Introduction: Grove Smart Plant Care Kit- Assembly

A few months ago, after winning the Sensors Contest 2016, one of the prizes included "Grove Smart Plant Care Kit." It was lying in the cupboard since that time until recently I decided to assemble it. The kit includes all the sensors and shields necessary for building the project including an instruction manual, but some extra parts need to be bought.

Seeed Studio doesn't have a written guide or a video tutorial online for putting together the kit, so decided to write an instructable on this, including a video tutorial. I've also mentioned the basic design and the placements of different sensors.

So the kit basically has various sensors like Temperature and Humidity, Sunlight, Soil Moisture, Water Flow etc. to monitor the growth of a plant and the surroundings. Water automatically starts pumping as the soil moisture goes below a set value. It also shows different warnings if there's no water left in the reservoir or a particular sensor data goes above or below the set values.

This can be an awesome project to learn more about different sensors and smart plant monitoring. The connections are grove based thus easy to connect and work with.


Here's a video tutorial of the building process:

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Step 1: What's Inside?

So we start by unboxing the kit, and know what's inside. Everything is labelled you'll be able to recognise the stuff. Here's all you'll find inside the box:

  • Grove- Base shield v2: Connects to arduino and as various grove connectors for different sensors. This makes it easier to connect everything
  • Grove- Temperature and Humidity Sensor: To measure the temperature and humidity of the surroundings.
  • Grove- Moisture Sensor: Used to detect moisture content of the soil of your plant.
  • Grove- Encoder: Can detect rotations, hence used to adjust various settings.
  • Grove- Relay: Used to switch on/off the water pump based on the digital signal from arduino.
  • Grove- OLED Display: 128x64 dot matrix display to mention all the sensor data.
  • Grove- Button: Used to adjust settings and pump water.
  • Grove- Sunlight Sensor v1.0: Used to measure visible light, infrared light and ultraviolet light. Notifies if the plant is overexposed to sunlight.
  • Grove- Water Flow Sensor: To measure the rate of flow of water via a dynamo.
  • 12V Water Pump: Used to supply water from the reservoir to the plant
  • 50cm Grove Ribbon Connectors (5x)
  • Mini Screwdriver
  • DC Power Jack
  • A Small Piece of Wire
  • A User Manual and Printed Sheet of Paper

There's a separate connector cable with each sensor. The 50cm cables are used where the sensor and arduino are far apart. Unpack all the sensors along with their cables and be careful with small parts.

Step 2: What More Is Required

Majority of the parts are already provided in the kit. However you'll need some more stuff before you can get the thing working. Here's the extra material you'll require:

  • An Arduino UNO (or other compatible boards with similar pinout)
  • A 12V, 1A Adapter (to power everything up)
  • A Potted Plant (obviously)
  • Vinyl Tubing (atleast 2m, for water supply)
  • Plywood (to build the base)
  • A Small Beaker (as water reservoir)
  • Spray Paint (optional)
  • Nuts and Bolts
  • Metal Spacers 4x (with screws)
  • Male-Male Jumper Wires 2x
  • Hot Glue Gun w/ Glue Sticks
  • Rotatory Tool w/ Attachments

This is all for the design I had built. You can add/eliminate some of the parts for any modifications you make.

Step 3: Get the Plywood Ready

You'll need to get two pieces of plywood, one 30cm by 30cm and another 12.5cm by 10cm. Drill four holes in the corners of the smaller one. Spray paint it with black colour.

Place the metal spacers on the drilled holes with screws. The bigger one is not to be painted right now.

Step 4: Mark, Drill and Spray Paint

The arrangements of all the parts have been mentioned in the figure above. First mark the holes for all of them and then drill. The water flow sensor and beaker will not be mounted using nuts and bolts. The arrangements can vary. After drilling the holes, the bigger wood has to be painted black.

Now coming to the smaller one, where the OLED display, sunlight sensor, encoder and button will be placed. Mark the positions of these parts and drill their respective holes.

Step 5: Fix the Parts in Place

Now the sensors and, arduino and water pump have to be mounted in the right place, using nuts and bolts. The smaller wooden piece, where four of the parts are placed has to be placed via the metal spacers using screws.

For the encoder and the OLED display, you will need to attach the grove connector cables beforehand.

Step 6: Attach the Vinyl Tubing

The rubber tubing, 5mm thick has to be bought separately. Get almost 2 meters for the job to be done. First, cut two small lengths, one of which is to be connected to the water pump outlet and the water flow sensor inlet. The other one is to be connected to the water pump inlet, the second end of which will get water from the reservoir.

Get one more bigger piece and connect it to the water flow sensor outlet, other end of which will supply water to the plant.

Step 7: Hot Gluing

The water flow sensor had to be hot glued as there were no mounting screws for it.

Do the same for the water container.

Lastly add some hot glue to the loose ends of vinyl tubing. Stick it to the base. You may even use some glue to seal the connections of the tubing.

Step 8: Wiring

After everything is in place, attach the arduino shield and get the grove connector cables. You may even need some 50cm bigger cables. One of them will be used for the soil moisture sensor. Observe the labels on the sensor shield and connect the sensors as per the following:

  • Sunlight sensor ---- I2C
  • Button ---- D2
  • OLED Display ---- I2C
  • Encoder ---- D3
  • Relay ---- D6
  • Water flow sensor ---- D5
  • Temperature and Humidity sensor ---- A0
  • Moisture sensor ---- A1

After this, follow the diagram given above, to connect the relay switch, DC power jack and water pump. The adapter will supply power to both arduino and the pump. You'll need two male to male jumper wires for arduino and one big piece of extra wire.

All the sensors work on 5V. We're supply the arduino with 12V, which has a built in voltage regulator that converts the 12V to 5V.

Step 9: Add Some Tubing to the Plant

For the plant to get watered effectively, you need to supply water from all sides.

So take some rubber tubing, block one of the ends using epoxy compound. Make holes at regular intervals in the tubing. Connect a straw on the other end to connect it from the water outlet.

Place the tubing all around the plant so it covers most of the outer part of the soil.

Step 10: Upload the Code

Connect the arduino board to your PC with USB type A to type C cable first then follow these steps:

  • Download the code from this link: (select the download zip option)
  • Decompress the zip file.
  • Copy the decompressed folder to Documents/Arduino
  • Remove "-master" from the file name.
  • Open arduino IDE
  • Click Sketch>Add file and select Documents/Arduino/Gardening_demo_arduino/Gardening_demo_arduino/Gardening and click on Gardening.ino file.
  • Copy file named "library" initially under Documents/Arduino/Gardening_demo_arduino/Gardening_demo_arduino to Documents/Arduino/Gardening_demo_arduino/Gardening_demo_arduino/Gardening
  • Select the correct board and COM port under Tools.
  • Upload the code.

You can also download the file from below.

Step 11: Set Up

So after everything is done, you finally need to set up for the project to start working.

Place the soil moisture sensor deep enough and near the roots.

Pour water in the reservoir.

Connect the water outlet to the tubing placed on the plant.

Connect a 12V adapter to the power jack.

You'll see the display showing "Gardening Demo SeeedStudio." This means you've done it alright. If it doesn't display, re-check all the connections and try again.

On pressing the button, the system will start pump water to the plant. Check for any leakages.

Rotate the knob clockwise or anticlockwise to switch to different pages and show different sensor values.

For changing the settings. Press and hold the button, and then rotate the knob to adjust the safe value for the respective sensor.

For temperature and humidity settings, use the knob while pressing the button to adjust the lowest value. Leave the button, press it again and then hold to adjust the highest value.

Step 12: Test and Done!

So you're all done with assembling this awesome project. Keep the system running and experiment with different places. Water would automatically start pumping as soon as the safe value of soil moisture goes less than the set threshold.

There are several warnings as well, when the data goes above or below a set value for a particular sensor, or there's no water left in the reservoir. As seen, the backlight of the OLED display starts blinking.

You can try modifying the code and add different features like bluetooth control and wireless data display.

Let the spirit of making stuff flourish.

That's the end of yet another instructable. Don't forget to vote, follow and leave a feedback below.

Thanks for watching! :)

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