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Topic # 183822 31-Oct-2015 07:04
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Morning all!

Recently started an install of lawn sprinklers....now need to chooze an automated (geek) system.
What do you guys use? Need something with an Android app and also integrates with home automation down the line.

Done a bit of research and see Rachio looks quite cool...
Also see there is OpenSprinkler for raspberry pi which looks interesting!

Curently only have 3 zones, possible use upto 8zones once installation is complete.




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  Reply # 1417513 31-Oct-2015 07:13
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One thing we really don't need in Wellington. Last summer our grass didn't brown off at all. :)




Mike
Retired IT Manager. 
The views stated in my posts are my personal views and not that of any other organisation.

 

 It's our only home, lets clean it up then...

 

Take My Advice, Pull Down Your Pants And Slide On The Ice!

 

 




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  Reply # 1417515 31-Oct-2015 07:20
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MikeB4: One thing we really don't need in Wellington. Last summer our grass didn't brown off at all. :)


Lucky! Moved into my house a few months ago...lawn needed repair as there was a trampoline,kids playing soccer and lazy owner. Most of it was weeds.
Decided to spray weed killer, aerated the lawn manually, over seeded, lay down more soil and water...
Long process but results were great!
Most people also tend to mow the lawn too short(lazy previous owners) which puts heavy stress on the lawn.

Lucky for us, we have a 20,000L tank in the back garden gathering water for no reason....so put a pressure pump for it to supply the garden with water.




 
 
 
 


k14

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  Reply # 1417516 31-Oct-2015 07:45
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I live in central otago so irrigation is compulsory if you want a green lawn. I have learnt the hard way (trial and error) that you can't try and skimp or cut corners to get a system up and running. It is very difficult to get a good system first up without going overboard. In terms of the sprinklers, Hunter MP Rotator is the only way to go. Brilliant system that gives a slow steady flow of water and means you can have quite a few sprinklers on each zone. To save some money, I did purchase from the states, I used sprinkler warehouse and shipped via youshop. You can save quite a bit if you are buying 20 or so nozzles.

The solenoids are very hard to get ones that last more than 3 or 4 years. The original ones I bought (Irritrol) from a guy in auzzie were rubbish, the threads broke on a few of the solenoids where they screw into the valve and then others have just randomly stopped working. Currently I have one zone out of action until I can decide what to do. Probably going to go toro which seem to be pretty good. 

In terms of controllers, I have just installed a few months ago an irrigation caddy. I got it for a pretty good price about 6 months ago (I think just over $100 landed) and it seems to work ok. I haven't enabled the internet interface feature yet, so currently I can only adjust when I am at home on my network. Seems to be sufficient though. Easy to setup and great adjustability (compared to the Hunter controller I used to have that was very limited in the options I schedules I could run). Would recommend it but didn't really look into the other options you list.

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  Reply # 1417544 31-Oct-2015 09:35
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I ordered a Rachio on Amazon a while back. Had to get a transformer to get it working which was a mission in itself. Finally got it working but after 20 seconds it loses power. These are NOT for use on NZ 240v AC. Simply will not work. Designed for US 110v

This was at least 6 months ago so Rachio may have changed things.

When it did work it was superb.





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  Reply # 1417547 31-Oct-2015 09:43
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El Nino this season, they can't predict whether it will be warmer or cooler, but it will definitely be drier

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  Reply # 1417548 31-Oct-2015 09:43
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I've gone a fairly DIY route, using the water intake solenoids from Fisher & Paykel washing machines (run on 24V) and a Hunter X-core controller (can get from US Ebay for $50-100 (shipped) after their summer season). Just had to buy a 24V power supply locally. I've been meaning to setup a Arduino system for web control, but it just hasn't happened yet. 

I tried a pre-assembled opensprinkler setup a few generations ago, but found that it quite clunky in changing between schedule mode (calendar/timer) and control mode (turning lines on/off while walking around the garden for testing). Might have changed since then

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  Reply # 1417559 31-Oct-2015 09:53
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How often do automated sprinklers, sprinkle? 

I prefer manual to be honest. A huge watering, infrequently, allows the roots to stay deeper, avoiding burnoff if the roots stay shallow when watering is frequent.
Although I guess if the watering is kept frequent, its fine? 



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  Reply # 1418523 2-Nov-2015 08:57
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K14 :
Very cool, glad im not the only lawn nut out there :) :)
got any photos of your setup?
interesting what you say about the rotator heads, need to look into that more.
What piping size and type did you use for underground?
Did you do the bucket test? What LPM did you get on a 9L bucket?


PoHg:
mmm i didnt think about the whole power conversion thing!!!! that can be an issue. Looks like such a sweet device tho.

Nickb800:
yeah looks like opensprinkler have done some major changes

tdgeek :
from what i read online....its about 2 days a week.... for 1inch of water each water.... check this on how to measure the water ( http://www.conserveh2o.org/measure-your-sprinklers-water-use-watering-gauges )





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  Reply # 1418607 2-Nov-2015 09:55
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I've attached a relay to a GPIO on an old router, and then used a solenoid valve off eBay to control my sprinklers to comply with the Wellington requirements (odd days only) back when I lived there.

Now I just plug a 12V PSU into a mains timer and run the solenoid valve off that.

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  Reply # 1418616 2-Nov-2015 10:09
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These type of things remind me of the xkcd




and of course


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  Reply # 1418629 2-Nov-2015 10:36
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I just do it the manual way.
I have four zones, with individual tubing and up to 4 sprinkler heads going back to a multi-hose connector outlet board  (of 4 outlets) by our back door, so not too much hassle to turn on.
3 for the lawn area and 1 for the garden.
During the summer I will turn each on individually for a few hours in an evening on alternate days.

Some nights I forget to turn it off and end up with a bit of a flooded lawn...


k14

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  Reply # 1418630 2-Nov-2015 10:37
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BinaryLimited: K14 :
Very cool, glad im not the only lawn nut out there :) :)
got any photos of your setup?
interesting what you say about the rotator heads, need to look into that more.
What piping size and type did you use for underground?
Did you do the bucket test? What LPM did you get on a 9L bucket?

I didn't ever do a bucket test. But the first lot of sprinklers I bought (can't remember brand) were adjustable from 1 degree to 360 degrees and just squirted out in all directions the whole time. Put all the pipe in, connected everything up and put I think 9 on the first zone. Fire them up and they all squirted about 0.5m. Had to turn all but 3 off to get them even remotely working ok. Thats when I did a bit more research and found the MP rotators. They can run on very low pressure and I have never had an issue with them not squirting far enough. They all seem to run to spec regardless of the time of day or even if I have two zones running at once. Out of the three zones I have for the lawn I think I have between 8 and 10 running on each zone. The wife wants me to put a few more in but that will have to wait till next year.

I used all 3/4 inch "lateral" piping. I bought it in a 100m roll from Farmlands. They have all the fittings too. It is a bit of a prick to work with, keep a cup of boiling water nearby but it won't break (we had to be mindful of frosts down here too).

Photos, not much to take photos of. The manifold is basically all there is to see. I ran a 1" high density pipe all the way from my toby box to the manifold. There is a ball valve that can isolate the whole system and then I have all 5 solenoids running off 1 single and 1 four way manifold (should be able to get these at plumbing shop). This is a big pain in the arse, I can never seem to stop the drips from all the connections around here. This is all buried slightly below ground level in a little box I made out of plywood to keep it out of site. I have the controller mounted under my sink in the kitchen and I drilled a hole behind the dishwasher out through the bricks to run the cable to the solenoids. This was just what worked best for me though.

P.S. I am not a lawn nut (I hate lawns!!) but with wanting a place for kids to run around outside in Central Otago (annual rainfall ~300mm) if you don't water the lawn it dies in 2-3 weeks in the middle of summer. These systems are very common down here. Plus now we are on metered water so we can't just leave the sprinkler going all day.

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  Reply # 1419437 3-Nov-2015 07:53
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Having spent the weekend installing irrigation pipe - I recommend buying a trenching spade. These make the job much easier as you can dig a a cleaner, narrower trench than a normal spade/shovel. Works well in hard ground, as long as you don't have too many thick tree roots. Slice the sides of the trench with a normal spade, and clear the debris with the trenching spade

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  Reply # 1419442 3-Nov-2015 08:00
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Best lawn automation....

Buy a home with lawn already in, let nature be the irrigation and Mr Green the maintainer. Job done off to the beach :)




Mike
Retired IT Manager. 
The views stated in my posts are my personal views and not that of any other organisation.

 

 It's our only home, lets clean it up then...

 

Take My Advice, Pull Down Your Pants And Slide On The Ice!

 

 




786 posts

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  Reply # 1419454 3-Nov-2015 08:20
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nickb800: Having spent the weekend installing irrigation pipe - I recommend buying a trenching spade. These make the job much easier as you can dig a a cleaner, narrower trench than a normal spade/shovel. Works well in hard ground, as long as you don't have too many thick tree roots. Slice the sides of the trench with a normal spade, and clear the debris with the trenching spade


hahah know your pain.
I found a spade rather easy and clean.

Here's my photos : http://www.geekzone.co.nz/forums.asp?topicid=116854&page_no=10




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