I have been using Attiny chips for irrigation tasks in my garden, but having plans to build a greenhouse, an Arduino seemed to be the way to go as it has more ports. I know, there are many 'Garduino' type projects already, including ones that twitter the state of your plants, but I just wanted something more basic, so, what does an anal retentive Asperger do in such a case: build something myself.

No use of course to spend 23-25 euro's for an Arduino Uno and then still have to add a shield for peripherals: seemed a bit overdone and as I have built various 'arduino's' alreday, I decided to just get the chip, a crystal, and 2 capacitors + some more stuff and build the entire thing on an Archer experiment board that I bought 20 years ago but has been idle all that time (radioshack partno 276-168). The Archer experiment board has islands with 3 holes and 2 seperate tracks (Vcc and Gnd) snaking in between. Of course it can also be done on regular strip board, perfboard or one can make a PCB for it.

In the end I decided I needed to have the following functions

  1. measure temperature
  2. measure humidity of the air
  3. measure humidity of the soil
  4. measure water level in a container
  5. measure light, basically to determine if it is light or day
  6. switch a fan
  7. switch a pump
  8. switch a heater
  9. switch a lamp

List of materials
Atmega 328 here to burn bootloader yourself or buy one preprogrammed
1x 28 pins IC foot narrow (or 2x 14 pins ic foot)
16MHz Crystal
2x 22 nF (often carries '223' imprint)
1x 10 k (brown-black-orange)
1x 100nF (often carries '104' imprint)
1x PCB momentary make switch
perfboard This is what I used because I had that laying around idle for years already
NOTE: an attractive alternative is a cheap arduino clone such as the Pro mini or Pro Micro that can be had for a few dollars at e.g.

16x2LCD CG046-3007 A00, but any other will do.
1602 I2C module

1x 7805, isolated
1x 1N4001
2x 100uF (16 V en 25 Volt)
1x 1 k resistor (brown-black-red)
1x LED
1x psu connector

1x LDR
1x DHT11 moisture sensor (e.g. from dealextreme)
1x make push button
1x throw switch
1x buzzer (I use the CMB-06, a triggerable buzzer) ($2.99) but use any other buzzer you have or are comfortable with e.g. this one
1x NPN transistor (e.g.BC547)
1x 330 Ohm (orange-orange-brown)
2x 10k (Brown-black-red)

Solidstate relays
4x330 Ohm (orange-orange-brown)
4x8pin dil foot
4x39MF22 SSR
4x2pin screw connector (mains voltage)
1x 5pin female printheader
1x 5pin male header 90degrees angle
ALTERNATIVELY: buy a ready made 4 channel mechanical relay for just about the same price as loose parts for the SSR, such as this one, or an even cheaper one.

bits and bolts
a couple of different colour wires, some print headers, four 3mm bolts and nuts, some 2.5 mm bolts and nuts, 4 spacers
solder tin, solder iron.
I have used Cinch plugs for connection... but actually these are hard to solder.

I use two casings:
one for the processor and most of the peripherals (I use a plastic box that contained screws: 9x12x4.5 cm)
one for the SSR's (I used a Tic-Tac peppermint dispenser The bigger one for 100 mints: 8.5x2x5 cm)

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acheide15 days ago

One of the more comprehensive garden monitor/controllers.


henriveil26 days ago
BLR_RAVI2 months ago
very well done..nicely explained..cheers
diy_bloke (author)  BLR_RAVI2 months ago

Thanks BLR_Ravi :-)