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simultaneous valve operation with EtherRain8

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  • simultaneous valve operation with EtherRain8


    I am running HS (Windows) and mcsSprinklers with two EtherRain8 rev C units. I am unable to operate two valves simultaneously with HS.

    When I run the QuickSmart utility, I can operate 2 valves simultaneously using their direct valve control. Both valves are on the same EtherRain box.

    I am manually turning on each valve from the device list in HS. When I turn on the second valve, I get this error in the HS log:
    mcsSprinklers ProcessEtherResponse{0) Conversion from string "" to type 'Double' is not valid.
    I will send you the debug log file. The first valve is turned on at 8:27:24 AM. The second valve is turned on at 8:27:41 AM. The first valve is on one EtherRain box and the second valve is on the second EtherRain box for the debug case that I captured.

  • #2
    I thought that was one of the caveats with the EtherRain - only one valve at a time.

    HS3PRO 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.


    • #3
      It was a limitation until very recently. QuickSmart revised the firmware so now it is possible with rev. C.

      Michael updated the mcsSpribklers plugin to support this.


      • #4
        In your setup do you allow more than one zone to run simultaneously in area/site. McsSprinklers will enforce the max you have setup.


        • #5
          I had "Maximum Simultaneous Zones by Site" set to "1". I changed this to "2" and it did not make a difference. The second valve is not part of any area. Possibly this is a corner case in the logic.


          • #6
            I want to clarify some details WRT the EtherRain itself was it firmware/hardware or both and I sought information from Jim and below is his response.

            Rev C of the EtherRain was released last June, starting with serial number
            1500. These controllers contain additional commands called timed-relay
            commands which allow reliable use of individual relays/valves. MCS
            software has updated their scheduler to support these commands allowing
            indivial zone control.

            The microcontroller board in the Rev C controller is new and has more
            capacity to support these commands. Controllers with serial numbers below
            1500 cannot be updated.


            • #7
              I suspect you are correct about trying to use etherrain as a general purpose relay rather than an irrigation valve. I can look when I get back tomorrow to see what logic dependencies exist and could be modified.


              • #8
                Please confirm that you have an actual need and a non-associated relay is not just a startup test.


                • #9
                  Yes, this second valve I am attempting to turn on is connected to a 24 VAC solenoid controlling water flow. I don't use any logic in mcsSprinklers to control it. I want to be able to turn it on/off at any time from the main HS device control page regardless of the state of any other valves.


                  • #10
                    I defined a new area that only has this one valve I want to turn on (the "second" valve). I could not get it to turn on when a valve was on in another area.

                    The configuration option "maximum simultaneous zones by site" is present for each area defined. Therefore this option must be specific to each area.

                    1) I believe what is needed is a global configuration option that specifies the maximum number of zones that can be turned on simultaneously per site.

                    2) It might also be useful to add another configuration option to the "Rain 8 Setup" page that specifies the maximum number of valves that can be operated for each piece of hardware. Older EtherRain8 units would use a setting of 1. Newer EtherRain8 units would use a setting of 2 or greater depending on the user's power supply.

                    For both 1 and 2, the software would check these limits any time a zone is turned on.

                    Also, I suggest renaming "Rain 8 Setup" to "Interface Setup" since you are supporting lots of hardware/software other than the Rain8Net boxes.


                    • #11
                      I have been using version of the plug-in. The simultaneous valve operation is working flawlessly with my EtherRain8 units. This is quite excellent. Also, I am no longer seeing the "Conversion from string" error message each time a valve is operated.

                      Thank you for making all of these changes and improvements.


                      • #12
                        I'm currently searching for a new etherrain module (currently have a Etherrain-8-b-01 oct2016) which has the ability to use the pump AND has simultaneous valve operation. I already use the current one with MCSSprinkler plugin for HS3 and have 4 valve (4 zones in MCSSprinkler).
                        Just a few question to make sure if i understand it correct:
                        1) it looks like the Etherrain8 (rev c with ser nr > 1500) has the ability to have simultaneous valve operation (together wit MCSSprinkler) in one etherrain module. Correct?
                        2) Is it still possible to manage 1 valve at a time with MCSSprinkler? eg. if one zone (Valve) needs more water then other zone's
                        3) does this also work with the Etherrain-7P version?
                        4) will it work in HS4 in the same way ?


                        • #13
                          Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes

                          I do not have direct experience with the Rec C -7P, but as long as you only configure 7 valves then all should be fine. The 8th valve will be independent and controlling your pump outside of mcsSprinklers.


                          • #14
                            Thnx that is good news. I had some small chat with Quicksmart about the 7p rev c and e.g. shipping to Europe. They came with an important Note on using timed relay commands with EtherRain 7P:

                            "One thing that is important to understand about using the timed relay commands with an EtherRain 7P is that the pump control port does not automatically open when one of the timed zone commands is issued like it does when using the sequential irrigation command. You have to manage the pump control port manually - that is, you have to first send a command to run zone 8 (the pump control port) and set the desired run time, before you send a command a standard irrigation zone if you want the pump control to operate."

                            I think Michael McSharry , this is for you "easily" to add to your software?


                            • #15
                              This seems to me the timed relay operation of the 8 and 7P are identical. i.e. the 8th relay is no longer slaved to the other 7.

                              mcsSprinklers already has the pump control where you designate a valve to be used for a pump and mcsSprinklers will turn it on and off when valves in the area under control are active/inactive. You can use the same pump valve for all or any subset of the Areas that have been setup.