Electronic Watering Can

When [Deddies lab] was looking to keep their (rather large) Ficus Lyrata appropriately watered, they followed their motto, stuck a micro controller on it and whipped up an Electronic Watering Can .

The whole thing starts off with power that is switched on once a day for 15 minutes by a traditional mechanical lamp timer, and that is connected to a atmega8 micro controller running @ 1MHz which increments a counter by one. When that counter hits 7 the mega switches on a pump, watering the plant with roughly half a liter of water per week out of a bucket reservoir , which according to the article’s calculations should last about 4 months.

In order to assure that the pump does not run out of water a rubber duck was attached to a string, the other end is attached to a micro switch, and when the water gets too low the string is pulled, switching one of the micro controller’s pins low.

While we agree that it could use a low water indicator, that is trivial to add, and over all the project represents a great hack done on a Sunday using parts and materials already on hand. Join us after the break for a quick video too!


  1. fotoflojoe says:

    …switched on once a day for 15 minuets…

    15 minuets? Jeez, that thing must go on forever! Sorry, I’m not usually a grammar nazi, but I couldn’t resist that one! :-)

  2. Morgen says:

    The article’s circulations?

    I can only imagine that you meant calculations. Seriously, are you guys intentionally placing grammatical and spelling errors in every single post just to mess with us? If not, I would seriosuly consider adding an editor to the payroll!

  3. kyoorius says:

    All water level indicators should be required to utilize a rubber ducky.

  4. yetihehe says:

    New motto for water systems hackers: No Duck No Hack.

  5. Mike says:

    Yummy, 4 month old water.

  6. vonskippy says:

    Why not just switch a flow restricted pump on for 15 minutes a day?

    And I’m guessing with evaporation, that open bucket won’t last any where near 4 months as the water supply.

  7. Sören says:

    Make sure this won’t happen to you ;)

    (Text in the bubble: “You’ll only need to feed the hampster this time. Hans-Jörg’s controlling the watering for the plants with his cellphone…”)

  8. Davo1111 says:

    This seems like overkill. Get a drip feeder with a funnel connected. Get the float valve to sit in the funnel (just like your toilet works), and have a small sprinkler valve (normally closed). connected to a 24hr timer, with one 15min notch pushed out.

    Timer switches one, releases water through the float valve. Once the pipe fills up the float valve will stop any more flow. after 15min the timer will turn off, problem solved. Over the next 23:45, the water in the pipe can slowly drip feed into the plant.

  9. Sander says:

    Thanks for your comments….

    @kyoorius, @yetihehe
    Be sure to choose the right duck:


    @vonskippy, @Davo1111
    Your suggestions are conflicting with the most important constraint and motto of Deddieslab, there must be a uC involved :)

    Luckily I don’t have a hamster :)

  10. strider_mt2k says:

    Intentionally mispelling stuff guarantees at leat three grammar correction posts, which improves click statistics.

    Way to help.

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