I built an automatic watering device for my window sill plant box.
When I started I used a common two prong sensor that was silver in color. It didn't last very long at all so I bought a better one on Amazon (Arduino compatible High Sensitivity Moisture Sensor by Phantom YoYo). It has a gold probes which last much longer.
The other thing I did was to do the sensing for a short time every 15 minutes. This I did using reed relays to power the sensors. This keeps the current between the probes at a minimum, thus reducing the corrosion process.
I have a long 19 inch box of Basil for one probe, and a small 6 inch regular pot for the Kalanchoe Pennata probe. The probes are attached to an Arduino Uno. Every 15 minutes we turn on the probes and cause a beep, one for each probe. If the Basil needs water the circuit produces 10 single beeps, and the Kalanchoe 10 double beeps so I know which one needs water.
Recently I added valves being fed from a one gallon plastic bottle on a shelf. So now the basil gets a lot of water, maybe two cups, and the Kalanchoe gets a lot less. The circuit is set up to only do one cup at a time to let the water spread to the sensor.
The only problem I have now is how to spread the water over the 18 inches of soil. I am trying something like a manifold using tubes and T Union Fitting Intersections. Still working on this one.
Hope this helps someone.
This forum is a continuation of the printed column "Q&A", where I answer questions about all aspects of electronics, including computer hardware, software, circuits, electronic theory, troubleshooting, and anything else of interest to the hobbyist. Feel free to participate with your questions, comments or suggestions on answers printed in the magazine. Send all NEW questions to: [email protected]
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