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Scientia Agricola

versão On-line ISSN 1678-992X

Resumo

MEDICI, Leonardo Oliveira et al. Automatic controller to water plants. Sci. agric. (Piracicaba, Braz.) [online]. 2010, vol.67, n.6, pp.727-730. ISSN 1678-992X.  https://doi.org/10.1590/S0103-90162010000600016.

Despite the massive demand of water for plant irrigation, there are few devices being used in the automation of this process in agriculture. This work evaluates a simple controller to water plants automatically that can be set up with low cost commercial materials, which are large-scale produced. This controller is composed by a ceramic capsule used in common domestic water filters; a plastic tube around 1.5 m long, and a pressostate used in domestic washing machines. The capsule and the pressostate are connected through the tube so that all parts are filled with water. The ceramic capsule is the sensor of the controller and has to be placed into the plant substrate. The pressostate has to be placed below the sensor and the lower it is, the higher is the water tension to start the irrigation, since the lower is the pressostate the higher is the water column above it and, therefore, the higher is the tension inside the ceramic cup to pull up the water column. The controller was evaluated in the control of drip irrigation for small containers filled with commercial organic substrate or soil. Linear regressions explained the relationship between the position of pressostate and the maximum water tension in the commercial substrate (p < 0.0054) and soil (p < 0.0001). Among the positions of the pressostate from 0.30 to 0.90 m below the sensor, the water tension changed from 1 to 8 kPa for commercial substrate and 4 to 13 kPa for the soil. This simple controller can be useful to grow plants, applying water automatically in function of the water tension of the plant substrate.

Palavras-chave : irrigation; water tension; automation; low cost.

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