Planterbot - the Plant Monitoring Robot




About: My name is Zach Sousa and I'm a Canadian highschool student that has a passion for making.

Hello everyone !

Please vote for me in the tech contest!


In this instructable I am collaborating with Akin Yildiz an instructables author that creates instructables that help plants grow you should really go check out his account:


The planterbot is a plant monitoring robot. It uses capacitance for sensing moisture from the plant instead of using the usual soil probe, this means that wires don't go into the plant. It also detects temperature and light using thermistors and Cds photocells and displays the temperature and light graphically on the front facing LCD.


This is kind of like the the final version of Akin's :

Note: Currently you should power this from a 9 volt battery pack, if you don't do this and power it off of an AC wall outlet the readings will be off.

Update: New youtube video of it! another one will be coming soon that shows off all of the features.


Here is how the idea of the collaboration started:

Step 1: Parts and Tools

These are the parts and tools that you will need to make this project:


Arduino Uno or Leonardo with USB cable

Thermistor 10k ohm

Cds photocell (light sensor)


Electrical tape

Battery pack for arduino with DC plug 9v

Small amount of aluminum foil (for water sensor)

Baltic birch or anything that is laser cuttable

Acrylic for water sensor (you can use wood for the water sensor but it doesn't look as good and the wood can warp if it gets wet.)

Male headers

16x2 LCD preferably with backlight



Laser cutter

Computer with arduino IDE

Hot glue gun and hot glue

Step 2: Laser Cut Parts

Here are the files that you will need to cut for an enclosure for this instructable if you don't have a laser cutter then you should see if your city or town has a local makerspace/ hackerspace that has one (or can use an online service).


Step 3: Solder Circuit

Copy the circuit off of this image: The pins of the thermistor and photocell going to A0 and A1 should be pulled to ground or the analog readings won't be correct!!

Step 4: Cut Aluminum Foil

Cut the aluminum foil into a circle the size of the acrylic circle. Then hot glue the aluminum circle onto the acrylic. This will be the water sensor.

Step 5: Connect Sensors

Attach a piece of wire onto the aluminum foil using electrical tape. After that hot glue the acrylic and aluminum foil part into the wooden piece that has a circular hole in it.


Mount the thermistor to any of the side walls of the enclosure.


Mount the Cds Photocell on the small hole in the same piece as the water sensor (Aluminum foil/acrylic).

Step 6: Mount LCD

Mount the 16x2 LCD on the piece with the rectangular hole.

Step 7: Program Arduino

Here is the code: Akin Yildiz Helped me with this.

Step 8: Assemble the Rest of the Case

Assemble the remaining laser cut box pieces into the box.

Step 9: Finished!

You have completed this instructable, Please favourite, follow and vote. It helps me alot.


Thank you for viewing this instructable! If you have any questions or problems with building this I can help you, just ask!



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    12 Discussions


    3 years ago on Introduction

    this instructable is incomplete i hate to say. under tools you dont list soldering iron at all, but yet step 3 is the soldering process. which because it is soldering you most likely need solder and possibly flux to make corrections depending on soldering skill.

    Zach Sousadbrooks16

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    I have been thinking of selling kits of these because I understand that not alot of people have access to laser cutters so if enough people are interested I can sell them for around $25 a kit. If anyone is interested reply to this comment.


    This is really cool! It would be awesome to full an entire greenhouse with these. It would also be really cool to notify you by text message when your favorite plant Ron Weedsley needs attention! Great work, I really like it.

    3 replies

    Yes, I am planning on adding a CC300 wifi module so it can text or email you when it needs water and eventually add automatic watering. Thanks for your feedback!