Any experience with RainMachine integration?

Posted on
Fri Jun 08, 2018 10:42 am
Korey offline
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Re: Any experience with RainMachine integration?

RogueProeliator wrote:
I am about 95% sure I will write a plugin for this as soon as I get it setup -- it arrives today. Thanks for the API link and the scripts, that should help tremendously.

Adam


Thats great news!

I'll be ordering a 16 zone for my fathers day present! :lol:

The local water service provider has a 50% rebate on smart irrigation controllers as well! :D

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Posted on
Fri Jun 08, 2018 10:48 am
berkinet offline
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Re: Any experience with RainMachine integration?

RogueProeliator wrote:
I am about 95% sure I will write a plugin for this as soon as I get it setup -- it arrives today. Thanks for the API link and the scripts, that should help tremendously....
I am sure it will be appreciated. The RM API page is excellent and has examples for every call in a wide range of languages, including Python. A plugin should be straight-forward.

Posted on
Fri Jun 08, 2018 12:28 pm
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Re: Any experience with RainMachine integration?

RogueProeliator wrote:
I am about 95% sure I will write a plugin for this as soon as I get it setup -- it arrives today. Thanks for the API link and the scripts, that should help tremendously.


I might switch as well - I'm really not fond of something as critical as my sprinkler system requiring a connection to the cloud (particularly given the Rachio fire drill earlier this year). I'm going to once more approach Rachio to inquire about controlling locally. If that doesn't happen, I'll probably switch.

Jay (Indigo Support)
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Posted on
Fri Jun 08, 2018 1:05 pm
berkinet offline
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Re: Any experience with RainMachine integration?

jay (support) wrote:
...I might switch as well - I'm really not fond of something as critical as my sprinkler system requiring a connection to the cloud (particularly given the Rachio fire drill earlier this year). I'm going to once more approach Rachio to inquire about controlling locally. If that doesn't happen, I'll probably switch.

Unless you are concerned about the watering adjustment algorithm (fixed frequency vs. fixed runtime) I don't think you will be disappointed. An added plus is the ability to control the unit locally using it's built-in GUI. Much of the package is open-source and easily customized. (See: https://support.rainmachine.com/hc/en-u ... achine-SDK and https://support.rainmachine.com/hc/en-u ... -interface)

BTW, I have a zone that is actually a 1" pipe to my pool skimmer. I fitted a simple float valve to a vertical pipe parallel to and attached to the same skimmer. Everyday at 5pm Indigo checks the state of the pool level switch and, if necessary, starts the zone. When the pool reaches the "full" level and the switch cuts-out, the zone is stopped by Indigo. I also set a max 20 min watering time in the call to avoid disasters.

Finally, while it would be nice to have a plugin, I have found the RainMachine does it's job so well that, other than starting zones for testing or some occasional special purpose) I rarely mess with it at all. IIRC, the RainMachine also has an unused digital input that, with appropriate programming using the SDK, could control the entire pool process independently.

Posted on
Fri Jun 08, 2018 1:13 pm
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Re: Any experience with RainMachine integration?

johnpolasek wrote:
... I'll have to see if Dave's GhostXML plugin https://forums.indigodomo.com/viewforum.php?f=249 would be able to pull the data out of the variable and/or be able to poll the Rain Machine directly......

Just for fun, I installed the GhostXML plying and it worked, well mostly. I modified the script to save data into a file and then had GhostXML watch that file. That worked. However, when I tried to talk to the RainMachine directly, it failed, with a no JSON received error. Very odd, since I can grab the same data in a browser (data requests are simple GET calls). I'll report the problem in the GhostXML forum.

Posted on
Mon Jun 11, 2018 10:49 am
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Re: Any experience with RainMachine integration?

berkinet wrote:
johnpolasek wrote:
... I'll have to see if Dave's GhostXML plugin https://forums.indigodomo.com/viewforum.php?f=249 would be able to pull the data out of the variable and/or be able to poll the Rain Machine directly......

Just for fun, I installed the GhostXML plying and it worked, well mostly. I modified the script to save data into a file and then had GhostXML watch that file. That worked. However, when I tried to talk to the RainMachine directly, it failed, with a no JSON received error. Very odd, since I can grab the same data in a browser (data requests are simple GET calls). I'll report the problem in the GhostXML forum.


Thanks for that report; having reassurance that the system has run (it's set to do it's thing midnight to around 4 or 5 for a full time run) is almost, if not more, important to mom than being able to trigger a manual supplement when things start looking more wilted than usual for a summer day.

Posted on
Mon Jun 11, 2018 11:13 am
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Re: Any experience with RainMachine integration?

johnpolasek wrote:
Thanks for that report; having reassurance that the system has run (it's set to do it's thing midnight to around 4 or 5 for a full time run) is almost, if not more, important to mom than being able to trigger a manual supplement when things start looking more wilted than usual for a summer day.


You can also go into the zone and provide a correction, so it will water that zone a little more. It is not a direct runtime addition but a correction factor. So when the RM (or any smart irrigation controller) does it algorithm, it will essentially provide a longer runtime to that zone.

I had to do some fine tuning with my Skydrop. Sure you can tell it an area is in a shady area but there are different levels of shady areas. So I had to reduce a couple of zones. The Rain Machine supports the same setup; you just need to go into the zone. I also had to reduce some zones since a neighbor overwaters their yard and it comes into mine, since the controller doesn't know this, I had to reduce that zone and actually the zone downstream of it as well.

While these are smart controllers, they are never going to be 100% accurate. For that you would need moisture sensors in the ground for each zone so it knows exactly how much to water and when it has been watered enough. These smart controllers are much better than the fixed programming of the previous generation controllers where the zone would be watered a fixed amount of time no matter what the conditions were; the most it would have is a rain sensor.

Posted on
Mon Jun 11, 2018 11:31 am
berkinet offline
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Re: Any experience with RainMachine integration?

I wrote:
...However, when I tried to talk to the RainMachine directly, it failed, with a no JSON received error. ...

I have modified my copy of GHOSTxml to directly connect with the RainMachine and can now collect any data it offers via the API. I have described my changes on the GHOSTxml forum.

However, note A) this has not been added to the release version and; B) RogueProeliator will probably write a plugin that may make direct data gathering unnecessary depending on what he decides to expose and what you might want.

Posted on
Mon Jun 11, 2018 2:06 pm
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Re: Any experience with RainMachine integration?

BTW, I have a zone that is actually a 1" pipe to my pool skimmer. I fitted a simple float valve to a vertical pipe parallel to and attached to the same skimmer. Everyday at 5pm Indigo checks the state of the pool level switch and, if necessary, starts the zone. When the pool reaches the "full" level and the switch cuts-out, the zone is stopped by Indigo. I also set a max 20 min watering time in the call to avoid disasters.

Hmm, I like that idea a lot... That might be a considering for that one extra pipe/zone I laid in the back near the pool for future use...

Posted on
Mon Jun 11, 2018 2:17 pm
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Re: Any experience with RainMachine integration?

RogueProeliator wrote:
BTW, I have a zone that is actually a 1" pipe to my pool skimmer. I fitted a simple float valve to a vertical pipe parallel to and attached to the same skimmer. Everyday at 5pm Indigo checks the state of the pool level switch and, if necessary, starts the zone. When the pool reaches the "full" level and the switch cuts-out, the zone is stopped by Indigo. I also set a max 20 min watering time in the call to avoid disasters.

Hmm, I like that idea a lot... That might be a considering for that one extra pipe/zone I laid in the back near the pool for future use...



I have a similar system with my pool, except I have no way of mesuring the water level as my pool filler is just a 1/2" PVC pipe that pours water into the pool above the waterline. I did not want to bust up the pool deck to install a proper Auto fill valve system, (when remodel time comes its on the list)

I have plumbed a solenoid valve in parallel with the manual fill valve and have a schedule to fill the pool for 5 min a day that seems to keep the level right, depending on weather and use.

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Posted on
Mon Jun 11, 2018 2:48 pm
berkinet offline
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Re: Any experience with RainMachine integration?

RogueProeliator wrote:
...That might be a considering for that one extra pipe/zone I laid in the back near the pool for future use...

In that case... a bit more info.

On my skimmer base, well below the water line, there was an unused stub for connecting a pipe. I drilled a small, ~3mm, hole in that and then ran a short horizontal pipe to an elbow and then up to above the water line. I then placed a cap over the end of the pipe, drilled a hole in the cap to let the switch hang down. It took a bit of calculating and playing around to get the height of the pipe just right to match the length of the switch stem. By connecting to the skimmer as low as possible, and keeping the connecting hole small, it damps out most of the wave action (caused by wind or people) and keeps the switch from thrashing too much.

I just used a simple level switch, like this
Image
At first I planned on having two switches, high (full) and low (refill) water marks.
You can find some products with two switches on the same stem, like these
Image
However, in the end I found it worked just as well to check if the pool is low once a day (I.e. is the switch is off?) and then refill until the switch operates. This also eliminates any chance the pool will refill while my sprinkler system is on.

One note though, you want the vertical pipe (I think it is actually called a sight glass or tube) intake to be far from any suction. Otherwise your water level might be impacted. In fact, we had a problem this year. The pool refill cycle ran the full maximum 20 minutes and over filled the pool a bit. At first I thought the switch had failed. But, it turned out we had tried a new cloth filter (thinking diaper) that covers the skimmer basket. It had gotten so clogged with dirt (spring storms) that the suction from the pump was holding the water level in the skimmer about 10cm below the true level.

BTW, for Korey: Fortunately,. at the end of our pool where the skimmers are located (the deep end) there was no decking, just a planter. So, digging down was not an issue.. But, with a bit of ingenuity, and some luck, you might be able to mount some type of switch in the skimmer itself. You'd need to deal with wave action and dampen the signal in code or something. But, there are small switches with the float ball on an arm, sort of like an old toilet refill valve. Like
Image

Posted on
Mon Jun 11, 2018 4:08 pm
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Re: Any experience with RainMachine integration?

berkinet wrote:
RogueProeliator wrote:
...That might be a considering for that one extra pipe/zone I laid in the back near the pool for future use...

In that case... a bit more info.

BTW, for Korey: Fortunately,. at the end of our pool where the skimmers are located (the deep end) there was no decking, just a planter. So, digging down was not an issue.. But, with a bit of ingenuity, and some luck, you might be able to mount some type of switch in the skimmer itself. You'd need to deal with wave action and dampen the signal in code or something. But, there are small switches with the float ball on an arm, sort of like an old toilet refill valve.


Here is my skimmer location :( :

What are you using to detect the contact closure on the float valve?

Guess we should almost have a separate thread as this is gotten away from the RainMachine info! :o
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Posted on
Mon Jun 11, 2018 7:20 pm
RogueProeliator offline
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Re: Any experience with RainMachine integration?

In that case... a bit more info.

Thanks @berkinet! I've been giving this idea a little more thought... since you have tried this out, let me know what you think:

We have an unused pipe that connects to the pool about a foot or so below the water line, relative center of the pool so not near the skimmer. This pipe goes all the way to the pump but is not connected to anything there, so it can be used / cut / modified / whatever is needed (the original pool installers added this so that an additional accessory could be added in the future if desired and it was already installed and sealed in the pool.

I'm kind of thinking I could attach to that vertical piece (assuming it goes to depth there and horizontal to the pool) OR cut into it somewhere just off the pool. Point being, the water level attachment would not be at the skimmer. However, my thoughts are that the inlet being lower would help to ease wave motion (though you seem to have that somewhat solved with logic anyway).

Posted on
Tue Jun 12, 2018 1:06 am
berkinet offline
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Re: Any experience with RainMachine integration?

Korey thought deeply and wisely wrote:
Guess we should almost have a separate thread as this is gotten away from the RainMachine info! :o

Done. I created a new thread Automating pool or spa water level in this (General Home Automation) forum.

Posted on
Sun Jun 24, 2018 11:03 am
Korey offline
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Re: Any experience with RainMachine integration?

RogueProeliator wrote:
I am about 95% sure I will write a plugin for this as soon as I get it setup -- it arrives today. Thanks for the API link and the scripts, that should help tremendously.

Adam



it would be nice to see Indigo listed on this page!

https://www.rainmachine.com/integrations/

:)

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