Author Topic: Irrigation - Getting Started  (Read 5430 times)

Pnuts

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Irrigation - Getting Started
« on: April 27, 2009, 05:42:22 pm »
In the next few months, I will be installing an Irrigation system in the next few months as I currently just have a garden hose. I have searched around the wiki and forums a bit and there does not seem to be a clear set of information for someone looking to include irrigation into their LinuxMCE setup. Infact, a search of the forums revealed very few recent topics on this subject, most of them are from around 2007.

What I want to do, is create a page similar to the Z-Wave page I did (Z-Wave Getting Started) but with irrigation in mind.

If anyone is willing to volunteer the information, I'll stick it on a wiki as I implement it. To get things started here are a few questions:

1. Is anything currently plug and play?

2. Choices for the control panel? I saw mention of Insteon, possibly a Z-Wave device and RS232. Would anyone specify some models they are using and have working in LinuxMCE?

3. Anything to consider from those that have it functional?

4. Soil moisture gauges. I saw mention on a few, does anyone have them working in LinuxMCE? maybe working with a control panel so LinuxMCE does not see it directly or interface with it but it does its job?

5. Any thing that possibly comes to mind for someone wanting to implement this? Anything that you learned while doing the implimentation that you wish you knew before you started?

6. a question I didnt ask that would be of value ot this project?

-Pnuts

tschak909

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Re: Irrigation - Getting Started
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2009, 06:39:09 pm »
At this point, any sprinkler valve that can be controlled via a relay port, can be connected to a large GC-100-12 or -18, and be controlled in this manner. Simply connect the device, make sure that the relay port is properly configured in the GC-100's web admin pages (make sure it is enabled, and note its port #), then go into LinuxMCE, make a new child of the GC-100, of type Generic Sprinkler Valve, put it in a room, for example "Outside" and put the Port # in the channel/Port field. You should also set the floorplan icon, so you can see it on the floorplan after you place it with the Floorplan Wizard.

You should then add an irrigation scenario or two, being sure to select the Irrigation wizard from the dropdown, and pick the valves you wish to turn on/off for that scenario.

Reload your router,

The system will ask to regenerate your orbiters, and you will see in your "Outside" room, a new set of buttons for your scenarios to control your sprinkler valves, as specified.

-Thom

Pnuts

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Re: Irrigation - Getting Started
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2009, 08:13:40 pm »
So doing it via this method would completely negate the need for a control panel for the sprinkers correct? It also limits you to 3 sprinkler valves per GC-100-12/18. At 299.95 this could get rather costly if i need more then 3 valves. It would also make it difficult to make use of the other functions of the GC-100-12/18 unless i ran the sprinkler relay wire to a media spot where i could use it. I guess this would seem like the optimal LMCE setup as the interface from LMCE to the sprinkler system is almost direct.

Does anyone have any alternatives with a control panel that they are currently using?

Im going to start searching around for some with serial ports or even maybe a RJ45. searching for Z-Wave simple brings up articles of companies working on it, but nothing released. These are outdated so im hoping something is out there.

So far I have found a serial controller: http://www.smarthomeusa.com/ShopByManufacturer/WGL/Item/RAIN8NET/
-- This one looks like a good alternative to a GC-100 as its cheaper and covers more relays.
---Ther eis also a listing for a rain sensor to work with this controller: http://www.smarthomeusa.com/ShopByManufacturer/WGL/Item/RS001/

Another kind of do it yourself controler via rs232: http://www.rgbled.org/sprinkler/index.html





tschak909

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Re: Irrigation - Getting Started
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2009, 08:22:25 pm »
Any Interface can be used, with a little elbow grease in Ruby, or C++.

Basically, your relays become child devices of "Generic Sprinkler Valve"

We also support the ability to dynamically create these devices if the device is able to report whether a relay is being used or not, etc. It all depends on the driver.

I specified the GC-100 _because_ it works now.

-Thom


Pnuts

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Re: Irrigation - Getting Started
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2009, 08:42:02 pm »
http://www.smarthome.com/31253/Rain8net-8-Zone-Irrigation-Controller-Irrigation-System-Controller/p.aspx

This looks like the same one i found above, but with a much better picture.

Krys, are you currently using this or just posting in response to options?

krys

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Re: Irrigation - Getting Started
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2009, 09:02:21 pm »
I dont have that one yet, although it would be at the top of my list since it is much more affordable than anything else that I have seen, plus since it communicates via RS232 it should be fairly easy to integrate.
-Krys

Pnuts

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Re: Irrigation - Getting Started
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2009, 09:23:35 pm »
agreed, especially with this doc: http://www.wgldesigns.com/protocols/rain8net_protocol.pdf

and this info:

Code: [Select]
Subject: Rain8 RS232PC

SERIAL PORT Initialization:

N-8-1 4800bps

COMMANDS:

Commands are single byte. When sending on/off, the valve number is stored in the lower 4 bits (1-8),
with the command (on/off) in the upper 4 (3 = ON & 4 = OFF).

Examples:

VALVE ON OFF
1 0x31 0x41
2 0x32 0x42
3 0x33 0x43
4 0x34 0x44
5 0x35 0x45
6 0x36 0x46
7 0x37 0x47
8 0x38 0x48

Using a terminal program like Hyperterm, set serial parameters to N-8-1 4800bps and select a COM port
that the Rain8 is connected to.
Send the number 1 (ascii 0x31) to turn on zone 1.
Send the letter A (ascii 0x41) to turn off zone 1.


The Rain8 will respond by echoing back command and turning on or off selected zone. The standard
Rain8PC allows up to four zones to be active at the same time. Zones are not interlocked unless
requested on special order.


SPECIAL COMMANDS:

Unlike on/off commands, ALL OFF and STATUS do not take valve numbers. These commands are single byte.

ALL OFF = 0x55
STATUS = 0xF0

ALL OFF will simply echo 0x55 back and turn off all zones that may have been active.

STATUS echos command then displays the current status of all eight zones. The format is bit
mapped with bit 0 = zone1, ... bit 7 = zone8. A set bit indicates the zone is active.

00000000b = all zones idle
00000001b = zone 1 on
00000010b = zone 2 on
00000100b = zone 3 on
00001000b = zone 4 on
00010000b = zone 5 on
00100000b = zone 6 on
01000000b = zone 7 on
10000000b = zone 8 on

tschak909

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Re: Irrigation - Getting Started
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2009, 09:26:09 pm »
easy enough. That can be written as a GSD in about 5 minutes by an experienced DCE device developer.. only a little longer for most programmers.

-Thom

krys

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Re: Irrigation - Getting Started
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2009, 11:16:44 pm »
So I heard your going rate was $150/hr... 150/60= 2.5   So I'll paypal you the $12.50 and you can get it set up.  ;D

J/K

I can handle the GSD portion, what I have been brainstorming on is the best way to set it all up as a system, vs. 8 individual valves.

Ex: do we really want to set up 8 valves and have events for all eight? or do we want to have a script or something that cycles through all the valves for a set amount of time, then have an event that calls on the script. If we do it with a script, how do we plan on changing the amount of time each valve is on (throughout the season I water different amounts)? We really need an easy user friendly way to configure the irrigation system so a person doesnt have to use the admin page to edit events every time they decide to change the frequency or length of their watering.

So I propose, either a new page for the admin site that is dedicated to sprinkler config, or just a standalone config page similar to mythweb. This page would have easy blanks and dropdown menus to set things like what day you want to water, and the amount of time you would like to spend on each zone. Im sure there are some open source controller programs with web interfaces like I am talking about, should we decide to go that route.

Thoughts?
-Krys

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Re: Irrigation - Getting Started
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2009, 11:28:11 pm »
So I propose, either a new page for the admin site that is dedicated to sprinkler config, or just a standalone config page similar to mythweb. This page would have easy blanks and dropdown menus to set things like what day you want to water, and the amount of time you would like to spend on each zone. Im sure there are some open source controller programs with web interfaces like I am talking about, should we decide to go that route.

We anxiously await your feature_patch ticket under http://svn.linuxmce.org

Pnuts

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Re: Irrigation - Getting Started
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2009, 11:39:07 pm »
Im still learning this vast system that is LMCE, but i was running with the idea of individual valves each as their own device. It seemed simple and within the pre defined means of setting it up within LMCE. More so something I could probably do and work on over time as its going to be a month atleast before I have the first valve in place.

If going another route, we need to keep in mind that there are 2ndary units that can be daisy chained for a little over 2000 valves (although up to 16 is more realistic for home automation).

Tying in other devices is an idea also, like a light detector to only run them at night, at sunset, or some type of soil sensor. Maybe you have problems with larger critters and a garden, motion detection to switch on the sprinkers for 10 seconds or so.   ;D

Since up to 4 relays can be in the on position at once, maybe using extra relays for other uses aside from sprinklers?

krys

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Re: Irrigation - Getting Started
« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2009, 11:59:04 pm »
Im still learning this vast system that is LinuxMCE, but i was running with the idea of individual valves each as their own device. It seemed simple and within the pre defined means of setting it up within LinuxMCE. More so something I could probably do and work on over time as its going to be a month atleast before I have the first valve in place.

That was my original thought also, but I currently have a controller on my system and this would be a step backwards for me. I think setting the valves up individually would be a quick and dirty way to do it at first, but would lack some of the functionality that one would want from a sprinkler system over time. For instance, I have 8 zones and want to run them all for 30 minutes, I would need two events for each zone (on/off) so you would have to set up events like this:
0400 zone_1_on
0430 zone_1_off
0430 zone_2_on
0500 zone_2_off
0500 zone_3_on
0530 zone_3_off
0530 zone_4_on
0600 zone_4_off
0600 zone_5_on
0630 zone_5_off
0630 zone_6_on
0700 zone_6_off
0700 zone_7_on
0730 zone_7_off
0730 zone_8_on
0800 zone_8_off

Thats alot of events, but not too much if you were going to leave it that way permanently. Now about mid June I start adding 10min every few weeks and eventually get up an hour at each zone. So each time I edit the amount of time I water I would have to edit each event...PITA. Plus if you want to double up on a dry week or miss a cycle on a rainy week there is no real good way to handle it.
In short, it could be done... but I think there might be a better solution I have just yet to come up with it.

tschak909

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Re: Irrigation - Getting Started
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2009, 12:05:10 am »
*thwap-krys-upside-the-head*

All we have to do is treat each valve as a separate device, anything else you want to do with devices after that point, you associate them in device groups (for grouped control on floorplan), and create events and criteria to do what you need.

-Thom

krys

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Re: Irrigation - Getting Started
« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2009, 03:35:26 pm »
I dont see how you group control on a floorplan would work in this situation... each valve needs to be independent of the others since only 1 valve can be open at a time. Maybe you could give me an example to clear it up?