Home AMX User Forum AMXForums Archive Threads AMX Applications and Solutions

Irrigation Control?

Anyone done much for irrigation control? If so, curious who you use? I didn't see any modules direct from AMX.

Has anyone ever worked with this one:


I would look more at the AccuWater box, but monthly fees turn me off.



  • joelwjoelw Junior Member Posts: 175
    Off the top of my head...

    The generic principle of controlling irrigation is very simple. Simply control a relay that drives a water valve solenoid. But there are a number of irrigation controllers on the market, and there are a number of differences:

    1. The generic irrigation controller found at your favorite hardware store. It provides a non-predictive scheduler that controls some relays. This can easily be replicated in Netlinx. Some provide a seasonal adjust parameter, which cuts the watering time by a selected percentage. The idea is to adjust based on the seasonal requirements.

    2. The above irrigation controller concept simply adding an RS-232 interface.

    3. A more sophisticated controller that has utilizes an algorithm that controls the ?percentage? based on the needs of the micro-climate being irrigated. This is determined based on an interpolated ET value of your micro-climate. ET (Evapotranspiration) is the result of an algorithm that represents the reverse of rain fall. With a proper weather station one can calculate an ET value to drive an irrigation system. This can be done with a Netlinx, and a station such as the Davis Instruments Vantage Pro Plus weather station.

    4. The previous controller with RS-232 or Ethernet enabled control API.

    Example products that utilize ET for control:

    I personally have used the Hydropoint WeatherTracker for three years now. The controller paid for itself the first season. The unit recieves ET data via pager technology. I had some dialog with the CTO at Hydropoint about uploading local weather station data to their data center to optimize interpolated ET value. But they became quite silent on the subject, as it most likely would defeat their revenue stream. It isn't too difficult to emulate ET based irrigation in a Netlinx, but patents may apply. Perhaps the only thing I would add to the Hydropoint is a method of quantifying water consumption on a per circuit basis, and perhaps overall irrigation consumption. Water costs here in the Napa valley are not cheap. Give it a management interface. But as long as the electronics are working and the sprinkler circuits are not exceeding their comissioned flow rate, irrigation is hands off.
  • Kaptain KaosKaptain Kaos AMX Southeast Posts: 42
    Irrigation Control

    I have not used this one, but it is designed for integration. It has a built in webserver for programming, has telnet control or optional RS-232 interface for the 3000 series.


  • joelwjoelw Junior Member Posts: 175
    I have not used this one, but it is designed for integration. It has a built in webserver for programming, has telnet control or optional RS-232 interface for the 3000 series.



    It doesn't provide any water savings by means of ET based irrigation. Some interesting sensor features. Short of this it's basically an IP enabled schedule controlling some relays. Some decent Axcess code could rival this.

    Very cool Avatar!
  • John GonzalesJohn Gonzales Junior Member Posts: 609
    We went through a similar search a while back trying to incorporate irrigation controllers into the AMX panels, but in the end dissuaded the client from controlling the irrigation. Here was our reasoning:

    1) You don't necessarily want your landscape maintenance people to touch or have control of your AMX panels given the cost of panels.
    2) Even if the landscape maintenance guys did have access to a touchpanel, they would probably be more willing to work with standard irrigation controllers that they see more commonly.
    3) Irrigation settings are really the liability and area of expertise of the landscape maintenance crew anyway. They don't want the client messing with their settings anymore than we like the client playing with our code/settings in an AMX installation.
    4) If the client screws up the irrigation controls, there is the potential for damage to expensive landscaping and the landscape maintenance crew can just pawn responsibility for the damage off to the client.

    Now the situation where we dissuaded the client was for a 5 acre $25 million dollar home. It may be different for an average homeowner so if yours does their own landscape maintenance then this won't apply. In the residential projects that we work on though, all of our clients have landscape maintenance crews, they don't do their own watering or grass cutting. In the commercial environment, there's a landscape maintenance crew involved as well.

    What we do suggest however is to install a main valve solenoid integrated with the AMX system so that the client can disable sprinklers in an emergency, and we recommend that the landscapers install rain sensors on the irrigation system to reduce water waste when the ground is moist from rain. Link: http://www.mini-clik.com/Products/products.htm. Incorporating the shutoff valve generates some revenue for us from the irrigation system, and fits most client's needs pretty well.

    So, I'm sure there are situations where you would want to integrate the irrigation controls into a Touchpanel, but in many cases it may not really be something that needs to be done.

  • AccuWater news

    In response to your comments, we have two things to announce:

    1) There are now a number of different service plans, starting with FREE (no automatic scheduling or daily status emails) and then offering automatic scheduling for 5, 7, 9 or 12 months of the year. We haven't updated the web site to reflect these options yet.

    If you choose the FREE plan, you can set up the controller, configure the controller and zones on our web site, and use the web site to view reports or initiate manual irrigation. However, you'll have to write a component that handles scheduling. It's much simpler than with most other products, since the API allows you to send a complete command (e.g. irrigate zone 5 for 11.3 minutes with a cycle time of 5 minutes and a soak time of 10 minutes, starting 1 hour from now). The controller takes care of all the details of executing the command, even handling optimization of the schedule where there are multiple cycle and soak events scheduled. The controller even checks for appropriate current in the valve circuit and reports errors on the web site.

    You can also get local weather data from the controller. If you integrate the controller over IP with a WeatherHawk, you can get weather directly from the controller, updated every minute. If you don't have an integrated WeatherHawk, you'll get weather updates from the nearest available source on an interval corresponding to your service plan and connection type. Fee-paying customers on broadband connections get weather updates every minute. Customers on the FREE plan will get updates every hour.

    If you sign up for one of our fee plans, you'll get automatic, weather-based scheduling, more frequent connections to the AccuWater data center (faster start on manual irrigation from the AccuWater web site), and the option to receive a daily status email showing alerts and irrigation events (with completion status) over the previous 24 hours.

    2) AMX has just published an integration module for AccuWater R116. It is listed as a "Weather Station" for now, but they're working on getting an "Irrigation" classification.

    AMX's module is a fairly complete implementation of the AccuWater API. It supports generating and cancelling irrigation events, managing pause (party) mode, and retrieving weather data.
  • roognationroognation Junior Member Posts: 138
    So, if one were interested in finding out more information about Accuwater: how is that done? The Accuwater website is pretty thin on technical information and thick on marketing waaahooo.

    Physical dimensions? Weatherproof?

    Electrical connections? Terminations?

    Communication protocol (sorry, I am not fully Duetted, yet)?

    Options? Accessories?

    Power requirements/consumption?

  • ColzieColzie Senior Member Posts: 470

    Has anyone done irrigation control? I'd like to have a standalone controller - so it can be programmed and run without any AMX interaction. Via an RS-232 or IP interface I'd like to have basic control and feedback.

Sign In or Register to comment.