Drunken Hydroponics : Update #2


Time passes…

What was once


is now


(the plant in the background is what Terrence McKenna said looked like “Joe Plant”)

So that’s cool.

It now has a little arduino controller for the pump… just a simple timer, but you’ve got to start somewhere:


Which lights up when the pump goes on:


It was supposed to have just one white light, but I’m using a mini-arduino with the relay attached to pin 13, so I also get a green and a red. I’ve put it on an hour loop – hard-coded, although I did play with different rates depending on which pin was tied-high. Thought I’d fried the arduino at one point – because it was flickering and being erratic… turns out that it was the 9v battery running down – and about 2 seconds after discovering what the issue was, I fried myself – first 240v shock I’ve had in about 15 years. Careful with mains electricity kiddie-winkies. If it catches you off-balance, it can kill you.

Arduinos on the other hand are incredibly forgiving. I’ve repeatedly done things that should have burned them out… they’ve always bounced back.

Anyway, the container needs to have silver tape wrapped round it because it looks a bit more Sci-Fi…


… and it stops algae from growing in the reservoir, and the silver stops it getting too hot when I put it out in the sun. They like sun… although full NZ sun is too much. Needs to be a bit dappled.

Had a minor attack of aphids – tried using tomatato-leaf-juice as a natural DIY method of getting rid of them – that failed, so I used proper chemical poison. That did not fail. That succeeded. That succeeded instantly.

So there you go.

I think possibly the biggest achievement this year, (apart from selling about $9000 worth of golden mean calipers in one day, and buying a laser-cutter) has been Learning How To Do Electronics. I used to do it at Uni – passed all the exams etc, but never really knew what I was doing. Now I kind of do.

This is Arduino-Driven-Hydroponics v 1.0. Version 2.0 is sitting on my desk right now… and is A LOT more dramatic… but more of that later.