Grow kit feedback

I received my grow herbs kit and everything is up to the usual build standards, very nice!

However I do have a few initial things where I’m not totally satisfied:

The piezo alarm is, in my opinion, very quiet. I will definitely not notice it chirping about dry soil from the other side of our busy kitchen.

Why aren’t any grow pumps and connection cables available at launch, even as separate items to the kits? If the system can automatically water my plants then the lack of a louder alarm wouldn’t actually be an issue. It just seems like a strange idea to release grow before you can provide a ‘complete’ system.

Thanks for the 25% off, but I don’t understand why the backlight ‘24x7 always on’ is such a problem. If the light sensor detects it’s getting dark, can’t you stop showing stuff on the display or change the colours and graphics so it appears dimmer. The minimal glow from the backlight on a blank display is, in my opinion, relatively easily ignored. Or is possibly the backlight under some stress and it’s perhaps going to burn out after a while?

On the planting side of things, some small terracotta overflow saucers for under the pots might have been a good idea. I’ve got a few things I can use instead, but it would have been nice if you’d included a drip-tray or saucers in the kit.


I can’t comment on the grow kit itself, but I will chime in on the backlight.
I have two of the 160x80 LCD Breakouts. It’s the same one used in the Enviro + and the Grow. I’m graphing Temperature on one and Humidity on the other. With plans for a third to show Barometric Pressure.
The two I have now cast a lot of light in a dark room and that’s only going to increase when I get the third one wired up. I don’t want to stop graphing at night and at some point I’m going to want to turn off the backlights. I am very thankful that for me it is an option. Just my 2 cents. I can do it via software (python) or just use a mechanical switch, IMHO, its always nice to have multiple options. Even if all I had was via software I’d be happy.
For me with my coding skills, disp.set_backlight(0) is a lot easier than trying to clear the display and show all black etc. My current code is a modified version of one of the Enviro+ examples.

I agree with you, the Pi is getting “warm” since it’s burning (mili)amps, I think the backlight will not make a big difference.
Also, the pumps: I just got it to work (traveling) so when back home will try to attach a few 5V pumps i have from another Arduino watering project. I plan to just solder them to the sockets. The code seems to allow for pump speed, duration etc. So let’s see how it works. Unless someone else beats me to it, I let you all know how it got to work.

This is a nice kit and has got my seven year old grandson very interested in electronics.

A couple of queries:

  1. Is there any news about when the tutorial which “will show you how to take your Grow setup to the next level by incorporating pumps and auto-watering” will appear?

  2. When the three bars are displayed on the monitor what is the significance of one of them flashing? I can’t see any mention of a flashing bar in the documentation.

I have precisely the same question.

I would think that is to grab your attention, and or indicate that action is needed? Like say water your plant now etc.

As it is a blue bar that is flashing it is more likely that it is indicating that the plant has too much water based on the current settings. But it would be nice to have that confirmed.

What python file are you running when it flashes?
The answer may be in there somewhere, if you can decipher the python code. ;)

The python file is “grow-monitor” and I was hoping not to have to decipher the code as there is a fair amount of it.
I was hoping that the designer(s) of the Grow monitor might keep an eye on feedback of their product and answer the questions posed. I’m assuming the flashing is a feature and not a fault.

It looks like @gadgetoid is the one to talk to / ask.
Yeah, there is a lot happening in that file. I couldn’t spot what does it, but my Python skills are pretty basic.

Any news on pumps ? For me it was not even explicit that connectors would be proprietary, there not pictures of the back so I was guessing that it was simple pins connectors to be able to use any pump very simply as there were no explicit « pump kit » announcement in the description just « you can add pumps » but… no I can’t !
So I’m very disappointed about pimoroni product communication and following as I see no news here… the pump kit will probably be my last buy from pimoroni. (if one cames out one day…)

Very sorry about the delay on the pumps / tutorial - what with the Raspberry Pi Pico launch, warehouse moves and various Covid/Brexit complications it’s been an incredibly busy time for us since the Grow launch!

The good news is that the software tweaks we’ve been waiting on to release the Grow auto-watering stuff are sorted now so we should be able to get the tutorial up and the tubes/pumps listed on the shop very soon - working on them now!

It looks like this got published: Pimoroni Learn: Auto-Watering with Grow.

I might gift one of these kits. Do the capacitive soil sensors have exposed PCB edges? Are there any tips on sealing those?

@veryalien I don’t have one of these I can use but I glanced at the code and I see a lot of mentions of 440Hz for beeps. In general that’s a frequency (A above middle C) which isn’t reproduced well by small piezos in terms of loudness. If you try increasing those values to 2000Hz then it may get a lot louder. There’s often a frequency with some physical resonance which is truly screechy and perhaps best avoided, you’ll know that if you find it.

You can see this for some other boards in Adafruit Forums: What is the speaker on the Circuit Playground Express? and Adafruit Forums: Speaker issues on CLUE. And you can hear the tiny 5mm CLUE speaker (transistor switched, no amp) in this video: Adafruit CLUE metal detector - venturing outside (YouTube).

I put in GitHub: pimoroni/grow-python: Increase frequency of beeps to improve loudness #12 for a review of this. You could add a comment if you test changes to your local code and find out anything useful.