Turn your garden into a thriving, self-sustaining oasis with this solar powered water automation system. [Note: green-thumbed Luddites will need to enlist the help of a technically minded buddy.]
Remembering to consistently water your plants is one of the biggest challenges of garden upkeep. Even if you're a creature of habit with a mind like a steel trap, there will still be occasions when you're indisposed on a blisteringly hot day. You could always invest in a timed sprinkler, but where's the fun in that?
Self proclaimed 'solutions architect' Edward Austin has proffered an ambitious solution to the above dilemma. His Garden Automation Project employs a range of technologies to provide automated, solar powered sustenance to parched plants.
"I've been trying to get my vegetable garden going for a few years now with limited success," Austin explains on his blog. "My main idea was to have some sensors in the garden that would detect when the plants need more water."
Austin built his solution using the Arduino open-source electronics prototyping platform, a SparkFun Inventor's Kit and Xbee wireless radio modules. From here, things begin to get complicated — just check out that itinerary list below:
1 x Arduino UNO 1 x Freetronics 8 x relay shield 1 x Freetronics terminal shield 1 x Sparkfun Imp shield 1 x Electric Imp 2 x 8 Pin Headers 2 x 6 Pin Headers 1 x Seeedstudio Xbee shield 1 x Xbee Series 2 1 x 24v Solid state relay 1 x 24v Solenoid valve 1 x Mini breadboard 1 x Plastic Enclosure 2 x LED’s 1 x Power button 1 x Water Seal 1 x Solar Charge Controller 1 x 10W Solar Panel 1 x 12v Battery 1 x 12-24v DC-DC Convertor 2 x 33k resistors 1 x Roll of irrigation cable 4 x Jumper leads
1 x Seedstudio Stalker Weather Proof kit 1 x Xbee v2 1 x Seedstudio lilypo 6000 3 cell battery 1 x 3W Solar Panel 1 x Moisture Sensor 1 x Battery Head Converter 1 x Sparkfun lilypo charger – optional
1 x Soldering Iron 1 x Solder 1 x Pliers 1 x Screwdrivers 1 x Power drill 1 x Electrical tape 10 x Ali gator clips
X x Irrigation pipes (depending on how big your irrigation system will be) 1 x Pressure reducer (100psi) 1 x Flow back valve 1 x Pluming tape 1 x Inline filter 1 x Inline flush valve
The building process involves everything from soldering to programming, although Austin has been thoughtful enough to include some tips and links to supplementary material.
If you're not afraid of a little DIY ingenuity — and have a lot of spare time on your hands — pay a visit to Austin's blog for more information on how it's done.
Garden Automation Project [Edward Austin]