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post #1 of 38 Old 12-26-2013, 04:13 PM - Thread Starter
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I would like to install a new sprinkler controller, weather aware. Anyone has any experience with that?

I saw a nice one at www.rainmachine.com, but I could not find any API documented. Any ideas?

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post #2 of 38 Old 12-29-2013, 05:45 PM
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I use a cyber-rain. (www.cyber-rain.com)

It has always worked well for me.

Dave
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post #3 of 38 Old 05-21-2014, 01:20 PM
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Have you heard about "skydrop" smart sprinkler controller.

 

Take a look!  www.skydrop.com

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post #4 of 38 Old 05-21-2014, 02:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenstuff View Post

I would like to install a new sprinkler controller, weather aware. Anyone has any experience with that?
I saw a nice one at www.rainmachine.com, but I could not find any API documented. Any ideas?

I'm very interested in the Rainmachine unit as well - although I'll have to wait for them to ship the expansion unit as well (since I have 14 zones), and comparing to the skydrop, it looks like a better deal (12 zones at $249 vs. 8 at $299). I'm hoping y'all will get these units and post some reviews to blaze the trail for me once either unit becomes available "for real".

On the API question - what integration would you actually want to perform with the system that their own interface / app wouldn't already handle? I'm just curious. I'm holding off on my thermostat upgrade(s) awaiting one or more of the players to release a public API so I can integrate the few bits I need into my theater control system. But I can't think of a reason I'd need to integrate the sprinkler controller into the rest of the system assuming it was already managing the schedule on its own.

I suppose there might be a use case for a quick override (don't run the back yard zones during a party), buy IMO, I don't think I'll base my purchase decision (for this device) on availability of a public API.

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post #5 of 38 Old 05-23-2014, 06:35 AM
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There's been very good reviews of irrigationcaddy (irrigationcaddy.com) and Etherrain (quicksmart.com). Both seem to have a good interface but the API on each I'm not sure of.
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post #6 of 38 Old 05-23-2014, 08:43 AM
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I use etherrain. It has software you can install on your pc to control it and/or you can use the free cloud service to control it. Additionally I belive vera has a plug-in. I believe the api is pretty simplistic, but I haven't looked into in detail. The control software and cloud service integrate simple weather based rules. For instance I have a simple rule that if the chance of precipitation is higher than x% on that day or the next then don't run sprinklers that day. You can also use the interface to cancel or run cycles out of schedule of course.

There is also opensprinkler which runs on the arduino platform (raspberry pi) and is open source.
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post #7 of 38 Old 05-23-2014, 09:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ekkoville View Post

There's been very good reviews of irrigationcaddy (irrigationcaddy.com) and Etherrain (quicksmart.com). Both seem to have a good interface but the API on each I'm not sure of.

But neither of those appear to use the forecast and evapotranspiration (ET) adjustments - which is where the automatic / water savings comes from.

So API, yes, but these "new" controllers look like better controllers (but may lack an integration API). Which is why I asked the question about the integration uses.

If you're currently controlling your unit from the API - what do you do with it? And if the unit retrieves the forecast / actual rain stats on its own - would you still need to?

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post #8 of 38 Old 05-23-2014, 03:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

But neither of those appear to use the forecast and evapotranspiration (ET) adjustments - which is where the automatic / water savings comes from.

So API, yes, but these "new" controllers look like better controllers (but may lack an integration API). Which is why I asked the question about the integration uses.

If you're currently controlling your unit from the API - what do you do with it? And if the unit retrieves the forecast / actual rain stats on its own - would you still need to?

Etherrain does allow you to use parts of forecast info for go/no go - albeit through software controlling the unit.
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post #9 of 38 Old 05-28-2014, 10:19 AM
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I installed a Rainmachine two weeks ago and am very pleased so far the unit connects to NOAA to get weather forecast and adjust watering times accordingly. I cut the initial watering times that my Gardner set in half and all lawns and flowerbeds look happy. Install to valves and router was simple and programing my 12 zones was a piece of cake also. I have the free app running on both iPad and Android Note3 smartphone.

Recommend highly!
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post #10 of 38 Old 06-01-2014, 05:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevhub View Post

I installed a Rainmachine two weeks ago and am very pleased so far the unit connects to NOAA to get weather forecast and adjust watering times accordingly. I cut the initial watering times that my Gardner set in half and all lawns and flowerbeds look happy. Install to valves and router was simple and programing my 12 zones was a piece of cake also. I have the free app running on both iPad and Android Note3 smartphone.

Recommend highly!


Couldn't have said it any better, similar experinces and results with mine installed several weeks ago.
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post #11 of 38 Old 06-16-2014, 09:53 AM
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I installed a RainMachine about a week and a half ago. It couldn't have been simpler to install and setup. I had a couple of sprinkler heads to replace afterwards, and it was so nice being able to walk around my yard and turn zones on and off via my phone. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a smart sprinkler controller.

That being said, I have also the app installed on the iPad Mini that I use for Roomie Remote. I'm still trying to figure out if I can integrate RainMachine into Roomie. However, if I can't integrate the RainMachine it won't be a big deal.
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post #12 of 38 Old 06-16-2014, 02:38 PM
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Rain Machine works excellent. I have had it for about 10 months. The ability to custom name zones, specify parameters to operate in (temperatures), months to water, vegetation types, etc are nice features. Setup on my wireless network was straightforward and simple. The IOS app was horrible until the update this last May. Now, the app seems to function as expected. I would definitely recommend this product to others. I cannot speak to customer support as I have needed none.


Hope this helps!

Chris
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post #13 of 38 Old 06-30-2014, 03:49 PM
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Has anyone seen Ugmo. Uses moisture sensors embedded in your different zones. However, I cannot seem to find a place to buy. Also, rain machine seems perpetually out of stock. A
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post #14 of 38 Old 07-12-2014, 11:37 PM
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API for Crestron ?

All the stand alone irrigation are perfect on them alone but when you have a centralised home automation (4 me Crestron) you like to monitor and have feedback, eventually bypass the controller from your HA touchscreen or even program the controller.

Looking for:

1) feedback : ability to see on a plan of the yard where the sprinklers are activated (not always possibility to see front, back, streetside sprinklers) ...

2) Bypass : say you just put some new plants and want to bypass the sprinkler number 3 for a couple of weeks to be more activated... or want to manually activate the sprinklers to test them...or the grass is less green in area 5 and want some more water for say a couple of days = temporary fine tuining without having to reprogram the main controller

3) have an idea of water consumption per sprinkler, pressure ? can detect problems in advance, moisture

4) activate scenarios : night irrigation, have a studio means when somebody on visit no sprinklers over day in that area..., week end scenario around the pool...

Thats what I am looking for ?
Has someone an idea of a integrateable sprinkler controller (meaning with full stand alone intelligence because they are good in what they are designed for) with API for Crestron ?
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post #15 of 38 Old 04-25-2015, 02:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HendrickxChris View Post
All the stand alone irrigation are perfect on them alone but when you have a centralised home automation (4 me Crestron) you like to monitor and have feedback, eventually bypass the controller from your HA touchscreen or even program the controller.

Looking for:

1) feedback : ability to see on a plan of the yard where the sprinklers are activated (not always possibility to see front, back, streetside sprinklers) ...

2) Bypass : say you just put some new plants and want to bypass the sprinkler number 3 for a couple of weeks to be more activated... or want to manually activate the sprinklers to test them...or the grass is less green in area 5 and want some more water for say a couple of days = temporary fine tuining without having to reprogram the main controller

3) have an idea of water consumption per sprinkler, pressure ? can detect problems in advance, moisture

4) activate scenarios : night irrigation, have a studio means when somebody on visit no sprinklers over day in that area..., week end scenario around the pool...

Thats what I am looking for ?
Has someone an idea of a integrateable sprinkler controller (meaning with full stand alone intelligence because they are good in what they are designed for) with API for Crestron ?
I am looking for just about the same thing.

There is a new one out called rachio that may not be fully integrate but will take care of itself and utilize forecasts to delay watering. It can be controlled from its own app.

Blazar!
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post #16 of 38 Old 04-26-2015, 01:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blazar View Post
I am looking for just about the same thing.

There is a new one out called rachio that may not be fully integrate but will take care of itself and utilize forecasts to delay watering. It can be controlled from its own app.
I just bought and installed the Rachio myself. It's certainly working so far, and has bypassed several schedules due to the forecast. Only had it a few weeks, so some more time with it and I'll give a better review...

Rachio has a major software update planned for May, too.

http://community.rachio.com/t/what-i...-version-2/561

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Last edited by jautor; 04-26-2015 at 01:56 PM.
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post #17 of 38 Old 04-26-2015, 06:20 PM
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Great, thanks for the info, are you aware of any info or drivers for interfacing with control4 or other systems?

Or perhaps with apple's homekit?

Stuff like control4 should be eventually superfluous if enough companies jump on board with homekit I would think.
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post #18 of 38 Old 04-26-2015, 06:30 PM
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Found a driver by houselogix for control4 but its only useful to really pause the sprinkler system. It cant activate specific zones, tell you what zone is on, or do anything else useful besides turning off the rachio... Which is pointless really.

The primary success of control4 is its simplicity while its primary failure tends to be a lack of control surface interface screens made specifically for it...

I think anyone using a rachio should plan to use the interface made specifically for phones, etc. put out by the company.
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post #19 of 38 Old 04-27-2015, 05:49 AM
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Blazar,

I am with you. One thing lacking for me is a good C4 set up. Rachio has a driver. Irrigation Caddy has a driver too. both systems have 1 big let down - lack of good UI interaction within C4. That said, Irrigation Caddy is promising a new app for 2.7 OS that will have all the functionality built in - only drawback, it is NOT based on flash, so it will require 2.7 and the new touch screens.

I am digging around re: RainMachine and Hydrawise. I like both because the actual controller has a screen, so my sprinkler tech can service the unit from the unit and not requiring my cell phone app, or a computer or something else. RainMachine seems to have new hardware coming out in May. Hydrawise advertises C4 connectivity, so I am having my dealer investigate.
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post #20 of 38 Old 04-27-2015, 07:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blazar View Post
Found a driver by houselogix for control4 but its only useful to really pause the sprinkler system. It cant activate specific zones, tell you what zone is on, or do anything else useful besides turning off the rachio... Which is pointless really.
The point of the a truly automated system is not having to play with the individual controls. And that's what the new sprinkler controllers are getting close to. Not including installation, on how many occasions over the course of a year would you need to manually turn on a zone? For those rare occasions, pull out the sprinkler app and use it. You'll probably be performing maintenance or other very sprinkler-related tasks, so you'd want the full UI of the controller anyway...

I asked the forum (and thought about it myself) for use cases where you'd want to interact with a sprinkler controller from an integrated system. Assuming the sprinkler controller was automatically adjusting itself (meaning the integrated system has no weather / water data to add to the system), the only thing anyone could come up with was the manual override - prevent running the sprinklers during a party.

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post #21 of 38 Old 04-27-2015, 08:24 AM
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Jautor
While I agree interaction is not usually there, one thing I like about C4 (or HA in general) is the "1 app" solution. I could open up another app. I could also have done that for my garage door, or security panel, or cameras, or Sonos, or, well you get the point. But for ease of use, I am looking for a consolidated platform where I open up 1 app, and whatever I need information wise is at my fingertips.

I usually run my watering program in the morning, like 4am. So I am not worried about it interrupting a party. That said, what if it did not run due to already enough water on the ground (I have a rain sensor, built in weather reporting, whatever). That's fine. Within C4, I could get a text alert at 8am saying sprinkler did not run last night. Would help me monitor usage. I could also tie it in so if there is a leak and my water sensors go off it would shut down the main water into the house. I've had a bad head point at a window in my basement and cause water to get into the house before. Sure without C4 integration the main water will still be shut off, but the sprinkler will "run" even though no water is coming out if my main is shut off. would be nice to just turn off the programming in that situation.

End of day, I invested in a 1 app platform. And as you mentioned, the need to integrate irrigation is lower on most people's priority list (for good reason). So for now, I am content to wait until the hardware is where I need it to be.
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post #22 of 38 Old 04-27-2015, 11:12 AM
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C4 sucks for some things such as their music library functions. Honestly I have been bored waiting for them to improve that. Apple's remote app is much more useful as is the search/audio interface feature on my jeep grand cherokee.

So with C4, while some of it is worth consolidating, some features kinda suck.

The latest changes to their thermostat interface are stupid for example. My honeywell thermostat intrrface with an independent app is definitely better, more responsive, and can work over the internet (remotely) with no other costs.

C4 is going to be obsolete soon unless they can pull me into their app more. Even the login delay on the phone is still too long. Swapping to c4 and then to apple remote app or my laptop is still boring.

They need to have library functions such as renaming files etc on their app for it to be useful to me as a music library. Meridian's sooloos is a bit better in this regard but still has its failings.

If i could revamp the software or consult for these companies, I would have control4 make some serious design changes to make thier stuff more useful.

Homekit and other third party protocols are going to make home automation systems of today very quickly obsolete ... Or the comsumer electronics industry is asleep.

I like the rachio concept of a system that requires no interaction.

A nice feature would be to add in a sensor that will tell you if your system has sprung a leak... Which is a problem if you have drip irrigation under the lawn like I do.
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post #23 of 38 Old 04-27-2015, 11:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ezlotogura View Post
While I agree interaction is not usually there, one thing I like about C4 (or HA in general) is the "1 app" solution. I could open up another app. I could also have done that for my garage door, or security panel, or cameras, or Sonos, or, well you get the point. But for ease of use, I am looking for a consolidated platform where I open up 1 app, and whatever I need information wise is at my fingertips.
Oh, 100% agree, but when the amount if interaction is "very low", the work to integrate all the functionality needed to be "useful" in the one-app framework probably becomes too costly to develop/support...

Quote:
That said, what if it did not run due to already enough water on the ground (I have a rain sensor, built in weather reporting, whatever). That's fine. Within C4, I could get a text alert at 8am saying sprinkler did not run last night. Would help me monitor usage.
That's the thing - the Rachio (and others) already do all this without assistance from an integrated system. I got a notification this morning from the Rachio that due to expected rain, my Monday morning watering schedule was skipped... Their app has all the history, usage data, etc. Replicating all of that in a C4 environment seems like an unnecessary expense - unless there's a strong compelling reason to do it.

Quote:
I could also tie it in so if there is a leak and my water sensors go off it would shut down the main water into the house. I've had a bad head point at a window in my basement and cause water to get into the house before. Sure without C4 integration the main water will still be shut off, but the sprinkler will "run" even though no water is coming out if my main is shut off. would be nice to just turn off the programming in that situation.
That probably falls into the realm of corner cases that can't be expected to be caught... The Nest / Rachio integration to "turn on the sprinklers in case of smoke/fire detection" is in that bucket for me, too - I believe that integration was just done so that they could both say they were working together...

Quote:
End of day, I invested in a 1 app platform. And as you mentioned, the need to integrate irrigation is lower on most people's priority list (for good reason). So for now, I am content to wait until the hardware is where I need it to be.
That's my point - why wait? I was looking at all the 'advanced' sprinkler controllers, and had the requirement of a "public, published API" on my list. But thinking through it and seeing that if the system does its job correctly, I really have no reason to use that API...

Jeff

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post #24 of 38 Old 04-27-2015, 11:46 AM
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Jeff I agree with your points and I am as on the fence as one could be. That is why my dealer is looking into Hydrawise and RainKing. At least 1 option for me, is local control on the box itself. Rachio is ONLY app driven. I can see that being a pain for my sprinkler tech. Our contracts call for 3 visits a year. I'd have to give him my phone/tablet to use (which would keep going to sleep, having to unlock it etc) or figure something else out. Conversely, right now I have a "dumb" controller, though it does have a rain sensor. The tech can go in and out, program whats needed, etc without my help or the need of extra hardware. Or if I am not home and I need to walk someone through something, they should be able to walk up to the box and do something. At least from the photos and what I read, Rachio's controls are all on the app only.

RainKing has a new machine coming out soon, but I think from photos it will have controls on it. Hydrawise as a touch screen on it.

If I am going to not worry about the public API/Control4 interface, I want to at least make sure there are some local controls and non phone/computer controls available.
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post #25 of 38 Old 04-27-2015, 01:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ezlotogura View Post
Rachio is ONLY app driven. I can see that being a pain for my sprinkler tech. Our contracts call for 3 visits a year. I'd have to give him my phone/tablet to use (which would keep going to sleep, having to unlock it etc) or figure something else out.
Rachio has a solution for this - they have a separate "Landscaper Access" function. So while the tech does need to access the Internet, they can do so with their own device / account. If I were a sprinkler tech, I'd want that for all my customers... Hopefully over time Rachio would add more service-provider oriented features (fault detection / reporting / etc.).

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post #26 of 38 Old 04-27-2015, 01:14 PM
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yeah I saw that - that assumes my tech has this app on his phone. We have a new tech coming this year, and he seems well, old school :-) I'll have a chat with him. He serviced the home I purchased for 20+ years. We got the house last year, couldn't find his info, used another company we did not like, and at the end of the year found the original guy's info. He knows our system well, so I'll see what he says when he comes to turn it on next week. My gut tells me I'll have this for 2016.
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post #27 of 38 Old 04-28-2015, 05:16 AM
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yeah I saw that - that assumes my tech has this app on his phone. We have a new tech coming this year, and he seems well, old school :-) I'll have a chat with him. He serviced the home I purchased for 20+ years. We got the house last year, couldn't find his info, used another company we did not like, and at the end of the year found the original guy's info. He knows our system well, so I'll see what he says when he comes to turn it on next week. My gut tells me I'll have this for 2016.
Great point, no buttons means service issues on the actual watering system.
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post #28 of 38 Old 04-28-2015, 05:50 AM
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Yep I'll show my tech the 2-3 devices I am looking at. See if he has experience with any with his other clients, etc. Then maybe decide what I am going to do. RainMachine (new hardware coming out in May) and Hydrawise have touchscreens. Hydrawise is advertised on the C4 website as a partner, so there has to be a decent driver out there. I'll keep poking around.
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post #29 of 38 Old 04-28-2015, 08:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ezlotogura View Post
RainMachine (new hardware coming out in May)
Any idea what the new hardware is? I was going to use RainMachine, but they had no solution for >12 zones (I have 14).

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post #30 of 38 Old 04-28-2015, 08:06 AM
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No idea
If you go to their site and click buy now you'll see a notice to sign up for a mailing list and it says a new generation of products coming May 2015

http://www.rainmachine.com/buynow.php
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