A low cost microcontroller-based automated irrigation system for two Ethiopian crops in a dry area
Maintaining soil water level is a necessary and pre-requisite for optimum crops production. Water is the essential elements for proper growth of crops in its optimum level; however its excessiveness should be avoided. Since irrigation is a dominant consumer of water, there must be a system which regulates the level of water use so that the irrigation field is neither over-irrigated nor under-irrigated. Over time, systems have been implemented towards realizing this objective and most of them employ micro-controller based irrigation systems. These systems offer several technological advantages but are unaffordable, bulky, difficult to maintain and less accepted by the technologically unskilled workers in the rural scenario. The aim of this paper is to design a simple, easy to install, monitor and indicate the level of soil moisture that is continuously controlled in order to achieve maximum crops growth and simultaneously to optimize the available irrigation resources, water and etc. A simple microcontroller based circuit is used coupled with relay units which control the water pumps. The use of easily available components reduces the manufacturing and maintenance costs. This makes the proposed system to be an economical, appropriate and a low maintenance solution for applications, especially in rural areas and not only for small scale agriculturists but also large scale too. The physical implementation result of the proposed system and its simulation result are tested and checked for consistence and correctness.
Keywords: Microcontroller, Automated Irrigation, Soil Humidity, Crops