Recommendations for a simple maker project

Hi there!

I’d appreciate some recommendations for a first-time project.

It’s portable device that detects moisture in soil, then does the following:

  1. Sends an audible alarm to a paired bluetooth speaker.
  2. Sends a notification to a smartphone receiving device (running suitable mobile app).
  3. Needs to be portable (rechargeable battery via USB 5V).
  4. Report to a simple display showing simple stats (ie. frequency, time since last alarm, etc).
  5. Ideally, include supporting sub-systems for battery management, bluetooth device pairing, non-volatile memory for storing device settings.

Leaning towards arduino. Would love to get suggestions on any relevant projects we can leverage off to get started. Also, parts list (from the Core Electronics store) to get us started :slight_smile:

Thanks so much in advance, I look forward to your responses!

Cheers, Alex

Hi Alex,

The list of features (Bluetooth w/audio, WiFi for internet, display output) are, well, quite heavy features for an Arduino to manage. Bluetooth pairing and audio would be it’s own feat for a beginner.

It might be worth exploring Raspberry Pi, or trimming the features down to something more functional for a microcontroller.

A Raspberry Pi (any of them) would be fine with most of this except for analogue sampling of the soil sensor. Though you can very easily use a module to do that.

If you are new to the world of electronics, then drop by our Raspbery Pi Workshop:

Another great resource is the MagPi RPi Workshop.

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Hi Graham, thanks for getting back so quickly!

How about revising the functional requirements so that the device itself is simply a moisture sensor that reports to a cloud automation platform (eg., via WiFi? Then all the alarming, tracking and reporting features would be implemented on the monitoring device (smartphone).

Arduino appeals because of its relative cost and complexity advantage. My goal is to design the final packaging so that it can be compact and weather-proof, ultimately suitable for high volume production.

Would appreciate if you could recommend suitable sensor module and Arduino kit to suit.

Thanks also for the RPi information - are there any groups you could recommend based in Melbourne?

Thanks again, Alex

Hi Alex, you could also have a go with a Pycom (LoPy or similar), you can do all the things you have indicated with one of these and then also connect to Lora or Sigfox and integrate that way. Build a node-red perhaps. Micropython is a great development and learning platform too. If you are in Melb, we have a Micropython meetup group in Hawthorn once a month, this might be a good way to get started if you go that way. Lots of helpful and knowledgeable members that will help you get up and running, that’s how I got underway. Check us out at


Thanks Steve, I’ll look into it.

Cheers, Alex