Automated Irrigation System and Its Components
Today everything is getting smarter. In agriculture we have started smart farming. Automated Irrigation system is one of its part. Basically without irrigation we can’t planning for Agriculture. And it is one of the most crucial part of our cultivation project. Now a days Automation Irrigation technology is getting so much advanced that it has made our life simpler and easier in all aspects. Automatic systems are preferred more as it provides more ease and comfort to every sector and it is a growing system which helps us complete our tasks in the ease of time, money and power.
Population is the major issue of our country, as we have reached around 1.2 billion and is continually increasing, there can be a food shortage in our future if we continue traditional farming techniques or any method in which the productivity is less. Agriculture needs to be developed and use of modern techniques is very important to meet with the future demands and increase the productivity of the crops as it would help the farmers in many aspects with increased yield and reduced effort.
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Farmers always face problems regarding irrigation or scarcity of water, which is a serious issue for the farming industry. Automated irrigation system is such a technology which is invented for automated irrigation purposes keeping this issue in mind. This technology minimizes human intervention and it has sensors which monitor the humidity and temperature of the environment and control them accordingly.
Here, we will see about Automated Irrigation systems.
What is Automated Irrigation System
Automated Irrigation system is an application of Automation technology which makes the irrigation process more efficient and productive by the use of sensors, timers and mechanical appliances. It is a system in which human intervention is minimized and everything is monitored automatically.
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Irrigation is one of the toughest parts of farming because a small mistake could ruin your plants. Watering process of the plants is based on two aspects: ‘When’ and ‘How Much’ to water the plants, and to make this work easy, an Automated Irrigation System is created.
Problems faced on Irrigation system
Irrigation is a very important factor of farming practice and the right amount of water for a particular soil type is very much essential for any crop. Farmers have to face a lot of problems due to the irrigation system and sometimes they have to go through a long distance just to switch on the pump, which costs them so much time, money and energy.
Besides these, they have to protect the crops during extreme hot weather conditions, as improper watering would destroy the crops which won’t be reversed. Also, during Monsoons or Winter season, irrigation is not necessary for consecutive days, and the farmers again have to travel to the field for inspection of the crops.
Over Irrigation and Under Irrigation are two basic problems of Irrigation systems and it would lead to destruction of crops at the end. Over irrigation might lead to water solution due to regular glow of chemicals in the field, and Under irrigation might lead to soil salinity in the areas of high evaporation, with an increase of toxic salts on the soil surface.
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Objective of Automated Irrigation system
The major objective of the Automated Irrigation system is to minimize the manual intervention by the farmer and to prevent excess water and electricity wastage. Automated Irrigation targets to solve the over and under irrigation problems.
Working of an Automated Irrigation System
Automated irrigation systems set up a smart network over the entire field which includes the source of water and the pumping. The system monitors the moisture content of the field and turns on the pump when the moisture level is below the required amount and then turns off when the required moisture is reached.
The sensor node of a particular part of a field waits for a certain duration while the water is being supplied on a particular area and then cross checks the moisture level of that part before moving on to the next part. A message is sent to the sink node to stop the water supply for a particular area when the desired level of moisture is achieved by the field and then the control moves to the next part of the field. Like this, the entire field is swept and then the microcontroller unit node (Node MCU) goes to sleep mode, thereby saving the power supply.
Components of an Automated Irrigation System
All the components of the system work under the command of the microprocessor unit (Node MCU) to get the desired results.
The list of components are as follows:
- Moisture sensor
- Water Pumps
- Solenoid valves
- Metering Pumps
- Relay Module
- AC/DC motors
- Jumper wires
- Power supply
- Water sprinkler
Let us learn about each of them.
The soil moisture sensors are used to measure the water content in the soil. It consists mainly of two parts: Sensing Probe and Sensor Module.
The probs get the resistance value according to the moisture in the soil when it allows the current to pass through the soil and then the sensor module reads data from these probs and processes them and converts it into a digital/analog output, so we can say that the soil moisture sensor can provide digital output and analogue output as we
The sensing probe is connected to the sensor module circuit using jumper wires and is placed inside the dry soil. Now these sensors are connected to a 5 volt power supply and the threshold voltage is set at the inverting input of the IC in dry soil.
When water level is high in the soil then the probe conductivity increases and resistance decreases, so a low amount of voltage is given to the inverting input from the probe of the IC. This voltage is compared with the threshold voltage and when the input voltage is less than the threshold voltage, the soil sensor output goes LOW (0).
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Similarly, when there is less water level in the soil the probs show low conductivity and high resistance and a high amount of voltage is given to the inverting input from the probe and again it compares the voltage with the threshold voltage and ss the input voltage is greater than the threshold voltage so the sensor output goes HIGH (1).
The pumps are used for irrigating the field artificial from the main water tank through pipes. It is electronically controlled by a microcontroller. These are used for many other different applications like in households including cleaning, bathing, space heating and flowering of water. The pump is used in automatic irrigation systems because it has light weight, small size and it is also easy to install and replace. It is also efficient in water pumping for irrigation and as it operates in 12 V, it consumes less power and has low noise being cost effective.
A controller is the heart of automation whose work is to coordinate the operation of the entire system. It is programmed to run various zones of an area for required duration and has a 24 hour clock built inside which has an option for different irrigation schedules for different days of the week. This controller controls 4/6/8/12 and an even larger number of solenoid valves that are connected through them.
These controllers work through a multi-program facility to monitor different weather conditions and also connect with different moisture sensors, temperature sensors and any other sensors with analog output.
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Solenoid valves are electrically operated valves which are connected to the controllers and are placed in a manual gate valve in the automated system. Every valve controls one section each and as soon as the signal is received from the controller, the solenoid valve gets activated and is turned ON allowing the passage of water through it. The valves get OFF as the signal is stopped. Solenoid valves work on basically two way open and close valves which operate on 24 volt DC motors or 220 volt AC motors.
These pumps are used for feeding of fertilizers and chemicals in the field, varying from 1.5 to 3.5 litres per hectare. These are controlled by the microprocessor and can be manual or remote.
There is also a Peristaltic pump for pumping the field with fluids at a low flow rate and can be used for accurate pumping of chemicals whenever required.
Relay Module is an electronic switch which uses an electromagnet for switching ON and OFF in the system, instead of a person moving the switch.
This relay controls the function of the pump. When the solenoid valve is switched ON, it sends a pulse to activate the relay module which starts the pump.
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These motors are used to convert electric energy to mechanical energy and are used in Control valves.
Apart from all these components, the system uses Jumper Wires for connecting the circuit in the whole system. A power supply of about 7-12 volts is required for connecting the sensors and a water sprinkler system for irrigating the fields .
Application of Automated Irrigation system
Some of the applications are listed below:
- Useful for irrigation in fields, gardens, parks.
- Efficient for Rice or Paddy fields
- Effective in pisciculture
- It works according to the condition of soil
- Eliminates manpower
- It can handle heavy loads upto 7A
- Highly sensitive, cost effective and has a reliable circuit
- The process starts and stops when required
- It can be operated at night, thus minimizes evaporation
- Adoption of advanced crop systems which are difficult to operate manually
- Minimizes water waste, improving plant growth and the circuit works automatically
- It can be implemented for spraying of pesticides
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Applicable only in large farms
- Have a limited life due to deterioration of the plastic components
- Regular power supply is required
Future of the Automated Irrigation System
The system tends to move onto a larger scale and work on a Zig Bee instead of wire connections. It would create more responsive mobile applications with controlled data. It could also be developed to use solar energy instead of batteries for reducing the costs. It will expand its working capability and efficiency and could have a vast scope when mixed with IoT
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Farmers are facing a huge problem in irrigating their fields as they have to spend a lot of time during irrigation which stops them from doing other activities as they will have to wait for switching off the pumps.
Using the Automated Irrigation system, their work will be reduced and it will also reduce the wastage of water. The sensors will help to irrigate the field when and where required in a desired amount which will enhance the plants growth and productivity, thus increasing the profits. The system also monitors the nutrient supply through water to the plants.
It is a very essential and eco-friendly system which not only helps the farmers but also senses the soil moisture through different sensors and it can be a revolution in the farming industry.