From Chip McClelland on Hackster.io:
OK, so let me just say that I approached this project with a little trepidation – water, code and electricity don’t mix well in my mind. I imagined creating a project that, if it failed, could waste hundreds of gallons of water and I might not be on-hand to stop it. That said, I have spent some time tending to the plants on my back deck and I did not want them to wilt and die when I was away.
I know there are many plan watering projects on Hackster.io and the web. However, the ones I looked at did not meet my needs or address my concerns so, I decided to make my own. I also saw this as a chance to improve my skills on the Particle Platform.
Here are the main features I wanted to include in my system:
- Remote monitoring via web or smartphone
- Notifications via e-mail or text if anything goes wrong
- Intelligent watering based on soil moisture and weather forecast
- Fail-safe design which would not lock up and would fail safe (and dry)
- Ability to extend and improve the system with data over time
- Tap into the house’s plumbing for all-season use
I decided to build a system that has three main components:
- The Particle Photon connected to my home WiFi for remote monitoring, sensing soil moisture, intelligent watering algorithm implementation and control of the water using a 12V normally closed solenoid.
- 1/4″ Tubing Irrigation kit that would connect to the solenoid and distribute water to my potted plants. I used an 8 port manifold, 1/4″ tubing and adjustiable drip headers. The goal is to give a full-day’s water in about 5 minutes.
- Web services Weather Underground forecasting and Ubidots for serial data streaming, dashboard reporting and insights for future refinements. Ubidots could also provide alerts so I would not have to constantly check system status.