A few weeks ago i have ordered a FarmBot genesis XL 1.5
i watched all the youtube videos about and i was kinda impressed, what this thing can do.
For me it looked like a great solution to have a garden and grow your own food even when traveling a lot and not having time to take care to your garden.
The FarmBot arrived kinda quick and i started to prepare my raised bed and assembling the device.
Assembling took a lot of time but the manual was easy to understand and after a few evenings and a couple of beers, the hardware was set up and ready to start.
with the start, the disappointing things came. The Raspberry Pi delivered with was faulty, there was no wifi. Luckily i have a lot of technical understanding and was able to troubleshoot the issue and replaced the Raspberry pi with another one i had laying around.
finally the system booted up properly and i started to configure the software. i quickly noticed a lot (and i mean a lot!) of motor stalls. The tracks and wheels are so precise, a small dent, or piece of dirt (we are in a garden, it is dirty there guys!) caused the motors to stall.
after cleaning up everything and removing wheels the farmbot was able to move. Now to the next problem…
The motors vibrate very strong during movement, so strong, bolts became loose and causing other problems obviously. I was contacting farmbot and they were telling that this is normal.
I then started to calibrate the camera. After 5 Hours (no joke!) struggling around i gave up, farmbot is not able to detect weeds.
Contacted farmbot and they asked for photos of the USB connectors and told it is maybe because i took a newer raspberry pi than the one they supply. (haha)
ok nevermind, i like to plant seeds and start my garden.
Taking a look at the software i quickly noticed, i have to program everything on my own. I can choose what i’d like to plant, but there is no solution to tell the farmbot where this seed is, or how much water it takes.
it has a soil sensor, but farmbot can’t measure the soil of every plant, store the value and then water it accordingly.
even simple things like remember what tool is mounted currently and continue with the job.
after wasting a lot of time and money, i have disassembled the farmbot and it will go on its way back to where it came from soon. at least farmbot promised me a 100% refund.
Farmbot is a great idea, but the project is in a so early stage that sentences like “we are ready to bring farmbot to the masses” or “it automaticly switches tools” “precisely water each plant according its needs” “use the camera to detect weeds and then destroy them” all this is a lie. it is about to fool people, telling them that they will buy a great and working product, without telling that you will face tons of issues and you’ll spend much more time in the garden because your farmbot is not working properly than you spend before to take care of your plants manually.
The farmbot project is a great idea, but it will need at least another 3 years of developing until it is ready to use and not just a toy
this is what was disappointing me the most:
- Weed detection is not working
- weed destroying is not working
- noisy and strugling motors (you’ll get angry neighbours if it moves in the night)
- you have to programm every movement on your own (even simple things like photographing the whole garden)
- sensitive tracks
- no possibility to set the Z position of a plant (no garden is perfectly flat)
- poor arduino firmware (you can crash against soil or enstops (why haven’t you simply took something like marlin))
- way too expensive for what you get.