|#1 - Introduction, the plan and materials preparation||In this blog post we describe the project's main concept and some initial high-level design of it.|
|#2 - Materials and casing assembly|
Our journey with selecting proper materials, cutting and assembling the drawer and its casing!
|#3 - Modelling, cutting, planting!||The title says it all: this part describes some modelling we did before cutting some holes in the drawer and finally planted some vegetables!|
|#4 - Plants, harvests, and fertilisers|
First harvest, problems with plants and used fertilisers. All that went off-script for our plants in the artificial environment.
|#5 - Piping and pumping - water and liquid fertiliser delivery system||Design and development of water supply system.|
|#7 - Ride the lightning - Wiring diagram, pinout and components discussion||Diagram of the circuit, pinout for most components, wire choices and their connections|
|#8 - Pulling the strings||LED and Fan control circuit, overview of BJTs and MOSFETs with a handful of useful general information|
|Detailed description of 3D printed components, their presentation and some tips|
|#10 - Software, architecture and the benefits of good preparation||Big explanation of the software and its architecture|
|#11 - Summary||Our final post before the end of the challenge!|
In this blog, we focus on final touches to the lightning and water supply system as well as simple, yet important fixes to soil containment and internal design. We address previous problems met by plants. We improve our design to best create an environment easy to control and adjust to plants' current needs.
The pipe was buried, sealed and attached to a series of knee connectors. These enter a 1.8 liter box as we decided against using large volume 3D printed one due to material cost and prototype character of our project. The connection is shown on the picture below, with the submersible water pump attached to the bottom of the container using hot glue. All connections were also sealed using hot glue.
Picture 1&2: Submersible pump attached inside the 1.8 liter box and the contraption covered with a lid for protection against spillage
Water distributes evenly, reaching the furthest drippers and cables, as well as properly dispersing in proximal tubules. It is important to notice that the needle-sized holes were big enough for dripping water and humidifying the soil around them. Pump is sufficient for our needs, and can be further regulated with voltage.
Video 1: Demonstration of water delivery by the furthest from pump 3mm tube buried in soil
Foil and soil
To make sure the soil is kept in one container and does not spread to the electronics compartment, the soil is contained within a foil. Temporarily, it was just rolled up and kept as a prototypic environment. When the measurements were taken, and the water supply systems and electric motors were installed, it had to be firmly secured to the bottom of the drawer using wooden planks. We screwed them in to avoid soil spillage into adjacent compartments as well as isolate plants from the electronic compartment.
Picture 3&4: The border of the soil bounded by screwed on leftover planks - nothing goes to waste mind you! This is an environmental project!
Plants and their fate
As living in a low-light environment, with little airflow is not the ideal conditions for microflora, we decided to consume the rest of the sprouts. They served their purpose, showing that such a project can be practical and can sustain a microenvironment suitable for plant growth.
Microgreens are produced with no problem even with very restricted light and nutrient supply. Now as we get closer to an appropriate water delivery system, lightning and airflow, we will diverge towards larger plants. When all the electrical circuitry is ready, the newly purchased plants will be planted and used for final software setup and the microenvironment will be tested.
As our last growth turned out leggy and fragile, we needed to improve the lightning inside the envidrawer. We added 5 m of 5W LEDs, of the same temperature and specifications as before, resulting in a total of 10 m of LED. It should be sufficient to prevent such problems in the future. LEDs were placed in a circular pattern on the top of the drawer. They were cut and joined together for balanced light distribution.
Picture 5&6: 2 LED stripes in a circular pattern with separate power line attachment, aluminum foil for reflection of light trapped inside the drawer
Wrapped up, we made a functional water delivery system, improved our lightning and strengthened our overall structure. We showed that it is possible to grow edible (and tasty!) plants under your own bed. Now it is time to finish the hardware and make sure our drawer is as automatic and easy to operate as possible. Best wishes from our fourth team member who found our lightning system a comfortable pillow
Michał & Jakub & Szymon & Brun
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|#5 - Piping and pumping - water and liquid fertiliser delivery system||#7 - Ride the lightning - Wiring diagram, pinout and components discussion|