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SUMMARY

A device that can be used to control up to 4 different Hydroponic/Aeroponic Systems at once. The device will control the components of the system and will display notification to a LCD screen and allow the user to customize settings via Bluetooth. This system will be user friendly and optimized for fast growing so that even the least experienced user can grow lettuce with minimal maintenance required.

AUDIANCE

This instructable was put together to help:

  • A tech/computer person who is interested in growing plants in water(Myself)
  • A traditional gardening(soil) person interested in converting their crops to DWC(Deep Water Culture)
  • A DWC person interested in automating the process
  • An agricultural/farming person that wants to implement new technology into their crops
  • Last but not least, the Curious George

INSPIRATIONAL VIDEOS

Backyard aeroponics: self-sustaining farm for Wisconsin

Hydroponics vs Aeroponics vs Soil

BACKGROUND

I do not have a garden or experience with growing plants. I'm just a computer geek that decided to quickly grow plants without soil inside my apartment. What inspired the lettuce for life project was the idea of regrowing lettuce. After learning about DWC(Deep Water Culture), I decided to start this Instructable because I found lots of information about DWC, but not a lot about the automation of the systems.

GROWING PLANTS

I decided to use 5 Gallons buckets to build a Hydroponic and an Aeroponic system that will be monitored by the Arduino device. I will show you how to build the device and both bucket system. If you have an existing DWC system, you can focus on the automation steps to add some automation to your system.

DEVICE DESIGN

The design has been inspired by power strip packet sniffer article from lifehack.com. Here is the Amazon Link to the exact powerstrip used. This one should work as well. You can come up with your own device design that does not require you to tamper a powerstrip. For example, using a plastic electrical junction box is a better option for those who do not know much about electricity. Quick warning: AC current can kill you. I would not recommend anybody to follow a tutorial on the internet that deals with something that kills, like electricity, if they do not have basic understanding of it.

TECHNOLOGY

For this project, I chose the $30 Arduino 101 board because it comes with a tiny, low-power Intel Curie module with built-in Real Time Clock(necessary for timer), and built-in Bluetooth. There is also a in built-in Gyroscope, but we will not be using it. I will break this Instructables down to the enabling of each component per step page. Finally, a step for the master code that used to pull information from all the sensors every 5 seconds.

Here is a preview list the components used for automation:

With no further dues, lets get stated!

UPDATE: DON'T FORGET TO VOTE FOR LETTUCE FOR LIFE!

Step 1: Setting Up the Location

INSTRUCTIONS

  • To utilize dead space, I chose to setup inside my A/C closet.
  • When choosing a location for your project, keep in mind the following :
    • Temperature should not change dramatically.
    • Power Outlet closeby, but not too close where it could get wet from splashes.
    • A place to clamp the light
    • A way to close the area so that the light will not go everywhere

WHY IS THE LIGHT PINK?

  • The light looks pink because it is a mixture of Violet-Blues and Orange-Reds LEDs.
  • These lamps are commonly known as Full Spectrum Light.

THE SHOPPING LIST

<p>Poor choice of lighting. Just awful! Mixing blue and red LEDs it NOT what &quot;full spectrum&quot; means in the lighting industry. A plant uses everything from 320nm UBV to over 700nm far red into the IR range. Just because amazon say it is doesn't mean it's true. Also they don't even include a 660nm red led which is a huge turn off! Those single color LED lights are known to be bad, don't buy them. Look into high wattage white COB LEDs like the CREE CXB3590 mounted on a heatsink with your own driver.</p>
<p>Just like you Tyler, the guy in the hydroponic store told me poor lighting and tried to sell me some other expensive lights. I ended going to ebay and buying the<br>45W 225 LED Grow Light Lamp Panel Quad-band Full Spectrum for $40. So far, I am getting way better results. I plan on trying out the white COB LEDs next.</p>
<p>How did the lights work out with you? Im looking for small powerful lights to use in a school project with aeroponics.</p>
<p>Do you have any recommended links?</p>
<p>There`s not a lot of information out there for genuine aeroponics as its more of a challenge than low or high pressure aero. Check your You Tube message box ;) </p>
<p>Did you sent me a msg via youtube? never got it</p>
<p>To my mind there are 3 types, low pressure (sprinklerponic) aero, high pressure aero and genuine aero. </p><p>Folks tend to use whatever description of aeroponics that will fit with what they have :) A medialess flood and drain system that runs on a timer..could be called aeroponic because the roots are suspended in air?. Technically, they are not suspended in air with a film of water coating every root :)</p>
<p>Great instructable, but I have some problems with code, could you give me the code file with full data please, I really need it</p>
<p>Thanks Trangiaphu. Message me your issue and I can help you when I am available. There is a zip file attached to STEP 13 with all the code files. Also in step 13, there is the link to the <a>Lettuce For Life GitHub repository</a>. I recommend cloning the repository to your local machine and creating your own branch to work on. Feel free to upload your branch to GitHub.</p>
<p>great stuff sir, very detailed instructions..</p><p>are you familiar with my <a href="https://www.instructables.com/id/the-Plant-Doctor-family/">work</a>.? thank you for sharing.!! </p><p>i suggest looking into the $5 wifi arduino nodemcu board; <a href="http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-Version-NodeMcu-Lua-ESP8266-CP2102-WIFI-Internet-Development-Board-Arduino-/191607499973?hash=item2c9cb26cc5:g:FIcAAOSwxp9W61n7">http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-Version-NodeMcu-Lua-ES...</a></p>
<p>If like me you wondered about PPM, yes it is parts per million, that is the units of TDS (total disolved solids) sensor. </p><p>See https://www.icmag.com/modules/Tutorials/FertandFeeding/741.htm</p>
<p>Nice comprehensive project. I would suggest skip the LCD and use the bluetooth. I really like http://appinventor.mit.edu/explore/ for doing Android apps and remote monitor temperature and voltage on other Arduino projects I've done. I've also sprouted plants by a window and used NeoPixels to supplement in the evenings. I'm not sure what spectrum I end up with but generally full R and less G and B. Sounds like I should go full B and half or less G</p>
<p>All this work for a few lettuce well what can I say I don't want to be negative but the project looks very expensive for the end result </p>
<p>This is true for lettuce, but you can grow other things after you have master the technique. I chose re-growing lettuce because it is fast to experiment with. For me, the cost is like paying tuition.</p>
<p>Nice instructable. </p><p>Imho, your description of aeroponics is incorrect. The roots shouldnt be sprayed with water, they should be suspended in a mist which consists of droplets in the 5-80 micron range. The mist is held at a constant level by adding very small amounts on a little and often basis. The roots are never wet or dry so they have constant access to oxygen and nutrients. </p><p>If you spray the roots you create a film of water that holds a finite amount of oxygen and nutrient. The film blocks access to oxygen. If the nutrient in the film is depleted before the water, the plant has to wait for the next spray to create a new film...which also blocks access to oxygen, apart from what is dissolved in it. :) </p>
<p>Since I'm fairly new to DWC, I wrote based on what I learned from the internet. I guess the term aeroponics can be a little bit misleading. Thanks for clarifying it better brother. I did a bit deeper reseach on aeroponics and it looks like what you have explained is called &quot;Aeroponics 2.0&quot; and it seems like it is the correct way to do aeroponics. </p>
<p>This is awesome. You got me motivated to build one.</p>
I like to see life oriented technology. This have more value that only play games. Congrats!
<p>It looks to me like your grow light is pretty high up. I would recommend placing it much closer to the plants to keep them from getting long and spindly as they try to grow closer to the light.</p>
<p>Totally true Matthew. At some point during the process, my plants stopped growing. They only continued to grow after I moved light closer to the plants. I also upgraded my lighting to a bigger one.</p>
<p>Very slick, I've got a small aquaponics going in my basement near a window that's growing a few avacado trees, spider plants, a coffee tree and a few others all off the fishy waste of a handful of goldfish. (the eldest, Mr. Fishy, has survived several years of aquaponics testing) I'm going to have to stick a stump of romain in the growbed and see what happens.</p>
<p>This design could be improved by adding nutrient management. This does require a TDS / Cf sensor, but this can be done with a (fairly) simple electronic circuit and some DIY. The idea being to monitor the TDS level and run a dose pump if it goes too low.</p>
I looked for a TDS sensor for Arduino and did not find one. I saw a feel water monitor systems that included TDS read but they were around $400.00
<p>Wow! This is an awesome Instructable. I've been toying with various parts of a system like this for a couple of years. This really ties it all together nicely. Can't wait to get started...</p>
It's not that hard to build it. Hope you enjoy it!

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