Sensiplant helps optimize irrigation

July 22, 2008
Written by Hoogendoorn Growth Management
hoogenIn co-operation with TNO Information and Communication Technol-ogy, Hoogendoorn Growth Management has developed a unique, wireless monitoring system that determines the soil humidity of pot plants in a very user-friendly way. Sensiplant makes automatic monitoring affordable and accurate. Without the need for time-consuming walks through the greenhouse, you can optimize irriga-tion and prevent growth disorders. Sensiplant consists of a number of soil humidity sensors that are easy to place into containers. Each irrigation may support two or three sensors. The soil humidity measurements are wire-lessly transferred to a site personal computer. You can then easily see the average soil humidity of every irrigation zone in the greenhouse, allowing you to decide whether to change your irrigation strategy.
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SENSIPLANT FAQs

1. What does Sensiplant measure?
Humidity content in per cent.

2. How does Sensiplant work?
A combination of sensor/transmitter is placed close to the plant.
A sensor inside the pot.
The transmitter sends measurement signals to centrally placed wireless routers in the greenhouse.
The routers transmit the signal to receivers on the computer.
Measurements are analyzed in the computer by a software program.


3. What range does this system have?
The distance between the Sensiplant transmitters and routers is a maximum of 50 metres.

4. Can irrigation be controlled with this?
The analysis is undertaken via a software programme for moni-toring. You cannot control irrigation with this.

5. What does the Sensiplant package consist of?
Twenty Sensiplant transmitter/sensor units.
Four routers.
One receiver for the PC (access point).
Software program.
10 Sensiplant transmitter/sensor units
Two routers.
One receiver for the PC (access point).
Software program.
Five Sensiplant transmitter/sensor units.
One router.
One receiver for the PC (access point).
Software program.


6. Can Sensiplant be extended with additional sensors?
Yes, there is no limit to the extensions added to Sensiplant. We supply extension packages of five units each for this pur-pose.

7. How long do the Sensiplant transmitter batteries last?
The three AA batteries last for about 12 months.

8. For which substrates is Sensiplant suitable?
Various (mixtures of) substrates such as peat, clay granules, rockwool, bark, cocos and perlite. During installation, you can choose between 10 substrate types.

9. For which plants is Sensiplant suitable?
Sensiplant is suitable for all plants where Sensiplant transmitters can be placed above the plant, i.e., with an “unimpeded view” between transmitter and router. It is especially suited for cut flower crops and pot plant crops (whether on a mobile crop system or not). It is, however, not suitable for vegetable plants such as tomatoes or peppers.

10. What is the cable length between sensor and Sensiplant trans-mitter?
10 metres.

11. Can Sensiplant also be used outside, for instance for growing trees?
Sensiplant can only be used to monitor plants inside a green-house. Theoretically, it should be possible to use the system out-side as well, but this hat not been tested yet (e.g., with regard to exposure to sun and frost) and is therefore not supported.

12. What system requirements apply to the PC?
Windows XP or Vista operating system.
One free serial port.
Internet Explorer version 5.5 or higher.


13. How long is the sensor?
Five centimetres.

14. Is Sensiplant suitable for and reliable with regard to measure-ments in bark?
Bark is one of 10 types of substrate for which we provide a specific calibration – for bark, fraction 1 and fraction 2 in a ratio of 50:50, and a rough fraction.


SUMMARIZING THE UNIQUE SELLING POINTS OF SENSIPLANT

  • Insight into irrigation, for easier selection of the correct mo-ment for irrigation
  • Many measurements for a relatively low price
  • Customer can install it himself and is therefore not dependent on an installer (quicker to install, lower costs)
  • The “black holes” in irrigation become obvious
  • It is a flexible system, as it can be extended wirelessly
  • It is independent from the brand of computer
  • You can compare climate and irrigation
  • Time-saving, as you don’t have to inspect the need for irriga-tion
  • Saving water and fertilizers
  • Better plant quality
  • Control over irrigation installation

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