today i would like to share with you how I solar charge my smart plant pots. a smart plant pot looks just like a regular plant pot but it can email you when your plant needs attention (too hot/cold, thirsty, sleeping etc.)
and with the solar charge upgrade, it can alarm you forever !!
a self sufficient smart plant system..
we will need;
solar cells - http://www.ebay.com/itm/5V-0-8W-160mA-Mini-Solar-P...
zener diode - http://www.ebay.com/itm/Values-2V-47V-1-2W-0-5W-Ze...
female usb - http://www.ebay.com/itm/10Pcs-USB-Type-A-Female-4P...
battery pack - http://www.dx.com/p/universal-1-x-18650-battery-bo...
batteries - http://www.ebay.com/itm/2x-18650-3-7V-UltraFire-45...
this instructable will teach you how to make a solar charger for your power bank. this scenario can easily be adapted to other projects that need re-charging.
Step 1: Frame
get the hot glue gun ready.
start by tracing 2 solar cells side by side on foamboard.
after tracing cut out the board, save the cut out and use it as the back wall.
hot glue the back wall to the sides, and cut and extra foam on sides.
Step 2: Wires
put your solar cells in to the frame and turn it around
figure out where the pins are located, draw and cut out some holes.
Step 3: Legs
find some chopsticks and glue them to each side of the frame as legs.
Step 4: Solder
measure some wire and snip the ends. solder cells in parallel.
don't forget to insert the zener diode on the positive leg just before the female usb socket - direction matters.!
use some hot glue to hold everything in position while testing
Step 5: Test
i was able to get upto 6.5V from a 23W CFL bulb and 5.85V in full sun.
here you can also see the cells charging the powerbank using CFL lighting once again.
Step 6: More about the circuit
this instructable is about how to power the explained system below using solar energy.
power bank is the most crucial element of our system. it is a battery holder and a charger in a sleek protective case.
it accepts 5Vin to recharge and provides 5Vout to power things up.
connected to it, arduino nano is reading sensor data (water level, temperature, light level). the data is uploaded to thingspeak.com, where it gets plotted into graphs.
if the collected sensor data is above/below certain levels, the system alarms the user both in person by changing color, and also sends a tweet to your email account.
click here for more information on my smart plant systems.
Step 7: Conclusion
please vote for me in the Make Energy contest. I need a 3D printer to be able to finish my educational kits.
our kits teach how to program microcontrollers and build circuits. a solder-free electronics learning kit, suitable for any age group.
and after finished with the kit, the user will have a functional device that teaches them how to grow plants. no prior electrical/gardening experience required.
meet the Plant Doctor family.