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DIY

Alexa, Water my plants!

DIY instructions for remote watering of plants setup I recently did.

What you will need

Please note that these are representative products, only ones I have tried in my setup are the smart switch and the drip irrigation kit.

ELOVE 18 Watt Submersible Water Pump – 180V-230V, 1.85 M Cooler Pump for Desert Air Cooler, Aquarium, Fountains https://www.amazon.in/dp/B07BW882S2/ref=cm_sw_r_apan_i_4RT78B1MVZ1FTHGSP70M

CINAGRO Plants Drip Irrigation Kit | Watering Kit for Home Garden, Farming & Agriculture Purposes (20 Plants Kit) https://www.amazon.in/dp/B091SR284C/ref=cm_sw_r_apan_i_dl_2ZS5EXT1810XPNS26SM5?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

Wipro 10A smart plug with Energy monitoring- Suitable for small appliances like TVs, Electric Kettle, Mobile and Laptop Chargers (Works with Alexa and Google Assistant) https://www.amazon.in/dp/B08HNB2FSH/ref=cm_sw_r_apan_i_dl_M89KCXT957XD9KNVCTQ2

De MONIX Plastic Water Storage Container with Lockring , Unbreakable Jumbo Plus Plastic Drum, Multipurpose Plastic Storage Barrel ( 80 Liters Tank,Colour – Blue ) https://www.amazon.in/dp/B09DW957QG/ref=cm_sw_r_apan_i_CXDCKK6FCTKERKQNMNDR

A few tips to put it all together

1. Main thing you need to understand is how many plants you have and what is their watering need. The drip irrigation kit linked is for 20 plants and an 18W motor works for that scale (I have 16 plants and it works fine), however, if you have more plants you might need to get a more powerful motor – they come in 40W and beyond that you might need to look to combine them (that is possible as well).

You can be a scientific nerd about it and buy a motor with a flow rate which is a summation of individual nozzle flow rate of the drip.  Hit me up if you want more info on this calculation I might update the post later with it.

2. Once you get the drip installed (it comes with a link to a YouTube video) adjust the nozzle so that you get the desired flow rate. The flow rate will change the more nozzles you add to the system.

3. The water reservoir is the most important part, you want to place it so that it won’t cover your apartment into a swimming pool. You also want to check how much is the water storage and whether it is enough. 50-80 litres should work fine for 7-10 days for 15-16 plants.

4. The submersible motors are meant for fountains and water coolers but they do the job on this. DO remember that they are electrical appliances, you need to make sure that exposed wires NEVER touch the water, use discretion or seek help from a professional.

PLEASE be safe.

5. Finally, once plumbing of the drip is completed all you have to do is, to put the submersible pump in the water reservoir, and connect using the nozzle provided with the motor to the irrigation inlet. Test the system a few times for leakage – the drip system leaks a bit for 3-5 days. That is normal. There should be no leaking jets.

6. Now connect the smart switch, and name it “Plant Water” or similar in the companion app – you can go for Belkin, Wipro, Sonoff, you won’t usally go wrong with them. Then go to your Alexa, and import the corresponding alexa skill on your alexa, the switch should be tested for commands via the app & Alexa – usually this is very straightforward.

“Alexa, turn on plant water” should turn it on, and so on. You can customise it using Alexa routines. Most smart switches will also allow you to create custom schedules – very useful for watering.

7. I put a camera on the whole system because I can keep an eye on the system, I recommend this for peace of mind.

Good luck and safe DIYing.

My setup:

Sorry folks, this is a quick demo video we shot, in the rush for a vacation, I will add to this section some more photos when I am back from my vacation.

By Abhi Shah

Hi, I’m Abhi. After living many years in London, me and my family re-located back to India in the summer of 2017. I spend most of my time working with a high performing team at Barclays in Pune, India and the rest with my son Anik! I have spent half of my career in commercial product roles and half in technology. I have also spent over 9 years living outside India, and have traveled to over 27 countries. Visit the Bio section of this website to learn more about me.

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