Botanicalls needs to be wireless and solar powered

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  • #1366

    Not only are my outdoor plants generally at greater risk of neglect, their moisture levels decline very rapidly on hot summer days–especially my container plants.

    Running CAT5 and power outside would be too big a pain. But a solar-powered Botanicalls device would naturally groove with the outdoor environment: The device only needs to work when its hot and sunny. If it’s not sunny enough to power the device it’s probably raining.

    I’m know very little about electronics/networking, but on the surface these seem like fairly simple changes. Given that continuous power is not essential, might solar power be achieved simply by hooking up a 5v solar cell? Maybe some capacitors if the device needs to run for a minimum about of time? As for wifi, Lantronix has wireless devices such as the MatchBox and WiPort that look similar to the Xport, and may even use the same serial connector. Would it be possible to get these wireless devices working with the current generation Botanicalls?

    Rob Faludi

    We actually worked out a solar power arrangement as a project for Jeff Feddersen’s Sustainable Energy course when we were in graduate school. The documentation for Solar Botanicalls is on my blog. As for WiFi, it’s been considered of course but the hurdle is building in an interface for configuring the SSID and security information needed to join the network. It would also probably double the price of the kit, which wasn’t something we wanted to do on the first round. But yes, we’re still interested and discussing possible solutions.


    So are there directions out there anywhere that show how to plug in a small wifi router to the ethernet jack on the botanicall? My plant is near a power plug, but there’s no ethernet in my house – it’s all wifi. Any ideas?

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