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Rain8 setup

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  • Rain8 setup

    Small question.
    I'm going to setup some home automation for my irrigation.

    Would this work;
    Rain8 (standard or need the rain8net?)
    A few Torro solenoids
    And of course HomeSeer

    Do I need x10 for this to work or can it work on serial (rs232) or USB?

  • #2
    someone will chime in...

    I have a rain8 that I am not using yet..
    but from what I read.. you can program the unit and have it run without homeseer.
    you can simply tell it what time to turn on what zone and for how long. then when it is set plug it in and go...

    so theoretically it has its own time management built in.. valves are connected to it so no need for x10.

    I believe the benefit is you can walk around with a palm pad and turn zones on/off.. or from HS Touch... you can do more.. set many schedules, etc.. without having to reprogram the unit every time..

    I know our area always does water scheduling.. and they change it on us... so easier to just change a HS event...

    but if im wrong someone will chime in..

    and im {Subscribed}
    HW - i5 4570T @2.9ghz runs @11w | 8gb ram | 128gb ssd OS - Win10 x64

    HS - HS3 Pro Edition

    Plugins - BLRF | Concord 4 | HSBuddy 3.9.605.5 | HSTouch Server | RFXCOM | X10 | Z-Wave

    Hardware - EdgePort/4 DB9 Serial | RFXCOM 433MHz USB Transceiver | Superbus 2000 for Concord 4 | TI103 X-10 Interface | WGL Designs W800 RF | Z-Net Z-Wave Interface


    • #3
      I'm a little currious about the different Rain8s.
      Rain8 x10
      Rain8 UPB (and Pro)
      Rain8net - RS232 (and Pro)

      I only have 3 solenoids I want to control, do I need x10? o.0
      They all seem to have serial ports anyhow.


      • #4
        You can autoprogram the timers. Then remote turn on a zone and let it run automatically.

        Here is what my mcsSprinkler shows. I think you can also do this with the diagnostic/test WGL provided program.

        I utilize the palm pad to manually turn on and off zones in the spring water season start and fall shutdown for testing the sprinkler heads.

        I have been using the standard Rain8net's now close to 10 years.

        First installation was via RS-232 from basement HS location (server area) to garage via cat5e to legacy Rainbird box. Current installation is utilizing same wire repurposed now for network connectivity to a Seagate Dockstar running the software in Arch Linux. (mcsSprinklers for Linux).

        Each controller will work with up to 8 zones. For three zones you would require one controller.

        Attached is a picture of the Rain8net timers configuration and the touchscreen configuration for mcsSprinklers. You can also create a simple HSTouch interface with on and off buttons and scheduling via events et al.
        Attached Files
        Last edited by Pete; January 29th, 2013, 09:35 AM.
        - Pete

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

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


        • #5
          So... the question remains...

          Which Rain8 to buy? (and why)
          What protocols can I use? (and why)


          • #6
            Personally I like the Rain8Net original with serial RS-232 connection as my preference.


            1 - Rain8net - Simple basic model
            2 - Because I prefer a direct wire approach.

            An upgrade to Linux was easiest with RS-232 (for me).

            Its really a matter of preference and mechanism of transport/control per user.

            They all function in a similiar way.

            I am not sure if all of the Homeseer applications/plugins also work with multiple means of transport to the Rain8's.

            Here I rain Cat5E to my rainbird box when I first had the sprinkler system installed by a Rainbird authorized dealer. I have AC power adjacent to the Rainbird box and can also utilize X10 and UPB as I have both in the house.

            Attached is a picture of my original setup from around 10 years ago. Its very basic; one wire for RS-232 and the solenoid/power cabling.

            Second picture is of my Rain8net set up today. I have added DC voltage for the Seagate Dockstar and a network connection.

            After around 7 years I did have a lightning strike take out the two Rain8Net controllers. That said it really would not have mattered which type of Rain8Net was utilized as the lightning voltage most likely came from the area of the manifold/solenoids.
            Attached Files
            Last edited by Pete; January 29th, 2013, 10:52 AM.
            - Pete

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

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


            • #7
              Your biggest consideration is lightning. The Rain8PRO has better front end circuitry to protect against this. If you are going to use a counter for water flow measurement then you will need the Rain8PRO. If you have somebody else do manual maintenance then the local butons of the Rain8PRO may be useful.

              For most, however, the standard Rain8 will be the one that will be used. If you are going UPB then go with the PRO because the standard UPB version has firmware bugs.

              The Rain8Net is the one most use and provides a serial connection. I believe the PRO is compliant with the RS-232 voltage levels if you need long length cable between computer and unit. The standard I believe is TTL levels. You can also connect the unit via a IP/Serial adapter.

              My first choice is the EtherRain to give you direct IP connectivity. For mcsSprinklers control you would need the PRO version of mcsSprinklers for the EtherRain. There is also scripting with events via Homeseer as another method to control the EtherRain if you just want simple time based control.

              The timers on the Rain8 should not be considered program timers, but as safety timers. They are set to something a little longer than the normal time you desire to open a valve and assure that the valve will close if HS does not deliver the close command for whatever reason. Only the Rain8X10 actually will run a sequence of zones based upon a single X10 command. No Rain8 has any 24 hour clock to base self-scheduling.


              • #8

                Thanks for the replies, advice and help and Pete for the photos of the setup.

                I'll post back when I have my own photos


                • #9
                  BTW I installed two water meters (aside from the main water meter). One is connected to the main output for the Sprinkler system. I am using a Hobby Boards 1-wire dual counter for the metrics. Next "water" endeavor will be a couple of electro mechanical water switches. (go slow with this stuff lately as I am not a plumber but have learned the art of sweating copper pipes over the last few years).

                  Personally in the early 2000's never cared much about water usage as my average water bill was maybe $30 per month. Today its more like $100 per month so I am now paying much more attention to the sprinkling system, water usage and still keeping my grass green (which I was able to do during a summer drought this past year).
                  Attached Files
                  - Pete

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

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


                  • #10
                    HS3 plus RAIN8NET+

                    I had been using RAIN8NET for years under HS2 and WIN/XP, with two units as master and slave. Worked great. Last year lighting fried one and I now have two RAIN8NET+ units. I replaced the PC with WIN8 (no choice as it died in a separate incident) and decided to make the switch to HS3 while I was reconfiguring things.
                    I am in the middle of installing the R8N+ units but can not find the location of the master/slave button in the new code or the install that came with the hardware. There is a blank button, but nothing labeled, and whatever I try, both units come up as Masters.
                    Can anyone provide the page and/or screen shot of this button. HS3 takes some learning curve and finding where old functions are hidden can be frustrating.
                    Alternately, I do have two supplies so I could put them on different COM channels, but I don't see how to do that either as the plug-in requires you to select the COM channel.


                    • #11
                      Can you identify what software you are using to communicate with the Rain8Net+? The Rain8Net itselft has no software interface so your questions must be specific to some software package.


                      • #12
                        The Rain8 website provides step by step installation instructions and a config routine to set COM port and addresses for the hardware. In those instructions, it specifies a "master" check box for a two unit install like mine. I don't see that button in that config routine page. Then to operate the units, I use the RAIN8 plug-in off the Homeseer site. It shows both units as "parent" and no place to change that. It also shows the COM port selected on the manage plug-in page, but no obvious way to change one unit to another port. Until I can change one of these choices to avoid the conflict, I can only operate one unit. Oddly, it also fails to show the relay devices for the second unit, but that might be fallout from the conflict.
                        Last edited by KLisiak; May 11th, 2015, 12:33 PM.


                        • #13