Project help needed: remote garden sprinkler.

HI, I am designing a remote sprinkler system for my mother and I need some help. I already have the arduino controlling the sprinkler on and off using a visual basic program but I want to allow her to activate the device from out of the house. This is the part I need help with This is my plan... using an Ethernet shield have the arduino check a gmail account for the newest email message every couple seconds. She can send a text message to an email address using her cell phone with an "ON" or "OFF" command. When the arduino reads the message if it says "ON" turn the sprinkler on, if it says "OFF" turn it off. Also I want the arduino to send her an email to let her know the device is on.

I am new to networking the arduino and I have no clue how to make it read gmail emails. If anyone can guide me or give me links to resources that would be great. All input is greatly appreciated.

(NOTE) she does not have a smartphone so an app wouldn't work, but she can send and receive texts.) (using she can send recive emails as texts)


Please give more detail about how you are using arduion with a visual basic program.
Which arduion do you have,
can you give a url for your wifi board?

Thanks for the quick response, When I set up the new gmail checking service I am going to remove the PC software, its just so she can remotely activate the device for right now. I don't own my own Ethernet adapter yet, because I wanted to see what the difference between them are. Would you suggest a wifi shield for this situation? The home has a very good wireless router.


Sorry, I have no worthwhile experience with the wifi shields. You did not really answer my other two questions.

Haha, sorry, I read this fast before going out. I have the arduino Uno. And the Vis Basic program Is unimportant because I want to completely remove it, right now It needs to be connected via USB to the main computer to activate the sprinkler, using a VERY long USB type-b cable.

Any phone can receive emails through the carriers email to text gateway which can convert the emails to text messages, but are you sure that a feature phone can actually use outbound SMS messages to actually text to an email address? I'd check that first before proceeding down this path.

If not, you could use the google calendar to schedule the sprinkler on/off events, including multiple repeating events and then have google calendar send an email/text reminder for the event. But you still have to read the email using something like pop.

Alternatively you could use a web browser. (my preference) Then the sprinkler could be programmed from a PC/MAC/tablet. (or smart phone) using a standard web browser. Here is an open source project for doing that as well as some components for the hardware: Then there is this one that is prebuilt. Not as much fun but it is more of a finished commercial type product:

--- bill


why dont you just use a Arduino GSM unit ontop of the R3 you currently have? It can accept a sms and do what you want from there?

I have one setup that I can SMS the delay between switching on and off on each zone etc..... Otherwise try this out: