Sensory Device for "The Plant Doctor - Plant Care Instruments"

About: Please support and share our mission; the Plant Doctor is a non-profit, open source online research laboratory specializing in electronics+plants. Our vision is to bring together nature and technology in a s...

hello world,


In this instructable you will learn how to manufacture a sensory device that is compatible with the plant doctor, the plant shelf, the plant box and the plant pot(built in).


what is a sensory device? the sensory device reads temperature, soil moisture and light levels in a given environment. it then talks with the device that is connected to and alarms the user if anything is wrong. it is 3D printed (soon) and shock/water proof - designed to be used indoors or outdoors.


the idea came about when we started to develop many instruments that do the same thing just in a different shell, the only thing that remained the same was the sensory device. the best data collection is possible when the sensors are as close to the plant as possible, without disturbing the natural cycle of growth.



Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Prototypes

this device is still in its beta testing stage. here you can see some of my earlier attempts to get an idea of size / shape..


I am currently making these out of a product called " paperclay " it is like 3D printing at home, shape it like playdough, let it air dry and finished ! it works amazingly for prototyping and with small DC electronics as you can see..


Step 2: Parts + Wiring / Assembly

Frame -

frame is currently laser cut out of 3.2mm MDF board, soon to be 3D printed. attached you can find the illustrator file of the design.



if you leave out the notification LEDs, the sensory device fits perfectly to a male USB jack, needing only 4 pins.


1x NTC + 1x LDR + 1x soil probes

start by installing the soil probes through the holes of the wooden board.

then attach first the NTC and then LDR on top.

below you can choose to use a protoboard, this helps everything to stay more stable

attach one leg of each sensor together and to 3.3V in

attach each other leg of sensors to the corresponding analog input on the arduino.


4x 3mm leds (R, G, B, Y) - this section is optional, it is a new design that I am working on, where the notification LEDs are on the sensory device as well. it works, but I haven't tested with this long enough yet. just follow the wiring schematics above.

connect all - negative legs of LEDs together

connect + legs of each LED to the corresponding digital output on the arduino - REMEMBER the resistors for each..


2x 10K + 1x 10 + 4x 220 ohm resistors - i normally attach the resistors to the other end on to the breadboard to save space. but you can keep them on the device as well if you wanted to try a different version, although I don't know how well the resistors will keep over time.

attach 10K ohm resistors to soil probes and LDR

attach 10 ohm resistor to NTC

attach 4x 220 ohm resistors to each + positive leg of the LEDs.



after you are finished soldering and tested the product making sure it works, now it is time to give it a nice protective cover using the paperclay or you can use other " air-dry clay " products.

Step 3: Applications

here are some pictures to demonstrate the use of the sensory device. please make sure to check out each individual instrument to get a better understanding.


* The sensory device is made possible by the Plant Doctor team an open source & non-profit company. please comment or private message if you want to become a beta tester with us. Your donations help us follow our vision, to bring together nature and technology in a simple, non-harmful way. By educating the end user, we guarantee the success of our mission -change the world, one plant at a time...


thank you very much for your time and interest, remember to subscribe and check out my profile to see other indoor horticulture equipments.


love & peace


Tech Contest

Participated in the
Tech Contest

Be the First to Share


    • Made with Math Contest

      Made with Math Contest
    • Multi-Discipline Contest

      Multi-Discipline Contest
    • Robotics Contest

      Robotics Contest

    5 Discussions


    1 year ago

    This is a good work. How can I become a beta tester? or Can I get one instrument to test in my home garden in London, UK? Please advice me.


    3 years ago

    What kind of wires do you use for this? I want to try to make a version without LEDs, and try to fit it to a USB, but I'm a beginner so I'm a little lost on the parts list.

    1 reply
    Akin Yildizpatticus1337

    Reply 3 years ago

    hello patticus,

    if you look at this attached picture, the flat wires on the left are from the inside of an old desktop pc. and the ones all the way to the right are called "breadboard jumper wires"
    hope this helps, maybe you can improve on my design.!!