Smartenit EZFlora and Rainbee8

Posted on
Wed Apr 01, 2015 8:36 pm
jay (support) offline
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Re: Smartenit EZFlora

I've had my EZFlora for about 6 years with no issues - maybe I just got lucky...

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Posted on
Thu Apr 02, 2015 5:48 am
roussell offline
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Re: Smartenit EZFlora

jay (support) wrote:
I've had my EZFlora for about 6 years with no issues - maybe I just got lucky...


I think the problem with my particular install is that my solenoids are 100+ feet from the EZFlora. We have frequent thunderstorms in Alabama (lightning) and I think stray current gets induced into the underground wires from time-to-time sending small surges into the unit and my guess is that it's more than the EZFlora can handle. I suppose I could take one of the relay boards I linked to earlier and install it between the EZFlora and the solenoid wires; that would provide some mechanical and electrical isolation and maybe help it to live a little longer.

Terry

Posted on
Thu Apr 02, 2015 8:40 am
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Re: Smartenit EZFlora

Hey Terry - do the solenoids have a return signal? If not, what about a diode to make the line one-way?

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Posted on
Thu Apr 02, 2015 8:53 am
roussell offline
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Re: Smartenit EZFlora

Nope, they're just simple 2-wire 24 volt AC solenoids. A diode inline wouldn't help much, since current could be induced on each leg you'd need a diode on each. The problem is that one diode would have to be oriented to allow for a return voltage (since with two diodes you'd effectively create a half-wave rectifier) it would still allow in a current-flow (return or surge) on that leg higher than the forward bias voltage of the diode (.7v for silicon diodes). A bigger problem is that using DC voltages will lead to increased galvanic corrosion in the exposed connections over time, the AC helps there by constantly changing direction. Perhaps a combo of a Zener diode (which basically shorts together at a predefined voltage and an MOV to suppress surges on each zone line could work.

I suspect that any damaging voltages/currents are fairly small. I took apart the last one that died and the components are mostly surface-mount so I doubt they can handle a lot of current. I think that electrical/mechanical isolation is the best course of action - Maybe I'll throw something together this weekend, it's getting to be nasty-weather-season down here and I'd like this latest EZFlora to last through the summer. :|

Terry
Last edited by roussell on Thu Apr 02, 2015 10:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

Posted on
Thu Apr 02, 2015 10:01 am
DaveL17 offline
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Re: Smartenit EZFlora

Never considered that they would be AC.... Good luck!

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Posted on
Sat Apr 04, 2015 8:21 am
hamw offline
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Re: Smartenit EZFlora

I'm in Georgia and we also have terrible thunderstorms, and I've had a couple of EZFlora failures. During the winter months I unplug the connectors from EZFloras, and unplug the units as well, as the grass doesn't seem to need watering much then anyway. That's the only solution I can think of. Fortunately SmartenIt has (or has had, at any rate) a $40 refurb fix/swap fee, so it's not terrible to get them replaced.

I have looked at the insides of my replaced RainBird Irrigation Controller, and they have what appears to be surge protection built in on each line. It's too bad SmartenIt can't build a similar box with built in surge protection.

All this said, setting up an Arduino sounds like an excellent idea. The whole thing is so simple... just a few relays. I currently use Berkinet's excellent Phidgets plugin and several Phidgets devices to control my water on/off valves and to read a couple of water meters. It would be great if a motivated soul could write an Arduino plugin that would accommodate different devices, as the Arduino devices are much much less expensive than Phidgets. hint hint... :D

Posted on
Thu Apr 09, 2015 9:46 am
SpencerJRoberts offline
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Re: Smartenit EZFlora

Roussell.... What have you done to me. 700+ lines of code into my arduino project

Posted on
Thu Apr 09, 2015 11:43 am
roussell offline
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Re: Smartenit EZFlora

Hahaha, that's fantastic!! You're gonna have dancing water fountains like the Bellagio in Vegas before you're finished!

Terry

Posted on
Thu Apr 09, 2015 10:08 pm
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Re: Smartenit EZFlora

Ha! It's been really fun learning the Arduino stuff.

On another note, I think I figured out that nothing was ever wrong with our EZFlora, rather it is likely a wiring issue at the solenoid end. I think that the "ack:" messages from the EZFlora are some sort of current-sensing feature trying to figure out whether a valve is actually open - and if the wiring is shoddy it might mess with that and thus cause my problem. Our front yard was redone very recently and I suspect that this is the case, going to look into it this weekend. In this case, I'm glad it happened because it gave me a reason to finally try the Arduino stuff :mrgreen:

Posted on
Wed Jul 15, 2015 11:52 am
gskarp offline
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Soil Moisture Sensor

Does anybody know if there is a soil moisture sensor that can communicate with indigo?

Posted on
Wed Jul 15, 2015 12:26 pm
DaveL17 offline
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Re: Smartenit EZFlora

Not directly, but there are indirect options such as using a Raspberry Pi (or what have you) where Indigo can get the data through a script or plugin.

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Posted on
Wed Jul 15, 2015 12:44 pm
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Re: Smartenit EZFlora

I looked a the moisture sensor route and decided instead to just use ETO to figure it out myself. I'm sure there are a number of ways of using I/O lincs and the like to home-brew one but my ETO has been working pretty well so far.

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Posted on
Wed Jul 15, 2015 5:33 pm
jay (support) offline
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Re: Smartenit EZFlora

WeatherSnoop supports weather stations that can do soil/leaf moisture sensors. Pricey if you just want soil moisture, but if you want other weather data it might be worth it.

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Posted on
Wed Jul 15, 2015 7:51 pm
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Re: Smartenit EZFlora

jay (support) wrote:
WeatherSnoop supports weather stations that can do soil/leaf moisture sensors. Pricey if you just want soil moisture, but if you want other weather data it might be worth it.

Interestingly, Weather Underground accepts soil moisture data through its WUnderstation API (upload) but doesn't appear to make the information available via the WUnderground API (download).

Dave

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Posted on
Wed Jul 29, 2015 9:13 pm
mlfitzg offline
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Re: Smartenit EZFlora

Original unit finally died. Replacement unit not responding properly to commands. Working with tech support from smartenit. They want to see the detailed Insteon commands that are Being sent and received. How can I see that detail?

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