I am very grateful for Dom’s comment today.  It made me reflect on how clueless I can be…

Simpson DOHDOH!

I cluelessly thought – actually I wasn’t thinking – I could talk to the esp8266 through the Arduino. I didn’t bother to consider the esp8266 programming pins on the shield.


From here: The ESP8266 WiFi Shield can also be repurposed and reprogrammed through the programming port. Whether you want to add AT commands of your own, or flash custom firmware on the ESP8266, this port may come in very handy later on.

With that said, part of me questions my decision to make the Internet my interface versus collecting data on an SD card and displaying readings on an LCD screen.  There are pros/cons with either option.  I like the Internet experience (for now 🙂 ) because it “should” be a simpler user experience – i.e.: instead of going to an LCD screen, look up the results on my phone, the measurements are captured, stored, and displayed with no effort on my part and the BoM is less expensive – i.e.: no need for LCD display or SD reader.  On the other hand, networking adds a risk in security and complexity that I see repeated with every project.

So where is an FTDI cable?  I thought I had one…sadly, I couldn’t find one so I ordered this one from Amazon.com.


Fixing Leaks

A YIPPEE! Moment…I’m delighted to say the leaks have been stopped.  I started with PVC cement, let that dried, then followed up with silicone.


The Water Pump

The water pump is a bit too strong for this set up.  At it’s lowest setting, it can just work…but I see it as overkill.  I’m going to try the 160 GPH model.

Housing for the Grow Chamber

I want the plants to grow within a controlled environment.  This means I need to figure out a housing for the Grow Chamber.  For my first attempt, I decided to sew together a housing using canvas tarp.  Stuff that usually covers wood piles.  I got the tarp at Home Depot awhile back but cannot find the link to the product.  I think it was discontinued.

I’m starting to sew together the pieces:


I’m not focusing on getting the silver material “the best” for reflecting the LED light.  In general, I do not have a strong knowledge in maximizing the emission angle of the LED.  

I went to a Jo-Ann store and got clear vinyl fabric for the front.  I want to be able to see the plants.  I’ll attach stuff with velcro so the front (vinyl) can be opened up in order to get to the leaves.  More on this as I get further along.


I wish Jo-Ann’s had Home Depot’s feature of publishing the location of their products.  It took a L-O-N-G time to find the clear vinyl.