16×2 LCD with I2C configuration

16×2 LCD with I2C configuration

Here’s the LCD I’ve started with for my data display.

I got it on ebay for a couple dollars.

After working on the 12-wire configuration for a while, and never figuring out how to shield the noise that was goofing up the letters, I found an example with the I2C configuration.

Life. Saver.

Check out this write-up/walk-through for finding your device’s address and correctly initializing the LCD.  This post saved hours, possibly days, of my life.



Here’s the I2c scanner that you’ll need.


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Long-Range Blink

Now that I’ve completely built my arduino garden controller, I need to get it in place. That involves extending all of the sensors and the display away from the controller, and mounting them in boxes.

In an effort to make this unit modular, I’ve decided to use Cat5e cable to connect the display/sensor box to the main controller. To this end, today I’m practicing with punch-down Cat5 jacks. See?

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Simple arduino sketch to test DS18B20 waterproof sensor

Simple arduino sketch to test DS18B20 waterproof sensor

I purchased 5 DS18b20 waterproof sensors on Amazon.  The first one I hooked up I couldn’t get a reading from.  I spent hours trying different libraries, sample sketches, etc.

Finally I decided to try a different sensor and it worked the first try.  Turns out four of the five sensors I bought were bad.

So, if you need to diagnose a bad sensor, here’s the simplest sketch you can use.  I found it here.

#include <OneWire.h>
#include <DallasTemperature.h>

// Data wire is plugged into pin 2 on the Arduino
#define ONE_WIRE_BUS 7

// Setup a oneWire instance to communicate with any OneWire devices
// (not just Maxim/Dallas temperature ICs)
OneWire oneWire(ONE_WIRE_BUS);

// Pass our oneWire reference to Dallas Temperature.
DallasTemperature sensors(&oneWire);

void setup(void)
// start serial port
Serial.println("Dallas Temperature IC Control Library Demo");

// Start up the library

void loop(void)
// call sensors.requestTemperatures() to issue a global temperature
// request to all devices on the bus
Serial.print(" Requesting temperatures...");
sensors.requestTemperatures(); // Send the command to get temperatures

Serial.print("Temperature for Device 1 is: ");
Serial.print(sensors.getTempCByIndex(0)); // Why "byIndex"?
// You can have more than one IC on the same bus.
// 0 refers to the first IC on the wire



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3.2 TFT LCD Displays Live Garden Data

My LCD finally arrived! (It takes a long time to get things from China.)

Soon I’ll have a dashboard completed that will constantly display sensor readings right at the garden!

TFT LCD 3.2 display for arduino garden

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Vertical structure for Hydroponic Cucumbers

A few of my cucumbers are sending out scouts to look for structure!

hydroponic cucumber arduino

So, I obliged them:

cucumber structure wire twine

Here’s a neat gif (pronounced JIF, seriously. Get it right.) showing a vine that is searching for vertical structure. Neat, eh?

vine gif vertical growing

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My Garden Live

Most Recent Reading Taken June 19, 2016, 11:13 pm
Temperature =
Humidity =
Water Temp 1 = 0
Water Temp 2 = 0
Sunlight =
Leaks = 1
WaterPH= 0
Alarm =
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Anyone on imgur?

Anyone on imgur?

I shared a little about my project on imgur and got a great response.  Perhaps if there are other people interested in what I’m creating, I’ll share more updates and eventually be able to share diagrams and plans!

If you’re interested in getting updates, enter your email to the right –>

You can see my post on imgur here:

Smart Garden Project

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2 days after moving plants to aquaponic rails

Here’s the root progress after 2 days.  Aren’t they cute?

Live plants, live!


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Planting Time! How to plant starters in hydroponic garden

I think we’re finally past our last freeze in Chattanooga, TN.  I don’t quite have the arduino ready, but I can use a christmas light timer to manage the watering until it’s finished.

how to plant hydroponic garden

Some of my seed starts actually made it, then I’m also adding some starters from the Barn Nursery in Chattanooga.

Confession:  Often my fear of failure keeps me from starting.

I am so afraid that my plants will die, that I haven’t even planted them.  They’ve been on our driveway for a couple weeks.  I’m terrified.

My wife keeps telling me that plants are resourceful, and actually want to live.  From my experience, I feel like plants use any opportunity to quit life and die.  “Oh, you didn’t water me today? I’m dead.” “I don’t like the way you looked at me.  I’m outa here.”

Seriously, I want this project to be a success so badly that I haven’t even started.

BUT TODAY, I’m getting everything in the NFT rails.   I’ll make a video of how I got washed the roots and got them into the expanded clay pellets.

First I had to adjust the water level to make sure it touched the baskets.

NFT baskets with clay pellets

Some of the baskets didn’t quite touch, so I’ll be watering them a couple times each day until the roots grow down.

NFT rails arduino controller

Now, plants, please stay alive. Please?

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