Automatic seed sprouter

I enjoy sprouted beans and seeds. They need watering a couple of times a day, but I am often away for a few days and hence my sprouts dry up.

So I used high-tech to help solve this and created my electronic automatic super sprouter. This is basically a timed pump which waters the sprouts a few times every day, keeping them in optimum growing conditions.

This is based on an Arduino control board, which controls a 12V caravan water pump via a MOSFET. A real time clock is used to keep the time and also allow the user to program in the exact times for watering. I do not think people want to be woken up by the sound of a water pump every hour throughout the night. You can set the hours the device will run and the length of time it will run for. You can also set different times for the weekend (when a 8am water pump noise might not be the best thing…).

 

This is a post on the construction along with the arduino code. This code could be used to control any pump, such as for a garden watering system.

The completed set-up, with fresh water supply tank and waste water bucket under the table.

Here is a short video run-through of the automatic sprouter:

Here are some photos and notes (including code) of the build:

Starting with a wooden frame – most of this was made with waste bits lying around my workshop.

The wood for the frame.

A £1 cat litter tray is the water collection tray.

The tray fits into the stand. The stand holds the sprinkler above the sprouting trays.

A 12V caravan submersible water pump (cost around £10), is used to pump water.

A sprinkler was built from a plastic tube with 1.5mm holes drilled along it.

The main hardware being tested – you can see the water sprinkler working.

Programming the Ardunio code (I used a cheaper Xino).

The arduino code is available here (email if you’d like any help with it). It uses PCF8563 real time clock.

The device has a real time clock (you can see the battery backup), a voltage regulator (for 5V supply from 12V) and a MOSFET switch to control the pump. There is also a buzzer and header plug, as I had reused the board from a previous project.

Please get in touch if you would like the circuit diagram.

On/Off switch and manual ‘pump run’ switch.

I use sprouting trays lifted up from the base of the water tray. I already had these sprout trays. It can hold 8 levels of sprouts.

The sprout trays are a commercial item with grills just large enough to keep the seeds moist but not soaked.

The waste water drains out to the waste water bucket.

Fresh water is stored in a tank (which also holds the submersible pump). The controller and battery can also be seen. A solar-charged, 12V gel lead-acid battery is used.

Some sprouts getting a good soak.

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