Arduino Project 12.1 – My second Arduino controlled greenhouse

Introduction:

This is the first of a series of posts to describe my second Arduino automated greenhouse. It’s simply too big a project to cover everything in one post so I’ve decided to split it into a few smaller posts. In this first part I’m going to quickly describe my water, power and network setup.

 

1. Power

I’ve built this greenhouse myself and since I knew I wanted to automate it I fed 240VΒ (armoured 4mm cable) and mains water (blue plastic pipe) in from underneath through the base. The 240V connection feeds two IP54 sockets which I rarely use apart from powering tools during maintenance tasks and a fused spur to supply the IP66 flourescent light fitting and associated IP66 light switch.

 

2. Water

The blue polypipe connects to a copper adapter which then phases out into two lever taps. One of them is usually connected to a hose reel and the other one is now feeding the automated watering pipeline :) This pipeline runs round the inside bottom of the whole greenhouse with so far five 12V solenoid valves T-ing off of it. I used 13mm irrigation pipe for the water run up to the valves and behind them I’ve gone down to smaller 5mm irrigation pipeline which then feeds several adjustable 30l/h irrigation bubblers. For the bigger plants I use one bubbler per pot while they are still young but once they grow up and develop long enough roots one of them should be enough to water the tray underneath the pots. The trays up on the staging only house smaller pots anyway so they all get flooded by one bubbler each.

 

 

 

 

3. Network

I’ve pulled over two CAT6 lines from the shed next doors. One currently supplies gigabit ethernet and the other one 9V DC to feed the Arduino and 12V for the solenoid valves. The Arduino is going to upload statistics to my MySQL storage back-end through a network shield and I’m planning to display samples of this data with a LCD in the greenhouse as well as a second LCD in my hallway. While I’m at it I’m also planning to get the same Arduino to collect weather data (outside temperature, humidity, wind speed etc) and upload it into my database for displaying on the hallway LCD. If I ever find the time I’d also like to make this data available through a web service so I can tap into it with a little Android/iOS app.

My latest addition is a chunky IP54 ABS box to house all the circuitry and I’ve already fitted the first three plugs which are going to connect the fan out lines to connect the solenoid valves and soil humidity/temperature combo sensors.

 

Next Steps:

I’ve got most of the circuitry for the distribution box built up and tested and the two fan cans (soda can with a little fan, humidity, light and temperature sensors) Β are ready to go in as well. Biggest task left on my list is probably somewhere between wiring it all up and building all the soil humidity/temperature combo sensors. I shall report back with another post in the near future :)

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