“This instructable compiles the development and build process of my Autonomous Solar-Powered Irrigation and Monitoring Station with Stevenson Screen, named Steve Waters, which I made for my home garden.
This Station gathers atmospheric data as well as soil moisture data and sends it in real time to the cloud for remote monitoring, while also autonomously controlling the irrigation via a drip-irrigation system, to keep the plants happy and within a proper humidity range.
The real time data from the station can be visualized on the following link:
Origin of the project
One of my main ongoing and ever-evolving projects is an urban rooftop greenhouse, which has been for me a playground and terrain for experimentation around urban farming, in which I have already implemented rain water harvesting and local waste processing, however, one of the main issues I’ve had is ensuring all the plants are consistently watered, as even with a single extra day without watering, many small plants quickly dry or get sunted, plus every time I went on vacation I had to arrange for someone to come and water everything.
Thus, I decided to develop some sort of autonomous system to handle the irrigation, and ideally, allow me to check and manage the whole system remotely. Since I didn’t have a fixed design in mind, I knew from the beginning I wanted to approach this project in a very modular and iterative fashion, so as to gradually build up and refine the systems funcions.
I begun by researching all around the internet for simillar projects to gather resources and ideas which I could implement and adapt for my system, and in this process I found many simillar projects, buy mainly a few stood out particularly and ended up serving as the main inspiration and stepping stones for my desing.
I feel it is very important to mention some of the main sources of inspiration for this project, as the whole proces has been very gradual and iterative, with more and more refinement each time as I gathered experience and ideas from all over the internet.
From the first time I encountered Ben Eater’s semi-permanent circuits built beautifly on breadboards, I fell in love with the idea of just making a no compromises prototype, but built neatly enough to be reliable and serve it’s purpose for extended periods of time, while still keeping all the flexibility of breadboarding. Thus i decided to extend this semi permanent breadboarding concept to the whole approach, so I decided to tackle this project in a completely modular and modifyable way, in which I could build the functionalities and improvements gradually and without wasting all the previous effort.
Ben Eater’s Breadboarding Tricks
Another main source of inspiration for this project were OpenGreenEnergy’s various weather stations, from which I mainly kept the concept of an all-in-one board which is meant to be a base for various modules.
Debasish’s Solar Weather Station V2 (Also Instructable)
Also from his project I catched the look of some particularly aesthetic stevenson screen enclosures, which were not too round nor too square, but just sort of softened boxes, so I decided to base my enclosure development around these designs, mainly this one:
Glen Lewis’ 3D Printable Stevenson Screen Enclosure (Also on GrabCAD)
However, I found that these stevenson screen enclosures were quite big and super plastic-hungry for 3D printing them, so in the effort of optimizing the whole process as much as possible I developed my own version of the enclosure, building on the same modular design, but on a much more compact and plastic-efficient fashion.”