Author Topic: Rain sensor  (Read 11933 times)

Gangee

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Rain sensor
« on: July 17, 2010, 07:36:16 am »
Jim,

Just hooked up my rain sensor. How do I know of it's working?

Jim

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Re: Rain sensor
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2010, 07:58:07 am »
Hi Gangee,

The best way would be to test it.  To test the rain sensor you'd want to get the sensor wet.  Put a few drops of water on the sensor element, or immerse the sensor in water, either way.   Then go to the controller and look to see that the yellow LED has illuminated.  If the yellow LED is illuminated then the sensor is working.  This LED will continue to be lit whenever the sensor detects water.  The felt pad absorbs water and keeps the "rain" sensor on for a time period after precipitation has moved away.    When the felt pad has dried out the yellow LED will turn off.

Note:  The irrigation does not cutoff immediately when the yellow LED is lit.  There is a five minute delay to eliminate false triggers.  Also, if a cycle has started before the rain trigger is received,  the cycle will only be stopped after the currently operating zone has run to completion.

Hope this explains the operation of the rain sensor.  By the way you can use any "normally open" rain sensor (including wireless) with EtherRain and the process works the same way.

Hope this explains, thanks for posting.

JIm

  
« Last Edit: July 17, 2010, 08:02:25 am by Jim »

Gangee

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Re: Rain sensor
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2010, 10:58:33 am »
Hey Jim,

Yep, it's working.  I poured some water on it then checked the yellow light.  It's on. 
Nice.


Gangee

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Re: Rain sensor
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2010, 11:46:55 am »
Jim,

My yellow light is still on from my test this morning.  That makes sense, I poured quite a bit of water on the sensor. 

But on the Statistics tab, "Rain currently detected" is No.  Also, "Date/Time of last check-in" is set to over an hour ago and is showing "Late".

I checked my connection log, it looks like the device is sending packets.

What's up?

Gangee

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Re: Rain sensor
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2010, 02:25:23 pm »
Jim,

I see by my connection log that there was an "outage", so maybe that's why the rain sensor wasn't being updated.

I looked at the forum entries on the connection log.  Hmm.  I don't get it, because during that time I was on the Internet.  Nothing was being downloaded or anything like that to hog up bandwidth.  I could connect to the device fine, but that's not using the Internet.  I see I'm getting a log once a day with significant outages.  Really strange because during a couple of those times no one was here.

Any trouble shooting you can offer would be great.


Jim

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Re: Rain sensor
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2010, 04:31:32 pm »
Hi Gangee,

I see from your connection log that you experienced a connection outage of a couple hours today.  During that time your EtherRain is most likely still working , however it cannot report in to LawnCheck because it can't reach LawnCheck.  Usually this would be caused by some type of temporary outage or it could be traffic congestion (not just on your network but in the case of Cable, if you share bandwitdth with neighbors).  During that time you can still connect locally with the controller and you may also be able to reach the Internet with your computer, because your computer will continuously try to reestablish a connection and will deal with a lot of dropped connections, but EtherRain may not be able to connect.  

In any event two hour connection losses, should they keep occurring say once or twice or even three times a day should still result in ok irrigation performance.  Their are extended modes you can use if you experience cycle skipping.  Extended modes deliver commands earlier and run commands later giving you a delivery window up up to 5 hours.

You'll have to track your outage performance to see if your connection provides the necessary connectivity that you need for your application.   The way you'll be able to tell is via the cycle skip report.  If you get a high number of cycle skips per week continously  even after setting your programs up in extended mode, then your connection may not allow you to use the service.     I haven't come across any customer connections yet that were so bad that LawnCheck wouldn't work. So we will have to continue watching and monitoring.

JIm
  
« Last Edit: July 17, 2010, 04:40:23 pm by Jim »

Gangee

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Re: Rain sensor
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2010, 07:08:32 am »
Jim,

I'm trying to track this down. 
What direction does the check-in process go?  Does the device report to you (upload), or do you ask the device (download)?  How often? 

Thanks,

Jim

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Re: Rain sensor
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2010, 06:44:57 pm »
Hi Gangee,

the controller checks in with LawnCheck.  it sends check-in request about once every 5 minutes.


JIm

Gangee

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Re: Rain sensor
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2010, 07:17:25 pm »
Jim,

What port does it use? http or https? Is it sending text or a ping? Any and all details are good. I should be able to replicate the issue by writing a little program myself. If this is too sensitive, send me an email.

Jim

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Re: Rain sensor
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2010, 10:33:36 pm »
Hi Gangee,

I don't want to talk about the protocol on this forum because LawnCheck was designed to be easy to use without need for a technical background and most users won't benefit from reading it.

To answer your question though, you don't have to write any software, just use the connection tester available through EtherRain Admin Windows or Java.  It uses your computer to tell if a connection can be established.  Also, because you mentioned ping, you could do a series of ping requests to LawnCheck.com during various periods of the day to see how the response time varies.  This might help in understanding any outages your LawnCheck report is showing, plus you could try a different DNS address.  Again, this is fringe stuff that most users don't need to know about. 

And also, your connection report shows pretty good connectivity.  The only reason I mention congestion is because you've had solid connectivity during nights and morning and only modest outage blocks during midday, so far anyway.  Seeing most people irrigate at night or morning this should provide great service.  We'll keep monitoring.

Hope this helps,
Jim

Gangee

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Re: Rain sensor
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2010, 09:50:40 am »
Jim,

Just wanted to report success with the rain sensor.

We had rain one day, my schedules were blocked. They didn't resume until later the next day, which was just right.  So whatever formula you use to determine when to resume watering, it's right on.

Even my landscape guru was impressed, as he wanted me to purchase a more expensive sensor, one that he was used to. In fact he continues to be impressed with my setup. I overheard him telling an associate of his, "it's pretty slick". That's a big endorsement from a guy like him!

So the rain sensor saved water, it worked exactly as advertised.

Jim

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Re: Rain sensor
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2010, 06:50:58 pm »
Hi Gangee,

Good news on the rain sensor then.  You should find that the combination of the local rain sensor, Yahoo weather, and Rain Brain (if you decide to use it) should give pretty good control of irrigation around periods of precipitation.  It's alway frustrating to see the sprinklers go off after mother nature did the work.

I've found that if I use a zip code to the west of my location that that weather forecast can sometimes prevent a cycle from happening because our rain moves in from that direction, so it's an early indicator.  Also some rain events don't last very long, and so if that's the case your rain sensor may not get soaked enough to hold the rain signal on long enough.  In that case your cycles may run, or RainBrain may reduce the time of the irrigation.  All blocks and any Rain Brain activity is also noted in the log.

Jim