Greenhouse and home-gardening application:
To help those who have little-to-no experience using an RPi imagine the possibilities of the Ratherboard, we have created a few use-cases with our prototypes including: home gardening, fish tank control, 3D printer control, greenhouse control, weather station, and security camera streaming. Let’s talk about two of those in more detail!
For the Ratherboard, size does not matter. In a big greenhouse, the same type of equipment has to be controlled as in a home garden or an aquarium, which means the inputs and outputs are the same, only the scale is different. To prove our theory we got a chance to use a Ratherboard to create ideal conditions for water lilies in a large greenhouse located in Budapest. Our device controlled the lamps to ensure the flowers are getting enough light, and operated the roof windows according to the time of the day and the temperature.
After spending at least 8, possibly more, hours at work, cooking dinner, and doing the dishes, all you have energy left for is to sit down on the couch and turn on the TV. You glance over to your once healthy green, now wilting plants and with an intense feeling of remorse, you continue watching your favourite TV series. If the problem is not dehydration, then it will be overwatering, or perhaps lack of sunlight. This is where Ratherboard comes in, our – and our plants’ – best friend.
First, we sorted the lighting out with 3 grow lights. These can be switched on and off by the Ratherboard based on a pre-defined timing, or data provided by analog light intensity sensors placed next to your plants.
Watering was next, which turned out to be a bit more complicated. We wanted to have the ability to precisely control the amount of water reaching the plants so we used a 12 V pump, driven by the Ratherboard’s current-limited output using Pulse Width Modulation. Finding good-looking tubes and routing them proved to be difficult, but thankfully our friends at GreenAqua helped us by providing ventilation tubes and pneumatic components.
The next step will be building a miniature greenhouse (terrarium), in which the weather can be controlled based on a database or replicated using live data from a remote weather station anywhere in the world.
From now on, you don’t have to get up from the couch anymore, you can water your decorative flowers and plants with a press of a button, or even completely automatically. Your short glance won’t be met by a sight reminding you of the meagre dunes of the Sahara, but rather by one which has the essence of a healthy, thriving rainforest, and instead of feeling remorseful, you can enjoy the view to your heart’s content. The difference is the Ratherboard.
Did you like our article? We will write about more use-cases in the future!