Eduponics Mini

by STEMinds

An ESP32-powered smart-agriculture IoT kit with a user-customizable mobile app

$10,359 raised

of $1 goal

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$59

Eduponics Mini Kit

The Eduponics Mini Kit includes the the Eduponics Mini ESP32 dev board and everything you need to get started, including one (short) soil-moisture sensor.


$29

Eduponics Mini ESP32 Dev Board

An Eduponics Mini Dev board with integrated ESP32 module and sensors, including BME280, EEPROM, RTC, RGB, and a BH170 light sensor.


$19

Eduponics Mini Extension Board

This energy-efficient extension board for Eduponics Mini includes four relays, an ADS1115 ADC, and an MCP23017 IO extension IC.


$4

STEMinds Soil Moisture Sensors (long)

One long STEMinds soil-moisture sensor, which includes an accurate TI timer and a voltage regulator for a stable signal.


$3

STEMinds Soil Moisture Sensors (short)

One short STEMinds soil-moisture sensor, which includes an accurate TI timer and a voltage regulator for a stable signal.


$17

Waterproof Soil Moisture Sensor

This limited-edition, high-precision, waterproof soil-moisture sensor is a 5 V output sensor that's ready to tackle indoor and outdoor challenges.

Details

Recent Updates


As Featured In

Geeky Gadgets

"Featuring a rich number of built-in sensors capable of monitoring temperature, humidity, barometric, ambient light, water quantity, soil moisture, and more."

Hackster News

"a smart agriculture IoT kit that can be managed through a phone app over MQTT, featuring a custom-made Eduponics Mini Board apart from the onboard sensors and modules."

Connected Crib

"Eduponics Mini...has temperature, humidity, barometric, ambient light, water quantity, and soil moisture sensors. It come with WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity."

CNXSoft - Embedded Systems News

"At the heart of the kit is an ESP32 board equipped with...interfaces to connect external pump, soil moisture sensor, water quality sensor, and more environmental sensors."

Notebookcheck

"Beim Eduponics Mini handelt es sich um einen vergleichsweise günstiges Kit, mit denen Nutzer die Bewässerung von Pflanzen automatisieren können. Dafür steht auch eine eigene App zur Verfügung."

Electronics-Lab.com

"...features Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, with little power consumption, making it perfect for real-world IoT applications."

The STEMinds Eduponics Mini is a smart-agriculture and IoT board. With an ESP32 module at its heart, Eduponics Mini features an array of built-in sensors—including temperature, humidity, barometric, ambient light, water quantity, and soil moisture sensors—that work together to make smart agriculture easy and affordable. It supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity and consumes very little power, making it perfect for real-world IoT applications.

We believe that high-quality industrial-IoT and smart-agriculture technology should be accessible to everyone, not just to those with significant resources and technical expertise. Using MicroPython or Arduino IDE, you can design your smart garden in no time. We’ve assembled all of the documentation you will need to guide you, step-by-step, into the world of electronics and programming.

Eduponics Mini can help you develop essential Industry-4.0 skills while creating real-world applications that are also useful in your daily life. Examples might include:

  • An automated plant-watering system
  • Environmental monitoring and data-driven irrigation projects
  • Hydroponics and aquaponics (using external sensors)
  • An IoT weather station
  • A smart aquarium- or reef-monitoring system
  • Research to inform plant-growth and disease predictions

User-Customizable Mobile App

We’ve designed and developed an easy-to-use mobile app for the Eduponics system. It has a React Native user interface and a public MQTT broker on the backend, which means there’s no need to deploy and maintain a database. It allows you to:

  • Control and monitor an unlimited number of plants
  • Water and monitor your plants remotely, from anywhere
  • Monitor soil moisture, humidity, temperature, and sunlight exposure

The Eduponics App currently supports soil-moisture sensors only, but we are working to add support for hydroponics and even smart-aquarium projects!

In addition, we’ve created a library to help you modify nearly every aspect of the app. With it, you can add plants, rename them, configure new sensors, and more. It is currently available for Android and will soon will be available for iOS.

Versatile, Industrial-Quality Hardware

From the beginning, quality has been our highest priority for Eduponics Mini, and we’ve worked hard to integrate the best possible sensor components on the market. Our Soil Moisture Sensors are suitable for long-term, real-life applications and will continue operating—hassle free—without supervision.

100% Compatible With Hydroponics and Aquaponics

In Hydroponics we often need to use multiple submersible sensors to measure pH, EC, TDS, ORP, and other such indicators. Doing so can be challenging, however, because those sensors are typically unable to operate at the same time without interfering with one another. While working on Eduponics Mini, we researched a few DIY solutions using relays to turn the sensors on and off…but then we came with a solution that is both easier and more effective!

Using the Eduponics Mini Extension board, you can toggle the analog sensor state, which allows multiple sensors to operate simultaneously without conflict. And no current will flow when we’re not using the sensors, which results in lower power consumption.

And the best part? This entire process is fully automated in our library and requires no additional code!

Who Are We?

We started developing Eduponics in response to the massive food shortages we observed in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. We were looking for quick, efficient, at-home techniques for growing our own veggies and greens.

After looking into a few high-quality DIY water-irrigation systems—including the necessary control boards, modules, and sensors—we almost gave up due to the high cost (and the even higher level-of-effort) required to use the existing solutions we identified. Instead, we decided to step up and make a difference by designing our own smart-agriculture and IoT development kit. And so Eduponics Mini was born.

Available Products

Eduponics Mini Kit

  • Eduponics Mini Board
  • One STEMinds soil-moisture sensor (short)
  • Contact-less water quantity sensor and two-sided attachment sticker
  • Screwdriver for adjusting the potentiometer on the water-quantity sensor
  • 12 V submersible water pump
  • 12 V / 2 A DC power supply
  • USB Type-C data cable
  • Water hose for the pump
  • Water regulator to regulate the flow

Eduponics Mini

Click to expand

  • Integrated ESP32-WROVER module with built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support and an external antenna connector
  • Support 5-12 V power input via DC and USB Type-C interfaces
  • Compatible with Arduino IDE and MicroPython
  • XH2.54 2P Interface for pump, integrated with built-in relay
  • XH2.54 3P Interface for soil-moisture sensor (or any other analog or digital device)
  • XH2.54 4P Interface for water-quantity sensor
  • On/Off and Reset switches and a "wake-up" button to resume from deep-sleep mode
  • Integrated I²C RTC DS1307 module (coin-cell battery not included)
  • Integrated I²C BH1750 I²C light sensor
  • Integrated I²C BME280 temperature, humidity and barometric sensor (3 in 1)
  • Integrated I²C AT24C02 EEPROM
  • Extension pins for DHT11 / DHT22 sensors (DHT sensor not included)
  • IO Extension pins to connect extra sensors with 3.3 - 12 V output pins
  • Dimensions: 53 x 71 mm

STEMinds Soil Moisture sensors

  • Corrosion-resistant, Capacitive soil-moisture sensor
  • 5 V operating voltage, 3.3 V output (voltage regulator is built-in)
  • Highly accurate and precise
  • Short Sensor dimensions: 20 x 102.03 mm
  • Long Sensor dimensions: 20 x 155.03 mm

Eduponics Mini Extension board

We are working hard to enhance the core Eduponics-Mini functionality. We’ve already developed a custom extension board that includes an extremely accurate ADS1115 ADC and the MCP23017 IO extension IC. The Eduponics Mini Extension Board comes with an extra four relays and an extra four analog inputs that connect directly to the ADS1115 ADC.

In the near future, we will be making additional extensions with sensors that monitor things like pH, EC and water temperature.

Click to expand

  • ADS1115 ADC chipset for precise analog data reading
  • MCP23017 IO chipset, connected directly to four relays and capable of activating and deactivating ADC sensors
  • External interrupt pins on data change for MCP23017
  • External interrupt alert on analog data changes for ADS1115
  • Four Relay modules with XH2.54 connectors and 5-24 V support
  • I²C interface (only two pins required)
  • I²C addresses changeable by changing resistors
  • Compatible with Arduino, Raspberry Pi, ESP32, and other controllers
  • Dimensions: 53 x 71 mm

Comparisons

Eduponics Mini offers far more functionality than similar projects in the same price range. It is also far more extensible. With dozen of external I/O pins, Eduponics Mini allows you to integrate any sensor you wish.

Smart Agriculture Kits

Eduponics MiniEcoDuinoWatering kitSmart Plant CareGardening Add-On Kit
Manufacturer STEMinds DFRobot Elecrow Seeed Studio STEMpedia
MCU ESP32 ATmega ATmega None None
Kit Price $59.00 $53.90 $59.00 $59.90 $54.00
Soil Moisture sensorYes (custom design) Yes Yes Yes Yes (Corrosive)
Extension IO pinsYes No No Yes No
Wi-FiYes No No No No
Bluetooth/BLEYes No No No HC05 Bluetooth module
Environmental sensorsBME280 DHT11 No DHT11 No
Low poweredSupports deep sleep No No No No
Protection enclosureSTL files provided Yes No No No
RTC ModuleYes No Yes No No
Ambient light sensorYes No No Yes Yes
Water quantity sensorYes No No No No
IoT Mobile appYes, Eduponics APP No No No No
IndicationsRGB LED No OLED Display OLED Display Blue/Red LEDs
EEPROMYes No No No No
Battery / solar poweredExternal module External module No No No
Open SourceSchematic+SW+STL SW SW HW+SW SW
Programming languagesArduino, MicroPython Arduino C Arduino C Arduino C Arduino C
USB interfaceType-C Micro-USB Micro-USB None None
Supported extensionsYes No No Arduino HATs or Grove No
DocumentationComplete, Arduino+Python Minimal Minimal Minimal Minimal

While looking for soil-moisture sensors to use with our kit, we found ourselves struggling. The sensors we were finding just weren’t good enough! We purchased and tested multiple sensors and eventually decided to make our own. As you can see in the comparison below, our sensor has the highest voltage range and sensitivity between all the sensors we’ve tested, allowing you to create a stable and precise high resolution smart agriculture and IoT applications.

Soil-Moisture Sensors

STEMinds (Short) STEMinds (Long) DFRobotGrove Seeed studioGeneric v1.2
Type of sensorCapacitive Capacitive CapacitiveCapacitiveCapacitive
Operating voltage5 V 5 V 3.3 - 5.5 V3.3 - 5 V3.3 - 5 V
Min voltage output0.987 V 0.561 V 2.468 V2.378 V1.022 V
Max voltage output3.3 V 3.3 V 3.112 V3.570 V2.300 V
Min output value154 g106 260494214
Max output value668 683 517745480
Operation current7 mA 7 mA 5 mA8 mA6 mA
Resolution (high-low)514 577 257251266
Sensor price$3 $4 $5.90$5.90$1.6

Please note the following:

  • Soil-moisture test results are for educational reference only. Different environments might produce different results
  • We purchased original sensors from authorized distributors where possible
  • Generic v 1.2 refers to sensors, produced in China, without a manufacturer or a brand. (Some Chinese companies sell these sensors under their own brands.)
  • All sensors were tested with an Arduino Uno using the analog pins and 5 V as input
  • Maximum voltage and output refer to values when the sensor is in open air
  • Minimum voltage and output refer to values when the sensor is submerged under water
  • Operation current measured using a Fluke multimeter

Campaign Pricing

We are extremely thankful to everyone who has given their support to the Eduponics Mini project. During this campaign, we are offering a discounted price of $59 for the full Eduponics Mini kit. After the campaign, it will increase to $69. The Eduponics Mini Dev Board, currently available for $29, will increase to $39, and our soil-moisture sensors will increase from $3 to $4 for the short sensor and from $4 to $5 for the long sensor. (Keep in mind, too, that our Waterproof Soil-Moisture Sensors are limited edition and will not be available after the campaign.) Give us your support, and be one of the first to enjoy Eduponics Mini!

Support & Documentation

We’ve created over 15 detailed lessons to help you get started with Eduponics Mini. You can find these tutorials, which are available for both Arduino IDE and MicroPython, on our wiki. We plan to open source the wiki soon (on GitHub) so that anyone with modifications or clarifications can contribute. We also plan to create step-by-step video tutorials on programming the sensors and using the IDE. Subscribe to our campaign updates to learn more as we release these tutorials!

Our code is completely open source (under the MIT license) and available for anyone to modify change, distribute or use. While Eduponics Mini supports both MicroPython and Arduino IDE, MicroPython is currently given higher priority. This might change in the future and we hope to support more programming languages and environments to meet the needs of our backers.

Manufacturing Plan

STEMinds is based in Shenzhen, China—the Silicon Valley of hardware. This strategic location allows us to work with local suppliers and manufacturers to provide high-quality hardware as efficiently as possible. We get our components from licensed suppliers and distributors, which eliminates uncertainty related to counterfeit or faulty components.

We have already produced 500 Eduponics Mini PCBs, and we’ve assembled 100 of them. We’ve also completed PCBA for 1,000 soil moisture sensors (500 long and 500 short). We will follow the same procedures to produce additional boards, as needed to meet demand, so we are confident that manufacturing will go smoothly and quickly.

Fulfillment & Logistics

Eduponics Mini boards will be produced by our factories in Shenzhen, where we can monitor the process closely to make sure everything goes according to plan. We will then send everything to the US through DHL for Business, with whom we have a partnership that helps to ensure a smooth clearance through customs. From the US, the boards will be distributed to backers by Crowd Supply’s fulfillment partner, Mouser Electronics.

Risks & Challenges

There’s no doubt about it, building hardware is challenging and risky. The most common challenges faced by hardware manufacturers are: component-availability issues, faulty parts, PCB-fabrication defects, and design flaws, among other pitfalls. Luckily, We’ve been working on Eduponics Mini for the past six months and have already produced and tested 100 complete kits, 1,000 soil moisture sensors, and 100 limited edition waterproof soil moisture sensors.

During our small batch production, we encountered a 16% failure rate due to issues related to the RTC module. We repaired the existing boards manually and took steps to ensure that the problem would not resurface in subsequent batches. Regarding RTC batteries, we encountered delivery and logistics issues, so we will not be shipping coin-cell batteries with our kits.

We test the functionality of each and every board before we package it up, and our quality-control standards are extremely high. (We also flash MicroPython’s latest firmware before delivery. Eduponics Mini is plug-and-play for Arduino IDE, so no firmware installation is necessary.)

Eduponics Mini is STEMind’s first product, and our primary considerations are producing a quality product and providing our backers with a positive experience. We will do everything in our power to deliver your Eduponics Mini boards as quickly and reliably as possible no matter what challenges arise.

Funding ends on Apr 21, 2021 at 04:59 PM PDT (11:59 PM UTC)


Credits

STEMinds


Roni

See Also

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