Using Arduino to Wirelessly Control Appliances

The Arduino Uno, and variants, should only be used for directly powering peripheral modules and not devices.  Consider the maximum current consumption when determining what is a device and what is a module. A string of lights is more of a device as opposed to a panel indicator light, motor controller boards are modules, not the motors they drive, MOSFET boards, not the valves or solenoids that they control.

Wired or Wireless?

Electricity replaces the sun, wind, and some natural processes as the dependency for plants to grow indoors.   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?

Why Arduino when you can Pi?

The greatest advantage to using the Arduino family of microcontrollers for DIY electronics projects, is that they are ubiquitous.  Since they are so available, they are inexpensive and you can find open-source software to get started. If you’ve ever had the opportunity to work with an Arduino Uno microcontroller board, then you’ve probably executed the flashing LED example.  Going further, you might attach a button, or switch, to trigger the LED or to turn it off making the project interactive.  There are many sensors that could be connected to the Arduino Uno and setup to trigger events, such as the LED flashing, using threshold values that we would need to experiment with in order to figure out what settings work best for creating the effect we want.

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