The Raspberry Pi Controlled Water Feature

Down the side of our house we have a small Fairy Garden for the kids to play in.  It’s slowly growing in with the plants and now we’ve installed a water feature.  The 3 tier water feature was found on the side of the road as it has some cracks in it.  After sealing it up with a bit of silicone and duct tape it’s all nicely sealed and water tight.

I built up the wall and back filled the garden bed with the white rock and lined it with clay from under the rocks.  The 2 higher tiers are mounted with liquid nails on top of spare bricks.

To control the whole thing I initially installed a 24hr timer that would switch on for 2 hours a day between when the kids got home from school and dinner but the kids wanted to use it on the weekend.

In comes the scavenging and re-purposing to get something sorted!

At work I found an Internet Power Board that was being thrown out as it had a faulty controller.  A quick inspection found that the High Voltage switching end was easily controlled by a GPIO line from a micro-controller or microcomputer.  I had recently ordered a Raspberry Pi for another project I’d been working on but it hadn’t worked out leaving it nicely for the controller.  I tested hooking up the HV board to GPIO pins without any modification and it worked a treat.  With this being the case I went ahead and mounted it all in a bucket I picked up from Bunnings that has sealed it all from the weather.

Low Voltage End of the Controller.
Low Voltage End of the Controller.

Here you can see the Raspberry Pi in the pink box.  This is the box that it was shipped in and holds it quite nicely.  I added a ribbon cable extend the GPIO ports to the outside so the board wasn’t exposed.  The thick wire coming in from the grommet and conduit is from the push button that allows the kids to turn on the water feature for 10mins.  The power comes from the HV side via a cut off USB cable.  The small grey ribbon cable heads to the HV board to switch the relays.

High Voltage Side of the controller
High Voltage Side of the controller

This is the High Voltage (HV) side of the controller.  The board is unmodified from the device I pulled it from which came with a 5v+DC power supply as well that is mounted behind the HV board.  The cables heading out of the grommet are the 240vAC in and the 240vAC out to the pump.  There are also 3x spare IEC outlets that are begging for some extra hardware to be added 🙂

All of the controller covered and enclosed
All of the controller covered and enclosed

When I had finished mounting everything I went to down with some spray paint, masking tape, and permanent marker.  It isn’t very neat but it gets the message across!

The water feature from the front
The water feature from the front

Here’s the finished water feature from the kids perspective.  All of the business end is behind the yellow fence and keeps it out of the way of inquisitive fingers.  The button to turn it all on is at the back of the left side.  Eventually the plants will grow up nicely to help cover the gaps in the rocks.

To finish it all off I will end up covering up more of the pebbles with fake turf so the kids can walk around without hurting their feet on the pebbles.

In the future I may take advantage of the spare GPIO ports on the Raspberry Pi to include sensors for switching on lights etc but at this stage I’ll leave it as is and let the kids enjoy being able to switch it on!

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