Smart Garden Project Complete with Mobile App

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!!

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Very nice! Well done on the great project! Are you planning on making the gerbers and BOM /firmware available or supplying the kits at all?

Very nice! Well done on the great project! Are you planning on making the gerbers and BOM /firmware available or supplying the kits at all?

Thanks! I’m considering it, but I’m not quite sure it’d be successful. What would developers/businesses be interested in seeing with an off-the-shelf LoRaWAN dev kit?

I’d personally like to work in the AgTech space professionally, and I figured what better than my own personal AgTech product.

“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.

what a project my compliments, but Maybe you can share your project on https://github.com/ with pcb, script’s and a bom list?

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looking good! curious what you’re using for ground sensors…

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.

Very nice desing @czuvich.
I find also interesting the app. Could you share any detalis?

Kind regards from Madrid

Thanks! The app has the following functionality:

  • 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.

2 Likes

Thank you very much @czuvich

The registration of devices on TTN is a very valuable feature.

I assume you are using the application manager api.

Also the interface of the app seems very nice. Is it developed using Flutter or other similar framework?

Yup.

Thanks! I used Xamarin Forms.

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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.

Otherwise I’m very impressed.

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.

This is a great project. I have been considering a similar project.

Which latching solenoid water valve did you decide on? The ones I have found made using solar and small batteries difficult as they required too many amps to switch.

Thanks for the background reference.

Thanks! I’m currently using a blend of the 1" PGV Hunter valves with DC latching solenoid and the K-Rain DC Latching solenoid.

Thanks for the info. I’m trying to resolve some of the information you provided with these solenoids.

  • Powered by a single AA LiFePO4 battery with solar replenishment
  • No regulator needed since the LiFePO4 provides a nominal voltage of 3.2V
  • 5V regulator with SHDN for interfacing with 5V devices

I’m not familiar with the acronym SHDN?

The 5V regulator steps up from 3.2V? How do you get 9V to drive the solenoids?

This is nice work.

I think I found it “SHDN” is a shutdown pin, so that the regulator can be disabled when it’s not in use.

Is the 5V enough to drive the solenoids?

I found that 12V is the sweet spot for the solenoids. I step up the voltage straight from 3V.

Hye, good project may i know what software did you use to develop the mobile app and how you do it? i also developed an IoT project but need mobile app