I’ve been working on a project to wirelessly track the temperature, light level and soil moisture of my bonsai tree, so I can track its progress and know when to water (and more importantly, when not to).
… The picture above is of the first prototype, built out on a permaproto board with a huge enclosure and a wired connection to the sensors. This prompted my previous blog post on the Wixel in general and how to get it to sleep in low power modes to maximize battery life. I also experimented with a solar panel to provide power which worked nicely in direct sunlight but would need to be augmented with a big capacitor and a harvesting set up to cope with San Francisco’s cloudy days (and nights!), so I decided to go in a different direction – to operate with low power draw and in a small package using a single AA battery, and eventually to swap out the Wixel and use a CC2511 directly on the device itself.
Make a robot friend with Adafruit’s CRICKIT – A Creative Robotics & Interactive Construction Kit. It’s an add-on to our popular Circuit Playground Express, FEATHER and other platforms to make and program robots with CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. Start controlling motors, servos, solenoids. You also get signal pins, capacitive touch sensors, a NeoPixel driver and amplified speaker output. It complements & extends your boards so you can still use all the goodies on the microcontroller, now you have a robotics playground as well.
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I’m actually trying to build something very similar. I used the electric imp as basis, connecting the sensors directly to the breadboard.
But in the end I’m struggling with the same problem – power supply. There is a sleep and low power mode available using the imp, but it seems with AA batteries that does not really help.
I played around with different sequenced for data reading and data submitting (read and collect the data every 15 minutes, but send it only once every two hours). But still this is no real improvement.
In the end I came up with two versions – a monitoring device with AA batteries and a monitoring device with growth light using a 5v DC power supply.
If you like to, have a look at my blog, where I try to document on my progress (electricgardener.net). Ideas and power saving tipps are highly welcome :-).