Desktop Gardening, Plantbot Alpha





The goal here was to build a desktop garden similar to the AeroGarden that MiracleGrow markets but with more compute power and light power. Using rivets and a jigsaw, we created a structure and wired up an LED lighting rig and a Raspberry Pi. This is Plantbot!

Since this was so hacked together, I don't really have solid instructions to build your own Plantbot but I will soon.

Step 1: Source Materials


I just wanted lights with a computer. I decided not to deal with an electronic system for irrigation. Later, I will add a moisture sensor (or several sensors). The LED was from CREE and the drivers from RECOM. I like to use white LEDs vs blue and red because then you can see the green plants under the lights.

Power supply

Mouser #:919-RACD20-500
Mfr. #:RACD20-500
Desc.:LED Power Supplies 20W AC/DC LED PW SUP REG ($26.92 ea.)


Mouser #:941-CXA13040C00A20E8
Mfr. #:CXA1304-0000-000C00A20E8
Desc.:High Power LEDs - WhiteWarm White, 2700K 368lm, 400mA, 80CRI 8 ($1.84 ea.)


I wire these bad boys in parrellel AFTER using themarl glue to glue them to a heat sink. This is critical, running the LEDs without a heat sink may fry them. These LEDs are ony $1.78 but larger LEDs can be $50 ea. !

Raspberry Pi + Wifi USB Dongle

I got this on Amazon along with a case for like $65


I decided on a wood frame to house my LED lights and my raspberry pi. Also, the large wood frame would support further hacking. It acted as mostly a scaffolding. I wanted something on the quick and this worked. There is no CAD model for that yet. A stencil was used for measurements. Eventually, I will post some CAD designs for a laser cut version of this. Check out Plantbot's website for more.

Step 2: Build Structure, Mount Electronics

The LEDs are attached to a heat sink and holds in the structure allow the light to shine through. I attached the Raspberry Pi to the back of the structure and attached a separate power supply for it. I have a 2-channel relay spliced in series with the LED lights (also in series) so I can control them using the Pi. I have some small black trays that will be used for plants.

Step 3: Growing Lettuce in Plantbot

This lettuce was in Plantbot just over 50% of its life. While sometimes under construction, the lettuce was moved out of plant bot and onto a shelf under tube lights. None the less, in the coconut husk grow media fertilized with Urban Farm Fertilizer.

Step 4: Radish Sprouts

These as sooooooo spicy but some people love them. Personally, I dislike the spice but I find radish fun to grow because they sprout so quickly. I did some radish under tube lights and some in Plantbot.

Step 5: Build a Better Plantbot

Since I loved the alpha prototype, I decided to get some structures laser cut. Also, there will be some electrical wiring and heatsink upgrades :)

Urban Farming Contest

Second Prize in the
Urban Farming Contest



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    4 Discussions


    2 years ago

    it looks really awesome :)


    2 years ago

    It looks really good!


    2 years ago

    Very cool! I would love to have this on my desk!

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    Thanks wold630! Feel free to sign up to be a beta tester for a better version of this that I am working on: