I really enjoy automating all kinds of projects in and around my home. One of the area’s I have been trying to organise are my plants.
A few years back I was very much interested in how to grow a plant from seed. I found two plants of particular interest: a banana plant:
And the paradise bird flower (strelitzia):
Growing from seed was not a great success so I purchased small seedlings and started from there. Growing plants needs patience, the banana plant grows quickly, every two weeks a new leaf would form and grow the plant further. The strelitzia is a different plant, it grows very slowly and can take many years before you have flowers..
So what to do on holidays or at times where you are too busy to water your plants. I need a solution.
First thought was getting my spouse to help out. Not a great success, either too much water or too little.. Both with unwanted results, leafs falling off or turning yellow. I need a more stable and predictable solution.
So here I find the kit from elecrow. It consists of four valves and moisture detectors a pump and a controller. This was quickly setup and running in no time. The standard setup had some issues so the first thing to do was upload a new version of the software. You can find this as a download on the internet. And I was up and running, so I thought.
After a while there was nothing happening and as I started testing I would find the tubes would come loose from the pump without being noticed by the controller. It seems the pump is putting pressure before the valves open up.
So I looked at the source code and found some areas of improvement. And also still some areas with need for improvement.
I cleaned up the code a little and added checks to limit the time the pump is running to 10 seconds. If then the moisture sensor do not turn of the valve then we have an error and we block the pump for 1 hour.
Als I added a delay to start pumping after a valve is opened.
And the logo and button screens did not work but the now do showing the elecrow logo.
You can find my source here