Introducing ChloroBot - The Automated Indoor Garden

TL;DR - This is a log of my attempt to build an indoor, open source, automated system to grow all sorts of plants.

What?

A Rasberry Pi controls :

  • Water flow and soil humidity
  • Fan speed
  • Soil temperature
  • Lighting
  • Aeration of water
  • Camera (just because)

A mobile phone controls :

  • All of the above

Why?

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.

Project goals

  • 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This LED grow light has been replaced by a VIPARSPECTRA Reflector-Series 300W LED Grow Light Full Spectrum for Indoor Plants Veg and Flower … Pictures to follow.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.