After 2 years, I have finally completed the Greenclay LoRaWAN Smart Garden project! I am now able to monitor and manage my outdoor garden using LoRaWAN. I have developed a complete package which includes a dev kit, garden controller, and mobile app. Here are some technical details on the hardware:
Power consumptions is around 1.6uA in deep sleep
Powered by a single AA LiFePO4 battery with solar replenishment
No regulator needed since the LiFePO4 provides a nominal voltage of 3.2V
Arduino compatible for the nRF52840 which comes with integrated BLE
10 GPIO pins and all standard Arduino outputs
5V regulator with SHDN for interfacing with 5V devices
Vertical USB for easier debugging and field servicing
Fits perfectly in the WP-28F outdoor enclosure from Polycase with room for external connections and daughter boards
The dev kit is essentially designed to run outdoors where low power is needed. I’ve been running it the backyard for several months and it has been running great!
What you see in the backyard picture are 5 of my kits integrated with my Garden Controller daughter board. The Garden Controller does the following:
Monitors soil moisture and soil temperature
Accurately measures water flow and consumption via pulse input from a water meter
Controls a latching solenoid water valve
Data updates are currently set at 20 minutes and the batteries are still at 100% for the last 5 months. I expect several years of battery life from the project. I also have a mobile app, but I figured the forum would be more interested in the hardware
I developed and designed the entire system myself in spare time, so I had a lot to learn. Thanks for looking and feedback welcome!!
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” - Henry Ford
The best businesses are ones driven by a personal interest by the founder, as long as there is a relatively easy way to get in touch with like minded people, you will have a sales channel. Whether you have a side-business or a full time concern or go global is down to the size of the market and your marketing.
Thanks for the inspirational words! I’ll keep on updating the project details as I move along. Revision 1.3 in the works.
Thanks! I’ll work on that. The garden code itself is somewhat lengthy, but my test sketches for the core board are much smaller and could go on github.
Thanks! I’m using the Vegtronix VH400 soil moisture sensor, DS18B20 Temperature sensor for soil temperature, standard meters with pulse counter output for water consumption, and I’m also monitoring battery voltage, signal strength, and chip temperature.
I’ll update this thread with new features and progress as I move along. Modifications I’m currently working on:
Automatic shut-off based on water flow at the Zone. I’ve had irrigation leaks and fittings pop off, so I’ll be adding the ability to automatically shut off the valve if that happens.
Manual shut-off based on water flow at the Region. Same concept on the Zone, but I don’t have a latching solenoid on the Region (collection of zones). Instead, I’ll notify (text) if there’s water flow when all valves should be closed.
JST connector for solar panels. I’m soldering them directly to the board right now.
I’ll also be adding a rain barrel to the back part of the property for my fruit trees. I’d like to water those without running new pipe. I’ll be adding a solar powered RV Pump which will be controlled the same way by opening/closing the latching solenoid.
Manage remote locations easily via Regions and Zones
1-step device registration for adding new devices to zones (region not supported yet) - I am able to seamlessly register devices with TTN via my mobile app. This was especially useful for me since I like to easily build new raised beds.
Control relays (water valves in this case) and setup notifications using either sensory data or schedules
Configure end nodes remotely (for instance, you can put a device into “Low-Power Mode” which sets the radio to call in every 12 hours).
Historical graphs for all monitored data (right now I have about 5-6 months)
Determine how much money you’re currently spending on water in real-time
I also have a Community tab which demonstrates how you could share data between consumers and growers. I show a map of different locations which could potentially show what’s being grown as well as other useful data.
As someone in the Ag sector and very interested in the application of IOT in the industy your designs intrigue me.
I have a few questions if you don’t mind: What soil moisture sensors do you use? Is there the ability to measure the moisture at multiple depths? Eg different rooting zones. Can you measure the ambient temperature as well? This is useful to see the difference.
Thanks Frankie. I use the Vegetronix VH400 sensors for soil moisture.
The probe can be inserted vertically or horizontally. For optimal results, you’ll probably want to install 2 sensors. One at the top of the soil and another at root zone. I’ve had the best luck installing them parallel with the ground plane to get the widest area possible. I only use one sensor though since I only need a rough estimate.
I use the DS18B20 temperature sensor which could be used for either ambient or soil depending on the enclosure. I currently use it for soil temperature since I like to see how the soil is doing underneath the mulch.
One thing to keep in mind is that temperature does have a slight impact on the soil moisture readings with these sensors.