GrovePi Irrigation System

I am trying to build an automated irrigation system using GrovePi’s sensors. I am struggling to find a kit/demo that is meant for the Grove Pi and not Arduino. Could I use this kit, but just use the Grove Pi instead? Grove Smart Plant Care Kit

There is a great Grove Smart Plant Care Kit: Unboxing and Assembling | DIY video, but I am a little confused about the wiring diagram between the relay, pump, 12V connector and Arduino; it would seem that just connecting to 12V connector would be sufficient? How would this change in a GrovePi implementation?

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Hi James,

What you’re seeing on those links is not a GrovePi.
That’s a product we don’t manufacture and we don’t develop anything for it.

With that being clarified, the GrovePi uses Grove connectors, so this means you can connect the same sensors/actuators you had seen on that linked video.

Here’s a list of sensors you can use on your GrovePi:

By the way, we have released 4 new sensors for all of our product line (including the GrovePi) and we have a documentation for it:

Out of these 4 sensors, you may have an interest for the DI Temperature Humidity Pressure Sensor and the DI Light and Color Sensor for your irrigation project. The advantage of these sensors is that the documentation is really great and it’s easy to start with them, thus leading to less headaches :slight_smile:

Regarding the GrovePi board, you’ve got multiple options on our website. You can get just the board itself or you can get a kit containing other sensors/actuators you may want to test with.

Please tell us if there’s something still unclear.

Thank you!

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Thank you so much for the response! I had no idea that the board in that project was not associated with Dexter Industries. Thanks for letting me know about the additional available sensors as well.

I already have a GrovePi and base kit. What I needed for this project, was a moisture sensor, the pump, 12V connector, etc. What I really wanted to know is whether (excluding the programming part) the same relay to 12V pump setup would work with a GrovePi vs. the Arduino; from your response, it looks like it would (the flow sensor doesn’t have a Grove connector but still).

I definitely wish that you guys had a similar kit. There is a need for this sort of thing. The relay that comes with the kits appears to be underutilized in terms of the available projects/curriculum.

Can you confirm that you think this will work? I appreciate your time and response.


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Hi James,

You will be able to do the following:

  1. Connect a moisture sensor to the GrovePi and read the moisture level on a Raspberry Pi.

  2. Connect a relay to the GrovePi and be able to actuate it programmatically. The relay should further actuate the water pump, or at least a bigger relay which a bigger capacity for load (depending on your needs).

  3. Program everything on your Raspberry Pi so you can start watering whatever you want when the moisture level goes down or stop it, when it’s too humid.

If that’s what you want to do, then yes, it’s going to work for you.

Hope this helps at making things clear.


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Know of any apps already built using the GrovePi+ board for irrigation on a rasbpi? Could def use a starting point/template to work from.

Almost all the current tutorials/projects are based off the standard Grove hat which requires a separate ADC for capacitive sensors ( which in my research are more durable than the resistive sensors) so I am looking for something that incorporates the sensor directly to the GrovePi+ hat. Something as simple as read moisture sensor A0 and turn on/off irrigation with the 4ch Relay.

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Not aware of that level of complete solution. I found an I2C moisture, temperature, light sensor which might fit your desire for non-ADC type sensor, but DI does not offer GrovePi+ specific interface. Robotshop lists a RaspberryPi interface so you could plug it into an GrovePi+ I2C port and use the published code.



Another potential “gotcha” is the relay circuit.

Note:  This all assumes that you’re still using a 12 volt pump/solenoid system, and that you know the total peak-current draw of everything in the system, as startup current can easily be 2x, 3x, or even more than the steady-state current draw.  Ask, and/or get the datasheet for the pumps/solenoids you’re using.

If it were MY system, I’d use the programmable relay to drive another, larger, relay that’s actually connected to the irrigation system. Make sure the current rating of the smaller, programmable relay is at least 2x the current drawn by the coil of the larger relay.  This will prevent contact burnout after a few hundred cycles-or-so.  This is also a good rule-of-thumb for selecting the rating of the larger relay.  Try to over-specify by at least a factor of 2x to increase the relay’s useful life.

I’d also seriously consider a 0.1 - 0.01μF 200v+ rated capacitor and a 100 - 150v, surge suppressor across the larger relay’s contacts going to the sprinkler system to absorb inductive “kick” from the water valve pumps/solenoids and any inductive pickup from EMF that is conducted through the ground.  (Like buried power lines, nearby buried telephone lines, etc.)

If the larger relay is located more than a few meters, (say 8 - 10 yards or so), from the smaller one, especially if the wiring is underground, or routed near other power-carrying wiring like lighting or electrical wires, I’d add the same two protective devices to the contacts of the smaller relay.

Sorry, I can’t help you with the programming.  Don’t forget to share what you find and discover!