Arduino Energy & Sustainability
WaterValveShield controls your garden spigot
watershield.JPG

First Ray built a minty water valve controller that gave him control over a garden water supply, then he turned it into a shield.

For the water valve, I picked the Orbit yard watering valve. It’s widely available in home improvement stores, and it is cheap. It has two pins: applying +24v opens the valve, and -24v closes the valve. It uses a latch solenoid, drawing power only when you open or close it. This makes it very power efficient.

To use a single li-poly battery to drive the valve, I needed a voltage booster to raise the 3.6v provided by the battery to 24v momentarily before connecting to the valve solenoid. For this I chose an LT1303 DC/DC step-up converter, but any similar converter will do as well. Switching between applying +24v or -24v to the solenoid is achieved by using some MOSFETs. I can’t use small BJT transistors because they won’t handle the large impulse current through the solenoid (as high as 5A). Darlington transistor would work but I prefer MOSFETS for their power efficiency.

Read the first link to get a sense of the overall project; at any rate, Ray supplies schematics and code for both.

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My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal nerdage.net

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