Why was this our project ?
As our group was discussing what electronics “gadgets” we would benefit from, that weren’t already available in the market, this idea came up. It sounded useful because a couple of us in the team had a garden with quite a few plants.
a) While having a garden and living amidst plants is cool, watering them on a day to day basis can be sort of boring and repetitive. So, it felt like something that could be automated to free our time up to do something else
b) All of us had challenges to water plants when we were out of town. None of us were quite happy about the existing arrangements.
c) Based on the weather and the overall moisture content in the soil, some days the plants require more water and on other days, lesser water. We wanted to take care of that (to avoid wasting water by overwatering the plants)
d) Also, with the changing (for the worse) supply of water in Bangalore, we felt that it would be useful to check water supply and adjust the amount of water for the plant.
What does our gadget do ?
It is simple - water plants if the moisture content is low, if water is available in the tank.
breaking that up, our original objectives were
a) Check the moisture content in the soil (done)
b) Check the water level in the tank (done)
c) Water the plants to get the desired moisture content (done)
d) Have a preset timer based operation (done)
e) Have a manual override (done)
f) Post information on the operation to the web - water level, moisture level, time elapsed since the plants were last watered (partially done)
Components (for a POC)
- Black magic probe
* Submersible Water Pump
* Node MCU
- Voltage regulator (5V, 3.3V)
- N Channel Mosfet
- Breadboard (to check connections)
- Jumper wires (male-female, female-female) )
- Black magic probe
- Node MCU
- Soldering Iron
Link on its way
Nice to haves
that we didn’t manage to complete
- App / Web Page - this is very very basic - and a lot could be done to make it look and feel better
- App/ Web Page - Provide ability to the user to force checking of the moisture content & watering the plants
- Mail/ Notification if there is insufficient moisture for extended periods of time or insufficient water in the tank
Lastly, but most importantly, this was a project that was demo’ed at the open day at the end of the EFH program.
While we take a look at this gadget and the circuitry and the code, it does seem fairly trivial ! We wouldn’t have thought that 10 weeks back, at the start of the program. Many of us came with sort of a sketchy background in electronics & programming (and as a result not a lot of confidence) and we wouldn’t have imagined ourselves capable of putting this together in the time that we actually did.
About the program - EFH
The program included theory and exercises on electronics, C, linux, git (no knowledge was assumed). It was a really diverse group of participants (in terms of background and experience).
The sessions were peppered with very informative & interesting macro topics related and not so related to tronix - be it the use of aadhar, what has been the impact of having free and open software, the considerations in building connected devices, what gender means in our workspaces, what does converting a poc into a commercial product take etc, opportunities in the embedded world. Thanks to Rameez, Shashank, Mahesh, Aditi & Aruna for making it even more interesting.