The Irigaciilo (esperanto for irrigator) is our open source, solar powered rain barrel irrigator.

Meant to work in conjunction with gravity feed drip irrigation using water from a roof, irigaciilo is meant to reduce the burden of watering gardens and small farms and can be used in places where sun may be more plentiful than outlets.

This concoction will be used at Abolition Plaza this spring to provide water to several garden beds on the premises. This will be our main testing grounds for now. Though we have a couple other installations running in private spaces.

Irigaciilo has several versions, what we're using presently uses the following general recipe:


  • An enclosure
  • 25 W solar panel
  • A 14v recycled lithium battery from medical packs
  • A tiny charge controller module
  • Raspberry Pi 3-4
  • 12V solenoid
  • Sprinkler wire
  • Sustainable Irrigation Platform

The Raspberry Pi (a tiny linux powered computer) runs a version of the open source Sustainable Irrigation Platform to control a series of relays which in turn control solenoids which release water into the garden beds. Though we could in theory control up to 8 or so zones at a time with our set up, 1 is generally good enough for our purposes, controlling a single valve to release water to a number of different of garden beds simultaneously.

The software has a web interface for setting up a watering schedule and has an available android app which makes operation easy for those who don't typically lug their laptop out to the milpa.

For power the irigaciilo feeds off a small 25-50W solar panel connected to a charge controller which manages the charging of one of several different battery setups. We use repurposed lithium ion battery packs (built from 18650s) or new LifePo4 batteries to store the energy to run the controller and open the solenoids.

By this spring expect to see the irigaciilo available around Philly gardens and farms.

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