Lora : Soil Monitoring and Irrigation

Soil status monitoring and irrigation are the most fundamental aspects of “farm automation” or “smart agriculture.”

The following features are required for agricultural soil status monitoring and irrigation:

1. Monitoring the state of the soil at various locations.

PH/Nitrogen/Phosphorus/Potassium, as well as soil quality data such as PH/Nitrogen/Phosphorus/Potassium, must be monitored at numerous stages depending on farm characteristics and plant requirements.

2. Irrigation at various places, or other actuators such as fans, to control/adjust the environment at multiple points, including humidity and temperature.

3. Installation is simple.

It is difficult to install cables in a farm because of the dampness and the possibility of insects and mice.

As a result, remote wireless monitoring and control are required so that the sensors/irrigation may be readily deployed.

In response to these requests, I created this soil monitoring and irrigation using LoRa demo to address the issues mentioned above in a farm or home garden.

1. Lora

Lora stands for Long Range Radio and is designed for rural and indoor applications such as smart agriculture and smart cities. It is mostly used for M2M communication.

LoRa arranges can theoretically be as short as a few kilometres in urban areas and as far as 10 kilometres in rural regions (but as for me, I do not test it so long, the max distance tested is about 3 kilometers).

LoRaWAN is a software protocol for transmitting LoRa messages and communicating with the internet.

LoRaWAN requires a more capable controller to cope with the protocol, as well as a LoRaWAN Router to connect to the internet.

2. Introduction to Instruments

2.1 Monitoring of the soil

The following are the essential specifications for a soil monitoring instrument:

Soil spec checking, basically: humidity/temperature; and if necessary advanced spec: PH/Nitrogen/ Phosphorus/Potassium.

Wireless data transfer with a long battery life

Anti-corrosion is a term used to describe a substance that prevents corrosion.

LoRa Soil Moisture Sensor and Industrial-Grade Soil Remote Monitor from Makerfabs.

The Makerfabs Soil Moisture Sensor monitors soil humidity and temperature (with capacitive mechanism, full details) and communicates the data through LoRa every hour.

It has an anti-corrosion coating on it.

The lifespan of a 2 AAA battery can be up to 2 years.

It comes with pre-programmed software that customers may install and use right away after installing the battery.

Check out the wiki for further information.

However, the output for humidity is “relative humidity,” which is not the same as “actual humidity,” but numbers reflect humidity variations.

For example, a number of 500 indicates that the soil is wet, while a value of >800 indicates that the soil is extremely dry.

Also, depending on how the sensor is put, it varies slightly.

The Industrial-grade Soil Remote Monitor is more professional in that it detects the real parameters of temperature, moisture, PH, Nitrogen/ Phosphorus/ Potassium, which can be used to analyse the environment and plants, and is primarily used for research and field applications where these specifications are important.

The sensor is water-resistant, and it checks the specs before transmitting them to the controller board over RS485. The controller board (ESP32) may then show the data locally on the 0.93-inch OLED or communicate it remotely through LoRa or Wifi (if there Wifi network).

However, keep in mind that this module came with no pre-programming and requires the user to write it themselves, making it ideal for maker projects.

2.2 LoRa Actuator.

With a maximum current of 2A, this low-cost and simple-to-use LoRa MOSFET can operate numerous actuators such as fans, valves, electromagnetic locks, motors, and so on.

It comes pre-programmed with Makerfab’s default firmware (code accessible on GitHub), so customers may use it right away.

It accepts LoRa communications and serves as a command (0 percent to 100% through PWM) while also providing status updates to other LoRa modules.

This module may be used to regulate up to four valves, as well as the irrigation of four sites.

2.3 ESP32 TFT Touch with LoRa Expansion.

The ESP32 3.5-inch Display with LoRa Expansion functions as a control console, receiving soil status from different places and sending orders to the LoRa MOSFET to regulate valve open/close.

3. Setting up

3.1 Connect the LoRa extension board to the ESP32 display breakout board and programme it using the GitHub scripts.

In the SD card, configure the Wifi connection settings.

After 3 seconds of logo display, the ESP32 display reaches the working page.

With the proper Wifi settings, the ESP32 obtains real-time via NTP and puts it on the display:

3.2 We use a 2 AAA battery to power the basic LoRa soil moisture sensor, which we remove from the packaging.

On the battery slot (and also on the mechanic case), there is a sensor ID number, such as ID010040:

The ID may then be entered by pressing the “add moisture button” on the ESP32 display.

The ESP32 display will receive the LoRa message from the LoRa soil moisture sensor after the settings are complete.

Because the sensor will produce data every one hour, hit the “reset” button to get an instant message:

The ADC data represents the moisture sensor output; the lower the numbers, the higher the moisture; see the Typical Output for more information.

The sensor data as well as the time stamp are displayed on the display, which is updated every hour.
In fact, it will create a journal on the SD card for later review.

It is possible to install and monitor up to 8 LoRa moisture sensors.

3.3 Connect the LoRa MOSFET outputs to the valves.

Connect the input port to your water tank (I used a large mineral water bottle as a water tank) and the output port to your plants.

To make installation as simple as possible, we employ a one-input-four-output terminal.

To power on the LoRa MOSFET, press the add MOS button on the ESP32 display and enter the MOSFET ID, such as ID060000:

The ESP32 display will get a status report from the LoRa MOSFET, and you may now operate the MOSFET-connected valves.

Toggle the MOSX from OFF to ON, then hit the transmit button…

The state of the associated valve changes.

Experiment with various actuators, such as FANS/DC.

Actually, you can use LoRa to adjust the PWM duty and regulate the speed of the associated FANS/DC.
A maximum of two MOSFETs (eight actuators) can be installed.

There is a lot more spec that may be added by manufacturers who are knowledgeable with the coding:

1. Internet-based remote monitoring and control.

Because the ESP32 is connected to the internet through Wifi, all sensor data may be re-routed to the internet, or MQTT can be used to operate the valves remotely.

2. More LoRa sensors; now, it supports 8 soil points and 2 MOSFETs that support 8 valves; theoretically, an endless number of sensors may be added; however, because LoRa is a one-way data transmission protocol, there is a risk of data loss as sensor quality improves.

LoRawan can establish a secure connection, however I have yet to do so.

In addition, there are additional actuators.

3. For more thorough soil monitoring, use the industry-level moisture sensor.

4. Controlling the load speed with PWM duty management of the associated actuators…

Laugh it out, If it doesn’t make sense

KP

“Money is important in life and it can buy happiness, But relationships are more important than money” – KP

Keep it simple,Don’t turn the point around

KP

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