Introduction: Smart Greenhouse

About: In to my Gardening and tech

I was searching the internet for a device that can control my greenhouse while I'm away on holiday or work. I really needed something that was going to be reliable and easy to use. I looked around and found so many but they were either too expensive or too dodgy looking. Then I stumbled on this IOT distributor and we got talking and he told me about this easy device that he used for his commercial greenhouse business on the side. And that’s how I found the w016 lifesaver.

Step 1:

Looked online and found my device. It was very simple to order and it arrived the day after the next. The only issue I had when ordering was what length of temperature sensor I would need. So I did some investigating and worked out my measurements as to where and what with the w016. I decided I wanted the unit to be placed inside the greenhouse and I wanted it to control my fan and heaters (another spending spree:) the w016 was the cheap part of my investment). i have provided the link below for the device

Step 2:

The box arrived and I opened it and immediately. I then sat down and read the manual and set up overview. I couldn’t wait so I followed the instructions and powered it up inside my house first. This was a great idea and a bad one all at the same time. It was great because I could test it without standing outside in the cold. The bad news was that my dog seen here in exhibit A was very interested in the device also (he is insanely curious for a dog, he might have thought it was something he could eat knowing him). Luckily the voltage is so low it would just have made him jump if he had managed to connect with it. He eventually gave up while I was fiddling with it as he realised there was no chance of treats from it.

With the dog gone and the device set up in Ad-hoc mode I was able to set temperature limits and control the device within about 2 minutes from opening the box and reading the manual. Ad-hoc was ok for now but I wanted to be able to look after my peppers even if I was on the other side of the world. But first had to download the w016 app from the website and install it on my phone. Once I had the app I began to set it up in Station mode. For this I had to enter my home routers SSID (Routers name) and the password for the router. This was all simple stuff and once I was done sending that information to the device I clicked a single button on the app and I had it working in station mode. Now when I removed myself from my local area network and started using my 4G I was able to control the device as normal, brilliant. So as most people do I didn’t believe it so I decided to go for a walk around the neighbourhood and leave the device transmitting (with the dog in the house aswel). I clicked on the app and boom there was my temperatures and my manual relay controls. I couldn’t believe it and the graph and data logger started populating with information. It was all so easy.

Step 3:

After I had ran home and say hello to all the neighbours in my area I was ready to install the w016 in my greenhouse and get started. So if you see in the picture above I set my w016 quite high up so it was off the ground and away from any slugs or torrents of water. The probes and wires are waterproof but the w016 isn’t so I cable tied it to the bracket for my shelf ( I removed the shelves so the peppers could grow without hindrance) this worked a treat and it was secured from the wind and rain whilst also being out the way. They way I positioned it I could also see the LED lights from my house just in case (I wasn’t ready to trust it with my prize peppers lol). I then thought about what I wanted it to sense. I had 3 relays and 3 temperature sensors so I had a world of options. My first thought was that I would have one temperature probe hanging from the ceiling of my greenhouse and another on the ground. So I would know the ranges from the ground temperature to the celing temperature and I thought that I would be able to work all that out from there.

Step 4:

With the two sensors in position I immediately looked at the app and found the temperatures coming. They weren’t great temps but that was why I was getting the device so I could now the temperature and it would automatically adjust it accordingly using heaters and fans. In the picture above I ended up dangling the sensor just above the peppers using the greenhouse as a support. The second sensor on the ground I first placed on the ground and then I placed it in the ground. My first reaction was to leave it on the ground in the centre of the peppers but when I turned the water on it flooded the sensor and with cold readings. I realised I had to place it somewhere different so I placed it on one of the main stalks of the peppers and clipped it using a garden clip. This was perfect and once I had fine tweaked it I was getting good reading that I could average. I still had one sensor left which was fine but I wanted to really make use of the extra temperature reading. So I stuck the sensor outside so I could have readings from outdoors. This gave me too added benefits. The first being I knew the outside temperature (I knew whether or not to scrape my car in the morning or to have a few minutes extra in bed. Hope my boss doesn’t see this). The second reason was that I could see how the outside temperature was evolving and whether there was likely to be a frost or whether I had just left the greenhouse cover off.

Step 5:

With all the sensors in position I then wanted to understand the settings for the w016. So I went to the temperature settings page on the app and I had to work out what my temperature limits were for my plants. I worked out I wanted them to between 20 and 25 degrees inside the greenhouse. So I set the fan up and I plugged it into the w016 in the normal closed position. I then set the app to say fan on at 25 degrees and fan off at 20 degrees. By doing this in the norm al closed position the relay will stop the fan. When I finally get round to buying a heater I will put that in the normal open position (opposite to the fan). With it all set up I decided to leave it and rest for the day and watch the unit work.

Step 6:

After 5 minutes I started getting my first report (very exciting for me) I could see on the clever graph in the app that my greenhouse was operating at around 22 degress. The top probe was much higher in the greenhouse and gave me a higher reading. This led me to swap the relays that my fan was plugged into so that the sensor in the ground would alert the relay to a temperature change and act accordingly. I soon had another brainwave and realised in needed to have both sensors for heater and fan together else they could get conflicting reading and thus destroy my peppers. So I moved them next to each other and clipped them to the middle plant for security. And as they say that’s all folks for now. I will keep you updated on how it is all going