The DIY Automated Plant Watering System

The DIY Automated Plant Watering System

Gregory Han
Jul 27, 2012

Randy Sarafan is the Technology Editor at Instructables, so you know when he tackles a problem like keeping tabs on properly watering house plants, he's going to do it in enviable DIY fashion. Randy teamed his DIY skills with a soil sensor and an Arduino-controlled water pump to build himself a black thumb-proof plant watering system!

Instead of remembering to water my plants when the soil goes dry, I only have to remember to once and a while refill the water reservoir. In this way, I have decreased my obligation to these plants and put it off to a much later date. Perhaps further iterations of this device can be connected to a rain barrel so that I won't even have to worry about refilling my reservoir, and the entire system can be fully automated.

Materials required:

  • (x1) 8" x 6" x 3" project enclosure (Radioshack #270-1809)
  • (x1) Multipurpose PC Board (Radioshack #276-150)
  • (x1) 5VDC SPDT micro relay (Radioshack #275-240)
  • (x1) 9V battery connector (Radioshack #270-324)
  • (x1) 9V battery holder (Radioshack #270-326)
  • (x1) 9V battery (Radioshack #23-853)
  • (x1) SPST micromini toggle switch (Radioshack #275-624)
  • (x1) 10K resistor (Radioshack #271-1126)
  • (x1) Size M coaxial DC power plug (Radioshack #274-1569)
  • (x1) Red and black 22AWG wire (Radioshack #278-1221)
  • (x1) 12AWG black wire (Radioshack #278-556)
  • (x1) Non-submersible electric water pump (via Amazon)
  • (x1) Water storage container with lid
  • (x2) 8-32 x 2.5" nuts and bolts
  • (x8) 4-40 x 1" nuts and bolts
  • (x1) 4-40 x 3/8" nut and bolt
  • (x4) 1/4" spacers
  • (x1) Wire nut
  • (x2) 3' - 5' plastic tubing
  • (x1) #8 Terminal Ring
  • (x1) House plant to water

Full step-by-step instructions available at Self-Watering Plant Instructables.

A commenter notes the less technical could get nearly the same self-watering effect without the power source hazards using a piece of nylon wire:

Take a plant bowl and thread a couple of nylon wires through the bottom holes. Let the nylon threads go down into a bowl of water under the plant bowl. The plant will automatically suck up the water from the nylon thread... no electronics needed. :)

So there, you've got two options before you head out for a late summer vacation. Just be sure you have someone to check on the cats/dogs/fish now...unless you've one of these.

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