08/05/2014 at 02:37 •
I am about to deploy a bunch of sensor nodes for my plants (sunflowers, basil, mint etc). The problem is, making the sensor nodes on protoboard becomes a chore. To ease the process, I designed a custom PCB.
This is what it looks like fully assembled. The Moteino sits on the female headers.
The back side of the board.
The layout follows what I came up with on the protoboard version already. That means it fits into the sensor node enclosures perfectly. I stuck with using through hole parts because it is easy to solder. This took me less than 5 min to put together.
I have a couple of these boards for sale. You can grab them at my shop: http://dickson.bigcartel.com/
08/05/2014 at 01:35 •
About the soil probes on ebay, I don't know if they use the lead-free tin type or the leaded type for the finishing hence in my article I mentioned they 'might' contain lead. And frankly, I don't really trust the eBay sellers to provide me with correct information so for everybody's safety sake I had to mention that it might contain lead. Also, after 6 months of use, those eBay probes started to corrode.
Since I want to use Plant Friends for my basil plants as well, I need a probe that is lead free. I was thinking of using two nails as the probe but that is not good against corrosion. So, I designed my own.
This probe is gold plated which will withstand corrosion much better than the eBay ones. I also made it longer (82mm / 3.25 inch) so it can better gauge the moisture when using larger/deeper planting pots. I tested these already and they work extremely well.
Here is a side by side comparison of my custom probe and the eBay version. You can see the eBay probe looks pretty bad after 6 months of use.
I still have a few of these custom probes and you can pick them up from my shop: http://dickson.bigcartel.com/
Shipping internationally. ;)
07/26/2014 at 03:13 •
Thanks to Mário Santos (gadelhas) over on GitHub for rewriting the Plant Friends admin interface. 1000x better than what I had. Definitely a nice surprise!
07/25/2014 at 09:52 •
I've been getting questions on how to obtain my Plant Friends MK II enclosures. I've added a couple more option to make them more accessible:
1. Get the pre-cut ones from my shop. These come in flat sheets and you assemble them:
2. If you have access to a laser cutter, you can buy my templates at my Ponoko shop. These are already laid out into sheets ready to cut:
3. If you want to modify, remix and come up with your own version based on my designs, you can grab them on my GitHub:
Thank you and have fun!
07/21/2014 at 01:22 •
This is an ongoing project for me (probrably in perpetuality lol) so I'll update and improve on it as time progress. Some stuff is still really rough, mainly the web interface to add sensor nodes into the database. The app looks nice but missing some basic functionality like scrolling through the list of nodes (lol) and the ability to edit sensor node information.
The main python script that runs on the Pi and the sensor node / gateway Moteino code all works great and the whole system is functional.
I already wrote a comprehensive how-to tutorial instructable on my website: http://dicksonchow.com/plantfriends2
I have a few things planned for Plant Friends and I'll post updates here!
Stuff in the pipeline:
1. 3v/5v battery booster: have the system to power 5v sensors if needed.
2. solar power: sensor nodes running on solar power
3. Android app improvements: add features to the app like adding nodes, edit information and other fun stuff.
Questions, comments, suggestions welcome!