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.






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.




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.



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.




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.




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.






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.




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.