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  • Measuring water usage?

    Hi,

    I've been a pro ver user for a while, and i'm currently wanting to look into options to measure the water that i'm using so that i can:
    - understand what the baseline is
    - chose when to use it
    - identify when there are likely leaks based on abnormal water usage

    I can see in MCSSprinklers that there is an ability to control based on maximum gallon flows, but i can't seem to find how it can grab this data / interrogate an external data source.

    Grateful if you can please advise if the above is possible / constraints and what options that i might have.

    Thanks!

  • #2
    If you want to measure water use then you will need some form of measurement device that mcsSprinklers can read. It will determine usage on a zone/area/site basis and also monitor usage for leak and blockage situations. Historical data is maintained so you can see in graphic or textual form usage trends over time.

    The most common means to measure water flow is with a meter that has a pulse counter that increments on every gallon or whatever the calibration is. mcsSprinklers will accept any such devices where you specify the relationship between counts and water volume. http://www.jerman.com/dljmeter.html (watermeters.com) has been in business for quite some time and makes a good product as a competitive price. In this case you do want the reed switch option so pulses are generated.

    The next step is to get the pulses into mcsSprinklers. If there are Homeseer devices you have that can count pulses then you can use HS devices to integrate with mcsSprinklers. mcsSprinklers can also directly interface with data in a file, xAP messages and with 2018 version MQTT messages. In my specific case I have used 1-wire DS2423 and xAP as well as Sonoff ($5) and MQTT. The user manual for MQTT plugin at https://forums.homeseer.com/showthread.php?t=192675 shows how the Sonoff is used for this purpose. You can interface directly with mcsSprinklers or you can interface the Sonoff via mcsMQTT plugin in this case.

    Pulses for water flow measurement occur slowly so there are likely many micro-controller type interfaces that could be used to count them for a more DIY interface. One consideration with this approach is that it is desirable that your counting devices remembers the counts so if your computer is not listening when a pulse is generated you will not loose the count.

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    • #3
      Thanks for the quick response back Michael - appreciate the info & i'll look into these components.

      In regards to the counting device remembering the pulses, from your experience, do you know if does the Sonoff device do this, as this seems quick an ideal solution at a great price point!

      Once i've got all of this in and working, can you point out where in MCS i can configure these settings - happy to be pointed at a manual and i'll work it out.

      Separately (bit of feedback) - the GUI appears a bit split between Metric and Imperial when it comes to water measurement as for me (at least) it has both - i.e. Areas Setup has Gallons & Liters in the same screen, Site setup has Liters - let me know if you need screenshots.

      Can i suggest a user configurable option for this and then it flowing through (no pun intended) the GUI

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      • #4
        I will look into the GUI inconsistency you reported. Thank You.

        The Sonoff does retain the count through power cycles. If you get the point to interfacing a water meter then I can provide a modified Sonoff that uses the Tasmota rather than the factory firmware if you are not into tinkering with firmware.

        I also forgot to mention that if you are using the PRO version of the Rain8Net or Rain8UPB for your valve interface then you have a counter pin available on this module that could be used for water use measurement. I was the one who worked with WGL to get that option included to support this irrigation function.

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        • #5
          I was able to see "Gallons" rather than "Liters" in Area Page Zone Sequence Control, but not able to find any other inconsistency. To setup metric I chose the three checkboxes on the Weather Setup Page Sensor Units of Measure to the metric units. For water flow the important of the three is the Units for Rainfall as the same is used for both.

          Are there others that I missed? If so what are they are what do you have selected for Sensor Units of Measure on the Weather Setup Page?

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          • #6
            I am in a rural area. I have a well. I track how long my well pump runs. It is probably not as accurate as a pulse meter but it is much easier to implement.

            Steve Q
            HomeSeer Version: HS3 Pro Edition 3.0.0.368, Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10 - Home, Number of Devices: 373, Number of Events: 666, Enabled Plug-Ins
            2.0.83.0: BLRF, 2.0.10.0: BLUSBUIRT, 3.0.0.75: HSTouch Server, 3.0.0.58: mcsXap, 3.0.0.11: NetCAM, 3.0.0.36: X10, 3.0.1.25: Z-Wave,Alexa,HomeKit

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            • #7
              I have done a similar thing for my propane usage where I measure an appliance on-time and with its BUT rating compute gas usage. Kind of hard to use same technique for IrrigationWater control with mcsSprinklers monitors the expected usage based upon the valve GPU rating vs the actual measure value to notify if something is amiss.

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