University of Idaho Indoor FarmBot; PLC lighting gantry research

Hi there,

My name is Lacey, I am a Computer Science and Mathematics student at the University of Idaho’s College of Engineering. I am here to share the progress made on a FarmBot Genesis project that the University of Idaho purchased and assembled during summer 2022. Seeds were planted two weeks ago, and sprouts began to pop up last week!

Currently, a temporary lighting system assembled using 3/4 inch conduit and pipe fittings from MakerPipe to support these LED grow light panels is providing light to the garden. The LEDs we chose have a photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) of 2.5 g/watt, which allows for adequate light to be supplied to the crops regardless of their suspension five feet above the soil.

This semester, we plan to design and implement a programmable logic controller (PLC)-controlled LED lighting gantry system consisting of six light panels, giving us the ability to adjust the height of the lights to accommodate for the specific needs of the crops at various growing stages as well as avoid collisions with the FarmBot gantry. This project will be a collaboration between computer science and mechanical engineering students here at the University of Idaho.

Current setup:

New lighting system rough sketch:

New plant growth: