Large-scale Arduino controlled greenhouse does some serious farming

[Instrument Tek] isn’t messing around with a hobby-sized greenhouse. In fact if it were any bigger we’d call it a commercial operation. But what interests us is the professional-quality greenhouse automation he built around and Arduino board.

The greenhouse is about what you’d expect to see at a nursery, except the footprint is somewhere around 10’x10′. It’s a stick-built frame with walls made of poly. Professional greenhouses monitor and regulate temperature and humidity and this one does just that. The video after the break starts off by showing the controller box. It has temperature,¬†humidity, and light sensors that allow the Arduino to judge growing conditions. If it gets too hot, some slats are opened and a fan exhausts air from the structure. If it gets to cold, a series of light fixtures are energized. They contain heat lamps, as this setup is in northern Alberta, Canada and it can get quite cold some nights. The drip system is also automated, with a solenoid to turn water on and off.

In addition to that 3:26 show-and-tell, we’ve embedded a 27-minute video that shows how to build the controller box. So you can start you plants indoors on the rack, then populate the greenhouse when they get large enough.

[Thanks Ricardo]

Comments

  1. Kyle says:

    Is it just me, or is the Arduino Mega overkill here? He has 3 digital outputs, serial TX/RX and 2 analog inputs. Wouldn’t an ATtiny8 w/ a shift register or an ATtiny 48 suffice?

    • AP says:

      Using the minimum required hardware makes a lot of sense if you’re going into production. If you’re making a one-off, the extra what $5? to get you plenty of room to expand later should your requirements change is well worth it.

      • Kyle says:

        Yeah, but it’s not a $5 difference. The Attiny 8 is around $2, the arduino mega $70. That’s a huge difference. Even a regular arduino uno and I wouldn’t of said anything. But I guess it’s better to be prepared to expand

    • n0lkk says:

      However rounding to the next dollar the ATtiny85 in a DIP in a DIP is $3 less than the ATmega328 in a DIP with Arduino Optiboot both at sparkfun. AFAIK,no Aruindo board with the ATtiny85 exists a true apples to apples comparison has to be comparing the price of the controllers themselves. No matter what arduino board was used here it would only be a small part of the total project cost, in the event using the arduino help them get the job done without wrecking *their* budget power to them.

  2. xrayspex says:

    The REALLY interesting part starts at 4:20

  3. Johnny O. Farnen says:

    That is it. I have been thinking of adding even more automation to my amphibian husbandry room. This project was just the kick in the ass I needed. I

  4. Zee says:

    A raspberry pi could move all the processing and graphing onboard and have it connected to the network.

  5. dcroy says:

    im building a similar setup, except instead of using drip irrigation i am using capillary cloth to pull water from a large reservoir into the soil

    although for starters the only electronics will be an automated fan control]

    most of my time is being consumed by making sure the wind doesn’t rip it apart or blow it away, southern alberta gets the occasional 130 kilometre winds that tend to wreck up the place

  6. Ken says:

    In the future you should try using a old ATX power supply instead of those laptop supplies and some crappy regulators. http://www.wikihow.com/Convert-a-Computer-ATX-Power-Supply-to-a-Lab-Power-Supply

  7. instrumentek says:

    Hey, wow thanks for the positive comments on my project, The reason i went with the mega is for future expansion, Or at the time possible expansion. I was not sure exactly what I wanted or needed. Yea the 7805’s suck. Right now im going into production on the oilfield simulator on my other youtube vid. Its severly upgraded and the boards are fully assymbled in China. I sell them to to Oilfield instrumentation workers.

  8. joe Bifano says:

    Is there a way to monitor PH and PPM on the board?

  9. lens42 says:

    In the video, you mention hooking two 7812s in parallel. I assume that’s because you expect a higher current load than one can supply. Unfortunately, two in parallel won’t share the load. The one that happens to have a slightly higher output voltage will supply all the current and the other will do nothing, unless you are lucky enough that both are within a few mV of each other. If they’re apart by, say 50mV, the low one will only kick in after you exceed the current limit of the high one. Since the 7812 peak current spec is typically 2.2A, it’s likely only one of your regulators is towing the whole load.

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