Join the Ben Heck team every week for amazing hacks! Watch them build and mod community-inspired projects using electronics!
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Ben builds a light compensator to supply indoor plants light when the sun isn’t able to provide enough light for them. He uses a Texas Instrument MSP430 Launchpad Development Board, a TI BOOST-AD7042, a DS1307 real time clock, and a grow light. Have you ever done any projects revolving around energy efficiency? Let us know in the comments below!
Bonus Content: TI Plant Booster Update
Ben gets his hands on a Launchpad Microcontroller Development Board with a booster pack is a high-speed low powered ADC analog-to-digital converter Karen suggests making a light array that gives supplemental light to plants only when they need it suggest as in the winter time Texas Instrument MSP430 Launchpads have top and bottom headers making it easy to stack many BoosterPacks With this in mind they add a real time clock via the I2C bus so they know what time of day it is. This is important because it gives plants a start time and an end time as well as resting points for receiving light. If the sun is not bright enough then a supplemental light will be activated to help the plant. RTC is very common and there are many examples online to get you started.
The booster pack has a light sensor on it which will allow the device to know how much light is needed. The booster pack includes an LCD and three buttons that you can use to program it. One button is used to set the default amount of light. The other two buttons are used to set the start and end time to cycle through the hours. The light box is controlled by an SSR controlled by the MSP430 so the microcontroller can turn on an alternating current device. Ben adds a header for a real time clock via the 12C bus. Ben populates the board and wires up to the booster pack to the MSP430.
He also handles all the coding to make the real time clock work. Ben introduces us to rudimentary electrics on wiring a USA mains plug and using a solid state relay to turn it on and off, and then guides us through using Code Composer Studio and Energia to compile code for the TI MSP430 with boosterpack. The growlight lights up red and blue. Plants are green so they do not care about the color green. He uses a solid state relay because it’s able to control alternating current loads with very low level logic.