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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I indicated in an earlier thread that I was getting a Ware Brothers sprinkler controller -- www.warebrothers.com


Here's my little review:


First, customer service is impeccable. I ordered a serial port addition after the fact, and it wouldn't work. Left an email last Fri, got a call on Sat -- we determined that the controller may be faulty -- and got a whole new unit today (Mon). Can't beat that!!!


As a sprinkler controller, the thing really is amazing -- much more powerful than I'll ever need, but the types of options you can set -- amount of pressure max per head, etc. -- and the types of schedules you can set are nearly infinite. If you have a complex sprinkler setup, the price of entry, which admittedly is a little high, may well be worth it just for the scheduling.


The entry level controller, $400, has 16 stations. I have 5 stations on our sprinkler. 3 of the other stations I hooked into some 24 vac --> 15 amp relays, and have controlling our holiday light outlets.


Now, here's the cool thing. It can act as an X10 controller, although our house is not X10 friendly. Instead, what I'm doing is having it set up with a serial port, and treating the 8 stations I'm not using as virtual stations. When a station turns on, the controller sends a message on the serial port. I'm going to have Girder pick up this message, and in response turn on some lights via a different approach (RadioRA -- similar to Z-Wave).


Thus, although it looks like an expensive controller, it does so much more than sprinkler control. Because it is so robust as a controller, I don't have to buy extra software to do scheduling for lights (such as HomeSeer). Rather, for the "virtual" stations that are not directly plugged into it, I'm just having it fire off messages, that Girder can easily receive and turn on or off things accordingly. This saves me from having to write a front end for Girder for scheduling purposes. Girder only has to listen to the serial port, and handle events accordingly.


Anyway, if you're looking for a sprinkler controller, or an X10 controller, or a way to fire events based on a schedule, take a look. I figure that at $400, it's not much of a premium of a Rain8Net controller ($100, plus extras for AC adapter, etc.) and HomeSeer ($150) -- and you still have to get an X10 controller, etc., etc.
 

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Shouldn't this be in the Home & Gardening forum? ;)


Will one of those things work with an existing sprinkler system, or I should say with some existing systems? If so it sounds like it might be pretty cool.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yeah, works with a conventional sprinkler system. Basically, you unplug the wires from the old controller, and plug them into the this controller. All (?) sprinkler systems work on the same approach -- you have a ground or common wire, and a wire for each station. The controller applies a voltage between the wire for a station and the ground wire to activate that station.
 

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Great, thanks. This may solve my problem with trying to figure out how to get all my sprinklers scheduled properly... those typical slider-bar timer settings are really crappy, and especially with multiple controllers like I have in my new house.
 

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Did you ever purchase the Rain8Net? I'm just about ready to pull the trigger on a rain8net system myself. I have found some knowledge of this over at the homeseer message boards ... and in particular, a guy who is developing an amazing interface (standalone and HS plugin) for the Rain8Net modules.
 
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