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Irrigation Discussion Discussion of irrigation integration with HomeSeer systems.

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  #1  
Old January 30th, 2015, 08:08 PM
mikedr mikedr is offline
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My Z-Wave sprinkler controller

We have a very small irrigation system -- just four stations. I was a bit disappointed that there are no Z-Wave sprinkler controllers out there, so I decided just to use Remotec Z-Wave ZFM-80 relays instead (a bit of overkill for this scenario).

Here is the final product! I am pretty happy with it.
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Last edited by mikedr; January 30th, 2015 at 08:09 PM. Reason: pressed return by mistake
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  #2  
Old January 31st, 2015, 01:11 AM
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Very nice Mike!
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  #3  
Old January 31st, 2015, 12:37 PM
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Olbrit Olbrit is offline
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Looks good Mike. I use a bank of 3 Remotecs (that it appears HS has stopped selling?) coupled with magnets to monitor the 3 doors in my garage.

Every now and then (maybe 2 times a year) one of the Remotecs drops offline and a power cycle doesn't fix it. What I found was that if I rotate it 180 degrees it will then work again. Aesthetically not wonderful as the 3 buttons no longer line up at the front, but it's in a garage so I tried not to worry about it. Really weird. I hope your bank of 4 Remotecs stay good!
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Old January 31st, 2015, 12:46 PM
mikedr mikedr is offline
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Oh, don't tell me that! :\ I need these puppies to be rock solid. We have two houses, and we leave this one six months of the year, but I need to be able to adjust (and run!) the sprinklers remotely.

So, when it drops out, you just rotate it then? Any more issues after rotation?

Yeah, I'm not sure why HomeSeer stopped selling them. I bought them off Amazon. I was going to go with the relay module that Linear and Evolve make, but I liked the idea of having local control.

For the outside of the house, I'm either going to install a GE battery powered scene controller in a weatherproof switch box, or a quad switch and run them to the switch inputs on the Remotecs.
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Old January 31st, 2015, 12:50 PM
mikedr mikedr is offline
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Also, did the goofballs at Remotec realize that when you use a switch plate, their controls are recessed in the plate? I was thinking seeing if I could unscrew the mounting brackets and move them down a bit so that they're not flush, and ultimately didn't really want to mess with it.

The manual shows a strange type of cover mounted over the switch -- nothing I've ever seen, and sort of begs the question as to why you'd make a beautiful looking switch with an indicator light, and then cover it up such that it's not accessible unless you unscrew the cover.
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Old January 31st, 2015, 01:09 PM
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Sorry about that, just wanted to share an experience that I hope you never have! I'm non-resident in FL for 3 months at a time so I need reliability too. I don't have any other issues with them, and my connection issue could be because they're 2 hops from the controller and there's a lot of metal around. Maybe the acceptable propagation is just on the edge the whole time and rotating them changes the antenna orientation? Although I have them set to instant status I do reluctantly poll them every 15 minutes just in case.

Agreed, the design is stupid. As you describe, I've seen some pictures in the forum of some nice workarounds by moving the 2 brackets and dremelling out the cover plate so the Remotecs seat flush, e.g. http://board.homeseer.com/showthread...hlight=remotec
http://board.homeseer.com/showpost.p...2&postcount=10
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  #7  
Old January 31st, 2015, 03:12 PM
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Michael McSharry Michael McSharry is offline
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The primary distinguishing factor of an irrigation controller and a relay is the independent monitoring that has the ability to turn off a valve to prevent a stuck on condition. Smarter controllers may consider other failure modes as well. Most electronics depend upon a stable power source and when transients exists the behavior of the electronics is unpredictable. This dependency tends to favor designs that avoid common mode failures of the controller and monitor.
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Old January 31st, 2015, 04:06 PM
mikedr mikedr is offline
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Olbrit -- thanks for the info, and the link. Since this is in a garage, I probably won't be doing that. I did look through the Amazon reviews of this unit, and one guy indicated the reason HomeSeer doesn't sell the product any more is due to a high return rate because of failures. I will keep an eye on it, and if any fail, I'll probably switch them all out for LFM-20s.

Michael -- I totally agree. Unfortunately -- and amazingly to me -- there are no Z-Wave sprinkler controllers out there. That would have been my first choice for sure. I'm running HomeSeer on Linux (HomeTroller SEL), which means that the irrigation system plug-ins available are quite limited as well.
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  #9  
Old January 31st, 2015, 04:23 PM
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Olbrit Olbrit is offline
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Good plan B! I have several LFM-20's (and its predecessor) and have them in the most challenging places, like in a metal box in the yard with its antenna sticking out the back through a small hole, and above metal light/fan fixture domes. They just work and touchwood in nearly 6 years I've never had an issue with one. Hope you don't have to do that though and the Remotecs stay solid for you...
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Old January 31st, 2015, 04:29 PM
mikedr mikedr is offline
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I have an LFM-20 I installed four years ago. It's in a weather proof box mounted on the outside of the house, to control a misting system pump. It easily sees heat >110 F in the summer, and the thing is bullet proof. I just wish they had a housing that made it easier to install in a switch box!
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  #11  
Old February 15th, 2015, 09:44 AM
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While this is not related to using Z-Wave for irrigation control. I have sort of regressed here a bit starting initially with a Rainbird dealer installation of my irrigation systems. Then removing the Rainbird modules replacing them with a serial controlled set up which was controlled by Homeseer via a very long serial cable (Cat5e); then taking the Homeseer mcsSprinklers software and installing it on a little Arm based computer. Today the Rainbird box is self sufficient or can be managed by Homeseer. I have a tiny touchscreen that I use via the network and can also attach it or velcro it to the top of the Rainbird irrigation controller. I am using tiny (very small) SSD drives with it. One is only used for backing up current configuration via a cron job.

Just an example here of an independant / dependant HS set up. As stated above a stuck valve needs some other mechanism to shut off the water. In FL I have lightning issues and do get stuck valves and sprinkler heads as most of this stuff is in sand. (checking it manually all the time in FL). Up north I have had a stuck valve or sprinkler head maybe twice in the last 10 years. In the FL 50 home subdivision via the HOA a secondary water source was installed just for irrigation using some old wells that were present. The cost per home was some ~10-15K to connect to the shared water wells. That said the use of the well water for irrigation is free. (house is on a key). Up north water costs have increased astromically to ~$110.00 with relatively no use to $500 plus if used for irrigation.

1 - Using two Rain8Nets - serial transport
2 - mcsSprinklers running on Seagate Dockstar. (can be controlled from Homeseer)
3 - direct or indirect shut offs here and weather instruments directly connected or connected via Homeseer.
4 - Extended connectivity including main water valve shutoffs, flow measurements, rain switch via digital rain guage.
5 - touch screen above old Rainbird sprinkler box.

I don't really manually turn on or off the system but it can be controlled via any console either inside or outside of the primary network.

Some folks with the Elk / HAI combination security panels just manage their sprinkler systems via the panels (well directly via outputs to relays, indirectly via X10, UPB or Z-Wave). My UPB is 100% today. That said I prefer a more direct connection with the included checks and balances. That is a personal preference. I do have two HAI OPII panels configured today but control the irrigation autonomously with checks and balances for remote stuff.

The above noted I put in checks and balances for my irrigation system a few years back now and they work fine these days. Note too that all of the hardware is inside of the old Rainbird sprinkler box. Its been like this for years. The box is left closed and you can put a lock on it if necessary.
While I do have CCTV you can use the water flow meters (which are just attached to the irrigation water lines) and water shutoff (also just attached to the irrigation) to do a manual shutoff or automation shutoff of any water flow to irrigation.

This little set up in the box aside from controlling the irrigation valves, measures water flow utilization for irrigation only, uses a main before the manifold electronic irrigation valve and a hard wired digital rain sensor which would shut off the sprinklers with fog if necessary. The software is the icing on the cake as it uses ET to water my lawn along with the analog sensors. (IE the UV is analog or from the internet; best local and digital UV measurements).

For manual testing I can utilize my phone, tablet or old X10 palm pad. Preference outside to test with is my old X10 palm pad. (works well ouside to the edges of the property).
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Last edited by Pete; February 15th, 2015 at 07:46 PM.
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  #12  
Old February 15th, 2015, 06:53 PM
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TomTom TomTom is offline
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Great Idea.
Have you considered opensprinkler its only $149(fully assembled) and $99 (for diy) for 8 zones. IP/Wifi Controlled. There is a free plugin for HS also.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikedr View Post
We have a very small irrigation system -- just four stations. I was a bit disappointed that there are no Z-Wave sprinkler controllers out there, so I decided just to use Remotec Z-Wave ZFM-80 relays instead (a bit of overkill for this scenario).

Here is the final product! I am pretty happy with it.
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Old February 15th, 2015, 08:54 PM
mikedr mikedr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomTom View Post
Great Idea.
Have you considered opensprinkler its only $149(fully assembled) and $99 (for diy) for 8 zones. IP/Wifi Controlled. There is a free plugin for HS also.
That's definitely something I looked at. But I believe the plug-in is not Linux compatible.
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Old February 15th, 2015, 11:23 PM
ORNVM ORNVM is offline
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I installed an open sprinkler last year. Very stable, and very impressed with it. For the price, can't go wrong. the web interface is very easy to setup schedules, i like that it can run independent of homeseer, but HS still has hooks into it to update status or fire off a manual control.

It was kind of funny blowing out my sprinklers for winter this year walking around with a tablet firing off the zones, instead of ducking out of the garage and back like everyone else does.
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  #15  
Old February 16th, 2015, 12:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ORNVM View Post
It was kind of funny blowing out my sprinklers for winter this year walking around with a tablet firing off the zones, instead of ducking out of the garage and back like everyone else does.
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Old February 16th, 2015, 01:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ORNVM View Post
I installed an open sprinkler last year. Very stable, and very impressed with it. For the price, can't go wrong. the web interface is very easy to setup schedules, i like that it can run independent of homeseer, but HS still has hooks into it to update status or fire off a manual control.

It was kind of funny blowing out my sprinklers for winter this year walking around with a tablet firing off the zones, instead of ducking out of the garage and back like everyone else does.
That was the biggest and welcome change for me as well. Walking around with an iPhone and controlling the zones was priceless. I used a different controller, but the end result is the same.
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Old August 4th, 2016, 10:08 PM
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wpiman wpiman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rprade View Post
That was the biggest and welcome change for me as well. Walking around with an iPhone and controlling the zones was priceless. I used a different controller, but the end result is the same.
I have a script for blowing out the system. Turn on zone A for 2 minutes. Off for 5 while the compressor refills. Turn on zone A again. Off for 5 minutes Then zone B.

I sit back and watch the system blow itself out from the hammock.
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