Return to the Irrigation Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Computer controlled

Posted by elpicudo 7 (My Page) on
Sun, Mar 20, 05 at 0:35

Does anyone know or has had any experience with a computer controlled sprinkler system.
What I am looking for is being able to turn on off valuves from my PC.
What controller brand do you recommend. What I would really like is a controller with an Ethernet port.

Thanks


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Computer controlled

Although central controllers sound very enticing (PC controlled), they typically have no residential application - they are very cost prohibitive (expen$ive!!). Central controls have been created by manufacturers whose clients or target customer is municipalities with several parks, sports fields, golf courses etc. Centralizing the operation of several sites, as well as factoring in local weather conditions is the premise of most central controllers. Unless there has been a new offering from a manufacturer, I'm afraid there isn't much to suggest.

-Be well.


 o
RE: Computer controlled

thanks water man.


 o
RE: Computer controlled

Why not let the local weather stations in your area control your irrigation controller?? If this sounds of interest to you check out this link. These controllers are going to be the wave of the future because of water conservation issues becoming such a factor. These controllers receive envirotranspiration data from hundreds of your local weather stations daily via a paging system and translates the data into the water demand your grass needs.

http://hydropoint.com/


 o
RE: Computer controlled

El picudo (cool name)
I've been working on some open source software to control my sprinkler system (though I have the whole thing on pause until I get landscape to sprinkle). But the stuff I bought was cheap and easy to write software for.


 o
RE: Computer controlled

You can assemble a computer controlled system from parts (and they have kits) at smarthome.com I have a Nelson sprinkler controller, but a bunch of our lighting is controlled with X10 Power Line Carrier modules and a ~$100 USB interface/manager...I figured I might dabble in a few new computer controlled sprinkler circuits.


 o
RE: Computer controlled

This may be what you're looking for.

Here is a link that might be useful: Huner Pro C Controller


 o
RE: Computer controlled

Have you seen the Rain8net?


 o
RE: Computer controlled

The Rain8Net is precisely what I use in my software system. I'm actually working on version 2, since I got nearly no response from the open source community on it I'm likely do develop it as a closed source solution, but would be willing to give it away to anyone willing to play with it and beta-test.


 o
RE: Computer controlled

I would be very interested in beta-testing it!


 o
RE: Computer controlled

See this URL for an ethernet-based one, which is the only way to go in my mind, since the computer is unlikely to be where the irrigation controller is. But this one is $400, a tad pricey. The Chinese need to get on this. Any one know of a cheaper one?

Here is a link that might be useful: Ware Brothers


 o
RE: Computer controlled

There is one called Cyber-Rain. I bought it for $295. Its amazing. Check it out at www.cyber-rain.com. Great PC based sprinkler controller.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cyber-Rain Sprinkler Controller


 o
RE: Computer controlled

I have used X10 for the last three years to control my irrigation using a dedicated (old) laptop. No disasters yet. X10 by itself isn't super-reliable, but you can throw redundant commands at the problem to improve reliability. I'd like to add a flow meter to my system (to alarm for under and over flow rates--to indicate clogging or blown heads), but the last time I looked (18 months ago) there wasn't anything with a PC interface.


 o
RE: Computer controlled2

Update: I just found out that Irritrol has a wireless, PC compatible controller that you can buy online for about $300. I haven't tried it yet, but I did just place an order for one:
http://www.irritrol.com/pccontrol/


 o
RE: Computer controlled

I have been looking for a computer controlled timer. I find 300 or so a little to much to spend. I am looking at this one http://www.gwytech.ca/ that I found on the net. I like to know if anyone has any feedback on this one.


 o
RE: Computer controlled

I went ahead and ordered the PC Timer from Gwytech Systems and installed it without any problems. It is so easy to use with all the programming information in front of you at once. Here is the link to their demo program.

Here is a link that might be useful: PC Timer demo


 o
RE: Computer controlled

For anyone interested in computer controlled X-10 irrigation, WGL has FREE TIMER SOFTWARE that can be used with the WGL X-10 Rain8, Rain8II (two way)or any X-10 device. If you need internet control you can just use something like Go to My PC type software.

http://wgldesigns.com/rain8.html
The download is at the bottome of the page.


 o
RE: Computer controlled

I too have used the Cyber-Rain XCI system as was recommended by my landscaper. It was a very easy install and is unmatched in its ease of use. I've listed the URL below if you're interested.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cyber-Rain Sprinkler Controller


 o
RE: Computer controlled

here's one alternative for those with always-on Internet, its fairly inexpensive. Gives you seasonal and weather control. You'll need always-on internet though and you'll need a home network or wi-fi network. Seems like it would be good for water conservation. Lets me set up a cycle strictly for the garden. (search: LawnCheck and/or EtherRain)
regards,

Here is a link that might be useful: Internet Irrigation Schedule


 o
RE: Computer controlled

Here are a few suggestion.

Hunter Pro C, Hunter ICC with a weather station.
Hunter also has a 2 wire system ACC model.
Smart Line by Weathermatic.
Toro has a controller that communicates with a satellite it does come with a $50 fee.

Here is a link that might be useful: do it your self site


 o
RE: Computer controlled

Here's an in-between step. It's a online scheduling program.

Here is a link that might be useful: myWaterWatch


 o
RE: Computer controlled

Today I think there's a better option if you want computer controlled irrigation and thats Internet controlled lawn wateriing or irrigation.

With an internet sprinkler controller you can access and program using any Internet browser and it's easy and convenient. You don't need an always on computer and it's easy to set up schedules. I access my sprinklers now from my iphone, and it's easy, and I save water.

There's a few different good internet sprinkler controllers out there, but theres some hypy ones too. Just make sure you can access the controller from a standard internet browser, like the one you are now using to get the best deal.


 o
RE: Computer controlled

allyhammy,

Can you (or someone else) suggest one by providing a link or at least search criteria that would lead me to it?

The only one I can find with a built-in web based server is from ware engineering. The product seems good but their site looks abandoned. The products page has "out of stock" stamped over the "add to cart" button and there are many dead links to video descriptions of the products.


 o
RE: Computer controlled

After some more research, I found something that seems perfect. I bought the EtherRain8 controller. It's an 8 zone irrigation controller that's controlled by either a program run from your computer or over the internet via the LawnCheck website.

It does everything I could want from a programmable controller and more. When it's controlled from the LawnCheck website based on the schedules I set up, it can use local weather information to determine when to run (you can also hook up a local rain sensor).

It was easy for me to set up because I have my Verizon router in my garage within 3 feet of the irrigation controllers. I removed a 10 year old RainDial controller and then wired the EtherRain8 to the terminal board in the RainDial box. It worked out perfectly. I was also able to use the old RainDial power supply (24v transformer) to power the EtherRain8.

After setting up the controller, I set up an account on the LawnCheck site and set up a schedule program that takes into account Time, Days, Seasons, Rain and Temperatures. You can also program multiple short cycles per day to prevent run off.

It's a great concept. I'm surprised that it's not the biggest thing in landscape irrigation.

So far I've only run a local test but tomorrow will be the real test when it runs on its own.


 o
RE: Computer controlled

Follow-up:

It worked! So far so good. I'll follow-up in a month or so (unless things go bad).


 o
RE: Computer controlled

I'm thinking about purchasing the EtherRain8. How do you like it overall geobrick? Do you control it using a local website? Are there any additional monthly fees to operate it? Can you control it manually without a computer if need be? Is it difficult to setup?

Thanks!


 o
RE: Computer controlled

I have heard about the Cyber-Rain...seems like a great product.

I actually use the EZFlora from Simplehomenet. They use the Insteon protocol for communication, which is far more reliable than X10. They have a kit that gives you everything you need to get it set up here - http://www.simplehomenet.com/proddetail.asp?prod=Irrigation_Kit. The EZSrve is the automation gateway which has a really nice flash-based interface for setting up your irrigation from any computer connected to the network...and it can control lighting and any other home automation devices that are Insteon or even X10 based.

It's awesome and gives me ultimate flexibility to not be limited to only irrigation control.

Here is a link that might be useful: SimpleHomeNet Irrigation Controller Kit


 o
RE: Computer controlled

Craig90,
Sorry for the delayed follow-up. I now have two etherrain8 controllers with one rain sensor shared between them.

I'm still extremely happy with the system. I'm using an account on the lawncheck website to control them (it's free for homeowners). The programming offered on that site is very flexible. I'm lucky that my Ethernet connections are available in the garage near the irrigation controllers. Occasionally I'll use the etherrain administration software when I want to turn on a valve locally. I haven't tried the local scheduling software they offer.

Overall, I'm very satisfied with this system. It took some time but it all worked the first time without any issues. Also, the guy that seems to run the company is very good at answering questions when you email him. They have a forum with lots of info from the guy that runs the company but I don't think it's an active forum.


 o
RE: Computer controlled

Any luck connecting the Etherrain8 with a smart moisture system? Seems like they have rain sensors (which I question the value of in my dry climate), soil sensors (how many can it support at once?), but I didn't see any support for Infrared Moisture Sensors.

I'm wondering if you have an infrared moisture sensor if you really need to get it connected to the internet since it won't water if it doesn't need to. Why bother checking the generally inaccurate weather guy's if you know if the soil is dry.

I'm a huge nerd and all for connecting things to the internet, but I'm not sure that this one makes 100% sense. Thoughts?
D


 o
RE: Computer controlled

Hi Geobrick,

I tried sending you an email, but couldn't. Can you kindly contact me, I have a few questions about your setup. I am interested too

Thx
ciba401k@yahoo.com


 o
RE: Computer controlled

dny238,
I have not tried the etherrain8 with a smart moisture system. If the smart moisture system has the same type of interface as a rain sensor, it should work. If it's something more sophisticated than "on or off", then it won't work.

I like having it controlled over the internet so I don't have to leave a computer on to run the software locally. Another added benefit was that the lawncheck website notified me by email when my controllers weren't responding to commands. Turns out the GFCI circuit they are powered from was tripped off.

The etherrain8 is one of my favorite purchases ever. It does everything I thought it would and more. It's right up there with the ReplayTV DVRs I bought in 2003.


 o
RE: Computer controlled

It's been just over a year since I started using the Etherrain8 controllers. I'm convinced this is the best way to control your sprinklers (assuming you have internet access).

Set it and forget it. I've tweaked the program settings to the point where I don't have to think about it any more.


 o
RE: Computer controlled

I created this service about a month ago and have been using it to irrigate our garden. It is far more accurate than using a traditional timer and rain switch and costs about the same (or less).

I am looking for beta testers to install and use the service. All hardiness zones are welcome! We really need some people with multi-zone setups or complicated watering plans to put it to the test.

Here is a link that might be useful: Virtual Rain Sensor


 o
RE: Computer controlled irrigation

I have a zoned irrigation system with a "control box" outside. I have a flower bed zone and a lawn zone. I travel a lot and need to react to weather at home to increase or decrease times. I have many many flower beds.
I also get tired of running outside to run it again on really severe days or adjust zones.
I'm willing to pay for the right thing, I just need to find it. Is there a small professional package that is out there? Or a residential one that I'm not finding?
I really would appreciate any suggestions. Thanks.


 o
RE: Computer controlled

Hi,

For an affordable computer controller irrigation system you can check our controller:

http://irrigationcaddy.com

I hope some of you might find it useful.

Thanks


 o
RE: Computer controlled

Hi,

I recommend my open-source sprinkler timer, available at:

http://opensprinkler.com

Thanks.

-Ray

Here is a link that might be useful: OpenSprinkler


 o
RE: Computer controlled

This is just a follow up for the PC Timer that I purchased some time back.

The company now has some smart irrigation software that I've been using since early spring. The software (ET Basic) has work very well for me and has kept my lawn nice even in this hot and very dry summer. I really like that there are no system access or data fees. The software receives daily weather data from a nearby weather station. In the near future I will be adding my own weather station to this system.

Here is a link that might be useful: Smart Irrigation System


 o
Computer controlled

Check out HydroFLASH, computer and cloud based Sprinkler and light controller that you can also operate from your smartphone. The apps are free. Uses weather data from the internet to monitor rain and automatically set to rain delay. Also controls lights inside and outside your home. Very flexible and great online support!

Also on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hydroflash-Sprinkler-Light-Controller/543953602292535

Here is a link that might be useful: HydroFLASH


 o
RE: Computer controlled

Here is another one: RainMachine.
Weather based with free data.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Forecast Sprinkler


 o
RE: Computer controlled

I beg to differ. I've used BlueSpray (beta), and I think it's going to beat all other controllers out there. Wireless built-in, unlimited programs, unlimited start times, extremely flexible and easy programming. Oh yeah, the GUI is the best, IMO.

Here is a link that might be useful: BlueSpray controller


 o
RE: Computer controlled

Going on 4 years with the etherrain8 system and I rarely have to think about it. I've been using their lawncheck website to control it and never had an issue. It's a great system. I haven't looked into the other systems people posted about here more recently because I'm happy with my set up but the one with built-in wifi could be a benefit to some people. In my case, I have my whole house wired for Ethernet because I find wifi unreliable and too slow (though speed is not an issue for this type of system). I also had the convenience of having Ethernet access within a few feet of the irrigation controls because the house happened to be set up with the main cable and phone connections coming into the house at that point.. For those that need to use wifi, there are wifi bridges that can be used to hookup to the etherrain8.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Irrigation Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here