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Easy Planter

A Simple Way Of Monitoring Plants To Make Sure They Are Getting What They Need.

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A small bluetooth low energy plant sensor that easily fits into a plant pot. It can monitor temperature, humidity, pressure, moisture, light, and has I2C extension pins so that you can add other modules. Information is sent to a phone, and notifies you when it needs something.

Easy Planter

This project was inspired by a position i was trying to get in monitoring plants, and thought it would be enough to impress the employer to hire me :)

I have never been a particularly good gardener, mainly because of forgetting to water the plants, and not knowing if they were getting enough light. I hoped this project might help me take care of the plants better.

The Easy Planter is able to monitor soil moisture so that i know when to water them, light: to find out if they are getting enough light, temperature: make sure they are not getting too cold, and i included pressure and humidity to get some extra information about the environment the plants are growing in.

Moisture Sensor

The moisture sensor is currently made from the PCB copper pads, and works by measuring the resistance between 2 pads (prongs at the bottom of the board), as the soil becomes more moist the conductivity of the soil changes, which results in a change in resistance. A known issue with moisture sensors is their short lifespan. One possible way to reduce this problem is to have the PCB pads coated in a Gold Finishing (Electroless Nickel Immersion Gold) which PCB houses are usually happy to do. Another possible solution i am looking into is using titanium wire for the sensing probes, as pure titanium is resistant to corrosion.


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  • 1 × 2N3904 Discrete Semiconductors / Transistors, MOSFETs, FETs, IGBTs
  • 1 × 10k Resistor
  • 1 × 100 Resistor
  • 6 × 4.7k Resistor
  • 2 × 10uF Cap

View all 23 components

  • Tx/Rx Correction

    JamesCannan12/11/2015 at 14:30 0 comments

    The first board was a little rushed, so i accidentally mixed up the TX and RX lines connecting the USB FTDI to the RFduino boards.

    I have updated the design files to correct for this.

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Discussions

Drew Fustini wrote 07/07/2016 at 18:21 point

Are the design files available?  Is there a git repo for this project?

thanks!

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JamesCannan wrote 07/08/2016 at 16:14 point

Ask and you shall receive: https://github.com/Cannonball2134/EasyPlanter

Note: There was a problem with version 1 of the boards. The Tx and Rx pins need to be swapped around.

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oshpark wrote 07/08/2016 at 18:33 point

Awesome, thanks!

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JamesCannan wrote 07/10/2016 at 13:36 point

Note: There was a problem with version 1 of the boards. The Tx and Rx pins need to be swapped around.

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tabbey01 wrote 07/06/2016 at 14:22 point

This looks a lot more expensive than a simple wiring mod to a £1 solar garden light from Poundland. Either will tell you if your soil is too dry, and the solar light needs no batteries.

However, of course your technology is more fun ;-)

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JamesCannan wrote 07/06/2016 at 15:38 point

Attach a BLE or Wifi chip to a poundland solar light, along with a simple moisture sensor..... sounds like a good hack :) Let me know when you release the instructable ;)

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tabbey01 wrote 07/06/2016 at 16:33 point

I dont think the solar cell and battery would have enough capacity for BLE or Wifi - maybe a low power radio. However just for the light to come on when the soil is dry, see this instructable at Sparkfun. The voltage sensing in the chip which turns on the LED at night is repurposed to measure soil resistance - works a treat. I have done it using some corrosion resistant wire around the spike at  the base of the LED garden light.  I found that the aluminium tube of the lamp as one electrode  tends to develop more resistance on exposure to water, so probably two corrosion resistant wires are best (stainless or other alloys).

https://learn.sparkfun.com/tutorials/soil-moisture-sensing-by-hacking-a-solar-light

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Lars wrote 05/25/2016 at 12:30 point

Did you get some experiences with titanium wires like stated "Another possible solution i am looking into is using titanium wire for the sensing probes, as pure titanium is resistant to corrosion." ? Btw cool project, I wanna build a wireless moisture sensor with the esp8266 this summer. So I'am looking for right wires as well.

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JamesCannan wrote 05/25/2016 at 21:20 point

I did go ahead and order some titanium wire but sadly other projects and work popped up, so i have not had a chance to experiment with it. If you do use it l would love to know how well it works.

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Pete wrote 12/18/2015 at 21:02 point

I've heard if you alternate DC polarity between resistive checks, you can minimize corrosion.

I've also heard that capacitive sensing uses less energy and doesn't corrode since the sensor is only capacitively coupled to the soil.  This guy sells them: https://www.tindie.com/products/miceuz/i2c-soil-moisture-sensor/

Once ESP86 comes out, it's supposed to include BLE; that may be the way to make it lower cost..

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JamesCannan wrote 12/18/2015 at 22:12 point

Thanks Pete, that's a great suggestion. Capacitive sensing looks very interesting, i might have to incorporate that into a future design. 

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René Arts wrote 12/16/2015 at 16:04 point

Great project, what method do you use to measure the soil mosture? I guess resistive?

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JamesCannan wrote 12/16/2015 at 21:01 point

Thank you, and you guessed right, it is resistive. However,  i haven't extensively tested the sensor's lifespan when exposed to a moist environment, and given the coating is copper, it might corrode quite quickly. Therefore I am still looking for better options. 

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zakqwy wrote 12/11/2015 at 15:01 point

Great project--I could use a few of these too. 

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JamesCannan wrote 12/12/2015 at 22:37 point

Thanks. I am trying to make it cheaper so that everyone can have one.

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