I wanted to automate my garden and my (future) microfarm. I needed something reliable, robust, efficient, remote-controllable, and affordable. A classical “pick two”. It became quickly clear that I would not find something satisfying (to me). I gave a try at my own system, and I made it open source, modular, and while I was at it, standardized.
Let me introduce Espoir, an open source, Power over Ethernet+ (PoE 802.3af/at), ESP32 devboard with a mikroBUSTM socket. It ticks all the boxes reasonably well. Espoir is:
- Reliable, with PoE+ to replace Wi-Fi, batteries, solar panels, wind mills, and glued-together power supplies
- Robust, through signal protection and filtering, proper isolation, and a four-layers PCB
- Remote controllable, via Ethernet or Wi-Fi, and with the goal of implementing Tasmota or ESPHome for Home Assistant
- Modular, through compatibility with over 1,300 mikroBUSTM add-on boards and a 5V, 3A output
- Standardized, by being compliant with applicable IEEE 802.x standards
- Open source: Find the source on GitHub and an OSHWA certification
It is also easy to program. It works with Espressif’s ESP-IDF, Arduino, and MicroPython.
The first thing I did with it is automate watering in my garden. I can check and adjust the watering from my home or from my phone. Maybe not original, but very satisfying.
A classic: a DS18B20 temperature sensor, a Capacitive Soil Moisture Sensor, and a 3D-printed servo-valve. This setup served me well last summer, and is about to make its return to the garden
But there are many other things you can do with a generic PoE+ microcontroller board. For instance:
- Access control
- Assembly line monitoring
- Process monitoring
- Hack an air conditioning unit to make a walk-in cooler (oddly specific?)
- Smart anything and home automation
After the garden, I want to automate the blinds and windows of the house and greenhouse to increase comfort and energy efficiency.
I always appreciate feedback and suggestions. If you’d like to learn more about this project, have a look at the following links: