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Automate and Remote Control your Garden



Getting Started


Most people would love to have a nice vegetable garden, but few have the time to maintain one. Above all, gardens require regular watering. When the weather is hot, just a few days without water can kill your garden! The time it takes to drag out hoses, and get everything soaked regularly, is more time than many people are willing to spend. What if you spend many days at a time away from home? Getting a neighbour or friend to check on your garden is inconvenient to say the least. There are many automatic watering systems available today. Some are only timers. Some incorporate rain sensors. But what if you want to check on or water your garden remotely? How do you plug your garden directly into the Internet? The goal of this garden project was to build a garden that was easy to water, and could be controlled remotely via the internet.


Garden Wish List


  • Must be easy to water, and have an adjustable watering time.
  • Must have a Rain Sensor
  • Must have a Moisture Sensor
  • Must have a Door Sensor for security
  • Must have a Garden Light Control
  • Must have a Web camera
  • Must be accessible via the Internet

For the ultimate in remote monitoring and control an RMS-200 unit from EtherTek Circuits was used to power the remote garden.

Lay Out of the Automatic Garden


The diagram below shows the layout of a minature garden. The red lines are the irrigation drip system with feeders every 12 inches apart.
Garden layout


Below is a picture of the minatue garden. Due to the rural environment, fencing must be put all the way around to keep out garden robbing deer and rodents. Fencing is even put on the roof to also keep birds out. To the right, an Earth Machine composter can been seen.


Garden door


Down the Garden Path.


The picture below shows the garden path of decorative rock. Sweet Bush Peas overflow on the right. Zucchinis occupy the center section, beets on the left.



Garden path


The Garden Baskets


The picture below shows the garden drip system that feeds the Butter Crunch lettuce in the upper baskets.



Drip system


The Rain Sensor


The picture below shows the rain sensor from Toro. This sensor is easy to hook up and acts like an on/off switch. The rain sensor is fed with 5 volts dc. When it rains, the switch closes and lets the SRMS dc voltmeters sense the voltage. This rain sensor is perfectly suited to the dc voltmeters on the SRMS board.



Rain Sensor


The Moisture Sensor


The picture below shows the moisture sensor from Irrometer. This sensor is easy to hook up and outputs a dc voltage that has a linear relationship to the amount of moisture measured in the soil. This moisture sensor is perfecty suited to the dc voltmeters on the SRMS board.



Moisture Sensor


The Door Sensor


The picture below shows a common door contact sensor. This is hooked up to the SRMS alarm inputs. We can tell if the door is open or closed. We can set the SRMS board to alert us by email or sound a siren if needed.



Door Sensor


The Web Camera and Garden Light


The picture below shows the outdoor Camera from TrendNet. This web camera has a good outdoor picture quality and was easy to display the video output on the web page of the SRMS unit. An outdoor halogen light can be remotely turned on and off for night time viewing.



Camera Light

Web camera


RMS-200 Garden Web Interface


The picture below shows the garden web control panel of the SRMS board. Here you can turn on the watering system. See if the weather is sunny or raining. View the moisture sensor output. See if your garden door is open or closed. Turn the light on or off. Set the refresh rate. View live video feed of the garden. Do all this remotely over an internet connection.



Garden control panel


Between Two Buildings


The pictures below shows the watering control valve, pressure regulator, filter, and chemical injection lines. The watering on/off solenoid is controlled by the relays on the SRMS board mounted inside the garden shed. This can easily be disassembled and stowed come winter time. The water lines must be blown out by compressed air.



Garden building

Garden building


SRMS wiring diagram


The diagram below shows how the Super RMS unit was wired up to monitor and control the garden.



Wiring diagram


Parts List:

Garden Drip Irrigation Kit. Part Number: GDIK Manufacturer: Rittenhouse
Rain Sensor. Part Number: TRS Manufacturer: Toro
Moisture Sensor. Part Number: 200SS-V Manufacturer: Irrometer
EZ-Flo Water Valve. Part Number: EZF-26-94 Manufacturer: Toro
Outdoor IP Camera. Part Number: TV-IP212 Manufacturer: Trendnet
12 VDC Power Supply. Part Number: 1000ma Output Manufacturer: Any
24 VDC Power Supply. Part Number: 1000ma Output Manufacturer: Any
Out Door Light. Part Number: 100 watt Halogen Manufacturer: Any
Door Contacts. Part Number: Common Manufacturer: Any


The Fruits of our Labour


The picture below shows some tomatoes ready to pick.



Tomatos


Strawberries!


Strawberries

Beets.


Beets

Carrots.


Carrots

More Lettuce.


Lettuce