Does programming your lawn sprinkler seem so much harder than it should be? Here's a Netduino/Azure/WP7 solution for you...

Description

I don't know about you, but it sometimes feels that programming my lawn sprinkler system is a lesson in futility and that I must be pretty stupid, because programming that thing can't really be that hard, can it?

Also it bugs me that in our connected world, that these devices are so, well, dumb. Why can't they check the weather themselves? Why do I have to go into the garage at all to program the thing?

Well, we don't, there is hope. There are come very cool connected systems, such as Cyber Rain, but what's the fun in that? I wonder if we couldn't build a cloud connected, Netduino based, system that let be control if via a Windows Phone 7 device?

Mike Linnen did just that...

Lawn Sprinkler the Introduction Part 1

The new craze for Home Automation is to use technology to Go Green. One aspect of Going Green is about managing resources in a more efficient way. I have seen a number of other hobbyists build projects that manage the amount of electricity or gas that they use within their home. In this project I am going to manage the amount of water I use for watering my lawn. In part 1 of this series I am going to cover the big picture of what I am attempting to do.

Requirements

Of course I needed a few requirements to define the scope of what I am attempting to do.

  • Support for up to 4 zones
  • Be able to manually turn on 1 or more zones (max 4) and have them run for a period of time
  • Be able to schedule 1 or more zones (max 4) to come on daily at a specific time of the day multiple times a day.
  • Be able to schedule 1 or more zones (max 4) to come on every Mon, Wed and Friday at a specific time of the day multiple times a day.
  • Be able to schedule 1 or more zones (max 4) to come on every Tuesday and Thursday at a specific time of the day multiple times a day.
  • Be able to turn off the system so that the scheduled or manual zones will immediately turn off or not turn on at their scheduled time.
  • Be able to do any of the above requirements remotely.
  • Do not turn on the sprinkler if rain is in the forecast (Go Green)
  • Do not turn on the sprinkler if the ground is already moist enough (Go Green)
  • Be able to automatically set the clock when daylight savings time changes.

...

The Sprinkler

I am using a Netduino Plus as the microcontroller that operates my sprinkler heads. I choose this device because it uses the .Net Micro framework and it also has an onboard Ethernet controller which makes connecting it to my network a real easy task. You could very easily use another device to control the sprinklers as long as it could handle the HTTP messages and had enough I/O to interface to the rest of the needed hardware.

This device is responsible for the following:

  • Monitor the schedule and turn on the sprinklers if it is time to do so
    • 4 Digital Outputs
    • Onboard clock to know when to run the scheduled time
  • Watch for HTTP JSONrequests that originate from the Windows Phone
    • The onboard Etherent works well for this
  • Watch for HTTP JSONrequests that originate from the weather service telling the sprinkler the chance of rain
    • The onboard Etherent works well for this
  • Watch for HTTP JSONrequests that originate from the time service telling the sprinkler to change it’s onboard clock
    • The onboard Etherent works well for this
  • On power up ask the time service for the correct time
    • The onboard Etherent works well for this
  • Monitor the Off pushbutton and cycle the mode of the sprinkler through the 3 states: Off/Manual/Scheduled
    • 1 Digital Input
  • Yellow LEDgoes on when in the Manual state
    • 1 Digital Output
  • Green LEDgoes on when in the Schedule state
    • 1 Digital Output
  • Monitor the ground moisture (Note: I haven’t done much research on how these sensors work so this might change)
    • 1 Analog Input
  • Persist the Manual and Scheduled programs so that a power cycle wont these values

..."

Lawn Sprinkler the Demo Part 2

Here is a video that demonstrates how the Lawn Sprinkler system works.

Here's some snaps from the doc's

image

image

SprinklerSketch_bb

SprinklerSketch_schem

Yes, even a very cool and complete PptX deck, too

image

Finally a snap of the Solution (Note, you'll need the beta [I used RC1] version of .Net MF, v4.2 which you can get from http://netmf.codeplex.com)

image

If you've always wondered what it would take to build your own, connected lawn sprinkler system, these two posts look to be a great place to start.

 

Here’s a few more links you might find interesting:

 

Today's post comes via WMPowerUser, How to control your garden sprinklers with Windows Phone 7

The Discussion

Comments closed

Comments have been closed since this content was published more than 30 days ago, but if you'd like to continue the conversation, please create a new thread in our Forums, or Contact Us and let us know.