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Sunday, May 22nd, 2016 09:08 pm
Last month I replaced my SmartGarden controllers with the new v1.6 version, this includes both new hardware and new software.

SmartGarden v1.6 is still based on Arduino, but on Moteino Mega version - which has twice the amount of RAM, as well as RFM69 RF module. Controller hardware was redesigned around Moteino Mega MCU, also I added few sensor probes ports to the Master controller. Ethernet controller is now based on W5500 WIZNet chip, which is a lot faster than the standard Arduino Ethernet shield based on W5100.

Controller is still mounted in a plastic box, with DHT21 sensor (top right) and RF antenna visible outside.

SmartGarden Master controller - outside view

I just replaced the main logic board (on the right side), leaving relay boards (left top) and voltage converter module (left bottom) intact.

SmartGarden Master controller - open

Local LCD display is the same 16x2 large-font module, with 4 control buttons. But local LCD and buttons are useful mostly for setup and local channels testing, all standard operations are done using WEB UI.

Firmware was also upgraded to the new version, with vastly improved UI and new features.



Home page shows an overview dashboard, including current weather (obtained from Yahoo Weather API), next scheduled watering event, water usage for the last 7 days, and current sensors readings. Menu provides access to schedules, sensors dashboard, historical sensors data, watering logs etc.
Sensors and hardware config (number of stations etc) are defined in a "device.ini" file, and are imported on "factory reset". Customization (e.g. Zone Names) is done via UI.

Outdoor temperature reported on this display is the reading from a temp probe (thermistor placed outside), remote temperature 1 and 2 are readings reported by two remote (connected via RF) stations, as well as humidity readings. Soil moisture is obtained from a special hardware soil moisture sensor connected to one of the remote stations, and Garage humidity/temperature are read from DHT21 which is part of the Master controller.

Right now I have Master station (with 16 channels) + two remote stations in use, connected via RF link. I'm planning to add one more remote station later this summer, at the far end of my property.

So far the system works pretty well. I did watering zones water consumption calibration (using flow meter), and now the controller accurately calculates water consumption of each zone and can graph it by dates, by zone etc.

The source code is available on my GitHub: https://github.com/tony-osp/SmartGarden

Future Plans

I started working on v2 version of the system, moving Master controller to Raspberry Pi MCU. Arduino is cool, and works great for remote nodes, but it is really hitting the limits of RAM and flash, and RPi is a lot better.

Actually I already have the same code ported and running on RPi 3, but it is not a complete work yet. Also I would like to add several more features to the system before putting v2 into real use. Probably will do the switch this fall or winter, after the end of this watering season.



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