There's no shortage of Arduino projects you can complete. From building robotics to blinking an LED, the Arduino is a fantastic microcontroller for a variety of maker endeavors. Smart home automation continues to thrive, and the Arduino provides a suitable solution for home automation and smart home control. Check out our look at the Elecrow smart plant watering system using an Arduino Uno!
What is the Elecrow DIY Arduino Automatic Plant Watering Kit?
Whereas my dog can bark to signal that he needs water, my plants silently wilt if left unattended. But droop no more, flora! Enter the Elecrow Arduino plant watering system, a comprehensive kit which comes with everything you need to build an automatic plant watering system. This smart agriculture project is simple, fun, and practical. While you can source your own materials and parts separately, the Elecrow Arduino-powered smart gardening kit offers an all-in-one solution.
In the box you'll find the smart pump board, a DC 12v four-way valve, 5m of 4x8mm water piping, 1m of 6x8mm water pipe, a water pump, five-way plastic pipe, four crowtail soil moisture sensors, four crowtail cables, and a 12v DC adapter.
What's in the box?
- 1 x smart pump board
- 1 x DC 12v four-way valve
- 4 x crowtail soul moisture sensors
- 1 x five-way pipe
- 4 x 4-pin crowtail cables
- 1 x water pump
- 1 x DC 12v power adapter
- 1m 5x8mm water pipe
- 5m 4x6mm water pipe
Total cost: $70 USD. There are a few different versions of the Elecrow Arduino pant watering system with soil moisture sensor and pump. Each retails for about $70.
How to Build a DIY Smart Plant Watering System Using Arduino
Everything's ready to be put together, and the logic of the system makes configuration fairly simple. First, you'll want to upload your code to the board. Plug it into your computer using a USB cable, and load the sample code which can be found on the Elecrow website onto your board.
With your code flashed, it's time to hook up the various parts and pieces. Take the water pump and attach the 6x8mm water pipe to the "in" valve. This will run from the water reservoir to the pump.
Next, hook the water pump to your smart pump board. There's a two-pin cable connector on the pump and in the bottom right-hand corner of the pump board.
Then, hook up the DC 12V four-way valve. Its connector hooks to an 8-pin connector on the right-hand side of your board.
It's time to add the crowtail soil moisture sensors. You can connect up to four. Run a 4-pin crowtail cable into the moisture sensors as well as into the corresponding four-pin connectors on the bottom of your smart pump board.
Take the smaller 4x6mm water pipe. On the 12v four-way valve, there are outflow nozzles which face up, and inflow valves which face to the side. As such you'll need to cut four small pieces out of the 5m tube which will connect the plastic four-way connector with the inflow valves. Additionally, you'll need to cut four pieces of piping which run from the out valves to your plants. Make sure these are long enough to reach your plants. Leave enough piping to run from the water out nozzle on your water pump to the input on the four-way valve.
When that's finished, it's time to plug everything in. Shove the crowtail moisture sensors into the soil, run watering tubes into the plants, dip the in hose into your water reservoir, and plug in the smart pump board with a DC 12v adapter.
Arduino-powered Smart Indoor Plant Watering System Review
While you can design your own smart water feed plant watering system, this kit by Elecrow simplifies the process. Instead of searching for parts and hoping for compatibility, you benefit from an Arduino smart plant watering kit that's guaranteed to function. Unfortunately, it's a bit of a mixed bag. To paraphrase Phife Dawg, it gets an E for effort, and T for nice try.
For starters, instructions are lacking. Quite literally, as there are no instructions at all, merely a picture of the set up on the front of the box. Confusingly, the version of the Arduino automatic smart plant watering kit that I received differed from the one on the box. Therefore, I had figure out on my own how to properly configure the gardening system. Sure, it's a maker project and assumes some degree of ingenuity and resourcefulness on the part of the end-user. But it would be beneficial to at least have the correct imagery emblazoned on the front of the box.
Nevertheless, this may be the easiest Arduino smart plant watering system available. It wasn't difficult to lay out all the pieces and ascertain the logical placement of parts and connectivity of tubes. Each connector fits a specific part of the board, and only fits in one direction. It was really only the tubes connecting to the five-way pipe which required figuring out, and admittedly it was fairly simple to assess.
I like that the tubing comes in one long strand. Though it could be considered a nuisance having to cut sections out, it's ultimately beneficial since you can trim pieces to your desired lengths. Since my plants are all clustered, I didn't need long strips of tubing.
Elecrow Arduino Smart Plant Watering Kit Review: The Easiest Arduino Smart Plant Watering System
Though it's far from flawless, the Elecrow smart plant watering system for your home garden is intuitive enough to put together with few instructions. At around $70 USD, it boasts an incredible value. Some familiarity with the Arduino IDE is required since you'll need to upload and edit some code. While the kit itself comes with everything you need to get up and running, it's expandable. For instance, you may add an RTC for timed control. Overall, this is a fantastic smart plant watering system that, despite an utter lack of documentation, provides a super useful, rewarding smart water feed plant watering system for (hopefully) not killing your houseplants anymore.
What are your favorite Arduino projects?
- Comprehensive smart plant watering system using Arduino Uno
- High-quality components
- Intuitive design
- No instructions
- My Arduino smart plant watering kit differed from that depicted on the front
- Requires modest knowledge of Arduino code