Introduction: Alert Pot

Do you love plants? Does everything you touch die? Overwhelmed with the pressures of common life?

If you answered yes to these questions, then boy do I have a solution for you.

Alert Pot is a project I made for my Physical Computing class based off the Plant Doctor instructable. This instructable, I must point out, requires that you know how to solder-you can learn how to do so here. However, I can say this is an easy, cheap, and fun project to make.

For a quick look, we'll be using the following:

A smart phone/tablet (for the Blynk app)


Solderless Breadboard

Temperature & Humidity Sensor with resistor

Soil Moisture Sensor

Light Sensor


Male/Male Jumper Wires

Some tin box with a lid- or whatever you can find, really.

Well here goes nothing...

Step 1: Set Up Your Pot

The first thing we need is a pot of course. Here, I use a thin tin box that I cleaned up and cut in half. It came with a lid that will be used to hold electronics in place.

When looking for a good pot, keep the following in mind:

  • it shouldn't deteriorate
    • we don't want the pot to fall apart without you knowing, or worse damaging your electronics
    • depending on what it's made of, it could actually poison your plant upon watering
  • it should be penetrable
    • in this project we will be needing to make holes in your pot

Also make sure it is the right size for whatever botanical life-form you wish to trap in a confined space for your own aesthetic pleasure.

When I cut mine, I found the edges to be too sharp for safe handling. So I cut the corners, bent in the top by half a centimeter, and then taped over with duct tape as shown.

I then drilled two holes in the bottom, small enough so that no dirt or water comes spilling out, but large enough so that water is drained and does not form mold.

Following that, I cut two thick slits in the side of the box. This is where the soil moisture sensor will fit in so I would suggest using it to mark the size of the slits. Once cut, put electric tape around the edges so the sensor does not come into contact with the metal so the sensor does not pull any inaccurate readings.

Step 2: Fixing the Lid (optional)

So here, I have a lid that was with the box, so I thought to make use of it, and actually have it hold my light sensor. All i did was drill two holes in top, tie a string to hold the sensor in place, and then tape the string to stop it from shifting around. It's a little ingenious way to hold the light sensor, and as you'll see in the next step, will also use to hold my electronics.

Step 3: Breadboard Setup

If the image does not provide enough information, I apologize, here are the exact connections:


The NodeMcu should be directly in the middle, With the corner "Vin" pin in b28 and the corner "D0" pin in i14. Have one jumper cable in j27, and its other side in negative (does not matter where, as long as it's on the blue right-side column). Then another cable in j28, and its other side in positive (same thing but in the red).

Temperature Sensor

I bent the temperature sensor's pins so that it sits flat(ish). The leftmost pin sits in a4, and the rightmost in a1. Then this is where it get's a little funny. Have one jumper cable pin in d4, and its other in positive. Put another jumper cable in d3, and the other side in j22. Another in h3, and its other side in the positive. Then connect the resistor in e3 and g3 (doesn't matter what orientation). Have another jumper cable pin in d1, and its other side in negative.

Soil Moisture Sensor

Solder one side of a jumper cable into the "VCC" hole in the soil moisture sensor. then plug the other side into the right side positive. Solder one side of a jumper cable into "GND" hole, and plug the other side into the right side negative (Although I have it plugged into a27, it does not matter). Lastly, solder one jumper cable into the "SIG" hole and plug the other side into a14.

Light Sensor

Solder one jumper cable into the "GND" hole, and then plug the other side into negative. Solder another in "3.3V" and plug the other side into positive. Lastly, solder one into "SDA" and plug the other side into j23.


The pin on the same side as the "+" symbol on top of the buzzer should be put into g7, and the other pin should be in g10. Have one jumper cable in j10, and its other side in the negative. Have another jumper cable in j7 and its other side in j21.

Phew! That hurt my eyes a little.

Step 4: Set Up Blynk

First, download the Blynk app on your smart phone or tablet.

Make a profile, start a new project, name it, and choose the "esp8266" board. Then email yourself and keep the auth token.

Then add the widgets in the images above with the exact out/input and modes.

Step 5: Set Up Your Computer

Oh boy, now it's time to turn on that fresh dell of yours.

Download the following software and libraries.

Driver for Mini-Computer

Arduino Software

Sensor driver libraries

Blynk library

Arduino Software for Mini-Computer

Then restart your computer to secure the downloads.

And then the beautiful code is included here.

Open up the code in the arduino software, and plug your Alert Pot into your computer. Go to files > tools > boards- and scroll down to pick "nodemcu 1.0". Then go to files > tools > port- and scroll down to choose the right port associated with NodeMcu. Change the information in the code to your own personal settings, upload, and watch it run.

Step 6: Potting!

If you're not sure how to pot a plant, it's not that hard but here are a couple tips:

  • Learn about what kind of soil your plant needs
  • I put rocks at the bottom to help keep the dirt compacted
  • Make sure to put your soil moisture sensor in before you completely pot your plant
  • Make sure to keep your electronics safe from falling dirt!

Step 7: All Done!

Wow! Look at what you just did! That was a little messy and annoying, but hey now you can say you did it. Take some artsy pics and post it on Instagram or whatever. Go makes some vegan nachos. Enjoy your cool new cyborg plant. Also, do not forget to go check out Akin Yildiz here!