Hackaday Prize Entry: Smart Composting System

Composting serves an important purpose in our society, reusing our food scraps and yard waste to fertilize gardens rather than fill up landfills. Knowing that most people don’t compost, [Darian Johnson] set out to create a Arduino-controlled composting system to make it as simple as possible. It monitors your bin’s moisture, temperature, and gas emissions to ensure it’s properly watered and aerated.

[Darian]’s project combines a MQ4 gas sensor that detects combustible gas, a soil moisture sensor, and a temperature and humidity probe. The nearby water reservoir is monitored by an ultrasonic sensor that keeps track of the water level; a pump triggered by a TIP120 turns on the water. Meanwhile, a servo-controlled vent keeps the air flowing just right.

The Smart Composting System sounds like it would be useful to home gardeners; it’s a Best Product finalist in the 2017 Hackaday Prize.

14 thoughts on “Hackaday Prize Entry: Smart Composting System

  1. While composting is a “noble” effort, using a fan and pump to hydrate and aerate the bin seems a bit of overkill.
    Granted, I do not mix my compost heap as often as needed, (it should be done every other day for a week and every third day the second week) nor do I cover mine to keep it from getting too wet or dry, I don’t see the need to automate the process for such a small batch.
    Right now I have melons and potatoes growing in my heap, so I won’t be mixing it again until after harvest.

    1. I tend to agree, but maybe I don’t do a massive amount of composting (just shove it all in and wait 6 months kind of operation). I think there are some things that just don’t need an arduino, although I applaud the effort in this project.

    2. If you need compost quickly and have a small amount of space something like this can be useful to maintain optimum conditions. I have a rather large compost pile. I typically put about 350 ft^^3 leaves in mine each fall plus kitchen scraps and other vegetable matter from the yard. I just pile it on and wait a year.

  2. Seems to me the best thing would be to have solar powered screw that would simply turn the compost over at a rate that optimizes the aerobic vs. anaerobic processes. The digestion rate overall will adjust itself for moisture as long as the top can breathe and the bottom can drain.

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