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Small irrigation control system to replace Rainbird ESP-ME

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    Small irrigation control system to replace Rainbird ESP-ME

    I currently own a Rainbird ESP-ME (non wifi) irrigation controler:

    https://ww3.rainbird.com/documents/t..._ESP-Me_en.pdf​​​​

    No integration whatsoever right now.


    Rainbird sells some Wifi "upgrade" ( https://www.amazon.com/Rain-Bird-Irr...dp/B07P8W2W8B/ )

    but it seems quite expensive (you essentially replace the whole unit...) and probably not possible to integrate in HS.


    It's pretty far on my list of things to integrate as it only manages 2 valves/zones and I rarely change the program;

    Still, I'd like to get your comments/advice on a potential replacement controler to integrate the existing valves/zones in HS.


    I have no plans to deploy Zwave, so it would have to integrate via MQTT, WiFi/JSON, BLE or RF (again via MQTT), or another simple protocol not requiring the addition of yet another hardware bridge.


    Let me know what you think,

    Thanks!

    Yann





    #2
    In your environment I suggest using something like Sonoff 4CH Pro or any Tasmota-compatible device that has at least two relays that are isolated from the powerline. I have a version of Tasmota that is described in the mcsMQTT.pdf manual Section 17.7 "Fallback Irrigation Controller" that contains local monitoring to assure a relay does not remain ON too long. This capability is the primary difference between a simple relay and an irrigation controller relay.

    If you are doing simple time-based scheduling then HS events will work for the scheduling. Standalone mcsSprinklers is available at no cost and provides a richer scheduling and history record. It integrates nicely with the modified Tasmota firmware. I have 22 valves and 6 of these use the Sonoff 4CH Pro.

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks Michael,

      ​​​​​​Sounds like a perfect option;
      could probably gut the Rainbird controller and use it a simple enclosure for the Tasmota relays.
      Will review McsMQTT / McsSprinklers documentation to wrap my head around the project.
      ​​​​​​

      Comment


        #4
        Why don't you just buy a Rachio. It is wifi and there is a free HS plugin you can use. Also if you get one you can use their PC or phone app to control it as well. You can get a good one for $88 at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Rachio-Sprink...01D1NMLJU?th=1.

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          #5
          Thanks for the suggestion Bigstevep , could be an option to consider;
          however I prefer not to rely on proprietary PI's and/or a cloud based solution;
          MQTT doesn't have such limitations.

          Comment


            #6
            I have 2 valves on a Sonoff 4CH Pro using Michael's Tasmota implementation. Works great.
            -Wade

            Comment


              #7
              Thanks Wade, glad to hear this; how did you manage the enclosure and wiring part ?

              Comment


                #8
                It shares space in an Orbit enclosure with a GoControl controller although it's all in a shed so mostly for dust I guess. It controls pool filler and fountain refill valves. Didn't have room on the GoControl.
                -Wade

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Wade View Post
                  It shares space in an Orbit enclosure with a GoControl controller although it's all in a shed so mostly for dust I guess. It controls pool filler and fountain refill valves. Didn't have room on the GoControl.
                  Hadn't touched the GoControl or Sonoff in a long time and turns out memory failed me on this one. The sonoff is in a repurposed phone network interface enclosure. And now only using one contact--for pool fill valve.

                  Click image for larger version

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                  -Wade

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Thanks Wade , what type of valve do you use to fill the pool?

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                      #11
                      Originally posted by 123qweasd View Post
                      Thanks Wade , what type of valve do you use to fill the pool?
                      It's a rainbird irrigation valve. For now it's just on manual/verbal control. Haven't worked out water level sensors yet.
                      -Wade

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Ok got it. Thanks.
                        ​​​​​​
                        I Track water level in pool/pond with these dry contact sensors along with Sonoff basic or D1-mini:

                        ​​​https://a.aliexpress.com/_mq7qB9d

                        Its intended as a security measure to ensure my mechanical valve/floater does the job. If the valve fails and water level drops, I get notified.
                        ​​​​​​

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by 123qweasd View Post
                          Ok got it. Thanks.
                          ​​​​​​
                          I Track water level in pool/pond with these dry contact sensors along with Sonoff basic or D1-mini:

                          ​​​https://a.aliexpress.com/_mq7qB9d

                          It's intended as a security measure to ensure my mechanical valve/floater does the job. If the valve fails and water level drops, I get notified.
                          ​​​​​​
                          Any chance I can see a pic of how you have the sensor mounted in the pool? Thinking of this for both pool and a future fountain.
                          Thanks!

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by 123qweasd View Post
                            Ok got it. Thanks.
                            ​​​​​​
                            I Track water level in pool/pond with these dry contact sensors along with Sonoff basic or D1-mini:

                            ​​​https://a.aliexpress.com/_mq7qB9d

                            Its intended as a security measure to ensure my mechanical valve/floater does the job. If the valve fails and water level drops, I get notified.
                            ​​​​​​
                            Thanks for this. The reason I've not implemented this sort of thing is I don't have wiring access to a skimmer or other potential location due to concrete pool deck. Still scratching my head on how to do it.
                            -Wade

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Maybe you could you pass the wire in your fill hose/pipe? Start with a sewing thread attached to a small bead and push it with water, then you can fish a small dry contact wire. a plastic "T" + epoxy will make an exit point in the shed. There is no pressure or voltage in that hose anyways.

                              food for thought.
                              Have a nice weekend
                              Yann

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