All-In-One Automated Plant Care

Caring for a few plants, or even an entire farm, can be quite a rewarding experience. Watching something grow under and then (optionally) produce food is a great hobby or career, but it can end up being complicated. Thanks to modern technology we can get a considerable amount of help growing plants, even if it’s just one plant in a single pot.

Plant Bot from [YJ] takes what would normally be a wide array of sensors and controllers and combines them all into a single device. To start, there is a moisture sensor integrated into the housing so that when the entire device is placed in soil it’s instantly ready to gather moisture data. Plant Bot also has the capability to control LED lighting if the plant is indoors.  It can control the water supply to the plant, and it can also communicate information over WiFi or Bluetooth.

The entire build is based around an ESP32 which is integrated into the PCB along with all of the other sensors and components needed to monitor a single plant. Plant Bot is an excellent all-in-one solution for caring for a plant automatically. If you need to take care of more than one at a time take a look at this fully automated hydroponic mini-farm.

18 thoughts on “All-In-One Automated Plant Care

  1. Hmmmmm. I’d recommend separating the soil sensor part from the electronics.
    That PCB style sensor doesn’t last too long in soil. Throwing away the whole thing in case of a corroded sensor would be quite wasteful…

    1. That’s my thought and experience as well. This isn’t the first sensor I’ve seen that incorporates the pump control will the uC. Even with a conformal coating, I’m afraid the whole device will be useless within a couple of months. The work that went into it is amazing, but I think creativity got away from the reality of gardening. That being said, I can think of ways to limit damage to the unit as well. I once printed a ring that would sit just on top of the soil and drain water down. That eliminates splash.

      1. > I once printed a ring that would sit just on top of the soil and drain water down. That eliminates splash.

        I can’t picture such ring in my mind, do you have a photo of it?

  2. Electronic engineers looking for a problem to fit their solution, disconnected (from plant kingdom) apartment gardeners, save-the-earth green washers, space enthusiasts deliberately ignoring the burning house, gadgeteers chasing youtube fame and advertising revenue, the hell down here is paved with good intentions.

    We´ve had myriads of such “plant care” boards, how DURABLE they are ? It seems they are all a one-shot project, with no other goal that to make the project work for itself.
    Some plants can live thousands of years, some even dozens of thousand of years, and such a ridiculous contraption will cease to work within months at best.

    1. That seems an excessively harsh comment. I developed embedded systems for agricultural automation for 14 years and I can tell you that having the data and control to optimise the resource use and growth of the plant is a huge advantage to the environment and the sustainability of food production.

      You cannot just pretend that technology has no place in nature because nature can exist without it. Without technology monitoring nature we wouldn’t know how badly we’re running it right now, and we’d definitely have no way to fix it.

      This design might have some mistakes but better to have a go, mess up, and learn from it, that’s not even try at all.

      1. I think the comment above is right about those sensors being near useless. I have the same experience: it’s easy to do something that works for a bit, but it will not last long. The readout drifts a lot, by more that the difference between dry and wet. and it is very easy to disrupt the sensor by just moving it a bit.

        Commercial proejcts i have seen use burried sensors of much better quality and more robust reading principles, exactly so the readout is not easily disrupted by external factors.

        The best diy method i have seen is to water the plant regulary and make sure the excess water can drain away.

  3. If the soil moisture probe were to also incorporate a couple of dissimilar metals along with some thicker copper wire instead of copper traces, it could also act as a pH tester. I’d like to see some sort of photodiode on there too. Perhaps a port to have a long whip antenna with a photodiode on the tip. When it’s in a large feild, it can see above the plants. Maybe the option to introduce a large electric field around the plants to increase plant growth. Some hydrangea for example produce different colour flowers under the influence of different soil pH. Having multiple temperature sensors could also be quite useful, one above and plants and one at ground level and a third at root level. I can see that being helpful for things like potatoes, that need to be recovered with soil during growth to increase the yield.

    1. It exists as a white label product, I believe Xiaomi sells them. There is also opensource software available to communicate over ble. Google Xiaomi mi flower, but you can find the same thing with different brand names

  4. I’ve heard that even for capacitive moisture sensors, the edges of the PCB need to be conformally coated and sealed, not just the front and rear surfaces. This board does not look like that.

  5. I think a good resin coating like what is used on washing machine PCb would help a lot. And mabe a plug to add more sensors to more pots or at least a pass through ble ic for straight through data transmission to the main body for moisture and ph readings, I know the esp32 can handle it

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