Zigbee Wireless Soil Mixture Sensor Design

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ZigBee Wireless Soil Moisture Sensor Design for
Vineyard Management System
T. A. S. Achala Perera

A thesis submitted to Auckland University of Technology in
fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of
Philosophy (MPhil)

May 2010

School of Engineering
Primary Supervisor: Dr John Collins


In completing this research I received help from a number of people. First I must thank my supervisor Dr John Collins for his support, guidance and advice during the course of this investigation.
I must also thank AUT technician Brett Holden who guided and advised me with analogue circuit design.
Finally, thanks to my friends and family for their support during the course of my research.


Statement of Originality
‘I hereby declare that this submission is my own work and that, to the best of my knowledge and belief, it contains no material previously published or written by another person nor material which to a substantial extent has been accepted for qualification of any other degree or diploma of a university or other institution of higher







Achala Perera
31/05/ 2010






Consequential Research Outputs
During the undertaking of this thesis, the writer had following research outputs.

Perera T. A. S. A and Collins J.D (2009). Wireless Soil Moisture Sensor for Vineyard Soil Monitoring. The sixteenth Electronics New Zealand Conference Dunedin November 18-20, 2009 ISSN: 978-0-473-16099-9

Ghobakhlou A, Sallis P, Diegel O, Zandi S and Perera A (2009). Wireless Sensor Networks for Environmental Data Monitoring. 8th Annual IEEE Sensors Conference Christchurch October 25-28, 2009
Ghobakhlou A, Perera A, Sallis P, Diegel O & Zandi S (2009). Environmental Monitoring with Wireless Sensor Network. The sixteenth Electronics New Zealand Conference Dunedin November 18-20, 2009 ISSN: 978-0-473-16099-9 Ghobakhlou A, Perera A, Sallis P & Zandi S (2010). Modular Sensor Nodes for Environmental Data Monitoring. The 4th International Conference on Sensing Technology Lecce Italy June 3-5, 2010


The soil moisture level is one of the critical aspects, which controls the quality of the grapes grown in vineyards. The main objective of this research is to investigate the development of a low cost soil moisture sensor, which can be used in a ZigBee mesh network.

ZigBee is a new mesh networking standard, which places emphasis on low cost sensor networks and energy conservation. The development focus for ZigBee is remote monitoring and control applications. Manufacturers are still improving their ZigBee devices and ZigBee software stacks.

The ZigBee based Texas Instruments CC2430 microcontroller was selected as the wireless sensor hardware for this research.

Micro climate weather station was

designed to monitor the vineyard environmental data like temperature, pressure, sunlight, humidity, leaf wetness and soil moisture and temperature. The wireless soil moisture sensor is one main component of the micro climate weather station. The two probe soil moisture sensor uses the basic principle of a series fed Hartley oscillator frequency shift due to the varying dielectric constant of the soil according to the soil Volumetric Water Content (VWC). When the soil VWC increases, the dielectric constant also increases as the oscillator frequency decreases. This basic principle is used measure the soil moisture content.

Both the soil moisture sensor and micro climate weather station have been developed and tested with the ZigBee mesh network topology. The soil moisture sensor was tested and calibrated, using two different soil types.

This research has successfully achieved its objectives and identifies areas for future development.

The third version of the micro climate weather station is under

development with the focus on modular design, and a new...
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