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.

The DIY Smart Garden System

My name is Cory, I'm a Technical Craftsman specializing in creative problem solving within electronics and software engineering.  Professionally, I've worked as an electronics engineer, a plastics fabricator, software engineer, an industrial laser technician, and, of course, a coffee barista.  I've spent the last several years working on a Smart Garden System project I named, hydroMazing.  I'm sharing my work with you because I would like to empower everyone who is interested in a "Smart" approach to gardening.

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.

Arduino FastLED Library

Using an Arduino Uno to calibrate an RGB LED strip. The purpose of running this example is to determine what settings are needed to use the FastLED library.  For this example I’m using an Arduino Uno. The Uno has a ground pin next to pin 13, so for convenience, I’m using pin 13 as a low-current Vcc for the RGB LED lights strip:

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