Darth Vader Smart Garden

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!! WATER ME !!

don't get him mad


here is a great beginner programming, 3D printing and circuit building weekend project for any budget (under $20) - the Darth Vader Smart Garden. it can email you when it's thirsty and change color to notify


you will need;

1x soil sensor

2x neopixel rgb led

1x nodemcu board

1x mini breadboard

1x powerbank (optional to make it mobile)


let's make >

Step 1: Design

i searched for existing "darth vader" designs on thingiverse and decided on http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:147446/#files specifically.. then i downloaded the stl file to edit it using tinkercad, a free online 3D design program


attached is the .stl file ready to print. search for a local printer or a friend favor. and if you don't have access to a 3D printer, try using an online service

Step 2: Drill Eye Holes

you can make these holes in tinkercad as well if you want to get more 3D design experience.


carefully drill holes to feed the LED wires thru one in each eye, going all the way into the soil compartment.


also drill another hole in the back of the head. our wires will exit from here reaching to the little computer.

Step 3: Add Veins to the Eyes

some "wiring" needs to happen now. if you don't know how to solder, learn or ask for help from a friend/parent..


it's a very simple circuit, just follow the wiring picture. solder wires to;

Data IN, +, -, Data OUT on eye1

Data IN, +, - on eye2 (no need for data out on this one as there is no following led attached)


+ positive and - negative wires are connected together as both leds share the electricity. and only 1 data cable will be connected to the little computer to control both eyes, and make them follow different patterns.

Step 4: Connect & Seal Wires

through the eyes, into the brain (soil in this case). as our wires will be buried in wet soil, we have to seal all the connections.


first solder the two LEDs together. now cover your LEDs and wire connections in hot glue, don't miss a spot.!

Step 5: Make the Base

you can 3D print a base or get some woodworking experience :)


need to make a box with minimum inner dimensions of L6xW4xH3.5cm to be able to hide the computer

Step 6: Connect Components

now insert the computer onto the mini breadboard


connect everything according to the diagram above, take your time, making sure twice.!

soil sensor

S to breadboard A0

+ to breadboard 3v3

- to breadboard GND


Din to breadboard D5

+ to breadboard 3v3

- to breadboard GND

Step 7: Software Time

to program the little computer we must first follow few one time only quick download/install steps. ask in comments if you are stuck.


install the little computer's software on laptop

install arduino software on laptop

install neopixel library

install adafruit unified sensor driver

install blynk library to arduino software

get arduino software ready for the little computer

install blynk app on phone or tablet

get the app ready

- launch app and sign up

- create a new project, choose board esp8266, email yourself "auth token"

- add widget > gauge > input V11 set at 0-1023, reading freq 10sec

- add widget > email


now we are ready to upload the code, copy it from below. make sure to change your wifi & app settings first (auth token email)

- line 17 for blynk project auth token

- line 22 for wifi name & password

- line 23 for alarm email address, subject and text

- line 34 for soil water level (you can set this at any number based on your plants water needs to set the alarm)

now open arduino software on laptop

go to tools > boards > scroll down to choose "nodemcu V1.0"

go to tools > port > choose the correct port for "nodemcu V1.0"

hit upload, wait about 2 minutes and upload should finish

go back to phone app and start your blynk project. it should start displaying live data of soil water level. and email you if it's below the alarm level.

Step 8: Gardening Time

let's get dirty.. fill up the head with soil. insert the water sensor until the red part touches soil


now add some seeds and water, not too much. you can cover the red part of soil sensor in hot glue to make it waterproof, or be careful when watering if you have steady hands :)


learn more about gardening, can always ask questions in the comments

Step 9: Conclusion

you have now learned enough to automate your house, and all through gardening.!!


please check out the Plant Doctor family for more information on smart plant technology. an open source hardware + software research organization specializing in plants + electronics


remember to follow, share and vote.

thank you for your interest..

Internet of Things Contest 2016

Second Prize in the
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    5 Discussions


    1 year ago

    I am having an error when uploading.

    Sketch uses 234529 bytes (22%) of program storage space. Maximum is 1044464 bytes.

    Global variables use 34232 bytes (41%) of dynamic memory, leaving 47688 bytes for local variables. Maximum is 81920 bytes.

    warning: espcomm_sync failed

    error: espcomm_open failed

    error: espcomm_upload_mem failed

    error: espcomm_upload_mem failed

    Any ideas?


    2 years ago

    Very nice project. Thanks for sharing.

    1 reply

    2 years ago

    Çalışmalarından ötürü seni tebrik ederim.Basarilarinin devamini diliyorum.

    1 reply