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The last 10 posts

Tuesday, April 28th 2009, 6:05pm

by bbruck

a fruitless quest - for me

By coincidence, this winter I became VERY interested in home automation (HA) - and my 15-year-old spinkler system needed rehabbing. For a couple months I inhabited the HA boards reading every word on integrating my irrigation system with my growing (Insteon-brand) HA system.

What I found was that HA in general - and HA irrigation afficianados in particular - are hobbiests. What I expected was that in the HA world I would find the best of the smart controllers merged with the latest in HA. What I found was that there are some good, basic sprinkler systems that can be controlled by HA - and everything the folks say above are true - you can use the internet or a smartphone to operate them etc.

BUT...

The basics of smart controllers just aren't there. People are writing scripts to integrate their HA sprinkler controller with NOAA weather data, or happily cobbling together on-site sensors and using their own judgment as to how to use the data.

I eventually went with what I saw as a best-in-class smart controller, and my installer said that the company plans to release a "computer interface" later this year. God knows it will probably be a silly serial interface to X10, but...

Bottom line - I don't think that the technology is there yet to give us the best of both worlds.

Monday, April 6th 2009, 11:59am

by h20saver

What is an Internet Sprinkler Controller?

Based on the number of views, it looks like people are interested in the topic of Internet sprinkler controllers. It's important then to define what an Internet sprinkler controller is, so that we clear up confusion and ensure that expected benefits are properly outlined.
An Internet sprinkler controller is simply a controller that can be contacted, programmed, and scheduled using a web browser (ie, Internet Explorer, Opera, Safari, Firefox). The benefits provided by programming or controlling via a web browser are:
1. standardized remote access
2. a user interface that is easier to use and understand
3. more irrigation control (ie, more programs, finer irrigation control)
They usually offer additional benefits, like more sophisticated irrigation control using calanders, and real time weather information. These benefits are provided on "smart" Internet sprinkler controllers, and these features reduce your household operating costs by reducing or eliminating wasteful overwatering.

If you do a search using the term "internet sprinkler controller" you will be inundated with products that call themselves "Internet Sprinkler Controllers" when they really are not. This causes confusion and muddles the value of true Internet Sprinkler Controllers. There are many companies that advertise or have contracted PR to claim their products Internet Sprinkler controllers. However be wary of these claims. Many of these products are really automated controllers that require a personal computer for control and the manufacturers claim that since the computer can be connected to the Internet, then therefore their controllers must be "Internet Sprinkler Controllers."
That's why you need to focus on the benefits provided by true Internet Sprinkler Controllers. For example, if you want standardized remote access (for example ability to program and control through a smart phone or browser) ask if the controller can be programmed through a standard web browser. Also, find out if a personal computer must be turned on for the controller to work. You don't want to open your personal computer to the Internet for remote destop access just to control your sprinklers - that's inviting trouble and could be costly. If the sprinkler controller can't be programmed or controlled through a web browser, or if a personal computer must be in the loop for control, then you are NOT going to get the benefits you would logically expect.

Hope this helps as people learn about what an Internet Sprinkler controller is and what benefits they should expect, if they decide to install one, when compared to standard timer boxes.

h20

Thursday, March 19th 2009, 3:22pm

by irrigation solutions

almost all

The clocks online are all out of date. They carry no warrenty. Hopes this helps.



Joe

www.irrigationsolutions.com

Saturday, March 7th 2009, 3:23pm

by h20 (Guest)

Answer to Dan's Question on Servicing a Valve

Hi Dan,
Sorry to hear that you feel that you got rope-a-doped - I don't think that is the case.

Anyway, you recently asked this question:
>>I get a little aggravated by the internet controller question because it is too difficult to service a sprinkler system with the internet set up compared to a conventional controller....How would you locate a valve in the field?
Here's your answer: With an Internet Sprinkler Controller you would just turn the valve on just like any other controller. The only difference is you could turn the valve on or off from any location, including in the field with your smartphone. Then you could use the equipment that you mentioned in the post to locate the wires.
Thanks for letting me know about the Model 521 Wire Locator. I didn't know these existed, and I see they cost $921 so they are a tool for the true professional. I hope HooKoo doesn't read your post or he will have to point out the obvious spam potential of mentioning a product. (LOL - I know you and HooKoo are big buddies, and you get paid for posting on this board, either cash or discounts as it says on the first page, so hopefully I'm giving more chances to make money!).
It's true that your techs may not have smartphones now, but high school age kids are buying these like hotcakes and soon they will have them. When your techs start showing up for work with smartphones (the kids use them for texting, playing music, web surfing) you'll want to know how you can use them to help your business.
Also, it seems there might be some confusion between an Interent sprinkler controller and a computer driven sprinkler controller. I'll put a post up soon that will clear up the confusion. Looks like I can use product names without fear of retribution because I've noted that product names are listed all over the forum.
regards,
h20
:huh:

Friday, March 6th 2009, 11:20pm

by hi.todd

Hookoodooku you are right!

I am a little red, and I fell for it.

Thanks for the redirection.

I get a little aggravated by the internet controller question because it is too difficult to service a sprinkler system with the internet set up compared to a conventional controller. Even If I have a Smart phone, My service tech that has a Wire locator 521, Multimeter, and other station master devices will not have a smart phone. How would you locate a valve in the field? I guess I would hook up my progressive 521 valve locator to a phone line or a computer terminal located in the garage? It is waaaay over my simple contractor intellect. I should have gone to college. Oh yeah, i did.

Oh, I probably will never have to track a valve because they never fail.

Hookoodooku Got it right and I got rope a doped.

Dan :thumbsup:

Thursday, March 5th 2009, 8:02am

by HooKooDooKu

RE: who put you in charge of the board?

... it was an honest answer to an honest question.
h2


Oh, I'm SOOOO sorry, I did not realize you were attempting to answer a question.

If that is the case, you seem to not be following the unwritten "rules" of a forum. You should be posting your answer in the thread where the question occured... not start a new thread. Otherwise, how will the person asking the question ever know you have answered it.

All very confusing.

Wednesday, March 4th 2009, 2:56pm

by h20saver

who put you in charge of the board?

Come on, 1st time poster, doesn't really ask a question, includes a link to a comercial web site?

Spam Spam Spam SPAM SPAM SPAM SPAM SPAM SPAM SPAM!!!


HooKoo:
First of all, the URL link if you would actually click it, is a link to an open source software project that simulates a cell phone. Second, many people don't have data phones or smart phones because they are expensive, but they still want to know how they can use them in their business.
Instead of shouting spam like you own the board, why don't you just contact the board monitors and let them make a decision. As far as I know this board is a public forum, not a public relations board for Hunter and other large commercial irrigation businesses.
The post has educational value and really does not spam: there is no offer to buy or sell anything, and it was an honest answer to an honest question.
h2

Wednesday, March 4th 2009, 1:45pm

by HooKooDooKu

How about this. You need sprinkler maintenance and one of your valves is dead. Instead of having the repair crew into your garage to trouble shoot, would you want them in your computer and house too. I have not heard a response to this question that a home owner likes.

Thanks
Dan

Dan,

Why are you allowing yourself to get sucked into a spam post?

Come on, 1st time poster, doesn't really ask a question, includes a link to a comercial web site?

Spam Spam Spam SPAM SPAM SPAM SPAM SPAM SPAM SPAM!!!

Wednesday, March 4th 2009, 12:00pm

by lc_admin (Guest)

answer to Dan's question...

Dan asked:

--->How about this. You need sprinkler maintenance and one of your valves is dead. Instead of having the repair crew into your garage to trouble shoot, would you want them in your computer and house too.

One of the coolest features of a true Internet sprinkler controller is that it can be controlled from anywhere. So if the system is designed with the contractor in mind, it would not only accomodate your request, but also allow the contractor to provide extra value services.

Here's an example with LawnCheck: If your customer had LawnCheck installed, and you had a browser cell phone like a blackberry or iphone, your customer could give you a share code and you could log into and control the irrigation from your browser phone. Then, you wouldn't even need to go into the garage to diagnose the problem.

Plus you could possibly start offering new services, like seasonal monitoring (do drive-by operational inspections), and water conservation services.

A few landscape people I've talked to have said that their smart phones were invaluable, mainly for emails and field quote preparation and delivery. Not everyone has them yet.

You can see what the LawnCheck cell site looks like on a simulator using the Opera Mini Browser Simulator site: http://www.opera.com/mini/demo/

Then you can see what LawnCheck's browserphone access looks like by entering this address into the phone simulator: cell.lawncheck.com

This is just for your information. Hopefully it can spark some ideas about how a landscape contractor can become more efficient (saving money for themselves) and offer more services (making more money :thumbup: ), using this type of system.

lc,

Thursday, February 26th 2009, 7:00pm

by hi.todd

How about this. You need sprinkler maintenance and one of your valves is dead. Instead of having the repair crew into your garage to trouble shoot, would you want them in your computer and house too. I have not heard a response to this question that a home owner likes.

Thanks
Dan