TL;DR - This is a log of my attempt to build an indoor, open source, automated system to grow all sorts of plants.
A Rasberry Pi controls :
- Water flow and soil humidity
- Fan speed
- Soil temperature
- Aeration of water
- Camera (just because)
A mobile phone controls :
- All of the above
Short answer : “Because I can”
It’s cold in Toronto; I love hot peppers, I also neglect my plants. I want to be able to grow delicious hot peppers year-round.
Because of these reasons I modified a 3.2 cubic foot refrigerator and jam-packed it full of processors, sensors, electricity, dirt, nutrients and water to build a learning, fully-automated indoor garden system.
- control moisture and temperature in soil
- control a UV, IR and ‘full-spectrum’ light source(s)
- camera capture growth progress with ability to ‘time-lapse’ and view in real-time
- share configurations (“grow plan”) with other users
- monitor air and soil health
- low cost, high efficiency
- eliminate odours with a blower & carbon filter
Here are some photos
This is a ‘mini-fridge’ used as the enclosure
Removing the foam from a enclosure is tedious and frustrating, use acetone and a putty knife!
I line the fridge with REFLECTIX BP24010 24”x10’ Foil Insulation
Installing the first-gen light
This LED grow light has been replaced by a VIPARSPECTRA Reflector-Series 300W LED Grow Light Full Spectrum for Indoor Plants Veg and Flower … Pictures to follow.
The DHT11 sensor works rather well and matches the temperature of the Nest thermostat
What’s left to do? (a lot!)
- Complete the API and frontend code
- Install carbon filter and fans
- Install the water pump
- Find a soil humidity and temperature sensor that doesn’t suck
- Replace the IoT mains relay controller with one that allows control on all mains
- Call Purolator, the ‘grow mat’ has been “on the truck” since halloween
- Install new 300w LED matrix
- Investigate replacing dirt with either polyurethane grow slabs or maybe clay pellets
- Replace NOOBS image with headless Debian on the Pi
- Find two basins that actually fit within the unit, one for water reservoir and one for the soil.
… and probably much more.
I’ll keep this post updated with any new interesting changes.
Parts List (will be updated regularly)
Full disclosure : All links to Amazon are affiliate links, products I myself have purchased. Consider it a way of keeping this site ad-free.
- Raspberry Pi 3 Model B Board
- REFLECTIX BP24010 24”x10’ Foil Insulation
- SODIAL(R) 2X DHT11 Digital Humidity & Temperature Sensor Probe for HVAC Arduino PIC
- OSEPP Breadboard-400 Tie Points Components Other LS-00018
- Smraza GPIO T Type Expansion Board+ Robin Cable Wires+3pcs Heatsinks for Raspberry Pi 3 2 Model B (20cm 40pin Flat Ribbon Cable)
- Pawfly Aquarium Air Pump 2 LPM 2 Watt Fish Tank Oxygen Pump with Air Tube Valve Stone
- VIPARSPECTRA Reflector-Series 300W LED Grow Light Full Spectrum for Indoor Plants Veg and Flower
- Haobase 120pcs Multicolored 40pin Male to Female, 40pin Male to Male, 40pin Female to Female Breadboard Jumper Wires Ribbon Cables Kit
- SainSmart 4-Channel Relay Module
- SainSmart 5V 2-Channel Relay Module for Arduino ARM PIC AVR DSP Raspberry Pi Electronic
- 2 pcs lot High - precision UV ultraviolet light sensitivity UV light sensor VEML6070
- Asiahorse MIRAGE 32LED 120mm Cooling PC Compute custom Quiet case fan 2PACK(RED)
- Gikfun Mini DC 6V to 12V R385 Aquarium Fish Tank Water cooled Water Air Diaphragm Pump EK1856