Recently, our home had a central air system installed. I noticed that there was water draining from the side of the house, and decided to collect it in a pottery pan. After half a day the whole pan was filled and that led me to think, with this much water being wasted, drained into the ground, why not repurpose the water for irrigation and water other plants.
Given the drought in Southern California, we haven't watered the lawn or plants, but seeing this waste from the AC, I figured why not try to automate the water process.
What I plan to do:
1.) Have a tub/reservoir that will collect the run-off water.
2.) At a certain level (detected by a sensor), pump the water out with an aquarium pump
3.) Have a microcontroller and solenoid to dictate which zones/plants to distribute the water
4.) Turn off the pump once the water level is low/drained.
1.) Have an HMI so it can be programmed/visualized.
Trying my best to be patient and think about the end-goals of the project, and the baby steps I will need to take to fully learn and feeling like I own the project.
Thinking about the planning phase this is the simplified and n00b basics I wanted to get out of the brain and on paper.
Have: 1.) Aquarium Water Pump (seems strong enough) 2.) Old Rainbird Solenoid controlled valves (I will attempt to use these, but I am curious if the flow of the pump will be enough for these devices. I am not sure if they require certain pressure or flow rate to function properly since these are used for proper irrigation systems connected to mains - If this doesn't work then I will need to purchase solenoids, or re-purpose/modify the Rainbirds) EDIT/NOTE* These are 24VAC so now reconsidering buying 12VDC Solenoid valves instead. 3.) Arduino Mini/Teensy? 4.) Wiring/cabling 5.) Relay 120VAC rated for water pump
1.) ***UPDATE: these are 24VAC solenoids. So now reconsidering getting small 12VDC Solenoids and a 12-VDC Wall Wart (can be salvaged somewhere...) for solenoid valves 2.) Voltage Regulator for either 3.3V or 5V depending on which Arduino I use 3.) (3) BJTs or MOSFETs - maybe (3) Diodes for flyback diode purposes (Need to investigate if I actually do need it for this situation
Photographed below is also a simple logic flow of how the pump will distribute water to different zones. For the sake of simplicity, the piping will just go to buckets for now that I can hand carry to plants.
End-Goals and Ideas:
1.) Gather Metrics: How much water was generated today? Month? Year? What is the water level in the reservoir/collector? 2.) Programmable Watering Times (GUI/Interactive) 3.) More stuff that I cannot think about right now because information overload from other stuff.