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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Plant moisture level monitor


Here is a simple circuit that will give a visual indication when the soil water level inside your flower pot goes low below a certain limit.





The U1C and associated components are wired as an oscillator producing a 2KHz square wave. This square wave is given to one gate input of U1D via a variable potential divider former by R1 and R2.When the resistance across the probes A and B are low that is when soil moisture level is high, the C2 will divert the square wave to ground. The output of U1D will be high. The U1 A inverts this high state to low and so the IC U1B is blocked from producing oscillations. The LED will remain OFF. When there is no moisture across the probes, the C2 cannot bypass the 2KHz signal to the ground and it appears at the gate input of U1D.The output of U1D goes low, and it is inverted to high by U1A.The oscillator wired around U1B is activated and it starts oscillating. These oscillations are amplified by Q1 to drive the LED and LED starts pulsating as an indication of low moisture. Since square wave is used there won’t be any oxidation on the probes. The resistor R7 limits the current through LED and ensures a longer battery life.



Notes.

* Power the circuit from a 3V battery.
* Two metal wires 10 cm long and 5cm apart driven into the soil will do the job for probes.
* The probes are to be connected at the terminals A and B shown in circuit.
* Capacitors C1 and C2 must be polyester type.
* The IC U1 is a quad two input Schmitt NAND IC 4093.
* The sensitivity can be adjusted by varying the preset R2.
* Mount the IC on a holder.

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