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  • Can't put same zones in two areas?

    Another question -- in addition to the normal "deep" watering every other day, I would like to water every zone for a short time (10 minutes) every day when the temperature is above 90 degrees. I assume zones could be in more than one "area", right? If so, I can put all the zones in "Area 3" and set it to water on a different schedule but I don't see a way to enable/disable that area's schedule based on high temperature. Is there a way to do that? If that can't be done, would you consider adding another control strategy called "Conditional" and having multiple conditions that can be specified such as:

    Forecast max temp > 90 and
    Forecast rain percentage < 60 and
    Solar sensor > 80

    Update: Apparently I can't put the same zones in two areas. In the Zones Setup screen, I created an Area 4 with the same zones as Area 1. Seems to work OK. But, when I go to the Area Setup screen, there is no Area 4 shown.

  • #2
    It was over a year ago when I did that logic, but I do not think it was intentional to maintain a one-to-one-to-one relationship between valve-zone-area. I removed that dependency but it does generate a situation that could be confusing since the Zone status LEDs are based upon the valve status and the same valve will show up in multiple areas so it looks like two zones are active at the same time in two different areas. I need to ponder this more with a more rested mind.

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    • #3
      I don't particularly want to put the same zone in two different areas since "area" really implies a physical location. But, I definitely need the ability to run an area more than once a day depending on condition so I was trying to do that by creating two areas with the same zones. In fact, what I would really like is the ability to vary the schedule based on conditions. As an example, I might set up a schedule like this:

      High temp > 95 -- water twice a day, 30 minutes per zone in the morning, 10 minutes per zone in the afternoon

      High temp 85 - 95 -- water once a day

      High temp 75 - 85 -- water every 2 days

      High temp < 75 -- water every 3 days

      Can this be done?

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      • #4
        I did look further into the multiple areas for a zone and now believe that I do not want to pursue it. There are two-way devices and mcsSprinklers only changes the status on confirmation rather than on the command. At the time the status comes back I do not know which Area commanded it so I do not know what item to update. When two areas have the same valve then there becomes a physical relationship that will not match the view presented to the user at some point.

        What you are really asking to be done is the equivalent of the calculated mode where the frequency of irrigation is proportional to the amount of moisture that has been lost. This moves the control away from a traditional timer and into the realm of a closed loop control system.

        To use the calculated mode you need to have faith in the ability to obtain the sensor information from either local sensor or from internet providers.

        The bridge that I did provide between timed vs sensed control is the seasonal adjustment factor, but it only is applied on a monthly basis rather than the daily basis that you desire.

        I do not want to add other modes of control primarily due to the potential of breaking something that current users are depending upon.

        There exists a virtual device "restriction" control that you can apply to address your desire for modulated irrigation cycles. If you schedule two cycles in a day and then only enable this device at the time period of the second cycle when the temp is hot then you have some of the desired effect. I could also add something that would allow script control of the seasonal adjustment factor so you would be able to modulate the duration as well. When you start scripting a solution then it becomes easier to script the entire scenario rather than trying to make mcsSprinklers do what you want it to do.

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        • #5
          The "Last on" is by zone, not area, so wouldn't that zone show the same in both areas?

          Would it be possible to have multiple Area control strategies in an "or" relationship. Even simple mechanical or electronic sprinkler controllers allow zones to run multiple times a day. This should be so much more advanced than that.

          Another option is to have multiple run times per zone. You've already got "Auto Minutes" and "Manual Minutes". Could you have "Auto 1 Minutes", "Auto 2 Minutes" and "Auto 3 Minutes" and then somehow add that to the control strategy. In other words, when "Control Strategy 1" runs, then the zones run for "Auto 1 Minutes". When "Control Strategy 2" runs, then the zones run for "Auto 2 Minutes", etc.

          Is it possible to execute "Run Area Now" by a HS event (or script)?

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          • #6
            When a zone is ON in two areas then it looks as if two areas are running at the same time which is confusing to the user, to the "one zone at a time" logic, the "multiple cylces in a day" logic, as well as the "prediction of next cycle" logic. I did go through and made all the changes to decouple the Homeseer device from the Zone logic to provide use of a zone in multple areas and in the process of testing it I decided that it was not worth the risk. It is possible to release this capability, but I do not have a good way to make certain that all possible variants would operate as expected. My objective is strongly biased toward stability rather than capability growth at this time.

            mcsSprinklers allows up to 24 cycles to be specified within a day. 12 can be biased by sunrise and 12 by sunset if desired. It does not now have the ability to change the durations of the cycle so each of the up to 24 will run for the same duration. It is possible to provide a means to scale the base duration that is setup in the zone page just as I did for seasonal variation. This is what I had suggested before as a means to achieve your objective. The hook does exists with a virtual device to allow external logic decide when the desired conditions exist to allow irrigation. The virtual device ON/OFF is simply one of many considerations taken into account before a cycle is started. If your normal cycle is an AM cycle and you wanted to run a PM cycle when the temperature was above 80 then you need only define a virtual device that is turned on when the temperature is above 80 and between noon and midnight. You could make your logic as sophisticated as desired with the input to mcsSprinklers being a simple ON/OFF status.

            I will add controllable plugin devices that map into the area manual control. I expect I will just use the existing devices that report the Area ON/OFF status on the General Status page. The next desire will be for access to all the other buttons at the top of the page. I was expecting to do all together rather than piecemeal. When I do this I also need to deal with the remote/alias control of the area in the same manner. When controlling from HS or ML or palmpad the control is via the alias device.

            When a user with a Rain8X10 A1-A8 uses HS to turn on "A1" then they are controllling it via the backdoor and then it is not supervised by mcsSprinklers. When the Remote/Alias deivce is used then mcsSprinklers has the opportunity to act upon the request before the valve hardware sees the raw command.

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            • #7
              The "calculated" method sounds like a good method in theory but I don't understand how it can work. There are so many variables that aren't taken into account:

              Soil type (sandy, clay, loam, rocky)
              Turf type (bermuda, zoysia, etc)
              Trees (trees suck up water much faster than turf)
              Amount of shade or direct sun

              Maybe I could just experiment by trial-and-error with the soil moisture level that seems to keep the grass watered correctly. Is that what you recommend?

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              • #8
                Yes there are many variables. The end result is a numerical expression that represents the amount of water that needs to be replaced. There are several ways to tweak mcsSprinklers to account for the environment it is trying to work within.

                I run my lawn and flower beds based upon calculated moisture needs. My garden gets a daily soaking as long as it did not rain.

                I did add the Time-slot dependent duration and I'll post it after a little more testing.

                My recommendation is to do what you are comfortable doing. Most are oriented to timed control so that is a natural place to start. mcsSprinklers will still calculate the moisture levels so while you are using the timed control you can still play with factors to obtain an understanding and a comfort level.

                When adjusting start with the global factors that have the biggest impact. After that then made adjustments at the zone level. Solar is the most important and it is now estimted using the UV index if a local sensor is not available. There is much discussion in this subforum about expected ET and solar effects. If I recall, 10 inches per month is the highest ET rate in the USA. I'm at about half of that this time of year.

                I will loose about 0.25 of water in an open pan on a hot summer day. Others will be twice this. Put a pan out to see what your situation is and then compare it with the calculated daily ET. Adjust the solar factor from the 1.0 to something that yields a better result if it not close to what you measure. MSNBC is known to now be very reliable on update and in particular update of the UV so it is best to get a Weather.com key.

                The internal algorithms are based upon 1" of moisture per 100% to 0% decay. If you want to base your cycles on 0.5 inches of loss, then set the min threshold to 0.5 in the Area page. In essence this changes the frequency of the cycle with the expectation that the amount of water added via your irrigation system is equivalent to the moisture that has been lost.

                Once you get past this point then play with the zone factors to account for more localized paremeters.

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                • #9
                  I tried to post the plugin with the added logic to handle variable durations, but this pushed it over the size allocation for an attachment. I've applied for an increase in the attachment allowance.

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                  • #10
                    MSNBC is known to now be very reliable on update and in particular update of the UV so it is best to get a Weather.com key.
                    Did you mean to say MSNBC is known to NOT be very reliable?

                    What is a "weather.com key"?

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                    • #11
                      Yes MSNBC does miss a beat. The sign up should be described in the manual. It is the same signup that is described in the WeatherXML from Jeff Farmer.

                      I also added the HS device control for Area control, SkipTomorrow, and Stop/Restart in V2.3.58. I receive an increase in attachment quota and did post it.

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