Imagine you've just started a home garden, and you're excited to grow your own vegetables and herbs. But as the weeks go by, you start to notice that some of your plants aren't growing as well as you'd hoped. That's where monitoring your plant growth environment data comes in. By tracking the temperature, humidity, light, and soil moisture levels in your garden, you might discover that your tomatoes aren't getting enough sunlight, or that your soil is too dry for your basil, you can start to identify potential issues and make adjustments to improve your plants' health.
In this project, you will learn how to build a plant monitoring system with a SCI DAQ module and sensors to collect and analyze plant growth environment data, and we'll discuss how to use this information to optimize your home garden.
1. SCI DAQ Module
wiki: Gravity: SCI DAQ Module
The SCI DAQ module is equipped with a storage capacity of 16 megabytes, enabling real-time data recording during experiments in CSV format. The data is structured in columns including the exact time of recording, physical quantity name, value, and unit, providing precise tracking and facilitating analysis.
2. Temperature and Humidity Sensor
A Temperature and Humidity Sensor measures both the temperature and humidity of an environment.
3. Light Sensor
A light sensor measures the amount of light in an environment. It tells you how bright the ambient is in Lux (lx), which is the unit for measuring light. To change the data reading for observation, you can cover the sensor with your hand or shine light on it.
4. Soil Moisture Senor
The soil moisture sensor can measure the amount of moisture in the soil surrounding it. It works by using two probes to pass current through the soil, and then reads the resulting resistance to determine the relative moisture level. Soil with more water conducts electricity more easily (resulting in less resistance), while dry soil conducts electricity poorly (resulting in more resistance).
1. Power the SCI module from either battery or Type-C port.
2. Connect the soil moisture sensor to the left Port 1.
3. Connect the temperature & humidity sensor and light sensor to the Port 2 and Port 3.
4. Press the S button to enter the setting menu.
5. The cursor stays at the Select SKU by default, press the OK button to enter the sensor selection page.
6. Use S and R button to select SEN0114 Soil moisture, press OK to confirm.
The SCI module can automatically identify IIC sensors connected to Port2 and Port3. However, for digital or analog sensors connected to Port1, manual selection is required. The data from the sensors will be displayed on the screen in the order of Port1 to Port3.
Get ready to create your very own plant monitoring system! Start by selecting a plant you want to keep a closer eye on. Then, insert a soil moisture sensor into the soil, and position the light and temperature & humidity sensors around the pot. With this setup, you'll be able to gather data and gain valuable insights into the needs of your plant.
To record the data with an accurate time tag, you'll need to set the system time first.
1. When you receive a brand new SCI module, you need to insert the button battery into the battery slot on the back. The battery is used to power the built-in real-time clock (RTC), so that the system can provide accurate time even when the module is not powered.
2. Access the settings menu and select Set System Time.
3. Month, day, hour, minute, and second can be set up. After setting the month, press the OK button, then set the next parameter, and so on.
Data refresh rate refers to how often the SCI module updates its data. A higher data refresh rate means that the information is updated more frequently, which can result in more accurate and up-to-date data, but may also require more processing power and energy consumption.
1. Access the settings menu and select Set Refresh Rate.
2. Select a refresh rate and press OK to confirm. Available refresh rates are: ms, 1S, 3S, 5S, 10S, 30S, 1min, 5min, and 10min.
3. If ms is selected, the system will refresh the sensor data at the fastest speed, and the time tag will be accurate to milliseconds.
Press the R button to start recording data. The symbol * will appear at the lower-left corner of the screen next to REC to indicate that the module is currently recording data. The LED indicator will blink in accordance with the data refresh rate.
1. If the module is connected to a computer via a Type-C cable, and an operation is performed in the pop-up U disk, data recording will be disabled, and the module needs to be restarted to enable it again.
2. When the REC function is enabled (meaning data recording is happening), no operations should be performed in the U-disk. If an operation is performed, it may result in data recording failure.
The recorded data can be exported in the format of a CSV file.
1. To stop data recording, press the R key.
2. Connect the module to a computer using a Type-C cable, and a U-disk will appear. (Un-plug and connect again if you are using the Type-C to power the module.)
3. Open the U-disk and copy the CSV file that you need into your computer.
By analyzing the data you've collected, you can uncover valuable insights that will help you create the perfect environment for your plants. There are several ways to interpret the results:
1. Draw a line graph to visualize a single parameter, such as the amount of light your plants receive. This will help you identify patterns and trends, such as the peak and low light values throughout the day or how many hours of sunlight your plants are exposed to.
2. Create multiple line graphs to compare data across different variables and uncover any relationships between them. For example, you may discover that higher temperatures are linked to lower soil moisture levels.
Every plant has unique environmental requirements. By utilizing the data from your plant monitor, you can tailor the growing conditions to meet the specific needs of each plant. With dedication and careful monitoring, you'll be able to cultivate a thriving garden full of healthy, vibrant plants!
(Please note that the temperature display on the SCI currently only supports Celsius degrees as the unit. We will release updated firmware in the future to support Fahrenheit degrees.)
By connecting your plant monitor to a micro-controller, such as a micro:bit, you can create an automatic feedback system to improve the health of your plants when environmental conditions are not ideal. For instance, if your plant thrives in bright light, you can program an LED ring lamp to turn on automatically when the room gets dark.
1. Connect the SCI module from the I2C output port to the I2C port on the micro:bit expansion board.
2. Connect the LED ring lamp to the P2 port on the expansion board.
3. Power the micro:bit and SCI module using the power plug on the expansion board.
4. Connect the micro:bit to your computer using a USB cable to begin programming.
The sample code is written in Mind+, which you can download for free at mindplus.cc.
For MakeCode users, load the extension library for the SCI DAQ module: https://github.com/DFRobot/pxt-DFRobot_SCI_DAQ_Module.git. Use the following blocks and enter the name of the physical quantity displayed on the module screen to get their value and unit.
For a better display, you can print out the layout and stick it onto a cardboard. Then, mount the sensors and modules on top of the cardboard.