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.
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