I want to use sensors to automate some of my gardening work. There are a lot of items available for purchase that can be used for gardening automation. I want to be frugal with my automation and putting together a Raspberry Pi seems fun, so it is a win win! To start, I am just putting together a functioning Raspberry Pi, but I plan to expand and add future sensors in the future.
I received a gift of a starter pack of the Raspberry Pi 3 model B. If I would have purchased it, I likely would have purchased the Raspberry Pi Zero because it is smaller. Putting it together was as easy as “pi”. Corny jokes aside, the documentation was great and it didn’t take a lot of steps.
I actually gave it to my son and walked him through putting it together, but I think he could have done most of it on his own. The instructions are on the Raspberry Pi website. To make things even easier, I installed New Out Of Box Software (NOOBS). This installation includes the Raspbian operating system which is a Debian distribution of Linux. The website also gives instructions on how to set up the hardware that I mention in the material list below.
Since I want to use my computer as a small device without a screen hooked up, I set up VNC. It can be very easy to set up or a little tricky, depending on the version of VNC installed and the set up. I installed the VNC Server on the Raspberry Pi and the VNC Client on my Windows laptop. Then, when I move around my Raspberry Pi, I don’t need to carry around a monitor. It was a little tricky to set up my VNC server to boot up automatically because I am not used to setting services on boot up in Debian.
It is a neat little device, even if it is used only as a lower performance computer. I look forward to automating more and adding sensors. I plan to add more details of my future additions to my Raspberry Pi to the blog.
If using the Raspberry Pi Zero (Not including a necessary monitor or TV with a HDMI port. This model requires soldering.)
- $24.95 – Raspberry Pi Zero Budget Pack-contains a Raspberry Pi Zero, Mini HDMI to HDMI Adaptor, USB OTG Cable, 8GB SD Card, Power Supply and Micro USB cable, and 2×20 Male header strip
- $17.99 – Soldering Iron
- $5.37 – Desoldering Wick
- $8.99 – Miniature WiFi (802.11b/g/n) dongle
If using the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B (Not including a necessary monitor or TV with a HDMI port.)
- $35.99 – Raspberry Pi 3 Model B (It has built-in WiFi and Bluetooth)
- $6.85 – 8GB microSDHC card
- $7.50 – 5V 2.4A Switching Power Supply with 20AWG MicroUSB Cable
- $2.95 – Mini HDMI Plug to Standard HDMI Jack Adapter
Some of these materials here are a little different from what I have because all of the parts I have, I received as a gift, or already had.
Total cost: $0, Raspberry Pi Zero ($57.30), Raspberry Pi 3 Model B ($53.29)
Total time: ~2 hours (this includes wait time and teaching my son how to do it)
Do you use a Raspberry Pi? Did you have any problems getting it set up initially? What type of gardening projects did you use yours for?
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