Multiple Sprinkler Device Plugin

Posted on
Fri Dec 16, 2011 7:13 pm
bbruck offline
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Multiple Sprinkler Device Plugin

Richard,

I have two ezfloras, so I would be a candidate for this.

I find the current interface to be intuitive and sufficient, except that i have to create two different devices and manage them separately.

If a plugin could re-create the familiar interface but - in effect - display 16 (or 24) zones rather than the original 8, that would meet 100% of my needs.

I don't have any objection to a different interface, but in general as a design principle it seems that if an add-in extends and enhances a current interface (i.e. the ezflora device interface), keeping it similar to the existing interface will make it easy on users, unless there are reasons that the current interface is lacking.

Hope this helps.

Posted on
Fri Dec 16, 2011 7:39 pm
berkinet offline
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Re: Multiple Sprinkler Device Manager

bbruck wrote:
...If a plugin could re-create the familiar interface but - in effect - display 16 (or 24) zones rather than the original 8, that would meet 100% of my needs... ...as a design principle it seems that if an add-in extends and enhances a current interface (i.e. the ezflora device interface), keeping it similar to the existing interface will make it easy on users, unless there are reasons that the current interface is lacking.

Thanks for the comments. One problem I found with the EzFloras (I also have two) is that they view a "schedule" as including times for all defined zones. I found that limiting. For example, I have some potted plants under eaves that need water more often, but at shorter intervals than, say, the lawn. What I ended up doing was to create 12 scheduled actions, each of which defined a sprinkler action consisting of only one zone. This works, as long as I make absolutely sure to always leave enough time between scheduled times. That is, each of the 12 actions has its own time slot (+50%) regardless of which day it runs. So, I never have collisions.

All of this is a small pain to maintain and change. So, my main motivation was to let the computer worry about the actual times, and I'd just tell it how often and how long each zone wanted water. So, at least for now, the plugin takes that zone oriented approach. Yes, it will be a bit harder to setup 12 "devices" - but, once that is done, I can change any individual zone without having to think about exactly what time it will start and if it will conflict with other zones. And, in any case, even with the old system, I still had 12 schedules + 12 actions to deal with.

When I get something working, take a look at it - if it makes sense, great, if not, I can look at some other possibilities.

Posted on
Sat Dec 17, 2011 8:16 am
bbruck offline
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Re: Multiple Sprinkler Device Manager

That makes a lot of sense. I'll be interested to see it.
(Remember, BTW, that with two ezfloras, there are two master zones...)

Posted on
Mon Dec 19, 2011 6:44 am
johnpolasek offline
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Re: Multiple Sprinkler Device Manager

berkinet wrote:
So, my main motivation was to let the computer worry about the actual times, and I'd just tell it how often and how long each zone wanted water. So, at least for now, the plugin takes that zone oriented approach. Yes, it will be a bit harder to setup 12 "devices" - but, once that is done, I can change any individual zone without having to think about exactly what time it will start and if it will conflict with other zones. And, in any case, even with the old system, I still had 12 schedules + 12 actions to deal with.

When I get something working, take a look at it - if it makes sense, great, if not, I can look at some other possibilities.


Please let me see it when you do; as I said, I'd like to modify it to allow a specified number of simultaneous zones, and (just to add another wrinkle here in Texas) incorporate the ability to "paint out" undesirable watering times... during last summers drought, a number of cities invoked water conservation measures that allowed watering only on specific days and/or during the nighttime hours.

Posted on
Mon Dec 19, 2011 1:17 pm
berkinet offline
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Multiple Irrigation Device manager (early) beta available

See the first post in this thread for the download instructions and some simple docs.

Posted on
Mon Dec 19, 2011 6:00 pm
johnpolasek offline
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Re: Multiple Sprinkler Device Manager

Any way to open the zone configuration dialog from a control page? I've got a graphic showing all my zones and I'd like to just click on one and have it open the edit device dialog so I could set them up from there rather than the devices window.

Posted on
Mon Dec 19, 2011 6:39 pm
berkinet offline
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Re: Multiple Sprinkler Device Manager

johnpolasek wrote:
Any way to open the zone configuration dialog from a control page?
The device configuration dialog is defined in Devices.xml, and that is presented by the plugin - I don't see any way to get that into a Control Page. It might be possible to use a Python script in a Control Page to change a device. According to the IOM Device docs...
    To modify an device's definition get a copy of the device, make the necessary changes, then call myDevice.replaceOnServer()

But, I think there is another problem. Control Pages do not have a particularly rich set of control widgets, so I am not sure you could really duplicate the functionality of the plugin Device dialog using a control page. However, if you just wanted to set the run time, or interval (using up/down arrows) that might work.

Of course, all of this is based on an inexpert understanding of the entire IOM. :?

Posted on
Tue Dec 20, 2011 6:36 am
johnpolasek offline
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Re: Multiple Sprinkler Device Manager

You know a lot more about the IOM than I do; I was kind of hoping that tere was a device command not mentioned in the basic IOM guide to configure. So I could just have a script grab the appropriate zone and then call zonedev.configure() to have the setup dialog open just like it does from the edit device dialog... but I guess that would have been too easy. And since I plan to have all the sprinklerzone devices in their own folder and well labeled it isn't that much of a big deal to switch windows back to the devices window to set each zone, especially since it shouldn't be done that often. I guess I'll let clicking on the zones in the control page just toggle them between enabled and disabled.

Posted on
Tue Dec 20, 2011 6:55 am
jay (support) offline
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Re: Multiple Sprinkler Device Manager

Server plugin dialogs only work in the Mac Client - currently the only place where configuration works.

Jay (Indigo Support)
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Posted on
Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:26 am
johnpolasek offline
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Re: Multiple Sprinkler Device Manager

jay wrote:
Server plugin dialogs only work in the Mac Client - currently the only place where configuration works.


Ahhhh, that makes perfect sense. And, like I said, it isn't that much of an issue.

Posted on
Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:09 pm
dojo offline
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Re: Multiple Sprinkler Device Manager

Very cool, berkinet. Do people ever incorporate weather data into the logic around these sorts of controls?

Posted on
Tue Mar 06, 2012 2:49 pm
berkinet offline
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Re: Multiple Sprinkler Device Manager

dojo wrote:
Do people ever incorporate weather data into the logic around these sorts of controls?

Well, yes. I do. I use rainfall data and forecasts from the NWS and the Evapotranspiration Index (ETo) from the California Irrigation Management Information System (CIMIS) to control my daily irrigation timing.

That data is used each day, just before the scheduled irrigation time, to set a multiplier variable. So far (going on 2 years) it's worked pretty well. The plants are alive and I seem to be using less water. Of course, YMMV.

I am in the process of finalizing the first release of the plugin within the next week or so (it is currently still in beta). So, this is a good time for any ideas, feature requests, comments, bugs :roll: or whatever.

Posted on
Tue Mar 06, 2012 3:32 pm
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Re: Multiple Sprinkler Device Manager

I use the rainfall rate from my weather station hardware via the WeatherSnoop plugin to skip watering if the 2-day total is over a threshold.

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Posted on
Tue Mar 06, 2012 6:08 pm
brianmaas offline
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Re: Multiple Sprinkler Device Manager

berkinet,

Are you incorporating that CIMIS data into the plugin? It's California specific, but that's where i am. If not i'm interested in the logic you are using. I don't quite get how to use it.

For me i do a simple check for local rainfall based on weatherunderground data. If there is over .1 in. of rain in the day it won't water for 2 days. It works in the simple case of not watering when the grass is already wet, but i haven't been able to figure out a good system for adjusting watering times for the seasons.

Posted on
Tue Mar 06, 2012 6:54 pm
berkinet offline
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Re: Multiple Sprinkler Device Manager

brianmaas wrote:
...Are you incorporating that CIMIS data into the plugin? It's California specific, but that's where i am. If not i'm interested in the logic you are using. I don't quite get how to use it... ...i do a simple check for local rainfall based on weatherunderground data. If there is over .1 in. of rain in the day it won't water for 2 days.


I probably won't incorporate the CIMIS data collection into the plugin because, as you note, it is not broadly applicable. But, there is a second reason, getting the data is not straight forward. First, I had to subscribe to the data, I used the SPATIAL CIMIS data because my local station does not provide ETo. There is no way to get the SPATIAL CIMIS data online* (Regular station data can be pulled from an ftp site). You must have the report emailed to you each morning. It is sent around 6:00am. I chose to have it sent to my regular mailbox and then wrote a rule in the Mail app that runs an AppleScript on the report. The script digs the data out of the email and places it into Indigo variables. Then, I have an Indigo trigger that looks for any change in the ETo variable and it calculates an Irrigation Multiplier factor, which is saved in another variable. (I chose to have separate scripts so, in the event I get a better way to access the CIMIS data I can just change the data access portion of the process.)

To calculate the factor I looked at 10 years worth of CIMIS data for my area and found the average high value, and set that as 1. Next I set my zone watering durations for the length of time they should run during the hot summer months (Ok, we don't do hot here, but you get the idea). Then, each day I calculate the daily ETo as a percentage of the annual high average and that is my daily factor. For example the daily high average is 0.18. Today's ETo data was 0.09. So, my multiplier is 0.5.

I manage rainfall data separately. First, somewhat like Jay, I figured out how much rain was significant, I chose 1/2 inch. Then, each day it rains I add the rainfall to a rainfall_total variable and each day it doesn't rain, I subtract 1/2 inch from that total. Any day the total is over 1/4 inch, the multiplier factor is set to 0. Likewise, if the NWS forecast says there is an 80% or greater chance of rain, the factor is set to 0.

I'd be happy to share my scripts, just PM me.

* Well, it is possible to get the data online, but I could never get curl to get through the authentication process on the CIMIS web site.

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