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  • New Irrigation System Suggestions

    I will apologize in advance for repeating the (somewhat) the same questions. I have asked a similar question before. As it turns out in many projects, something else came up and I had to put my irrigation plans on hold. Unfortunate reality.

    Anyway, I am attempting to recall what I had learned. I now have two gardens, 10'x30' each, one enclosed and the other one - open. I learned that where I live, tomatoes don't seem to need to be protected by a net. Just a good fence to keep the deer out.

    I have a well and a huge tank (like two feet diameter and six feet high) in my basement. Both gardens are on a side of the house, eight feet away or so, separated by a brick walkway. I have a water spigot there, I have power and Cat5 right behind the wall, with an excellent place for a controller. Having a wired option, I'd rather not use Wi-Fi as a primary connection rout. If needed, I have a routing available for RS-232 to run from that outside wall to the HS3 computer.

    As far as I understand, for my vegetable gardening needs, I only need drip irrigation. Watering tomatoes and cucumbers is fairly simple. The only other thing I grow is basil. Not a complex product as well.

    I am absolutely and utterly clueless about irrigation. Never had any need for it, until now. I am in Maryland, so summers get very hot and I need to irrigate badly. Get quite cold in a winter, especially during the last two. Need to have a simple winterizing solution. There's just me. I really am trying to buy a very good solution that does not require a PhD to install and run and maintenance does not demand multiple weekends, which I don't have.

    Availability of various fancy-looking solutions on Amazon, such as RainMachine, Hydrawise, and Rachio confuse the picture even more, making serial-based solutions seem antiquated.

    So, if you had to start all over, what would you choose today?

  • #2
    Originally posted by VirtualPanther View Post
    I will apologize in advance for repeating the (somewhat) the same questions. I have asked a similar question before. As it turns out in many projects, something else came up and I had to put my irrigation plans on hold. Unfortunate reality.

    Anyway, I am attempting to recall what I had learned. I now have two gardens, 10'x30' each, one enclosed and the other one - open. I learned that where I live, tomatoes don't seem to need to be protected by a net. Just a good fence to keep the deer out.

    I have a well and a huge tank (like two feet diameter and six feet high) in my basement. Both gardens are on a side of the house, eight feet away or so, separated by a brick walkway. I have a water spigot there, I have power and Cat5 right behind the wall, with an excellent place for a controller. Having a wired option, I'd rather not use Wi-Fi as a primary connection rout. If needed, I have a routing available for RS-232 to run from that outside wall to the HS3 computer.

    As far as I understand, for my vegetable gardening needs, I only need drip irrigation. Watering tomatoes and cucumbers is fairly simple. The only other thing I grow is basil. Not a complex product as well.

    I am absolutely and utterly clueless about irrigation. Never had any need for it, until now. I am in Maryland, so summers get very hot and I need to irrigate badly. Get quite cold in a winter, especially during the last two. Need to have a simple winterizing solution. There's just me. I really am trying to buy a very good solution that does not require a PhD to install and run and maintenance does not demand multiple weekends, which I don't have.

    Availability of various fancy-looking solutions on Amazon, such as RainMachine, Hydrawise, and Rachio confuse the picture even more, making serial-based solutions seem antiquated.

    So, if you had to start all over, what would you choose today?

    Definitely the easiest / quickest way is to use stand-alone controller(s). I have contemplated integration with HS and may still look at building something this winter, but I have had great success with Mister Landscaper controllers that you can buy at Lowes or online.

    I'll describe what I have from the tap and on downstream, so that you can get a feel of how this needs to be set up.

    1. On my single tap, I have a 4 way hose manifold with manual quarter-turn on/off switches on each output. These are left switched on if they have the controller below attached. You can get 2 or 3 outlet versions also. In the hose section at Lowes or online.

    2. Mister Landscaper timer kit. This is battery controlled and has excellent and easy to use timer capabilities. It screws directly onto the hose manifold or tap (if you only need one). I think it came with a pressure reducing valve and a backflow preventer included. These screw on the output side of the timer and can also be bought separately. Timers take 3 AA batteries and last about 3 months, but don't leave it that long to change them! Change them a couple of times each summer (calendar reminder) as once you have this setup, it works so well, you kinda forget it's there. I have 3 timers on my maifold and the fourth outlet has a regular hose reel on it.

    3. Half inch poly distribution tubing. This is how you distribute the larger volume of water close to where you need it. You can split it with T-junctions, there are 90 degree elbows and in-line connectors. You don't need any tools for this other than kitchen scissors to cut it to length. The connectors are all push-on, with a screw down collar to hold it tight. As your beds are wide, you might want to split this and put poly tubing down both sides, to ensure that you have enough flow where you need it. You can get yoke stakes that push into soil to hold the tube, or you can attach it to wood/masonary with 1/2" U brackets. There are end fittings that slip over the tube and hold it folded tight to prevent water escape.

    4. Quarter inch micro tubing. This is how you get the water to the individual watering devices. There are tiny barbed connectors (and Ts and elbows) that connect this tubing to the 1/2" poly tubing. A simple plastic push in awl (for want of a better word) makes the hole for the connector.

    5. Watering devices. There are multiple different water delivery devices: Micro sprinklers; misters with various spray patterns; individual droppers at various Gph throughputs; soaker hose etc etc. Typically you can get away with splitting the micro-tubing multiple times for droppers, but only once or so for mini-sprinklers/misters. It's better to hook those in directly to the main poly tube to ensure adequate water flow.

    I would highly recommend starting with something like this. Everything dowstream of the timer could be re-used with an HS integrated solution but it might take you a few weeks tinkering to get the water distribution to how you need it and you might just find it works and you don't need much more than that. All personal preference of course and I may still integrate to HS at some point. For HS integrated, Moskus probably had the best write-up that I came across so far: http://board.homeseer.com/showthread.php?t=170364

    EDIT: I almost forgot the best part of all. The "Goof Plug" is a simple press in stopper that goes in the hole in the 1/2" poly tubing if you made the hole in the wrong place or need to move something at a later date.
    Last edited by cheeryfool; September 29th, 2015, 08:55 AM. Reason: Forgot the Goof plugs
    cheeryfool

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    • #3
      Originally posted by VirtualPanther View Post
      Availability of various fancy-looking solutions on Amazon, such as RainMachine, Hydrawise, and Rachio confuse the picture even more, making serial-based solutions seem antiquated.

      So, if you had to start all over, what would you choose today?
      I recently went with OpenSprinkler after many years with CyberRain. So glad I upgraded.

      It can connect with Ethernet, is affordable, is very well supported by the developer and community, gets frequent updates, accessible via web and mobile apps, and seems to do a very good job at determining water levels based on weather including humidity, rain forecast, and what I really like, rain fall measured in my area recently using a nearby neighbor's Weather Underground feed.

      There's also a good plug in for HS3 that is free, developed by Mattyjee. He is doing a great job keeping it updated and adding features.

      Extremely happy with my purchase! Highly recommended.

      Ben

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      • #4
        Thank you too both of you. Definitely good advice and, more importantly, good experience shared.

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        • #5
          We also switched our irrigation to Open Sprinkler this year. Have found it very reliable. Have not integrated into HomeSeer yet, there is apparently an issue with the firmware and HomeSeer 2. Will be switching to HomeSeer 3 over the winter and will tie Open Sprinkler into the system then.

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          • #6
            BTW. I do have a lawn sprinkler system also - a fairly standard Hunter Pro-C, with 8 zones and at some time I also plan on integrating that with HS3.

            It just wasn't at all easy to add my garden beds and deck/patio planters (location-wise) to that controller.

            It is certainly achievable to combine lawn and micro zones on the same controller, be it a dumb controller or a smart controller like OpenSprinkler or the other ones discussed in the main irrigation threads.
            cheeryfool

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            • #7
              It is still winter here in Maryland, so I have time to think and contemplate. Very appreciative of all of the advice, truly am.

              One more question, not necessarily HS-related. If my two gardens need drip irrigation, how do you build that system, so that winterizing and spring start-up and as easy as possible? I understand the concept behind controller and valve removal and air-blowing the system. But that is still quite a bit of work twice a year. Plus, if I am correct, then at least some of the components of the drip irrigation are annually replaced. So how do you build this system to minimize maintenance?

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              • #8
                Hey, guys!

                Does anyone here know anything about either Hydrawise or Rainbird controllers? I have to choose one and have no clue...

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                • #9
                  I have a Hydrwise and it is not integrated into any control system and runs independently via there control system. They do provide an API and the system is very expendable. Very good but expensive as compare to other options. They also offer a their subscription services $5 PM

                  Another option which is a cheaper option which is fully web enable is the EtherRain system. EtherRain does provide the ability to integrate with Homeseer, It is not a complex system and does have multiple connection options, including in the cloud, local; however, it has no residual internal storage and therefore is dependant one of many control points such as Homeseer.l

                  Like OpenSprinkler, EtherRain provides the online capabilities that doe not require paid subscription services.

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                  • #10
                    Hydrawise + Expansion Module

                    I have a Hydrawise + expansion module. It works great, while the connection to iPad and iPhone is good I would like to connect it thru a Plug-in the Homeseer..... Hope someone is working on a release...

                    Two thumbs up for Homeseer note it was bought out this September by Hunter one the leading sprinkler companies.....


                    Devoir

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                    • #11
                      Hope

                      Would be great if an APP was developed for Hydrawise

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                      • #12
                        Hydrawise & Summer's around the corner

                        Hopping someone is working on an API for Hyrdawise... summer is around the corner.... thinking about DE-winterizing the system in the next 4 weeks...



                        Devoir

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                        • #13
                          Do yourself a favour and seriously look at opensprinkler.

                          https://opensprinkler.com/

                          I have run many of these units for years and they totally rock.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by davros View Post
                            Do yourself a favour and seriously look at opensprinkler.

                            https://opensprinkler.com/

                            I have run many of these units for years and they totally rock.
                            Is the plug-in for opensprinkler still working? Based on the dedicated thread it appears that Matty is no longer maintaining it.

                            Any updated recommendations for the best sprinkler controller that will integrate with HS3?

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                            • #15
                              I use this one. Never had any problems with it not working. Lots of features.

                              https://shop.homeseer.com/products/g...ion-controller

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