Electricity replaces the sun, wind, and some natural processes as the dependency for plants to grow indoors.
Starting a Smart Indoor Garden
The first glaring problem with the typical indoor garden is that extension wires are annoying and a potential safety hazard. On the other hand, wireless communications can lack the reliability of the wired variant. Going further, should the system be available to the local network or should it be connected to the Internet?
Since plants do not need Internet access in order to grow then we are potentially creating an additional dependency that the plant doesn’t want. The Internet is useful for providing access to your system, but security is questionable, how much control or data should be available? A connection to the Internet can become another dependency if the system cannot operate without communication to a cloud-based or otherwise remote server. If something can fail; we should plan for the eventual occurrence of that possibility as best as possible. If a long electrical outage were to occur it would be prudent to have a backup generator, or solar rechargeable battery storage system. If we can have better reliability with a wired connection, then it makes sense to use a combination of wired and wireless.
Next: Getting Wired and Wireless
Communication options such as i2c, which is great for communicating with another microcontroller or Raspberry Pi and the many wireless options: WiFi, bluetooth, etc.
- Remote Control using a RF 315MHz / 433MHz
- Lightweight Bluetooth ( nRF24L01 )
- Bluetooth ( HC-05 )
- WiFi Module ( ESP8266 / CC3000 ) etc.
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out of curiosity could you wire one of those hand held sensors into your system and just have it checked periodically? also, how do you feel about aquaponics? and do you know of any sustainable way to get nutrients for your plants? like any ideas how to make it closed loop or at least create the nutrient supply from a waste stream?
Great questions, I’ll write my next article to answer your questions.