Watagage 2000




About: I am an author and a maker. My current project is Santa's Shop. I'm working on a science fiction type book--more later. @EngineerRigsby

Freddy is an internet enabled plant watering moisture detecting frog. Using a Spark iOT controller, Freddy (from the Phil and Freddy app series) can be used to check on and water your favorite plant--from anywhere on the internet.

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Step 1:

So, how does this happen. First, Freddy was converted to a one of a kind plush toy by my wife, Annelle.

Step 2:

Next, Freddy was scanned. Then he was modified (hole in interior) to accept a Spark controller. Finally, he was 3d printed.

Step 3:

After being cleaned up, Freddy became a painted frog.

Step 4:

Now, we finish our 3d printing with an electroncs/moisture leg holder and a stake to hold the plant watering hose.

Step 5:

Solder an 8 inch piece of wire wrap wire to each brass leg. The brass legs are six inches long and 1/8 inch in diameter.

Step 6:

Put heat shrink tubing on the legs. This is done to control the amount of conductive leg that is exposed when Freddy is placed in soil.

Step 7:

Place wire wrap wire on each end of a 100K resistor.

Step 8:

Place heat shrink tubing over the resistor and shrink it. We don't want anything shorting out.

Step 9:

Connect this resistor between A0 and 3v3+ on the Spark controller.

Step 10:

Bring long wires from the six volt dc power supply to Vin and Gnd on the Spark module.

Step 11:

Take a long wire from D7 on the Spark module and route it through the legs.

Step 12:

Push all these wires and the Spark module into the electronics container.

Step 13:

Two wires are already soldered to the legs. There should be three additional wires, two for the six volt power supply and one to operate the water pump. Insert the electronics into Freddy's body.

Step 14:

Assemble the relay circuit as shown on the schematic. The wire from the Spark module will cause the transistor to turn the relay on and off.

Step 15:

Connect the 12 volt dc pump motor to the circuit. Attach tubing to the pump motor.

Step 16:

Friction fit the tubing through the stake. This will hold the water output hose near the plant.

Step 17:

Set up the Spark module--it's really easy.

Load the Spark app on your smartphone. Power up the Spark module and your phone near your wireless router. Make sure that your phone is operating on wifi.

Open the Spark app. It will ask for the wifi password. The Spark app will find the Spark module (the module will be flashing all kinds of colors to indicate that it is ready). Name the Spark module whatever you want (I called this one "Plant").

Now, using the Spark Tinker program (default), choose "digital write" for pin D7. When you toggle pin D7 on and off, it will cause your pump to turn on and off.

Using the Spark app, choose "Analog Read" for pin A0. If the number is high (2500), then your plant is dry. If low (around 1100), the plant is moist.

Step 18:

Place Freddy in the plant of your choice. Place the pump input hose into a source of water. Place the pump output hose/stake next to the plant.

Open the Spark app (from anywhere in the world) and choose the "Plant" module. Perform an "Analog Read" of pin A0 and you will know the plant's moisture status.

If the plant needs water, do a "Digital Write" on pin D7. When "on," the pump runs and the plant is being watered.

Don't forget to turn the pump off before you leave!

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    9 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Hi Mike,

    Very interesting hardware u have made...very innovative style.

    I am having problem in 3d printing part as the frog is really complex,i am using 3dtouch printer...the frog is in the air so how it get printed...please tell me or suggest some links.

    2 replies

    The frog should be on his back and printed using supports. Only a tiny portion (about a 10 mm circle) actually touches the build plate. Everything else will be built on supports. The image in step 2 shows what it looks like on the printer.

    Akin Yildiz

    4 years ago on Introduction

    cool stuff. i like what u did with the soil probes. ur giving me ideas.. where did u get the brass rods that small in diameter, what are they called? can you solder to them easily? thanks for sharing


    my system is a little bit different. it instead alarms the user to take action and teach how to garden in the process..

    5 replies

    quick question. imagine that we had a 4inch 22gauge wire. 3 inches of this wire was stripped and put in the soil (basically instead of rods). would this still work? i am going to try it at home tonight, was just wondering if you knew anything about it..

    That should work fine. For consistent results, the same amount of exposed wire needs to contact the soil (if you only place 2 inches of wire in the soil, the results will be different from having 3 inches in contact).

    hey, that's very interesting. would you say either of the two is better in any way. in a large pot vs small pot. i assume the numbers will go higher since there is more to capture. also what about the radius of the wire/rods? will that also effect the numbers? i may set up an experiement of different options.

    Larger wire (more surface area) or longer wire contact (more surface area) should decrease the measured resistance. Moving the probes closer will decrease the resistance. I don't think there's any "better or worse" here; as long as you can detect what you want to detect, then cost, construction, "the look" etc. will be things you consider.