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I need to automate my plant room, having a few water tanks and pumps.

Will RPi 3 Model B be reliable for this purpose?

It will need to be 24/7 monitoring.

Any experiences?

Any mathematical formulas to find the reliability of Pi?

closed as primarily opinion-based by goldilocks Apr 23 '18 at 12:04

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Welcome to Raspberry Pi SE. Feel free to take the tour at raspberrypi.stackexchange.com/Tour that will help you get the most from this site. Basically, questions should state a goal, then show the efforts made towards that goal, showing code, diagrams, or what-have-you, then posing a specific question. That's how to attract the most useful answers. Open-ended questions like this will tend to get flagged as being too broad for this very busy SE – SDsolar Apr 23 '18 at 1:44
  • What about using an arduino? – scitronboy Apr 23 '18 at 3:02
  • Will that be suitable? I wont mind using arduino – QasimFSH Apr 23 '18 at 3:10
  • @QasimFSH No, it’s not more suitable. It’s easier to replace, less complexity. Run a backup to a USB drive, and consider having another pi ready in case of failure. Test your restore procedure before you need it. – user2497 Apr 23 '18 at 4:10
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    I would definitely pick an Arduino as my PLC. But as I say in my answer, the best way I have found to program Arduinos is to mate them with Raspberry Pi. Run the IDE in the Pi and use WiFi and either xrdp or ssh to access them. Arduinos are certainly smart enough to handle a control system like this. The primary advantage of mating them is that the Pi is a full Linux computer, complete with a real-time clock and Python. Combining the two into a Piduino gives you the best of both worlds. The interfacing of an Arduino combined with the smarts of a Pi. – SDsolar Apr 23 '18 at 6:09
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Yes, Rpi3B systems can be run reliably 24x7 for long periods of time.
No, there is no mathematical way to predict longevity that I am aware of. So you just begin and do your best to build it well. Then plan for how you would recover if one fails.

Such as using Win32DiskImager to store image backups off your Rpi SD cards.

I suggest you look into PiGPIO:

PiGPIO Examples

to see how the RPi can handle the sensing and controlling.


You asked for an example. My solar plant uses a handful of them coupled with Arduinos (for the I/O) as data loggers. I call them Piduinos. It is a hybrid system.

They produce plots (gnuplot) that I directly access from a large screen using Windows Remote Desktop to monitor the operation of the systems.

The communications between the Pi and Arduino is a normal USB programming cable and the Arduino IDE runs on the Rpi3B units. All connected by WiFi.

Then I also have also a Ubuntu 16.04 server which periodically (every 15 minutes) collects the latest plot files, puts them together as a montage (using Imagemagick montage). This montage is mated with the proper HTML and uploaded to my hosting service using scp

It can be viewed at https://www.SDsolarBlog.com/montage


Some of the RPis have to work in the harsh outside weather conditions yet they have proven to be a whole lot more reliable than I expected.

One thing you do learn about when assembling such a system is fault-tolerance. Preparing for failure.

Backups, backups, backups.

Extra hardware and Rpi SD card Images saved so if one fails another can be swapped in quickly. It is rare, but can happen.


Meanwhile, to properly form your question, I suggest you try something. Build something. See how it works.

Then return here if you hit a roadblock - and be sure that you ask a Raspberry Pi-specific question.

  • Thanks for the answer. The thing is that I am a fresh engineer, and have recently got a job. I cant do many experiments, and need to produce results quickly. Due to this, I want to know before hand if working on Pi will be useful, or I simply start using PLCs. – QasimFSH Apr 23 '18 at 1:59
  • I think you're going to do fine. Start by making a clear diagram of what you want the system to do. Sensors (soil moisture comes to mind) and controls (relays for pumps, etc). Then I think you will find putting it together won't be so hard. The conceptual part is the crux of the whole thing. Imagine it complete, then work backward to fill in the parts necessary to make each portion work the way you want. Cheers! – SDsolar Apr 23 '18 at 6:12
  • Have you moved your website? When I try to access the URL above, I get the hosting provider's parking page. I'm interested in seeing your configuration. – InteXX Mar 22 at 21:51
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It's complicated.

There are too many points of possible failure. Even if the Pi's MTBF meets your requirements, how about the micro SD card? I have a SD card that killed my system after a year of 24x7. How about your power supply? How about your LAN?

It's so complex that the practical way is to build in redundancy. Ensure that the functions performed by the Pi are either provided by another system or another Pi.

The same applies even if you use something else instead of the Pi.

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