The Control Panel

The control panel gives you access to the GardenBot system outside. There is a manual override switch and an LED.

Currently, the control panel serves only as a way to turn the water on and off. The button is not currently functional -- it is part of the assumed next version -- so feel free to skip it in your build.

(see the parts page)
  • Common household light switch
  • (optional) Arcade-style button & female push-on tabs
  • LED
  • lead wires
  • soldering iron and solder
  • junction box or other wire connectors

You should install your control panel somewhere that is convenient for you when you want to turn the water on. I don't have photos for the construction of this.

But the construction is fairly simple.I just used a piece of pine lumber to create a board that fit into a window near the back porch. In the board, I simply cut a rectangular hole for the light switch box, drilled a hole for the LED, and used a hole cutting saw to make the hole for the button.

Here is a photo of the other side of this board (inside the house).

Notice the use of a junction box to tie the wiring together.

Also notice the use of push-on terminal ends which are standard on the type of micro-switch that comes with the button.

The local circuit

The local circuit for the control panel is the most complex of all the modules.

Partly this is because it is designed so that the manual override can be used to turn on the water even if the Arduino board is out of commission / crashing / whatever. Of course you would still need to provide 5v power source. Incidentally, this is why I use the layout with the separate 5v regulator (see the Brain module).

Here's a breakdown of the different sections.

The teach button is the most simple (and it is also currently optional) -- just the line running from #1 to #7 to connect the teach button to the Arduino digital port (IN). Notice the shunt to ground with the 10k resistor (also called a pull-down resistor since it gently pulls the signal down to ground). NOTE: Currently this button is unused, so that portion of the circuit is optional.

The manual override switch signal comes in at #6 and then takes two paths so that when you flip the switch it both turns the water on and turns on the indicator light. The two diodes (D1, D2) are in place so that the signals at #2 and #4 don't activate the wrong transistors (Q1, Q2).

To turn on the water, a signal from D1 or #2 activates the transistor Q1, which in turn sends the Vcc, 5v signal out to #3 to activate the AC power module. Also

To turn the indicator light on, a signal from D2 or #4 activates the transistor Q2, which in turn connects the indicator light to ground through #5.

NOTE: The connections at #2 and #4 are not currently used in this version of GardenBot. But they are available as control points for any 5v signal.

And here is what that circuit might look like on your breadboard.

The numbered connections  relate to the above circuit diagram.

about how-to parts contact GardenBot home forum