How is my plant doing, really?

I figured it’s time to post some pictures of my plant project at the same time that I’m trying our Word 2016‘s WordPress feature J

So, here’s Benjamin, or “Benny” as I’m calling him:

You can clearly see how healthy he looks? No wonder! Benny is now in control of his life! He does it all from turning on his growth-light, to turning the moisturizer on and off on dry days!

The soil moisture sensor keeps Benny happy. It lets him regulate the watering, and reports back to me when it’s time for a drink. Right now, the water pump is in house, and the relay that controls it is connected, however, I’m still searching for a transparent tube (esthetics matter!)

The light was a bit tricky. See, turning the light on and off isn’t really a big deal, but getting the light sensor to understand where the light is coming from required some smart thinking. It’d turn on the light at 6am, and then turn it off again 5 minutes later, because the light sensor was telling Benny “Hey, there’s enough light here, turn off the light!” – Benny doesn’t know the difference between sunlight and artificial light. I ended up moving the sensor to the back of my electronics panel, so that it is now facing the window directly, and not at all hit by the light from the growth lamp. Success!

Above you see some of the hardcore electronics. It’s all .Net Gadgeteer by GHI Electronics which allows me to skip soldering altogether. The modules that are connected together are:

  • Mainboard: the Hydra Mainboard
  • Power Relay (the red thing with the light on it)
  • Ethernet Connection (because I’m dead cheap, and didn’t want to spend more on a Wi-Fi Adapter)
  • A 16-character display
  • An earth moisture Sensor (in the soil)
  • An Air humidity and temperature sensor
  • Light Sensor (on the back)
  • 3 power Relays to regulate the water pump, the air humidifier, and the growth lamp
  • On the back, the triangular alien-looking thing is my Asus wireless Access point

At the time I write this blog entry, I’ve gathered over 12 000 readings, in intervals of 5 minutes. Benny takes a new reading every single second, but averages it against the previous one for up to five minutes before he submits the average of those 300 readings to an Azure Table. Table storage in Azure is dirt cheap. Those 12 000 readings aren’t costing me anything so far (bout 1-2 kroner MAYBE). It is by far the cheapest data store I’ve ever used. I plan to use these in Machine learning once I have a full year or so of readings.

So there you have it, some images and updates around Benny and I J


Oh, and if you’d like to see the live data, don’t hesitate to hop in to Benny’s webpage:


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