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How to control your growbox with a smartphone

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Today's technology is offering growers a lot of exciting new ways to automate grow box designs. One of the major ones is a set of sensor and diagnostic systems that will actually link elements of your garden to your smartphone or mobile device.

So how do you take advantage of what's available right now, to build grow box controls for your smartphone?

The basis for these innovative types of controls is set of technologies called Arduino. Building Arduino sensor and diagnostic kits, users can then import the resulting data to their smart phones for better monitoring of robotics or electronic projects. Arduino gardening has become so popular it has actually birthed its own term, “Garduino,” that refers to how this process works.

Applying Arduino to a garden is as easy as setting up Arduinokits, and determining the items that will be monitored or otherwise worked on. For example, take some of the most basic elements of the hydroponic grow maintenance routine -- temperature, humidity, water level and light.

To apply Arduino to this set of indicators, you'll need to set up a processor and additional hardware in a grow room environment. Then you will need to program what these things will monitor. You'll need a sensor for temperature, one for humidity, one for water level and one for light. In some hydroponic setups, you won't need a light sensor because your lights will already be set on an automatic timer.

Are another aspect of Arduino controls involve switching. Here's the output where the system will actually ‘fix’ those things that it senses. You want to connect Arduino controls to a fan, a pump, a float and a light, depending, again on the lighting setup.

What the switch does is send input to set functions in the software. Then the hardware responds as you have programmed it. For example, using a level sensor in the reservoir, along with a float switch, will make water level maintenance automated. Growers can use solid-state relays to facilitate switching.

The last part of this is to connect Arduino controls to your smartphone. There are various kits and available instructions to help you get data to your Android or iPhone. Then you can observe and manage your garden from anywhere you happen to be – or let the automated sensor system take care of the work as it’s programmed!

For more about modern advances in hydroponics, check out what growers are now doing to grow plants with less labor and get better harvests.

 
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