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  • How do I set Action Number

    I tried to create an event and got this message: Error, Action number for plug-in RainMachine was not set. How do I set the action number?

  • #2
    Originally posted by noopara View Post
    I tried to create an event and got this message: Error, Action number for plug-in RainMachine was not set. How do I set the action number?
    The plug-in doesn't have any actions at this time.

    I added a place holder action so that I could add some if/when I figured out what actions the plug-in should support but it doesn't do anything (other than spit out the error).

    You can create actions that control the devices created by the plug-in, like start/stop programs or open/close zones.

    If there are some non-device actions you think it would be good to expose in the plug-in, let me know.
    --
    Bob Paauwe
    ISYInsteon Plug-in
    http://www.bobsplace.com/ISYInsteon/

    Comment


    • #3
      OK. Got it. Thanks. I will let you know if I come up with some non-device actions that would be good to have.

      What is the rationale behind having run times every 32 seconds?

      Would it be possible to add a 15 second option? That's what I use for my deer defense system. I use several motion detectors to trigger zones to scare deer away. All my zones are self draining. When the zone is charged the sprinkler heads all squeal as the air is pushed out by the inrush of water. It works great. It has a lot of side benefits too. It's entertaining to watch them react as they fertilize and aerate the lawn with a few divots as they jump and run away. I've been doing this for 15 years now. It works every time. SWMBO loves it too...very high WAF on this feature.

      My RainMachine HD16 is using local weather data from my Davis weather system and now I can control the zones from HS.

      Thanks for developing this plug-in.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by noopara View Post

        What is the rationale behind having run times every 32 seconds?

        Would it be possible to add a 15 second option? That's what I use for my deer defense system. I use several motion detectors to trigger zones to scare deer away. All my zones are self draining. When the zone is charged the sprinkler heads all squeal as the air is pushed out by the inrush of water. It works great. It has a lot of side benefits too. It's entertaining to watch them react as they fertilize and aerate the lawn with a few divots as they jump and run away. I've been doing this for 15 years now. It works every time. SWMBO loves it too...very high WAF on this feature.
        That does sound entertaining

        It took me a while to figure out what you were talking about as I didn't set anything with 32 second intervals. The range of times that a zone can be run for is between 0 and 14400 seconds or 4 hours. Looks like HomeSeer wants to limit the number of items shown on the list, which makes sense, since 14400 items on the drop down might be a bit difficult to navigate. Just based on the math, it looks like they're limiting the list to about 450 items.

        So I think I have a couple of options to change that.

        1) I could limit the max run time to 2 hours and that would cut the list in half and should also cut the interval in half.

        2) I could change the device control to be a text box instead of using a list. Hmm, on further investigation, this is what I'm actually doing. It seem like HomeSeer is ignoring the fact that the control is supposed to be a text box and rendering it as a drop down list instead. The device management page renders this correctly and allows you to enter any value there. So maybe #1 is the only way to get a finer grained drop down.

        I think this may be a bug in HomeSeer, but also may be the way they intend it to work. I'll experiment some and see if there's a way to configure the device so that you can enter the value directly in the action vs the drop down box.

        As a last resort, I should be able to create a RainMachine specific action that allows direct entry of the number of seconds to run. I don't like the idea of duplicating existing HS functionality, but in this case it may be the only solution.
        --
        Bob Paauwe
        ISYInsteon Plug-in
        http://www.bobsplace.com/ISYInsteon/

        Comment


        • #5
          I like the idea of a text box to input a time. I also think that the upper limit should be 1 or two hours. I doubt that anyone would want a zone to run longer than 2 hours. In may case, I don't water any zone longer than 35 minutes. Another option is to have a parameter in the ini file that can be set to cut off any zone that runs longer than x seconds as a back up. Having an option for a safety cut off for each zone would be nice too. For example, for a zone that is set to 7 minutes, you wouldn't want it to run for an hour or two. I would cut if off at 15 minutes if for some reason the RM didn't stop it at 7.

          With regard to events, maybe there is an event that could be used as a RainMachine watchdog of some sort. I would like to get a text or email if there is a problem with the RainMachine. It would be nice to be able to re-boot the RM if it doesn't respond to the watchdog...or control a relay to do a hard restart.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by noopara View Post
            I like the idea of a text box to input a time.
            ok, I created a custom action that basically duplicates the default device control action but allows the time to be entered in a text box.

            I also think that the upper limit should be 1 or two hours. I doubt that anyone would want a zone to run longer than 2 hours. In may case, I don't water any zone longer than 35 minutes. Another option is to have a parameter in the ini file that can be set to cut off any zone that runs longer than x seconds as a back up. Having an option for a safety cut off for each zone would be nice too. For example, for a zone that is set to 7 minutes, you wouldn't want it to run for an hour or two. I would cut if off at 15 minutes if for some reason the RM didn't stop it at 7.
            I don't remember why I set it to 4 hours, it may be a RainMachine limit. I can't find anything right now in the documentation that specifies a limit so I may have just made up a number. This value is more or less a soft limit. I think you can actually enter values larger and they'll work.

            Unless you're trying to use the RainMachine as a dumb irrigation controller, II'm not sure having auto-cutoffs would be a good idea. The plug-in is more for monitoring, exceptions and integrations than control. While I probably could start a timer to check back shortly after a command was sent to the RainMachine to run a zone, it's possible that the internal RainMachine programming starts right after (or even before the zone runtime is over and it's probably not a good idea for the plug-in to silently override the internal RainMachine programs.

            I'm also struggling a bit to understand what cases the safety cutoff would be effective.

            Assuming you set an event action to open a zone for 2 minutes.

            Under normal conditions, after two minutes the RainMachine will close the zone and report the zone is off
            If after 2 minutes the RainMachine is not reporting the zone is off but is reporting the zone has x minutes remaining, this likely means one of two things
            1. something else (a program, a manual input, another application, etc.) has requested the zone to be open longer. The plug-in should not interfere.
            2. something is wrong internally in the RainMachine. In this case, sending additional commands to it may or may not have any effect.
            If after 2 minutes the RainMachine reports the zone is off but the valve didn't close and continues to water. This is most likely a physical issue and sending more commands probably won't fix it.

            There may be some isolated cases where having a safety cutoff would guard against bad programming but you can probably handle that using the existing event infrastructure in HomeSeer.

            The only time I've every had zones water excessively was when I turned the valve on manually and forgot about it. Since the RainMachine doesn't know I did that, it can't provide any notification or backup to prevent it.

            With regard to events, maybe there is an event that could be used as a RainMachine watchdog of some sort. I would like to get a text or email if there is a problem with the RainMachine. It would be nice to be able to re-boot the RM if it doesn't respond to the watchdog...or control a relay to do a hard restart.
            I could create a trigger that fires if communication with the RainMachine fails. Since it's trying to communicate based on the poll interval, it probably wouldn't be too hard to add a trigger if something goes wrong. I.E. If RainMachine communication error then do whatever action(s) you want. Rebooting the RainMachine would be kind of tricky if the plug-in can't communicate with it.

            --
            Bob Paauwe
            ISYInsteon Plug-in
            http://www.bobsplace.com/ISYInsteon/

            Comment


            • #7
              My current irrigation system uses 3 X10 Rain8 controlled from mcsSprinklers. One of the features of the Rain8 controllers is that they are pre-programmed with a safety cut off time. This of course is due to the reliability of X10 which can be triggered by noise on the power line. Thankfully, this isn't a problem with RainMachine, but RainMachine being a new product with a fast growing installed base is going through many code changes as they add features and make more plug-ins to make it more compatible with the universe of devices and programs that could interface with it. One way to protect against unintended bugs causing problems is to disable auto updates which is possible in RM systems settings. That would help, but there still could be some situation that might cause it to hang possibly leaving a zone in the on state. Having a trigger available to start a timer in HS when ever a zone state was changed to on could be used to do a hard restart after some period of time by cycling a relay. This would cover the probably rare case where the RM is still communicating but it didn't turn off a zone. This could also be used to send a text/email notification that a zone is running. Monitoring run time could also cover the case you mentioned of a forgotten manual on command. The Rain8 controllers protect against this for each zone which is a nice feature of my current system. A trigger for failed communication with RainMachine should be a feature of the plug-in.

              I have just begun to work with RM. I only have one zone set up now for testing. I have a ways to go before I can get a handle on what it can and can not do. I hope to have all 23 zones moved over before next spring.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by noopara View Post
                That would help, but there still could be some situation that might cause it to hang possibly leaving a zone in the on state. Having a trigger available to start a timer in HS when ever a zone state was changed to on could be used to do a hard restart after some period of time by cycling a relay. This would cover the probably rare case where the RM is still communicating but it didn't turn off a zone. This could also be used to send a text/email notification that a zone is running.
                You can set this up today with the plug-in. Triggers are available that will fire when the zone changes from off to on. You should be able to create triggers that fire only when the zone reports a specific time remaining if that's something you want. The actions can be any action that HomeSeer supports (relay control, plug-in actions, notifications, etc.)

                I'm not trying to say that protection against overwatering isn't a good thing, I just don't think that's something that makes sense to try and build into the plug-in. As you note, there's a much higher probability of a missed X10 valve off command than the internal software in the RainMachine forgetting to turn off a zone. The two most likely causes for overwatering with a RainMachine are probably physical failures (value manually left on, or stuck open) and a software bug. There's nothing either the plug-in or the RainMachine can do about the first and very likely nothing the plug-in can do about the second (if it can even be detected). Accidentally asking for too much watering can be handled via the current trigger/event mechanism in HomeSeer.

                If you have concerns with the reliability of the hardware, it would be a lot better to have an independent monitoring solution. The plug-in will be too dependent on the data from the RainMachine to provide effective safety measures. But I do agree that detecting communication failures is needed so that's on the list to get added. Thanks for pointing that out..

                --
                Bob Paauwe
                ISYInsteon Plug-in
                http://www.bobsplace.com/ISYInsteon/

                Comment


                • #9
                  For 23 zones it would be a lengthy event but it could be done by using one event with 1 "If" statement and 22 "Or" statements to trigger a virtual variable to On if any of the zones changed to On. Then I could start a timer for some time at the end of which I could turn off each zone with another long event. If there was a trigger to trigger an event when any zone came on and send an email, it would be a lot easier, but a lot of work for you to write the code.

                  I see that there is a device called RainMachine but it has no Status Text defined. What is this device for? Could it be used to enable, disable all irrigation?

                  Having the trigger for communication failures would be a big plus.

                  I need to work with it for awhile to see how it all works.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by noopara View Post
                    If there was a trigger to trigger an event when any zone came on and send an email, it would be a lot easier
                    Ahh, that makes more sense. Sometimes you just have to tell me something 3 or 4 times before I get it

                    So a single trigger that fires when any zone opens, I'll see what it takes to do that. And then a single custom action that just does a all zones off. What about all programs stopped? If a program is running and you shut the current open value, I believe the program will continue and just open the next value that's part of it's program.

                    I see that there is a device called RainMachine but it has no Status Text defined. What is this device for? Could it be used to enable, disable all irrigation?
                    My original thought was to store the global restrictions in that device, but I ended up making them separate status devices. It currently is just used to group the other devices underneath it when you show the devices grouped. There is a stop all watering command available so I could add that to the RainMachine device. I may even be able to set it's status to the zone currently active. However, keep in mind that all the status information is set by polling the RainMachine at the interval specified so it's not "real-time" event driven. This applies to the triggers too, so that if a zone opens and then closes within the poll interval, the plug-in will not be able to detect that and no trigger would be raised.

                    You may have to play around with the interval to find the best compromise between quick response and not overloading the RainMachine.

                    --
                    Bob Paauwe
                    ISYInsteon Plug-in
                    http://www.bobsplace.com/ISYInsteon/

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I know what you mean about the number of times it takes to figure out what someone really means. Just ask my wife.

                      All programs stopped would be good so might be stopping an individual program. I know each one has a name. Maybe also a reference number? Another possibly useful control would be to make a program active or inactive. Such a control is on the RM Program page.

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