I’m nearing release on an exciting new version of growerbot, and I’d love to get samples into some plant hackers’ hands. Please email me if:
1. You are comfortable performing surface-mount soldering with *tiny* components.
2. You’re able to commit to sharing the results of your build within a month of me sending you a unit.
3. You have at least one existing plant on which you will use your new growerbot.
The new units are going to be solar-powered, with wifi and eventually BLE connectivity. And, get ready to control your irrigation system too!
This guide will help you your growerbot plus up and running.
1. Plug growerbot in Plug your growerbot in to a 120-volt socket (GFCI for most safety) and make sure it says hello. You should see something like this:
2. Test sensors & controls Turn the ‘power seed’ left, right, and push to explore growerbot’s different modes. check that light reading changes when you shine a flashlight on the sensor or cover it with your hand, stick the moisture probes in water to get a different reading, and breathe on the sensor to change moisture and temperature readings.
3. Control your lights and water Plug the pump you’d like to control into the AC outlet with a water drop engraved above it, and plug your light into the outlet with a sun. Note: there seems to be an issue with larger pumps and lights on some growerbots, where they lock on and/or reset. I’m trying to identify the root cause; in the meantime, please only use smaller pumps and lights.
Please share links with me and everybody else for your growerbot data: learning from each other is the biggest part of what’s going to make growerbot interesting.
5. Innovate! If we’re going to grow more food with less work, growerbot needs to be barely the start of a much bigger social gardening movement. I need your help to improve on the design, experiment with different lighting / moisture / soil setups, and overall improve how we grow food!
Please comment here with any other questions. Assembly guide for kit version(s) and more detail coming soon.
I’m going to go with jetpcb: they’ve been quite responsive, and their quote includes full electrical testing as well as scoring of the different PCBs for easy separation. Total price is $464 for 100 sets of boards (2 relay breakouts, 1 main growerbot board, 1 lcd board, and 1 encoder breakout); our boards should be here by the end of next week!
From there, I’ve got the following left to do:
Attach surface mount components
Finish enclosure design
Complete software development, testing
Hopefully this saves some of you time on your own electronics projects. Any competitive vendors I missed?
These 2 photos may look quite boring, but they contain some exciting news:
That’s the growerbot running the Blink arduino example. I uploaded the code on an Arduino Uno, placed the ATMEGA328 in the growerbot, and we were good to go. Of course, there were some ‘green wire’ fixes:
This is exciting because it confirms that we’ve got basic Arduino functionality occurring on the standalone growerbot. Much more testing over the next week (probes, electric imp, etc.), and then I should be ready to order the first production run.
Here are some more photos of the boards:
When it’s ready, I’ll publish the gerber files for everybody to play with. Thanks for your patience!