I recently came up with the idea of using a raspberry pi to power and control a moisture sensor and a pump to automatically water a plant. It's nothing large scale, but I want it to automatically water my flower if the moisture sensor is below a certain level.

So far I have a raspberry pi 3, a GPIO cable, and a T Cobbler a Breadboard (I don't have soldering experience)

I know I need to buy a pump and a sensor. But my question is how are they supposed to connect to my pi? Do they connect to it via wires to the breadboard? Do I buys ones with a USB end to connect to my pi? I've read that the pump should be 5V. Can I connect multiple pumps and moisture sensors to my pi? Do they have to specifically be for Rpi, or can I use any 5Volt sensors or pumps?

  • A breadboard is terrible for anything even semi-permanent. Your connections will change every time you sneeze standing next to it. Commented Jun 25, 2018 at 11:26

1 Answer 1


If just starting, start simple. Just try a switch as an input and a LED as an output. You can find examples where these items are connected directly to the Raspberry Pi.

Connecting something that takes more power than the Raspberry Pi's GPIO pins can handle (a motorized pump) is not trivial. Also, the Raspberry Pi does not have an ADC built in. So measuring analog signals (I assume the moisture sensor involves measuring an analog signal) requires purchasing small (commonly available) circuits.

All that said, this project or projects that are similar to your description have been carried out a number of times. I found people talking about such projects here, here, here and here.

  • 1
    Take a step back. A Raspberry Pi is a computer. It is continuously running dozens if not more programs all the time. It can handle processing video and pulling license plate numbers off a car given the correct software. For your project (water plants) an Arduino (which is only thinking about your program) may a better choice. And most Arduinos (there are many), for instance and Arduino Uno, already contains an ADC feature to measure an analog signal.
    – st2000
    Commented Jun 24, 2018 at 18:36

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