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very basic but less expensive ethernet/wifi 16 zone controllers

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  • very basic but less expensive ethernet/wifi 16 zone controllers

    Stumbled across these somewhat less expensive options (different designs and vendors, but both utilizing the same microcontroller) that might be leveraged for managing 16 different irrigation zones over Ethernet, wifi, etc:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Wireless-WiF...item41773b5448

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/SNMP-Web-bas...item27cffb0deb

    Seems like either might be relatively easy to toggle using homeseer scripting that utilizes HTTP to poke it. More expensive than an arduino solution, but then again you'd be starting with more of the interfacing work already done for you. They even appear to come with some very rudimentary scheduling software that perhaps could serve as a starting point.

    Anyhow, I have no relation to the products or the vendors, so am just passing it along. These are both less than half the $300+ cost of the better branded and more familiar solutions for a 16 zone controller. For instance, a 16 zone etherrain would be $320 plus some ancillary component costs. However, to put that in context, for $250 I could get a NetAqua to control 9 zones as an almost complete irrigation system (it would even mine weatherunderground over the internet to get highly localized weather data), not just as a basic platform that would require large amounts of further integration and costs.

    In my particular case, to fully integrate with HomeSeer, I would only need a 10 zone controller, but these kinds of Ethernet/wifi relay banks mostly seem to come in multiples of 8 zones. I suppose I could try either cramming down or narrowing down my zone count to 8....

    I'd be interested in something running on an arduino, especially if it required minimal setup and configuration. Then maybe integration with homeseer would be that much easier. A few arduino solutions have been out there, like OpenSprinklers, but oddly enough they're more expensive than these non-arduino units on ebay or other non-arduino solutions. For comparison, if HomeSeer supported Zigbee, I could get a 16 zone zigbee irrigation controller like the smartenit for $125 today, and I could get an insteon smartenit 16-zone controller for about $145. I'm not aware of any z-wave irrigation controllers.... Why would that be? In contrast, an assembled 16 zone OpenSprinkler would run about $210.

    Usually this kind of helter skelter pricing indicates a nascent market and a shakeout will be coming soon after the supply ramps.... There are a lot of new entrants crowding into the market for both "dumb" platforms and for smart irrigation controllers.

    I'm thinking an arduino supervised relay bank controlled using HS and EnigmaTheatre's Arduino plug-in is likely to be the least expensive, dumb platform (~$50 hardware cost to manage 16 zones) for leveraging my sunk cost into HomeSeer. However, for that approach I may need to wait for HS3 to become stable enough that I have confidence trusting it not to make expensive irrigation blunders....
    Last edited by NeverDie; April 22nd, 2014, 07:51 AM.

  • #2
    Looks as though CAI Networks Webcontrol (~$40) plus 8 logic level relays ($12) would be yet another way to get barebones control over 8 irrigation zones into HomeSeer using Ethernet. Offhand, though, I don't see an easy way for how it could provide a single, unified view for 16 zones. Seems like 16 zones would require two webcontrols, yielding two clusters of 8 zones each that would be blind to each other. However, HomeSeer could provide a single unified view of the 16 zones. OK, so about ~$104 for a 16 irrigation zone ethernet solution based on Webcontrol and HomeSeer working together.
    Last edited by NeverDie; April 22nd, 2014, 05:53 PM.

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    • #3
      I use OpenSprinkler, which is an Ethernet connected irrigation controller that's expandable with 8-zone add-on modules. I also wrote a free plugin for it called BeakerRain (and coincidentally just posted the HS3 version today). It shows a unified view of all valves including those on expansion modules.

      OpenSprinkler is found at http://rayshobby.net and the plugin for HS2 and HS3 is available here in the BeakerRain forum.
      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.

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      • #4
        So...NeverDie, did you ever choose a controller?

        I have been thinking about doing the opensprinkler system with beakerrain myself...but interested in whether you found a similar cheaper solution.
        HS Install Date: Feb. 16, 2007

        HS3 Pro, Z-Wave, Insteon, BLStat, HS Touch Server, MyQ

        WeatherXML, BLBackup, BLLAN, BLLock, Restart, CaddX, OpenSprinkler

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        • #5
          yeah...from your comments i kind of figured that was the route you went with the hardware. I myself am not really in to soldering so that is one of the main reasons i am thinking about the opensprinkler, plus, if i want i can stop controlling it from hs and the box can contain its own schedule.

          as for soil sensors, i am looking at going pretty basic, instead of actually monitoring my soil, i am thinking about scraping the weather.com web page for their Watering Needs section and adjust the water output based on the need in my zip code. not perfect, but probably better than a simple rain sensor.
          HS Install Date: Feb. 16, 2007

          HS3 Pro, Z-Wave, Insteon, BLStat, HS Touch Server, MyQ

          WeatherXML, BLBackup, BLLAN, BLLock, Restart, CaddX, OpenSprinkler

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          • #6
            You may find this interesting: https://www.universal-devices.com/residential/

            If you look at the modules listed on the left, it has a climate module and an irrigation module that it sounds like might do the kind of things you're interested in, and at a lower cost than I've seen elsewhere. I only tripped across it just yesterday, so I have no direct experience with it, but it does look interesting.
            Last edited by NeverDie; April 25th, 2014, 10:07 PM.

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            • #7
              I picked up one of these for testing, http://www.denkovi.com/ethernet-io-r...-web-12-relays
              I don't have my irrigation system in yet but when I get it installed I will be using this to control it. I have everything working right now on it with basic scripts. The only thing I need to figure out is how to update a status using a trap receiver somehow.

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              • #8
                Does your controller have some type of protection for an irrigation application? Is there self-monitoring to close a relay after some programmable timeout period? Are you concerned about lightning in your location?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by KRK View Post
                  I picked up one of these for testing, http://www.denkovi.com/ethernet-io-r...-web-12-relays
                  I don't have my irrigation system in yet but when I get it installed I will be using this to control it. I have everything working right now on it with basic scripts. The only thing I need to figure out is how to update a status using a trap receiver somehow.
                  Some of the reasons that Michael made mention of are the reason i ended up going with an OpenSprinkler. The kit is about $100 and fully assembled is about $150. a really nice eature is that i can send it a command to turn on a valve for x minutes. If HS or my network goes down, the zone shuts off anyway.

                  BeakerRain interfaces with it nicely, although I am just talking to it directly with http get commands from my own script. If you do go the BeakerRain route it can be used with Michaels pretty nice looking plug ins.
                  HS Install Date: Feb. 16, 2007

                  HS3 Pro, Z-Wave, Insteon, BLStat, HS Touch Server, MyQ

                  WeatherXML, BLBackup, BLLAN, BLLock, Restart, CaddX, OpenSprinkler

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by misraels View Post
                    Some of the reasons that Michael made mention of are the reason i ended up going with an OpenSprinkler. The kit is about $100 and fully assembled is about $150. a really nice eature is that i can send it a command to turn on a valve for x minutes. If HS or my network goes down, the zone shuts off anyway.

                    BeakerRain interfaces with it nicely, although I am just talking to it directly with http get commands from my own script. If you do go the BeakerRain route it can be used with Michaels pretty nice looking plug ins.
                    I want to say that my controller has the ability to run independently, meaning I could send a command to program a delay off, or even set a schedule to run M,W,F, etc... I can't say for certain as I've never looked into that, but I thought I saw that as a feature on it before. I purchased it a year ago in hopes of getting my irrigation system installed and now it's looking like that might get pushed back yet another year, but I also use the device to control my garage door. Right now I have it check the status and if it is open, it will close it and then verify the status again. I would like to figure out how to monitor status without having to always request it. I've seen Rube Goldberg setup that someone came up with that would work, but I prefer to have something a bit more simple. Thanks for the suggestion on the OpenSprinkler, I'll have to search for that and take a look.

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