Autonomous Plant Feeding Open-Source Prototype

How to build 3rd party software adapters for hardware you can’t afford

Justin Bowen
Mar 6, 2019 · 3 min read

Developing Adapters For 3rd Party Products

GreenThumb is working to build a platform that connects growers to the systems they’re already comfortable using today. This blog post will read a bit like a tutorial on how to DIY your own dosing system.

Peristaltic Dosing Pump Solution

I’m not trying to compete with commercial dosing system here, but I will be demonstrating a cost effective solution to control the mixing of solutions autonomously. In doing this we also define the features and components required for a base adapter than can be augmented to connect with any 3rd party offering. Enough of the diatribe, let’s jump in, first to assess the industry standard solution.

Theirs $3300: For Commercial Production Deployments

Connect pH Controller $500

This device is a commercial grade IoT pH control unit with liquid temperature and pH probes and a peristaltic pump for dosing pH buffer solution at a rate of 10 ml per minute.

Controller ✅ peristaltic pump ✅ pH probe ✅ temperature probe ✅ find it on Amazon Prime for $427

Microdoser $800

Macrodoser $2000

With 3 peristaltic pumps calibrated to move 1200ml of solution per min this well packaged device can be yours for a cool $1900 on Amazon 🙀 FREE Shipping though! 📦

Ours $400: For Testing and Development Purposes


This might be gross, but it works!

$160 pH Sensor Kit

$40 Raspberry Pi 3 B+

$8 SD Card

$19 8-channel USB Relay

$17 Power Supply 12V and 5V

$35 2 x Peristaltic Pump 12v 500ml/min

$15 5 x Peristaltic Pump 6v 60ml/min



$9 Soft Tube Fixture for Dosing Pump for 8 Tubes



You can get you ph meter working with the GreenThumb Sensor Kit



For a commercial cultivator you’re going to want to devise a professional solution using brand products as shown below.

Great diagram demonstrating a combination of Etatron micro-doser being used with dosatron injectors and a bluelab ph controller from

Once you have your setup or once you’ve build your own GreenThumb will be ready to integrate providing automated controls and notifications with visual and sensory insight into your systems.

If you have any questions or are interested in the project or using my open-source packages, feel free to leave a comment or ping me on LinkedIn or Twitter, I will be responsive.

GreenThumb is also seeking early clients, partners, and initial funding. Yes, I did the work and paid for this all on my own.


GreenThumb IO is a company focused on automating…

Justin Bowen

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GreenThumb IO is a company focused on automating conventional agriculture cultivating technology with smart cameras and machine learning.