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invention

Little Bits / Google Calendar automated garden watering system

by simon13

Published on September 10, 2014

Have you ever wanted to manage your garden watering system with simple events in a Google Calendar? Through the magic of LittleBits, IFTTT and Google, it’s not only possible, but easy! 

I’m new to LittleBits (and electronics) but have been amazed at the possibility and range of projects that can be built easily and quickly. 

The start of the warmer months in Australia can see major fluctuations in weather conditions. I was needing a way to keep a range of plants throughout the garden watered and healthy. I already have dripper watering pipes installed, but to activate them, it was either a case of manually turning on the tap (boring!) or purchasing a simple timer which would water the garden at a set time of day, for a set duration. The problem with a standard non-intelligent timer is that it may not water for long enough on extremely hot days, yet it might over water on rainy days. What was needed, was a way to schedule watering events and duration that could easily be updated based on weather conditions.

This project uses the LittleBits cloudBit, along with IFTTT (If This Then That) to check events on a Google Calendar. The calendar could then be adjusted based on weather conditions. If an event is found with the title ‘Watering ON’, the cloudBit is triggered, switching the latch to ‘ON’ and triggering a relay switch, which in turn triggers a solenoid valve that allows water to flow through. When an event in Google Calendar with the title ‘Watering OFF’ is found, the cloudBit is triggered again which switches the latch to ‘OFF’ de-activating the relay switch, turning off the solenoid valve.

RECIPES

How To Make It

1

Attach your p3 USB Power, cloudBit, Latch, Long LED and Wire to the mounting board (in that order).

2

Cut the wire in half, and connect the orange and red wires to trigger the relay switch.

3

Connect one wire from the 12v adaptor to the solenoid valve, and the other to the relay switch. Connect the other wire from the solenoid valve to the relay switch to complete the circuit.

4

House all the components in waterproof enclosure, then connect the solenoid valve to your tap and watering pipes, and power up the 12v adaptor and p3 USB power.

5

Visit IFTTT.com and use this recipe to turn your watering on; https://ifttt.com/recipes/202100-cloudbit-watering-on and this one to turn your watering off https://ifttt.com/recipes/202101-cloudbit-watering-off

6

Now all you need to do is create some calendar events on Google Calendar, one with the title ‘Watering ON’ and one with the title ‘Watering OFF’. The time between these calendar events will be the watering duration. Tip: IFTTT will trigger the cloud bit 15 minutes prior to the event time you specified.

7

Pour yourself an iced tea, sit back in a banana lounge and let the magic of the cloud do it’s thing!

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