The Challange

 

Upcycle It

 

To upcycle an obsolete item, computer, piece of electronic equipment or appliance and make a cool new electronics project built around the Intel® Edison Kit for Arduino.

 

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Proposal

 

Upcycle It - Washing Machine Hydroponic Grower - #1 Introduction

 

To use an old front load washing machine to be the main assembly of the rotary hydroponic system controlled by the Intel® Edison Kit for Arduino.

 

Controller to monitor temperature, humidity, nutrient solution PH and control grower light, drum motor and water pump. Values to be published and parameters to be adjusted remotely using MQTT protocol.

 

Edison+Upcycle.jpg

 

Washing Machine Modifications

 

Upcycle It - Washing Machine Hydroponic Grower - #2 Preparation

Upcycle It - Washing Machine Hydroponic Grower - #3 Preparation II

 

Concrete ballast and some of the panels were removed. Also, most of the internal parts and wiring were stripped, leaving only the tumbler and the structure to hold it in place.

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Grow Light Fitting

 

Upcycle It - Washing Machine Hydroponic Grower - #4 Preparation III

 

Upcycling also an old table lamp, the grow light fitting was mounted on a bracket off the drum. Having a flexible goose nose, it can be easily bent away and returned to the position when loading and unloading the plants in the drum.

 

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Stepper Motor

 

A printer stepper motor was mounted roughly at the same position where the original motor was so the original pulley and belt system was kept to turn the drum. The driver was mounted next to the stepper.

 

IMG_20170425_161318257.jpgIMG_20170425_164243740.jpg stepper motor controller

Drum Modification

 

Upcycle It - Washing Machine Hydroponic Grower - #6 Drum Modification

 

We added spring loaded rails to secure hydroponic baskets in place once the drum starts spinning.

 

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Nutrient Solution System

 

Upcycle It - Washing Machine Hydroponic Grower - #8 Nutrient Solution System

 

A reservoir was placed under the drum so the nutrient solution can be pumped to keep the required level inside the drum.

 

 

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Sensors and Interfacing

 

Upcycle It - Washing Machine Hydroponic Grower - #9 Interfacing Edison X Grower

 

Temperature/Humidity and Light sensors were fixed on the light mounting facing the inside of the drum. The PH probe was fixed inside the return pipe so the probe is constantly submerged. The relays that switch the light and water pump were mounted inside a junction box.

 

IMG_20170616_180755790.jpgIMG_20170530_175604798.jpg Intel Edison Board Mounted PH Probe Mounting

 

 

 

Preparing the growing baskets

 

Upcycle It - Washing Machine Hydroponic Grower - #11 Planting

 

The seeds are placed in a cut on the foam and left on a tray to germinate before going to the drum.

 

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Testing the Rotary Growing System

 

This is the final apparency of the Rotary Growing System

 

Intel Edison Rotary Grower

 

Below is a video of the starting of the rotary grower, showing the sensor values and status on the display.

 

 

Unfortunately, I didn't have enough time to have the seeds germinating for the final post but I will keep posting photos and videos as it goes.

I also will add more functions on it such as a fan to refresh the air inside the drum, an air pump to aerate the solution and automate the solution PH control and nutrient feeding.

 

I would like to thank Intel, element14, all community members that gave their suggestions and motivation, my friend Brent bpapesh who gave a good hand on this project and my wife Camila (who hate electronics) for being so patience on the last weeks as I dedicated most of my free time to this project than to her.