Provide a tap to discharge vermiwash out of the container. Provide a barrier using water to prevent ants and other creatures entering the container. Initial weight of the waste, charging to the container is to be of half the weight of the worms. That is if you put one kilogram earth worm, initial waste can weigh 500 grams. Once they stabilize you can put waste of the same weight as that of worms.

Cover the top of the container with a chicken net, to prevent rat and other creatures entering the container. This will also help to provide sufficient aeration. Below picture shows a simple vermicompost structure.

Temperature and moisture: Temperature has to be between 20 to 29 degrees. Good moisture content has to be ensured in the container. Pour water depending on the need.

Bedding and how to put the wastes: Bedding means the living medium for the worms. Earth worms can degrade kitchen waste, paper [ensure that your papers don’t contain toxic elements like coated foils etc] cloths (degradable – cotton), dried leaves, remains of meat etc. Basically we can put all degradable substances. Dumping waste directly to the system is not advised, else keep the waste in your waste basket for one day, and let it soften. To reduce odor from the container, add both green matter (nitrogen conteant) and brown matter [carbon content- paper and dried leaves] to the container. Adding carbon will reduce degradation considerably.

Usage of Vermiwash and compost: Vermiwash is a good fertilizer with rich enzymes content than can be sprayed directly on leaves. Vegetable plants and ornamental plants will absorb this very fast since their leaves are soft. Spraying Vermiwash will increase colour of flowers. Vermicompost can be applied like any fertilizer for all plants.