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  • Where to start?

    I currently have what I think is a fairly large irrigation system installed (about 150 heads total). I use all Rainbird controllers, 3 (8-zone) units and 1 (24-zone) unit. I'm thinking of switching over to HS control but I'm not sure if I can or how to do it. Which controllers/plug-ins to use? It would be so nice to control the system remotely instead of having to trudge outside at all hours due to changing weather conditions. The rain sensors I installed work sporadically at best.

    Also, I have part of the system supplied from a lake and the other coming off a well. Don't think this is really an issue though as the only pump relay involved is on the 24-zone controller coming from the lake.

    Can someone please point me in the right direction?

  • #2
    It seems to me that you have 4 independent controllers which implies to me that they may be geographically dispersed. If I'm correct your first issue is how to get control signals to the controller. Wired connections such as RS-232, wirelesss such as WiFi when power is avaialble, or the powerline itself are traditional options. There are other proprietary products as well.

    From a control perspetive you will not find anything more capable than mcsSprinkelrs. It can be run as a Homeseer plugin or a standalone application on a PC. http://board.homeseer.com/showthread.php?t=103311 It should also be avaialble this year integrated into a low power processor and run without dependence on a 24/7 PC and have a footprint smaller than your existing rainbird controllers with worldwide acess via internet.

    The multiple locations, pump etc are all built into the mcsSprinlkers control model. The hardware primarily used by mcsSprinkelrs is the Rain8 family which can be wired, WiFi, or powerline to connect from the control computer to the controller(s). Combinations of these are also possible.

    Your 48 zones is more than the typical Homeseer user, but modest for some of the commercial sites that are being controlled with mcsSprinklers. Since you just replacing existing controllers your layout and distribution issues are behind you. With a well it is desirable to keep the well running during irrigation rather than cyclcling on and off. mcsSprinklers can be setup to irrigate zones in parallel until the well capacity is reached thus keeping it runnning with minimal cycling.

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    • #3
      You can also incorporate a weather station into Michael's excellent mcsSprinklers app. I use the Davis Vantage Pro2 weather station with mcsSprinklers on Homeseer. His program takes full advantage of the UV Index and Solar Radiation values from the weather station to calculate soil moisture, thus modifying the watering amounts automatically.
      Mike

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      • #4
        I also heartily endorse mcsSprinklers. I am running the pro version independently of HS rather than as a plug-in, since it doesn't require HS capability to operate, and I'm trying to keep my HS computer unencumbered by other applications. (I do have the two communicate with one another using xAP.)

        I have been very impressed with the capability of the program, its reliability, and especially with Michael's excellent support.
        Mike____________________________________________________________ __________________
        HS3 Pro Edition 3.0.0.548

        HW: Stargate | NX8e | CAV6.6 | Squeezebox | PCS | WGL 800RF, Rain8Net+ | RFXCOM | QSE100D | Vantage Pro | Green-Eye | X10: XTB-232, -IIR | Edgeport/8 | Way2Call | Ecobee3

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        • #5
          I've been using mcsSprinklers for a few years now.

          I started originally with a Rainbird setup / rain sensor installed by a Sprinkler company. During the installation I hung around and had them install multiple runs of PVC to utilize for other HA/landscaping lighting type stuff. Initially tried to figure out a way to "tap" into the Rainbird controllers; even trying to get a schematic for the Rainbird controller.

          It was the ESP controller with submodules for the zones. I have 10 zones with 5 heads on each zone (only 50 heads). The first thing I did was rewire my zones so that they made sense to me. I documented said wiring. The manifold was set up as a one for all zones so that the box had all of the wires going to it. It was adjacent to the house with one multilead cable running from one side of the house along the house exterior walls around 25 feet; then into the basement across the ceiling of the basement between the rafters across the entire house and into the garage Rainbird box (about 50-75 feet or so). I redid the plumbing such that I moved all of the main water supply in to one section of the basement / added a water meter at the point where the sprinkler water supply left the house. I wanted a cabled RS-232 solution via Rain8's so I ran a new Cat5e from the Leviton panel (Digi RS-232 box) to the Rain8's. I put the Rain8's in the same box that the Rainbird ESP controller was sitting in. I connected the old Rainbird Rain sensor to a DS10A; but don't really utilize it. Its like a sponge mechanism which stays wet for days after a rain I never adjusted it so it doesn't really go on at the first sign of rain (that is why I utilize the Rain Bucket)

          Tested it with the Rain8 tester, then installed mcsSprinklers Pro. Its been working fine for me as a plugin with HSPro. I utilize the rain bucket sensor if mcsSprinklers needs to shut off during rain. Adding a water meter gives me another option and method to shut off the water sprinkler system if needed. I have a friend who is a plumber that helped me with the copper. There is an art to soldering of copper water pipes. Think it was about 2 years from the date which I bought the water meters (installed two) until I installed them. Inside the Rainbird box have a Cheaper RFID receiver and DS10, below it is a combo 1-wire temp/humidity sensor and a small POE/Wireless access point (its built for hotel rooms).

          Here's a picture of my setup.





          Last edited by Pete; February 26th, 2011, 03:26 PM.
          - Pete

          Auto mator
          Homeseer 3 Pro - 3.0.0.534 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e 64 bit Intel Haswell CPU - Mono 6.4X
          Homeseer Zee2 (Lite) - 3.0.0.534 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e - CherryTrail x5-Z8350 BeeLink 4Gb BT3 Pro - Mono 6.4X

          X10, UPB, Zigbee, ZWave and Wifi MQTT automation.

          Comment


          • #6
            So how does the rain8 integrate with the rainbird? or does it?
            I'm looking into this as I moved into a house which already has a rain8 setup.
            The unit is in the poolshed some 70 feet behind the house. I need to consider how I'm going to talk to it as well. I can't see any reason why not to consider wired x-10, but perhaps someone can suggest another way.

            Any suggestions as to what I need to get started would be great. I also like the idea of tying it into current weather conditions - though, I don't have any weather station connected to my HS setup. I'm thinking it should be possible to get alot of this information from the web ???

            Robert
            HS3PRO 3.0.0.500 as a Fire Daemon service, Windows 2016 Server Std Intel Core i5 PC HTPC Slim SFF 4GB, 120GB SSD drive, WLG800, RFXCom, TI103,NetCam, UltraNetcam3, BLBackup, CurrentCost 3P Rain8Net, MCsSprinker, HSTouch, Ademco Security plugin/AD2USB, JowiHue, various Oregon Scientific temp/humidity sensors, Z-Net, Zsmoke, Aeron Labs micro switches, Amazon Echo Dots, WS+, WD+ ... on and on.

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            • #7
              So how does the rain8 integrate with the rainbird? or does it?
              It doesn't other than I'm using the Rainbird box for my Rain8's.

              I guess you could try running a Cat5 cable to the pool shed, use powerline networking or wireless?

              I use both the Web and my weather station for my sprinkler system.
              - Pete

              Auto mator
              Homeseer 3 Pro - 3.0.0.534 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e 64 bit Intel Haswell CPU - Mono 6.4X
              Homeseer Zee2 (Lite) - 3.0.0.534 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e - CherryTrail x5-Z8350 BeeLink 4Gb BT3 Pro - Mono 6.4X

              X10, UPB, Zigbee, ZWave and Wifi MQTT automation.

              Comment


              • #8
                The unit is in the poolshed some 70 feet behind the house. I need to consider how I'm going to talk to it as well. I can't see any reason why not to consider wired x-10, but perhaps someone can suggest another way.

                Any suggestions as to what I need to get started would be great. I also like the idea of tying it into current weather conditions - though, I don't have any weather station connected to my HS setup. I'm thinking it should be possible to get alot of this information from the web ???
                Since you did not specify which Rain8 version you have I will assume the X10 one. Powerline should work fine if you take the standard X10 environment precautions for filtering out equipment that could induce noise on the powerline.

                If you have a good line-of-sight then 70 ft may be close enough to go WiFi if you do not want to add cables for something like a Rain8Net. The same approach could be used if you have noise issues with X10 and you want to move a CM11A to the shed to run only the Rain8X10.

                The web makes for a very good source of weather data. You do not need to do any maintenance of the local weatherstation. It is kind of like carpooling to work vs. driving your own car. You will want the web data for forecasts anyway.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thanks Michael.

                  I meant to say I had a Rainbird and gather I need to replace it with a Rain8.
                  I run my HS sole on X-10 and have not had any problems with noise so far. Though, I'm wondering if X-10 will still be good enough back at the shed. Also, I only moved in in October - saying that, I'm also curious if the 1 hp pool pump will cause any issues. I use the TI103 as my interface btw.
                  Does the X-10 rain8 use a PSC05 to communicate with it - much like my TXB16B thermostat?

                  Which unit supports the wifi? - the rain8net? I don't want to run a cable way out back to the shed if I can help it...

                  Robert
                  HS3PRO 3.0.0.500 as a Fire Daemon service, Windows 2016 Server Std Intel Core i5 PC HTPC Slim SFF 4GB, 120GB SSD drive, WLG800, RFXCom, TI103,NetCam, UltraNetcam3, BLBackup, CurrentCost 3P Rain8Net, MCsSprinker, HSTouch, Ademco Security plugin/AD2USB, JowiHue, various Oregon Scientific temp/humidity sensors, Z-Net, Zsmoke, Aeron Labs micro switches, Amazon Echo Dots, WS+, WD+ ... on and on.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The Rain8X10-2 uses the PCS05 to connect to the powerline. The TI-103 interface via HS will work for this.

                    You can also use the powerline with UPB to avoid the noise issues. Even if you have UPB already with HS, you still need another UPB PIM on the PC for mcsSprinklers. You also need a UPB PIM on the Rain8UPB side just as you need the PCS05 for the Rain8X10-2.

                    The shed may be to far away for b/g band so it just depends upon obstructions and whre you router is with respect to the shed. n band can handle it well, but I am not aware of any WiFi/Serial devices that use the newer WiFi standard. If WiFi works for you then you will want the Rain8Net which provides a serial RS-232 interface and then a WiFi/RS-232 adapter. With V2.11 of mcsSprinklers there will support for the Etherrain which is an IP interface, but you still need a WiFi access point if you do not want to run cables. At least it will be easier to find than a WiFi/RS-232.

                    The plan of attack I woul take is try some X10 appliance modules in the shed and see how they work. Put an X10 filter on the pool pump if necessary. Noise comes from the things you dont expect so the pump may not be a problem. A little switching power supply wallwart might be a culprit to give an example of the unexpected.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thanks again Michael. You've given lots of good information. With respect to the wifi setup, I'm confused as to what models I need. Is there an wifi adapter specifically for the rain8net? Is this what I need - WGL-20034 WGL RAIN8NET 8 Zone Serial Sprinkler Controller Master.

                      Ideally, X-10 seems the cheapest solution and so I will investigate my X-10 to the shed. You're probably right that the pump would likely cause less issue than a switching power supply. Should I need to filter it, I'm not sure how to filter the 240 volt suppy line.

                      A lamp module or appliance module don't make use of extended x-10 command testing, can someone suggest a more robust test?

                      Robert
                      HS3PRO 3.0.0.500 as a Fire Daemon service, Windows 2016 Server Std Intel Core i5 PC HTPC Slim SFF 4GB, 120GB SSD drive, WLG800, RFXCom, TI103,NetCam, UltraNetcam3, BLBackup, CurrentCost 3P Rain8Net, MCsSprinker, HSTouch, Ademco Security plugin/AD2USB, JowiHue, various Oregon Scientific temp/humidity sensors, Z-Net, Zsmoke, Aeron Labs micro switches, Amazon Echo Dots, WS+, WD+ ... on and on.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        WiFi/RS-232 are generic devices. The WF2SL from Global Cache iTach series sold in the Homeseer Store is an example for around $100. I have seen WiFi/RS-232 for the $50 range from China, but dont know where I ran across it. Not too much in the surplus maket for WiFi as there is for wired IP. WiFi just was not around in the 1990's.

                        I believe you are correct on the WGL model number for the variant that uses RS-232. There is a Pro version of that product that does not work with IP/Serial devices that support only TTL rather than true RS-232 voltage levels. The Lantronix EPS series is only 3.5V TTL and does not work with the Rain8net PRO.

                        If you use a 2-way X10 device such as the AM14A appliance or LM14A lamp and define it in mcsSprinklers as an X10-2 irrigation valve then you can run the communication test which is a stress test over time where failure data is maintained. You can also setup a script in HS to command and poll status and look for when there is a mismatch.

                        Dont know about filters for 240V. Martin at Automated Outlet in the past has a program to lend X10 meters to help customers run down sources of noise. That program may still be available. You could also but the meter if X10 is your technology of choice.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          You could also increase the X10 reach (if you decide on keeping it) by amplifying it with an XTB amp. My base (even I have UPB, ZWave and Insteon) primarily still is in the X10 world and the XTB amp continues to do its job.

                          So I guess you would have to address preferences or mechanisms of transport, cost, least invasive versus most invasive, wireless versus wired and most of all what you would be most comfortable working with. Personally my preference is a wired connection, then maybe using powerline and finally using some sort of wireless mechanism.

                          Propagation of wireless G even in the house with three AP's varies a lot lately. (up to six little 24/7 wireless whatevers with built in wireless antennas don't do that well). Laptops & tablets do just fine though.
                          - Pete

                          Auto mator
                          Homeseer 3 Pro - 3.0.0.534 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e 64 bit Intel Haswell CPU - Mono 6.4X
                          Homeseer Zee2 (Lite) - 3.0.0.534 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e - CherryTrail x5-Z8350 BeeLink 4Gb BT3 Pro - Mono 6.4X

                          X10, UPB, Zigbee, ZWave and Wifi MQTT automation.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Thanks Pete on this. I didn't realize an xtb amp existed. I'll need to test and see how my X-10 is back in the shed. I don't want to run wires and so it appears if I need - to enhance the x-10 signal or investigate the wifi solutions. Speaking of which, the rs232 wifi seems interesting. Never knew that you could convert wifi to rs232. So does this just sit on the your network (fixed IP I'm guessing) and all communication is rs232 commands over wifi? I suppose mcsSprinkler just manages all this....?? If you are just talking rs232 then why do you need the rain8net as appose to just the rain8?

                            The things you learn on here

                            Rob
                            HS3PRO 3.0.0.500 as a Fire Daemon service, Windows 2016 Server Std Intel Core i5 PC HTPC Slim SFF 4GB, 120GB SSD drive, WLG800, RFXCom, TI103,NetCam, UltraNetcam3, BLBackup, CurrentCost 3P Rain8Net, MCsSprinker, HSTouch, Ademco Security plugin/AD2USB, JowiHue, various Oregon Scientific temp/humidity sensors, Z-Net, Zsmoke, Aeron Labs micro switches, Amazon Echo Dots, WS+, WD+ ... on and on.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hi Robert,

                              Hope all is well with the filters I sent you. On another note, I would suggest not trying X10 Powerline communication to your poolshed.
                              The 1 hp Pool pump would probably affect the reliability of X10 communication going 70+ feet. I have run across this issue with the X10 in My shed during Christmas. I power some of my Christmas
                              light display out of my shed. The X10 switches won't work while the lights are on. And that is just a resistive load. The pump is an inductive load , which is worse.

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