Projects / IoT Plant Monitor

I would like to build this for my daughter for Christmas, I have not built many project but this one seemed a good one to start with as it is quite useful but the Particle Photon board is not available till next year, could I use another board instead of the Particle Photon board.

Hey Michael, welcome to the forum!
Was this the project you were talking about?

If so, there are a couple options I can think of. First is some kind of ESP32 board, Adafruit have a similar platform to the Particle Cloud components in this project called Adafruit IO, and they even have a tutorial on using it with a moisture sensor!

You’ll want to stick to a capacitive sensor rather than a resistive one, as they tend to last a lot longer in damp soil:

As far as a microcontroller goes, the guide above uses a PyPortal, which is basically a screen strapped to an ESP32, but if you’d like to keep the look of the original, and add battery power, the ESP32 feather is a good start:

Let me know what you think of the above, and we’ll go from there!

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Sorry if this is hijacking the original post but I am looking to do a similar project so have related questions. I thought it might help to keep this in a related post.

Similar to the original Core Electronics IoT Plant Monitor project, I want my project to be wifi enabled and support up to 3 plants. As a noob, I am also trying to avoid soldering at first (happy to learn later, just not now) and not get lost in too many things at once that I don’t yet understand. Looking at the suggestions, connecting multiple Adafruit STEMMA Soil Sensors to the HUZZAH32 via I2C sounds like it more than just basic and would at least require some soldering on the sensors to allow them to access different addresses (see Adafruit documentation):

There’s also two I2C address jumpers. The default address is 0x36, but you can select between 0x36 and 0x39 inclusive by shorting AD0 (to add 1 to the address) and/or AD1 (to add 2 to the address)

As a simpler alternative, could I use something like this combination?

Seems like this is a solderless solution to start with that will allow me to get into the other parts of the project more quickly. Have I got this right? Are the Firebeetle and Huzzah32 similar-ish, just different manufacturers and approaches to connectivity? There does appear to be a bewildering number of options for everything so just want to know if my research is sound or if there is a clearly better option for me.

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Hi Grant,

Sounds like you’re on the money with those parts, it’s worth noting though that soldering is pretty easy once you get the hang of it, and an essential skill for Makers like yourself. You could consider picking up a few of our proto-boards to practice on and learn how the solder behaves, then move on to your first project that needs it.

Take a look at our comprehensive guide to see if it’s something you’re up for:

Let me know if you have any more questions!


Thanks James. I understand that soldering is a necessary skill in the maker space but just wanted to dodge this particular barrier to entry for now. Thanks for confirming the parts.