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Irrigation Discussion Discussion of irrigation integration with HomeSeer systems.

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  #21  
Old September 28th, 2014, 09:12 AM
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No there is actually a watering factor in OpenSprinkler which will cut times down based on a percentage. It's not being used in the plugin at the moment but I may add it next time I sit down with it.
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  #22  
Old September 28th, 2014, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Mattyjee View Post
No there is actually a watering factor in OpenSprinkler which will cut times down based on a percentage. It's not being used in the plugin at the moment but I may add it next time I sit down with it.
Interesting! A friend of mine recently considered buying an OpenSprinkler when his controller failed. He doesn't have Homeseer. I advised him to just buy a used sprinkler system on eBay. Which he did. At the time, I didn't realize there were people like yourself writing plugins for Homeseer for the OpenSprinkler. Had I know that I would have encouraged him to buy it and Homeseer. At the time , I was concerned his grass would die before he got everything working.

I found an online ET calculator today that uses JavaScript. And the formulas and functions are viewable in the browser. I'm thinking I could adapt that to vb. That will be a start.

Thanks.
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  #23  
Old October 5th, 2014, 11:57 PM
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Originally Posted by frankc View Post

I found an online ET calculator today that uses JavaScript. And the formulas and functions are viewable in the browser.

Thanks.
Which one?
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  #24  
Old October 6th, 2014, 12:12 AM
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Which one?
I'll have to find it. I know I had a bookmark for it.

But, since then, I ran across a Python script that was well done. I adapted it to Homeseer HS2 and it seems to be working great. I didn't know anything about Python, but I've been able to learn enough to get it going.

Would you be interested in that? If there is a reason to convert it to vb, I think the Python would convert much easier than the online JavaScript one.

If you want the Python script, let me know. I've put lots of notes in the script to help me understand what it does.

I don't have HS3 and I don't know whether Python will run under HS3 or not.

Frank
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  #25  
Old October 6th, 2014, 07:28 AM
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Yes, please, as I would actually prefer python anyway.

I previously tried to find a spreadsheet for doing ET calcs, as I thought it would be interesting to do some "what-ifs" to get a better feel for the relative significance of the various factors. I also wanted to compute ET from local weather stations, few of which post ET even if they post all the measurements from which ET is derived. Then I could also compute historical ET, which is hard to find without paying for it. I had thought a simple spreadsheet that does the ET calcs would be easy to find, but Google failed me. I even inquired on a popular weather forum, again to no avail. The people on the weather forum who cared about ET all just paid for the Davis software that calculated it automatically from their Davis weather stations (and nothing else). It's the strangest thing, as the current landscape seems to leave most owners of other weatherstations clueless as to ET, even if they want to know it. The Michael Sherry homeseer plug-in will compute it, but again that's non-trivial $$$'s, and the setup didn't look easy. Anyhow, as near as I can tell, it's not geared toward what-if's.

The equations for doing the ET calc are easy enough to find, but it requires some care and attention to detail to properly automate the 30+ steps to calculate it, whether it be by spreadsheet or python script or whatever, and I saw no virtue in re-doing it from scratch. It certainly doesn't help that some start-to-finish concrete example calculations which use them are hard to find (maybe they exist, but I never found any). I'd much rather leverage either code or a spreadsheet that's already debugged and vetted.

Last edited by NeverDie; October 6th, 2014 at 07:46 AM.
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  #26  
Old October 6th, 2014, 08:20 AM
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ET JavaScript

Hello ND,

I did find the javascript link:

http://www.tfrec.wsu.edu/orchard/pet/petcalc.html

I went through all the processes you describe; mainly trying to find formulas already adapted and sources of solar radiation. I did find a spreadsheet that might work, although it appeared to be more work than it seemed to be worth and it didn't appear to process the ET formula I expected. I'll find the link to it and post it too.

But what I did find was a Python script a person wrote from the formula. We have messaged several times. The link to that short forum thread is:

http://apicommunity.wunderground.com...y_button&reply[id]=14850938

You will see a link to the script he posted. Don't use the script pasted in the forum itself. Not knowing Python, that post was very difficult to use due to its indentation issues. He does not use Homeseer. He developed a way to determine Solar Radiation without actual measurements. It appears the way he did it works amazingly well. Although I haven't got to the point yet of verifying the values because I have been working on the script.

I will post my adaptation of his script and provide the link as soon as I get mine posted later today.

Frank
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  #27  
Old October 6th, 2014, 08:38 AM
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I took a simpler route for calculating water needs, I just have my sprinkler script scrape a weather.com web page that has the water needs calculated for my zip code...not perfect, but worked pretty well this summer. No brown spots in the grass, but the sprinklers may have run a little more than necessary on a couple days. http://www.weather.com/home-garden/forecast/49464
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  #28  
Old October 6th, 2014, 09:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankc View Post
Hello ND,

I did find the javascript link:

http://www.tfrec.wsu.edu/orchard/pet/petcalc.html

I went through all the processes you describe; mainly trying to find formulas already adapted and sources of solar radiation. I did find a spreadsheet that might work, although it appeared to be more work than it seemed to be worth and it didn't appear to process the ET formula I expected. I'll find the link to it and post it too.

But what I did find was a Python script a person wrote from the formula. We have messaged several times. The link to that short forum thread is:

http://apicommunity.wunderground.com...y_button&reply[id]=14850938

You will see a link to the script he posted. Don't use the script pasted in the forum itself. Not knowing Python, that post was very difficult to use due to its indentation issues. He does not use Homeseer. He developed a way to determine Solar Radiation without actual measurements. It appears the way he did it works amazingly well. Although I haven't got to the point yet of verifying the values because I have been working on the script.

I will post my adaptation of his script and provide the link as soon as I get mine posted later today.

Frank
Thanks for the links. It appears he calculates solar radiation based on latitude and time of year (not sure if he includes elevation but that could be a further refinement). If it's sunny and pollution isn't a problem, I imagine that gets you pretty close. Properly adjusting for cloud cover, which he attempts to do, sounds trickier. I'm no expert, but my laymen conception is that some cloud cover is heavier than others, and without measurements I don't know how one accounts for those differences, which I'm guessing could be large. My hypothesis is that solar irradiance probably generally dominates the other factors, but I was going to confirm just how much it dominants through the what-if analysis.

I have a lux sensor with high dynamic range on order from Adafruit (http://www.adafruit.com/products/1980). It should arrive this week. It's inexpensive at around $7, but I'm hoping it will correlate well enough to solar irradiance, even though it doesn't have the crystal hemisphere over it like a proper scientific instrument would. I should think that a solar panel would also be a good way to measure irradiance, as that is what powers it--although again it would be missing a hemisphere.

The ghetto approach to this is a temperature sensor inside sealed a glass jar that you put outside where it can be exposed to the sun. I haven't tried it, and I don't know how accurate it would be, but that's what some people do.

Regarding capping your water balance formula because of soil saturation, you may want to consider getting a soil moisture sensor. If used just for that purpose, it wouldn't have to be very accurate, and probably even a cheap SMS would serve the purpose. I presently have three different SMS's buried at different depths, which I can track in real-time using plot.ly (https://plot.ly/~WhiteRabbit/41/medium-deep-shallow/), though I hope to move off plot.ly to a better logging-plotting method fairly soon. Anyhow, a further refinement considers not just total rainfall for a day, but the intensity of the rainfall. Depending on where you live, that may or may not matter so much, but here we tend to get intense rain and a lot of run-off. The three sensors at different depths show this is so, because the deeper sensor (around 6-8" deep) is sometimes unaffected by even 1-2" of heavy rainfall, even though it may saturate the soil at one or both the shallower depths. I know from measurements that if I were to irrigate by the same amount, but at a slower precipitation rate of 0.4"/hour, then (barring extreme conditions) the water would definitely register on the deepest sensor. Anyhow, as you were discussing how best to cap in that thread, I thought I would toss that in as food for thought. If you know the percolation rate for your soil (there's a simple one-off measurement you can do that will tell you), the amount of captured water might (?) also be something you could calculate without needing direct SMS measurements for soil moisture saturation.

Last edited by NeverDie; October 7th, 2014 at 10:11 AM.
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  #29  
Old October 6th, 2014, 10:05 AM
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Interesting! I'll have to take a look at the lux sensor you mention and I agree that a moisture sensor would be a good addition to the rest of this.

I haven't compared his work to the formula he used, but I don't see that it makes use of elevation.

I've just created my first GitHub. I can't believe it was as difficult as I made it out to be. But I think I have got the script uploaded and I think the link is:

https://github.com/frankpc3/ET

As you noted, the author takes a "cloud cover" reading every hour from the weather station in the area. And he has applied arbitrary figures for each type of cover noted. Then adds it all together. I am planning to adjust that sum by some factor if it doesn't match actual readings in this area. I am lucky in that a college: K-State here in Kansas, measures and publishes ET and Solar Radiation values every hour. The trouble is that it appears they cannot be scraped or downloaded automatically. However, the figures are obtained just a few miles from here and I plan to compare their results with those of the script.

Let me know if the link above does not work.

Frank
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  #30  
Old October 6th, 2014, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by misraels View Post
I just have my sprinkler script scrape a weather.com web page that has the water needs calculated for my zip code http://www.weather.com/home-garden/forecast/49464
I hadn't found that before. I am looking now, but nothing is said other than, "Watering Needs - None". Does it specify how much to water when that becomes necessary?

Does your script adjust the durations of your zones on a percentage basis?

And is there some way to mute the people talking?

Thanks!

Frank
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  #31  
Old October 6th, 2014, 11:43 AM
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I'm about to learn Python. Which Python for Windows do you like to use? I was looking at Python Notebook as a possibility (http://ipython.org/notebook.html), because it has integration with Dygraphs (http://blog.dygraphs.com/2014/09/pyd...odule-for.html), which is the plotting platform I most want to adopt for the long-term.

Yesterday I received a Raspberry Pi B+. As that's the platform I'll eventually want python to run on, maybe I should just stick to that platform and stay clear of windows entirely. Or does it even matter? I'm guessing python is well abstracted from the hardware, but that's just a guess with nothing to support it.

Last edited by NeverDie; October 6th, 2014 at 09:03 PM.
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  #32  
Old October 6th, 2014, 12:48 PM
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I used ActivePython-2.5.5.7-win32-x86.msi. I put that and other information in the script. (you also need simple json). I had read on this board that was the only version that would work. So that is the only version I tried. And as of a week ago, I had never messed with python. But it is very similar to visual basic I think. I think you will find it easy to learn. I've learned enough in a week to do enough.

I need to get a raspberry pi. They look interesting. I've messed with an arduino a little. My sprinklers are controlled from a webControl board.
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  #33  
Old October 6th, 2014, 12:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankc View Post
I hadn't found that before. I am looking now, but nothing is said other than, "Watering Needs - None". Does it specify how much to water when that becomes necessary?

Does your script adjust the durations of your zones on a percentage basis?

And is there some way to mute the people talking?

Thanks!

Frank
Correct, it only shows None, Low, Medium, and High. It is basic, but then I have it use a multiplier of 0, 0.5, 1, and 1.5 to adjust how much watering time my zones get. Not as good as using the sensors and ET calculation, but very simple.
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  #34  
Old October 6th, 2014, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by frankc View Post
As you noted, the author takes a "cloud cover" reading every hour from the weather station in the area. And he has applied arbitrary figures for each type of cover noted. Then adds it all together. I am planning to adjust that sum by some factor if it doesn't match actual readings in this area. I am lucky in that a college: K-State here in Kansas, measures and publishes ET and Solar Radiation values every hour. The trouble is that it appears they cannot be scraped or downloaded automatically. However, the figures are obtained just a few miles from here and I plan to compare their results with those of the script.

Frank
Another way to do it is to buy the Davis solar radiation sensor (http://www.weathershack.com/products...heet_Rev_D.pdf), which I presume is probably a good one. Runs about $150. It's allegedly possible to read it directly, so you needn't buy into the rest of the Davis station unless you want to.
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  #35  
Old October 7th, 2014, 02:34 AM
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Sorry but I have to ask, why would you get so technical on this?

My garden gets dry, I water it, it gets wet, plants grow. I have a bore and the water table is only 3m under my house so I have an unlimited supply of water with only negligible electrical pumping costs.

If you do want to adjust watering times based on conditions, I'm sure you could greatly simplify the calculations. Hot dry day = + 3 mins, cold damp day = -3 mins, rain = off. Its hardly an exact science.

I give my garden 10 minutes 3 days a week with a 2 minute spray each other night to keep things wet. I never adjust this and my garden grows quite well.
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  #36  
Old October 7th, 2014, 08:06 AM
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Not sure to whom your question was directed, but in my case I live in a quasi desert-like area which over the past 5 years has been stricken by worsening drought (approaching "worse than the worst drought of record"). Water rates are tiered, making water for landscaping expensive. Converting to Xeriscaping isn't cheap either, but we're hedging by taking small steps in that direction too. This is the first year I'm trying more intelligent irrigation. So far I'm finding I can save water during the non-peak months. The two hottest months, though, I didn't find much that could be done, as there was almost no rain in July and August. This year those two months had water bills of ~$500 per month. In this context, a $150 sensor is easy to justify, if it's likely to pay for itself.

If water were cheap, I really doubt I would have geared up for this. However, I've noted the lawn does seem healthier now from watering it only when it needs to be, rather than purely on a timed schedule, as I did previously. For some people, that might be sufficient motivation, and now that I've started I would likely continue even if water rates were to become cheap.

Last edited by NeverDie; October 7th, 2014 at 10:04 AM.
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  #37  
Old October 7th, 2014, 09:29 AM
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$500 bucks a month wow! Now it makes sense why you want to calculate more exact requirements. I figured perhaps you had a few acres of fruit trees or something.

Water is pretty scarce over here too and we always go 4 months over summer with practically (or sometimes absolutely) no rain but it's still really cheap over here. More like $500 per year. With a bore pump like I have, its basically free.
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  #38  
Old October 7th, 2014, 09:36 AM
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In my case, I am watering a pretty large patch of grass, and water is expensive and getting even more so. I figure with a one time attempt at a software solution, I will be able to very easily and conveniently water the lawn as required.

I think in this day and age with water conversation and financial conservation becoming significant issues, the value of water efficiency is becoming more important.

Actually, I'm thinking that all sprinkler controllers should be ET controlled. We know that the software is already available that works correctly, what would it cost to implement its use in a small raspberry pi? And it would seem that small investment would end up saving water and money.

I also agree that in the middle of this work, it seems as though we're taking a simple task and making it very difficult. I wouldn't want to do this twice!
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  #39  
Old October 7th, 2014, 11:20 AM
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I might be able save a lot of water if I could figure out why my lawn seems to require roughly twice what the local ET measurements indicate it should need. My current theory is that the soil is overly compacted, and so the water is staying too high in the soil, leading to high evaporation losses. I'm going to see if core aeration makes a difference. Excess thatch is probably also a factor, with a similar effect, but it's harder to fix.

In this sense, ET may prove to be a very helpful diagnostic tool. However, I won't know for sure until I get to the bottom of it. It's possible the reported ET numbers are skewed low, which is another reason I'd like to do my own ET calc as a cross-check.

For sure, something somewhere isn't right.

Last edited by NeverDie; October 7th, 2014 at 11:34 AM.
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  #40  
Old October 7th, 2014, 12:15 PM
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What is your source of local ET figures?
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