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Design Review


Automated Greenhouse Monitoring
For ECE 445 – Senior Design

Mohd Hafiz Zainudin, Ningci Ho & Muhammad Syauqi Alias


February 20, 2008

Automated Greenhouse Monitoring System

For our Senior Design Project, our team chose to build a miniature automated greenhouse
monitoring system as we believe that such a product will have great marketability in the
near future. At this point in time, the world’s pollution problem has led to unpredictable
weather conditions all over the world. With these ever changing weather conditions, it is
expected that the number of greenhouses will significantly increase in the near future.
Even though greenhouse-grown crops cannot compete with comparable field-grown
crops based on price, greenhouse-grown crops are often marketed to buyers based on
superior quality and off-season availability. With recent studies showing an increased
demand for organic and superior quality food products, the demand for automated
greenhouse monitoring systems will definitely increase.


The main goal is to build a miniature greenhouse which is equipped with an automatic
monitoring system. This monitoring system will constantly monitor the environmental
conditions in the greenhouse to ensure that it remains at preset temperature, light and
humidity levels. If the current environmental conditions differ from the preset levels, the
monitoring system will automatically turn on certain devices to return the greenhouse to
the required conditions.

From a consumer’s perspective, we have decided to market our product as an Automated
Greenhouse Monitoring System with preset environmental conditions. Upon ordering this
product, the consumer will also state in the order the specific temperature, light and
humidity conditions which he/she has determined as ideal for the greenhouse. These
specific conditions will be preset into the system, thus making the product more user-
friendly since the consumer would be able to “plug-and-play” without having to do any
calibration or having to preset any environmental conditions. From a business
perspective, presetting the product with user-defined environmental conditions will allow
the company to have constant business with the consumer for as long as the product is
being used. The consumer will require the company to recalibrate the monitoring system
once a year, as well as change the preset environmental conditions if necessary. Both of
these services can be performed in a relatively short period of time, and also at a
reasonably low price. We have determined that in most cases, the consumers would
rarely change the environmental conditions in the greenhouse, and therefore would prefer
the environmental conditions be preset for them.

• Automatically control the environmental conditions within the greenhouse
so that any type of plants can be grown all year round.
• Eliminates the risk of the greenhouse not being maintained at specific
environmental conditions due to human error.
• Minimizes the labor costs involved in maintaining a greenhouse.

• Customer will be able to define their specific greenhouse conditions and
have the system function as specified.
• This will be a “plug-and play” product.

• Detect temperatures from -40°C to 125°C.
• Maintain a temperature of about 15°C to about 35°C.
• Detect humidity level between 5% RH and 95% RH.
• Maintain humidity level between 40% RH and 95% RH.
• Detect sunlight and artificial light.
• Turn on artificial lighting in the event that there is insufficient light.


Block Diagram:

Ambient Light Temperature Humidity Sensor
Sensor Sensor


Devices (i.e. light-
bulb, fan, heater,
mister and exhaust

Block Descriptions:

Overall Design:
For our Automated Greenhouse Monitoring System, we will implement 3 types of
sensors. The sensors to be used are ambient light sensors, temperature sensors and
humidity sensors. We will build a miniature greenhouse and determine the appropriate
positions to place the sensors. A series of tests will be conducted to ensure that all the
sensors are working accordingly. These sensors will be connected to a microcontroller

which will function as the main control unit. The sensors will send signals to the
microcontroller and the microcontroller will translate the signals and determine if the
input is within the preset range. For instance, if the preset temperature range is from 20oC
to 25oC, the microcontroller will make sure that the greenhouse temperature is within this
range. If the temperature exceeds the maximum value, the microcontroller will then turn
on the fan. If the temperature drops below the minimum value, the heater will turn on. As
for the photodiode, if the greenhouse is exposed to insufficient light, it will send a signal
to the microcontroller. The microcontroller will then process the signal and turn on the
artificial light in the greenhouse. As for the humidity sensor, it will detect a change in
humidity levels and send a signal to the microcontroller. If the humidity level is not
within the required range, the mister or exhaust fan will be turned on or off. The
microcontroller will be the central processing unit which will translate the input signals
from the sensors and turn on or off the necessary devices to maintain the greenhouse at
the preset levels.

Ambient Light Sensor:
After the sensor detects the lighting conditions, it sends a signal to the microcontroller.
The microcontroller analyzes this signal and will then either turn on or off the light bulb.

Temperature Sensor:
After the sensor detects the temperature, it sends a signal to the microcontroller. The
microcontroller analyzes this signal and then turns on or off the fan or heater to bring the
conditions back to the preset levels.

Humidity Sensor:
After the sensor detects the humidity level, it sends a signal to the microcontroller. The
microcontroller analyzes this signal and will then turn on or off the mister or exhaust fan
to bring the conditions back to the preset levels.

The microcontroller will be programmed in the C language and will be capable of
comparing the input signals from the sensors to the preset values. The appropriate signal
will then be output and used to either turn on or off the devices.

If an insufficient amount of light is detected in the greenhouse, an AC light-bulb will be
turned on to compensate for this. This will require the use of a relay (electrical switch)
which will be controlled by the output of the microcontroller. This relay will then pass
the AC current through to the light-bulb.
For controlling the temperature in this project, if the surrounding temperature exceeds the
maximum preset level, a DC-fan will be turned on. However, if the surrounding
temperature falls below the minimum preset level, an LED will be used to indicate this.
We have decided not to use a heater in our miniature greenhouse due to the size and costs
involved. However, in an actual greenhouse, the output of the microcontroller will be
used to control a relay which will then be used to turn on and off air-conditioners and

To control the humidity, if the surroundings are too humid, a DC exhaust fan will be
turned on. However, if the surroundings are too dry, an LED will be used to indicate this.
We have decided not to use a mister in our miniature greenhouse due to the size and costs
involved. However, in an actual greenhouse, the output of the microcontroller will be
used to control a relay which will then be used to turn on and off misters and exhaust

Flow Chart for Microcontroller Software:


< preset Temp > preset Temp
= preset Temp

Turn on Heater (LED) No Action or Turn on Fan
Turn off Heater/Fan


Dark Bright

Turn on Light bulb Turn off Light-bulb


< preset RH > preset RH
= preset RH

No Action or Turn on Exhaust Fan
Turn on Humidifier
(LED) Turn off
Humidifier/Exhaust Fan

*RH �Relative Humidity

Performance Requirements:

The sensors will detect the environmental conditions and will then output signals to the
microcontroller. The microcontroller will process the signals at specified time intervals,
and then compare it to the preset levels. After comparison, it is expected to respond
within the following time delays:

Insufficient light: 10s (time to process the signal and turn on the light)

Sufficient light: 10s (time to process the signal and turn off the light)
Low temperature: 10s (time to process the signal and turn on the LED)
High temperature: 10s (time to process the signal and turn on the fan)
Low Humidity: 10s (time to process the signal and turn on the LED)
High Humidity: 10s (time to process the signal and turn on the exhaust fan)

Greenhouse Specifications:

The most pertinent parameters in a greenhouse environmental control are determined to
be temperature, humidity, sun or ambient light, and soil acidity. Our project will monitor
all of these parameters except for soil acidity.

To measure the acidity of soil, human intervention is required to insert a pH meter into
the appropriate soil samples. Since our project is designed to be fully-automated once
completely set-up, we have decided not to include the measurement of soil acidity in our
project. In addition to this, in most cases the pH level of soil is only subject to slight
changes once every two weeks. This is unlike the other environmental conditions which
are subject to change much more frequently.

Based on research, the majority of greenhouse-grown crops are grown within the
following specifications:
• Temperature: 15°C to 35°C
• Humidity: 40% RH to 95% RH
• Light: Minimum of 12 hours a day with a wavelength of 500nm to 780nm

Requirements of Monitoring System:

It has been determined from researches that even a one day loss of cooling, heating, light
or water during a critical period can result in complete crop failure. Due to such
susceptibility of the crops to environmental conditions, the monitoring system has the
following requirements:

Temperature Sensor:
Responsiveness: 1 min per 1°C
Accuracy: ±3°C
Output: Analog Voltage
Minimal self-heating due to power dissipation in the output current

Humidity Sensor:
Accuracy: ± 10% RH
Responsiveness: 5 min per 5% RH
Output: Analog Voltage


Ambient Light Sensor:
Range of Detectable Light: 500nm to 780nm
Output: Analog Voltage

Input: Analog/Digital Voltage
Low voltage requirement: +5V
Responsiveness: ≈ 400ns
Analog Features
Self Re-programmable
Low Power and High Speed Flash Technology
Power Saving Mode

Final Choice of Sensors:

Temperature Sensor:
Microchip Low Power Linear Active Thermistor
• Manufacturer: Microchip Technology
• Part Number: MCP9700A-E/TO
• Lead free / RoHS Compliant
• Price: $0.43 per unit
• Temperature Measurement Range: -40°C to 125°C
• Accuracy: ±2°C (max), 0°C to 70°C
• Optimized for Analog-to-Digital Converters (ADCs): 10.0 mV/°C
• Voltage Operating Range: VDD = 2.3V to 5.5V
• Low Operating Current: 6µA to 12 µA
• VOUT pin connects directly to ADC input of microcontroller
Sensor exceeds requirements of monitoring system.

Humidity Sensor:
TDK Humidity Sensor Unit
• Manufacturer: TDK
• Part Number: CHS-UGS
• Lead free / RoHS Compliant
• Price: $51.01 per unit
• Voltage Supply: 5V DC
• Response Time: 1 min
• Output: 0.55V at 55% RH
• Operating Temperature: 5°C to 45°C
• Sensitivity: 10 mV/ (%) RH
• Accuracy: ±5% RH

• Humidity Range: 5% RH to 95% RH
• No hysteresis
• Low Current Consumption
• Generated ripple at low humidity will not exceed 2.5mV
• Output voltage varies linearly with RH
Sensor exceeds requirements of monitoring system.

Ambient Light Sensor:
Allied Electric Photodiode
• Manufacturer: PerkinElmer Optoelectronics
• Part Number: VTP1188SH
• Price: $2.10 per unit
• Operating Temperature: -20°C to 75°C
• ISC Temperature Coefficient: 0.20% / °C
• ISC: 13µA to 25µA
• λ Range: 400nm to 1100nm
• Sensitivity: 0.55 A/W
Sensor exceeds requirements of monitoring system.

Microchip Microcontroller
• Manufacturer: Microchip Technology
• Part Number: PIC16F877A
• Price: $6.80 per unit
• Operating Speed: 20 MHz
• Instruction Cycle: 200ns
• Total Power Dissipation: 1.0W
• Voltage Operating Range: VDD = -0.3V to +7.5V
• Max Current into VDD pin: 250mA
• I/O Voltage Range: -0.3V to (VDD + 0.3)V
• Max Output Current by any I/O pin: 25mA
• Ambient temperature under bias: -55 to +125°C
This component exceeds requirements of monitoring system.

Design Verification:

Testing Procedures:

Besides testing to ensure the modules work together, we want to make sure all the
individual modules are independently operating to specifications. The testing of each
module is described in their respective locations below:

1. Testing of Sensors:

1.1 Temperature Sensor
Microchip Low Power Linear Active Thermistor IC (MCP9700A)

We will test the reliability, sensitivity and response time of the sensor since we
need it to able to sense a ±1°C change in temperature within at least ±1s. To test
these conditions, we will place the sensor into an ice bath and examine its
behavior towards a decrease in temperature on an oscilloscope. Since it should be
sensitive to a change in temperature, we will cover the sensor with our fingers
(which will act as heat) and examine the behavior of the sensor towards the
increase in temperature. The sensor will run using a 5V DC power supply. The
relationship between the temperature and voltage is:

TA =

Where: VOUT = Sensor Output Voltage
TC = Temperature Coefficient (10.0mV/°C)
TA = Ambient Temperature
V0°C = Voltage at 0°C (500mV)

1.2 Ambient Light Sensor
Allied Electric Photodiode (VTP1188SH)

Using the 5V DC as the power supply, we will need to produce a voltage output
range that can be read by the microcontroller (PIC). In order to accomplish this,
we will need to test and configure the output range by varying a resistor in series
with the sensor. Once the permitted voltage range of the microprocessor is
known, we can connect the appropriate resistor to the sensor and connect the
sensor directly to the PIC. To test the effectiveness of the sensor, we will cover
the sensor from all light sources and examine its output. Since the sensor is
expected to be sensitive towards sunlight and artificial light, these two light
sources will be used to test the reliability of the sensor.

1.3 Humidity Sensor
TDK Humidity Sensor (CHS-UGS)

This sensor also uses a 5V DC power supply and outputs an analog signal which
is suitable for our PIC data requirement. The sensor outputs an analog voltage
output which follows a relatively linear response function of 0.05V at 5% RH and
0.95V at 95% RH, which is given by the following response function:

VOUT −V 0%
% RH = RH
; where V0%RH = 0V
We will test the reliability of the sensor by observing its behavior on an

1.4 Signal Noise Reduction

Noise that occurs during the sensors’ data collection can cause a significant effect
on the product’s efficiency. One of the ways to solve this problem is by utilizing a
decoupling capacitor, placed in parallel with the VDD and GND of the sensors. The
effectiveness of this method will also be examined by implementing it to the
different sensors that we have, and observing its behavior on an oscilloscope.

2. Microprocessor (PIC):

The PIC is the most important component in our product design. To avoid running
into problems later on, we will test every small instruction that is added to the
PIC. Since the PIC is expected to receive an analog signal as the input, and output
a digital signal, we will initially test the PIC by using a DIP switch input and
observe its output using LEDs and an oscilloscope. Once this is successful, we
will eventually replace the DIP switch with the sensors, and replace the LEDs
with the corresponding external devices (i.e. fan, heater, mister, exhaust fan and
light bulb).

3. Testing of External devices:

The external devices will be connected to its own power supplies and will only
receive a signal to switch ‘ON’ or ‘OFF’ from the PIC. We will also test the AC
Block Switch to make sure it functions as expected.

3.1 Voltage Amplifier Requirement Test

The required voltages of the external devices will also need to be determined. If a
higher voltage is required, a voltage amplifier will be used to amplify the received
signal from the PIC in order to meet this requirement.

Tolerance Analysis:

The most important component in our design is the microcontroller. If the
microcontroller were to breakdown, the entire greenhouse monitoring system will not
function. This is because the microcontroller is the main control unit which receives input
from the sensors, compares that input to the preset levels, and then outputs a signal which
will eventually turn on or off the specific devices needed to bring the greenhouse back to
required conditions. Thus, we will test the voltage tolerance of the microcontroller. Its
maximum and minimum allowable input and output voltage levels will be tested. The
limits that will be tested will be ±10% of the manufacture’s specified voltage limit.

Cost and Schedule:

Cost Analysis (Estimated):

Labor: Developers: 3
Rate: $25 per hour
Hours Required: 100

Total = (3 developers) * ($25/hour) * 2.5 * 100
= $18750.00


Part # Mft Description For Price Qty Total
MCP9700A- Microchip Thermal Light $0.43 5 $2.15
E/TO Technology Sensor Detection
CHS-UGS TDK Humidity Humidity $51.01 1 $51.01
Sensor Detection
VTP1188SH Perkin Light Sensor Light $2.10 5 $10.50
Elmer Detection
PIC16F877A Microchip Micro- Control $6.80 1 $6.80
Controller Unit
PCL401DSP Tyco Elec Relay Bulb $5.94 2 $11.88
NA NA 1µF Cap PIC $.10 5 $0.50
NA NA 200Ω Resistor PIC $0.71 5 $3.55
NA NA 10kΩ Resistor PIC $0.71 5 $3.55
NA NA LED Testing $0.25 6 $1.50
NA Walmart DC Fan Greenhse $2 1 $2
NA GE Light Bulb Greenhse $0.80 2 $1.60
NA NA Potted Plant Greenhse $5 1 $5
NA NA Wood Greenhse $5 1 $10
NA NA Plastic Boards Greenhse $5 5 $25
Total $135.04

Grand Total = Labor + Parts
= $18750.00 + $138.07
= $18885.04


Week Description
1/14 Possible project proposals --- All (COMPLETE)
1/21 Finalize project and conduct initial research --- All (COMPLETE)
1/28 Update Project Page, submit schedule --- All (COMPLETE)
Project Proposal Introduction and Cost & Schedule --- Ningci (COMPLETE)
Project Proposal Design --- Syauqi (COMPLETE)
Project Proposal Verification --- Hafiz (COMPLETE)
Finalize Project Proposal --- All (COMPLETE)
2/4 Research required specifications for a greenhouse. Choose and order sensors and

LEDs (used for testing) --- Hafiz, Ningci (COMPLETE)
Choose and order PIC --- Syauqi (COMPLETE)
Research how to connect each sensor to the PIC, and how to reduce the noise
signals being sent to the PIC --- Hafiz, Ningci (COMPLETE)
Research how to program basic functions on PIC --- Syauqi (COMPLETE)
2/11 Research how to connect the PIC to each device --- Hafiz, Ningci
Research how PIC will turn ON/OFF each device when necessary --- Syauqi
Continue working on PIC and Relay --- Syauqi (COMPLETE)
Finalize Design Review --- All (COMPLETE)
2/18 Test sensors to make sure they operate as expected --- Hafiz, Ningci
Build connection between sensors and PIC --- Hafiz, Ningci
Have simple PIC program working (DIP Switch Input / LED Output) --- Syauqi
Program PIC to compare input from sensors with preset conditions --- All
Test sensors with PIC showing the output using LEDs --- Syauqi
2/25 Order and then test necessary devices --- Hafiz, Ningci
Program PIC to control the sensors to take measurements at certain time
intervals, as well as account for hysteresis --- Syauqi
Program and test PIC to turn ON/OFF devices when needed based on input from
sensors --- Syauqi
3/4 Build connection between devices and PIC --- Hafiz, Ningci
Test all function of the PIC --- Syauqi
3/11 Assemble all electrical components. Test and troubleshoot --- All
3/18 Spring Break
Prepare for Mock-up Demo --- All
3/25 Construct greenhouse and connect all the components --- All
4/1 Prepare Greenhouse for Demo --- All
Prepare for Presentation --- All
4/8 Finish and check through Final Paper --- All