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  • Do rain8net controllers work?

    Hi all

    I need to buy a controller for a small farm, approx 25 zones and would really like it to be compatible with home seer

    I see there are quite a few posts referring to difficulties with the controller, but to some extent that is the nature of the forum - people write in with problems

    Can anyone comment positively re the controller - if so what did it take to get it all working reliably.

    Are there any other home seer compatible controllers which are well regarded?

    Is the rain8net pro device any better than the regular rain8net?

    Thanks for you advice in advance.

    Chris

  • #2
    I'm one of those who wrote in with problems, so take that for what it's worth. Some people swear by the Rain8, some like me had nothing but trouble with them.

    One thing to consider is where you'll locate the controllers. If all can be located relatively close to the HomeSeer PC then any of the available controllers might be okay. An Ethernet controller such as EtherRain or OpenSprinkler has a limitation of 100 meters from the nearest switch. Serial controllers also have their limitations. In either case you'll get better reliability if you can run each zone's solenoid wiring close to the computer and keep the distance short between computer and controller.

    I'm not sure how much cost is a factor for you, but EtherRain is pretty expensive when you start adding more zones. Rain8 is a close second. I found that OpenSprinlker is cheapest when adding multiple units, but it's also the least proven technology.
    HS Pro 3.0 | Linux Ubuntu 16.04 x64 virtualized under Proxmox (KVM)
    Hardware: Z-NET - W800 Serial - Digi PortServer TS/8 and TS/16 serial to Ethernet - Insteon PLM - RFXCOM - X10 Wireless
    Plugins: HSTouch iOS and Android, RFXCOM, BlueIris, BLLock, BLDSC, BLRF, Insteon PLM (MNSandler), Device History, Ecobee, BLRing, Kodi, UltraWeatherWU3
    Second home: Zee S2 with Z-Wave, CT101 Z-Wave Thermostat, Aeotec Z-Wave microswitches, HSM200 occupancy sensor, Ecolink Z-Wave door sensors, STI Driveway Monitor interfaced to Zee S2 GPIO pins.

    Comment


    • #3
      While my implementation hasn't been in for too long, I have no issues with reliability so far and my rain8net+ modules are in my pool shed some 70 feet from my house. I use an eithernet over poweline to a GC IP2SL and all seems fine. Mind you, I had a terrible time at first since mcsSprinker wouldn't communicate directly to the GC IP2SL. I ended up having to use a serial port emulator provided by GC, then created a FireDaemon service out of the application (as my HS is a service). Works fine ... now all it has to do is last a long time!

      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


      • #4
        I will say that while my Rain8's worked, they worked very well. Being in the lightning capitol of the world, I'm wondering if I didn't just take a few surges.
        HS Pro 3.0 | Linux Ubuntu 16.04 x64 virtualized under Proxmox (KVM)
        Hardware: Z-NET - W800 Serial - Digi PortServer TS/8 and TS/16 serial to Ethernet - Insteon PLM - RFXCOM - X10 Wireless
        Plugins: HSTouch iOS and Android, RFXCOM, BlueIris, BLLock, BLDSC, BLRF, Insteon PLM (MNSandler), Device History, Ecobee, BLRing, Kodi, UltraWeatherWU3
        Second home: Zee S2 with Z-Wave, CT101 Z-Wave Thermostat, Aeotec Z-Wave microswitches, HSM200 occupancy sensor, Ecolink Z-Wave door sensors, STI Driveway Monitor interfaced to Zee S2 GPIO pins.

        Comment


        • #5
          I lost two Rain8net's in a lightning storm a few years back. They had been running for about 8 years or so via an RS-232 cat5e cable from the Digi Edgeport in the basement to the garage Rainbird box. That said mostly because of their small footprint purchased two more and they have been fine so far. I have 10 zones so second one is only being utilized for 2 zones. Today the two are connected to a Seagate Dockstar running Arch Linux MCSSprinklers off a 2GB CF card.
          - 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
            I've been using 3 Rain8Net controllers for about 5 years. I had a problem with the serial connection that turned out to be caused by my serial server. I now have them connected with a USB adapter. No problems at all with the Rain8s.

            If you have 25 zones, you'll need 4 units. They have capacity for only 8 zones per unit.
            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

            Comment


            • #7
              As a general rule I prefer the IP interface since every computer has one of those and is well supported natively in every OS. Serial was good when we had native serial ports, but with adapters there is just one more variable. The EtherRain, if its operating constraints are acceptable, would be my first choice for a new install.

              Reidfo is pioneering a more DIY solution with OpenSprinkler. I hope it turns out well.

              In my case I use the original Rain8 X10 since 2004 and have had no issues. I have no lightning concerns so my electronics do not tend to get fried.

              The Rain8 family provides may connectivity options so somthing like a distant location over powerline with Rain8UPB could be a good choice. The only Rain8 I did not like was the Wireless which was a X10 RF driven by CM17A. The signal was just not reliable enough for my taste.

              Comment


              • #8
                I'm very happy so far with my Etherrain.
                I just have 4 zones though but its nice to have such a simple ip connection.
                With mscsprinklers it does everything I need.
                HSPro on a Supermicro Atom|Z-Net
                Elo touchscreen client, Android Phones and Tablets, Xbox One
                Global Cach/Ultra-GCIR | Etherrain | Jon00 | Sonos | Blue Iris | URC Whole Home Remotes | Philips Hue | Nest | Grandstream | Leviton | Aeon Labs | Cooper | Kwikset | Evolve | Envisalink/DSC | Amazon Alexa/IFTT

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by reidfo View Post
                  One thing to consider is where you'll locate the controllers. If all can be located relatively close to the HomeSeer PC then any of the available controllers might be okay. An Ethernet controller such as EtherRain or OpenSprinkler has a limitation of 100 meters from the nearest switch.
                  Well maybe, if you are using CAT5 or CAT6 cable. An Ethernet fiber link will run over a mile; (Ethernet fiber media converters than can drive 100BaseT 2 kilometers are $50 ea) Several of my customers are using WiFi and "can-tenna" type antennas going 500 to 1000 feet, reliably. "Can-tenna" used to be the realm of the hobbyist but now there are some commercially established narrow beam WiFi antenna suppliers that offer very long range WiFi, again reliably. They supply the agriculture market where fields are being automated. Technology marches on!

                  Also, if it's a farm and your irrigation impacts your crop yield and therefore your income you should pay attention to design for lightning and surges including establishing a high quality ground, and you should have a budget for on-hand spares or a backup system.

                  Jim

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Jim,

                    Funny you mention irrigation / crop yield et al.

                    I was looking at the irrigation of a small XX acre landscaping company just a few weeks ago. There was no automation that I could see; just folks turn on and off water valves all over the place.

                    I was impressed with a staging area that the landscaping company had installed. The subject of automation came up while I purchased a new "tree" to replace an weather/storm damaged tree.

                    This and last year while helping a friend build a home 3.5 miles from nearest town on his farm I suggested a 3.5 mile internet pipe from his apartment buildings in town to his new home. (easy and cheap today).
                    Last edited by Pete; August 17th, 2012, 10:56 AM.
                    - 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


                    • #11
                      What I like about this thread and the board in general is the positive focus. While it still may leave the reader in a quandry as to what to do, it does not derate specific products or individuals as is common in other media outlets.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Michael McSharry View Post
                        What I like about this thread and the board in general is the positive focus. While it still may leave the reader in a quandry as to what to do, it does not derate specific products or individuals as is common in other media outlets.
                        Well said Michael. After all, this is supposed to be fun. This board is the main reason I purchased HomeSeer and continue to support HST.
                        HS Pro 3.0 | Linux Ubuntu 16.04 x64 virtualized under Proxmox (KVM)
                        Hardware: Z-NET - W800 Serial - Digi PortServer TS/8 and TS/16 serial to Ethernet - Insteon PLM - RFXCOM - X10 Wireless
                        Plugins: HSTouch iOS and Android, RFXCOM, BlueIris, BLLock, BLDSC, BLRF, Insteon PLM (MNSandler), Device History, Ecobee, BLRing, Kodi, UltraWeatherWU3
                        Second home: Zee S2 with Z-Wave, CT101 Z-Wave Thermostat, Aeotec Z-Wave microswitches, HSM200 occupancy sensor, Ecolink Z-Wave door sensors, STI Driveway Monitor interfaced to Zee S2 GPIO pins.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The EZ Flora controller is insteon based and you can extend the placement of of the controller over the powerline fairly far away, much futher than x10, without having to pull ET cable. Its two-way and the message delivery is managed internally by the devices.

                          We get a reasonable amount of lightning here and haven't had and problems with that.

                          Here is a pic of a 14 zone system with 2 mastervalves, If you zone wiring required it, you could put the ezfloras any where you needed them

                          Paul

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Paul, great stuff there!

                            The master valves are the water valves for the manifolds?

                            I remember many years ago ripping apart my Rainbird ESP controller and using a multimeter just to "check" so see what I could do with it. No luck with that. I then wrote to them asking them if they had some sort of serial module that I could hook up to my ESP system. This all lead to a DIY with a serially controlled controller (but now this was many years ago); but not the days of arcnet or vampire clamp networks.
                            - 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


                            • #15
                              Pete, yes there are two master valves for my system, one at each manifold. Each EZrain loses one zone to automatically trigger the mastervalve.

                              Ironically, my server is now mounted to that same piece of plywood so I could have used some sort of usb or serial IO solution to trigger the valves instead. However I don't regret chosing the ez rains and the cost is not that high given how i have had no trouble with it at all. As soon as I completely remove X10 from my system, probably later this year, I may move the server again and will not have any dependencies there.
                              Paul

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