Hack Your Sprinkler System With a Raspberry Pi

As I’ve mentioned before, I love the Raspberry Pi as a platform for home automation projects. For those who don’t know about Raspberry Pi, it’s a neat little Linux computer, complete with an HDMI output, which runs on a single board and costs around $40. Since it has low-level analog and digital outputs, you can hook it up to all kinds of things. I’m starting to think the Raspberry Pi could be the ideal platform for diy home automation, and I’ll be moving more and more towards using it for projects on this site. To kick this off, I’ll be sharing some awesome Raspberry Pi home automation projects from around the internet, so you can see what’s possible with this awesome board.

One really cool project I happened on is OpenSprinkler Pi, from Ray’s Hobby. It’s a little addon board for the standard Raspberry Pi, as well as some open source code for interacting with the board. Essentially it allows you to connect your Raspberry Pi to your home sprinkler system, and use the existing OpenSprinkler framework to control your sprinklers however you want.

Since the Raspberry Pi has full internet connectivity and a graphical output, this enables all kinds of neat applications. Users of the board have modified it so you can switch your sprinklers on and off using HTML buttons in your browser, either at home or remotely. They’ve also tied the system to Google Calendar, so you can schedule waterings and have the board faithfully execute them exactly on schedule. And in perhaps the coolest application, users have modified the system to grab weather reports and only run the sprinklers if it hasn’t rained for a particular period of time.

Of course, since the whole thing is open source, you can make modifications however you want. For example, what about tying the board to a soil moisture meter, so you only water your plants when the soil is dry? Or enabling remote connections and adding a Raspberry Pi camera module, so you can check on your plants while you’re away on vacation, and then water them if they’re looking dry?

If you want to start hacking your sprinklers today, pick up a Raspberry Pi from Amazon or Sparkfun, and a OpenSprinkler Pi board from Ray. For under $100, you’ll have an awesome diy sprinkler system.

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