Introduction: Simple Garden Automation With an Open Hardware Stack

About: We believe that sustainable food production and security can be achieved in every backyard.

You want to monitor and automate your aquaponics garden but don't know where to start? How about right here! This is step 3 of our complete backyard food production system, check out our other instructables for more information. It's exciting to grow your own food, and even more exciting when you can automate many of the tasks and still have a healthy productive garden for about twenty minutes a day. So let's get started!

Step 1: Gather Materials

First step is to gather all your materials. Lucky for us most of the materials comes packaged in a kit you can get at cooking hacks. One thing to keep in mind is that some of the previous steps are necessary for the productivity of the garden, including the permaculture and aquaponics systems. This is the electronics element that automates your set up.

Materials you will need:

Step 2: Set Up and Install Main Electronics Stack:

A stack is called a stack referencing the LAMP software stack and other bundles that sit on top of a computer server and serve websites, one part is the operating system, one part handles databases, and so on till it covers all the bases. A hardware stack is similar in that all the components connect together to complete a full system, and what's really great is that they literally form a stack too since they're all shields, where one circuit fits on top of the other.

Follow these steps and you can't go wrong :)

  1. Find the Arduino YUN and install the micro SD card on the underneath
  2. Install the header extension onto either the YUN or the Open Garden. I find it easier to install on the Arduino Yun because it's easier to identify by their lengths where they go.
  3. Stack the open garden on top of the Arduino YUN with the additional header in between
  4. Add the smaller Aquaponics shield for the Open Garden Shield as shown in the final picture

Remember if you're having trouble following the steps, check out the images!

Step 3: Set in Box and Install Usb Port and Water Temperature Sensor

Now that we've got the hardware set up we need to install it into the waterproof box so it can live happily in the greenhouse.

  1. Screw in place waterproofing caps on box
  2. Insert water temperature wire
  3. Screw in to Open Garden shield with the red wire going to VCC, white to DATA, and Black to GND
  4. Insert micro USB cable and plug it in to the Arduino YUN

Step 4: Download Arduino and Libraries, Program Board

First you'll need to download the Arduino software from Unzip the package and load up Arduino for the first time. Before you can use our code which is included in this instructable, you need to install the library attached. You can get the most recent versions of this library on the Cooking Hacks website.

Download and unzip this file.

To install the library you must click Sketch/Include Library/Add .ZIP Library and navigate to the subfolder in the library file you just unzipped labeled libraries and click chose and you're done!

Now download and open the code from this instructable and open it up with the Arduino program. Select YUN from the the Tools/Board drop down menu and select the YUN's serial port from Tools/Serial Port. Then click the right facing arrow in the upper left. That will upload the code onto your YUN board. Yay! It's alive! Brain without a body, click next to give your robot some sensors and legs :)

Step 5: Attach Sensor Extension

The sensors don't all connect to the same board, this step attached a connector to redirect the and waterproof the connector:

  • Find the parts, an O ring, a nut, and the copper color ended extension cable pictured in the first image
  • Place metal post through hole from the inside
  • Use rubber "o-ring" as waterproofing and screw on nut from the outside
  • Screw the other end of sensor socket into the hydroponics shield of the Open Garden shield

Step 6: Add the Temperature, Humidity and Moisture and PH Sensors

Here are the fun steps! Attaching all the sensors. This is how we keep track of all the variables needed to keep your garden running optimally.

  • Insert the red, green and black wires from the temperature, humidity and moisture sensor into the water proofing cap and into the body of the box.
  • Insert the PH sensor through the same cap.
  • Screw on the cap on the outside of box.
  • Unscrew the terminals for VCC, GND and DATA.
  • For the temperature, humidity and moisture sensor find the port labeled DHT22 and insert the red wire into the VCC terminal, the green wire into DATA and the black wire into GND.
  • Screw the wires in place.
  • On the Aquaponics Shield for the Open Garden shield find the two screw terminals
  • Insert the two PH sensor wires into these terminals, the direction doesn't matter.
  • Screw them into place.

One last sensor coming up next:

Step 7: Attach the Conductivity Sensor

  • Since we've installed the sensor extension port, it's a simple matter of plugging it into the metal extension sticking out of the box.

Yay! We're done installing all the sensors. Now you can get out of the basement lab and into the garden!

Step 8: Close the Lid and Plug the System Into Your Aquaponics Garden

We're almost done, now that we have all the sensors attached find a good spot to install in your garden. But first make sure to close and screw the lid :)

Once you've found a safe spot for the boards undo the caps and insert the PH, temperature and conductivity sensors into water of your aquaponics tank. Make sure to keep the ambient sensor near the box and arduino YUN.

And that's it! Plug and play stack to automate your ownFood aquaponics system. Hope you enjoyed and happy gardening!