My mom has two Christmas Cactus plants that have been doing really well for the past few months. However, with winter arriving she had been struggling to find a spot where they were getting enough light. I offered to build her a grow light using DotStar LEDs since they have a color temperature of 6000K, which these particular plants respond to. I decided to use WipperSnapper so that the lights could turn on and off on a schedule and it would be easy to troubleshoot remotely.
I designed up a wooden box in Fusion360. It was designed to be made with 1/2" plywood.
The box assembly went really smoothly. I used dowels to attach the handle piece to the box, which I had never done before.
For the electronics, I used a QT Py ESP32-S2 plugged into a BFF Squad board that I made a few months ago. This breakout lets you attach multiple QT Py BFF boards to one QT Py. It's a little overkill for this, but it makes assembly easy. I attached the DotStar strip using a four pin JST-PH cable and mounted everything in a 3D printed case.
I split the DotStar strip in two so that I could mount it along the top of the handle part of the wooden box.
I mounted the 3D printed case to the side of the box. The whole thing is powered by a USB-C power supply.
For the WipperSnapper firmware, I added the DotStar component and set the brightness to 50%. Since I don't live with my mom, I can make sure the project is online and working as expected.
I setup actions to turn on the DotStars at 8AM and turn them off at 5PM. As you can see, its been working reliably. This was a fun project to put together and most importantly, my mom really likes it. She says that she thinks its promoting growth in both of the plants and she loves that she doesn't have to think about turning the light on or off. She is not really into technology, so this is her first IoT thing she's ever experienced. She couldn't believe that I could turn the lights on or off from my computer without being near the box 😄