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Greg's Indigenous Plants & Landscapes
Australian plants for Australia
ABN: 65 285 170 251
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Table of contents

    Installing your solenoid valves
    Connecting it to the solenoid valves
    Compatible solenoid valves
    Installation example
    Uploading your wifi network name and key
        Manually
        Using your mobile phone
    Setting up your ADSL modem
        Find your ADSL modem
        Irrigation controller IP address
       Port forwarding
    Dyamic IP addresses
        freedns.afraid.com
       Dynamic DNS on your ADSL modem
        IP address update app
    Irrigation Controller User Interface
       Login
       System Clock
       Manual Control
       Irrigation Programs
          Station Description
          Persistence of station details
          Uploading to Irrigation Controller
          Correct Procedure
         Turning a station off
       Wired Soil Moisture Alarms
          Making a moisture probe
       Email Settings
       Changing the Backup Battery
    Irrigation Controller Data Files (on SD card)
       program.txt
       walarms.txt
       wifi.txt
       email.txt
       timezone.txt



Installing your solenoid valves

  • The first task is to select a spot in the garden to install your solenoid valve pit.

           

  • You will have a far easier job if you position your valve pit close to both a tap AND close to an external power point.
  • You can install an ordinary brass tap splitter on the tap and then use plumbing irrigation polypipe and fittings to connect one outlet of the tap splitter to your manifold with solenoid valves.

                            

  • That way you won't risk damaging the hard copper plumbing inside the wall or brickwork.
  • The device on the right will screw on to the outlet of the tap splitter while the other end will accept the plumbing polypipe.
  • Don't be tempted to use the irrigation polypipe and fittings (without the blue stripe) because that is not capable or permanetly withstanding mains pressure - it will fail and you will have a flood on your hands.
  • With plumbing polypipe you can leave the tap splitter outlet (and the tap iteself) permanently turned on and you also have a quick and easy fix if you ever accidently damage a pipe.
  • So, to be clear, you connect the following manifold to the tap splitter via the plumbing polypipe:

          

Connecting it to the solenoid valves

  • Connecting electrical wires between the power supply and the irrigation controller and between the irrigation controller and the solenoid valves should be ket to a minimum.
  • Just be aware that if the connecting wires get too long then they may start presenting enough electrical resitance for voltage levels to drop below the minimum levels required by either the irrigation controller or the solenoid valves to operate normally - the shorter they are the better.
  • Try and keep the length of the conecting wires to 10 meters or less.
  • You can use broken ethernet cables, offcuts of ethernet cable or speaker wire to connect your irrigation controller to your solenoid valves.

        

  • Ethernet cable contains 4 pairs of wires - orange/orange & white, brown/brown & white, blue/blue & white, green/green & white, so one length of ethernet cable can accomodate 4 solenoid valves - 2 wires are needed for each solenoid valve.
  • Just be aware the insulation material covering most electrical wires are not UV stabilised and will disintegrate over time and cause an electrical short circuit and damage to the irrigation controller and or the power source.
  • Any connecting wires that are exposed to sunlight should be covered some sort of UV stabilised plastic conduit:
    • Irrigation polypipe - whether you use speaker wire or ethernet cable you will probably have to use 25mm polypipe and fittings in order to comfortably accomdate all the connecting wires required.
    • Orange PVC electrical conduit.

Compatible solenoid valves

You can connect any standard 24VAC solenoid valve to the controller.

 

Installation example

  • In the above example all the connecting wire lengths are kept to a minimum, the minimum amount of plumbing polypipe is required and there is no chance that the irrigation controller can get rained on.

Uploading your wifi network name and key

Manually

  • If you remove the cover from the irrigation controller enclosure you will see the Arduino microcontroller:

  • You should also be able to see a standard size SD card.
  • Carefully remove the SD card and insert it into the SD card reader of your laptop or PC.
  • If your laptop or PC does not have a card reader then you can purchase a USB SD card reader from Ebay for around $15.
  • Carefully remove the SD card and insert it into the SD card reader in your laptop or PC.
  • Windows will present you with:

            

  • Click the 'Open folder to view files' option
  • Windows will present you with:

           

  • Locate the file named 'wifi.txt'.
  • Right click on it and windows will present you with:

           

  • Move the mouse to the 'Open with' option and a new popup menu will appear:

           

  • Select the 'Notepad' option and Windows Notepad will open:

            

  • The first line of text in this file is simply the name of your wifi network and the second line of text is your network key.
  • Simply edit these two lines of text to match your wifi network name and key and then save the file.
  • If Windows asks you if you are sure you want to overwrite the existing file then select 'yes'.
  • Insert the SD card back into the SD card reader slot on the microcontroller.
  • Press the reset button or turn the irrigation controller power supply off and then on again.

Using your mobile phone

  • First of all you will need an Android mobile phone.
  • At present I am not able to create a version of the app which will run on other mobile device operating systems, e.g. Apple IPhones and Windows Phones.
  • Next you will need to download the irrigation app and install it on your android phone.
  • Next you will need to open 'Settings' on your mobile phone and then 'Wireless and network' - the exact names used may vary from phone to phone but they will be similar to the afore mentioned ones.
  • Here is an example:

           

  • Next you need to go to the 'search for bluetooth devices' function on your android phone.
  • Here is an example:

           

  • Look for a bluetooth device named 'Irrigation' - that is your irrigation controller.
  • Tap 'Irrigation' and the Android phone will pair with it, thus allowing the 'irrigation app' to connect with it.
  • You will be required to enter a PIN number - enter 1234.
  • Now start the 'irrigation' app:

           

  • Notice the drop down or combo box at the top - if some bluetooth device other than 'IRRIGATION' is selected then touch it.

         

  • From the drop down box that appears select the bluetooth device named 'IRRIGATION'.

           

  • The bluetooth device named 'IRRIGATION' should now be selected in the combo box.
  • Touch the 'CONNECT' button.

            

  • Now just touch the 'Network name' edit field and enter your wifi network name and then touch the 'Network key' edit field and enter your wifi network key.
  • Then touch the 'Upload to irrigation controller' button.
  • You should receive a popup message stating that the upload was successful.

Setting up your ADSL modem

Find your ADSL modem

  • The first thing you need to find the web address of your ADSL modem - this will be detailed in your user manual and will be something like 'http://mygateway.gateway/'
    • If you can't find the user manual for your ADSL modem, or can't find the web address of your ADSL modem then follow these steps instead:
    • Open a windows command prompt by clicking 'start' and then typing 'cmd' in the search box.
    • Type 'ipconfig' at the commnad prompt, press enter and the following text will be displayed:
  •                     Ethernet adapter Local Area Connection:

                        Connection-specific DNS Suffix . : gateway
                        Link-local IPv6 Address . . . . . : fe80::99a:6121:d5d:2450%11
                        IPv4 Address. . . . . . . . . . . : 10.0.0.117
                        Subnet Mask . . . . . . . . . . . : 255.255.255.0
                        Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . : 10.0.0.138 

    • In the above example '10.0.0.138' is the IP address of the ADSL modem and you can type this into the address bar of your web browser in place of more familiar web addresses.
  • So type either the web or IP address of your ADSL modem into the address bar of your web browser like this and press enter:

           

  • You should see something like this:

            

Irrigation controller IP address

  • Next you need to determine the IP address of your irrigation controller so have it near by.
  • Connect the power supply and wait a minute or so for it to boot up and initialise.
  • In your web browser fit F5 a few times until a new green tick appears in the 'Wi-Fi' column:

         

  • In the above example the device at the top of the 'Wi-Fi' column has a green tick.
  • Disconnect the power from the irrigation controller and again hit F5 in your web browser a few times:

           

  • You will notice that, in the above example, the green tick has disappeared from the device at the top of the 'Wi-Fi' column.
  • So you can be sure that the local IP address of your irrigation controller is 10.0.0.79 in this example.
  • Now this is a dynamic IP address that your ADSl modem chooses at random from a range of possible IP addresses.
  • The local IP address of your irrigation controller will not remain as 10.0.079 indefinitely, but there is a way to give your irrigation controller a static or permanent local IP address so that you don't need to keep looking in your ADSL modem settings.
Giving your irrigation controller a static IP address
  • The first thing to do here isto click on your device - in this example the IP address of the irrigation controller is 10.0.0.48

           

  • Either copy or write down the devices MAC address - in this example it is '5c:cf:7f:1b:0a:50'.
  • Now click 'Advanced'.

           

  • Click 'Local Network'.

            

  • You need to locate a section named 'Static leases' or a similar name.
  • Now hit the 'Add new lease' button.

           

  • In the 'MACaddress' edit field paste or type in the MAC address of the irrigation controller.
  • In the 'IP' edit field you can type the existing local IP address of the irrigation controller, 10.0.0.48 in this example, or any IP address you prefer so long as your chosen IP address is not currently being used by another device connected to your network (either Wifi or ethernet/wired).
  • You can check that your chosen IP address is not already being used by going back to the main page of your ADSL modem settings and check each device that has a green tick - if you click on a device with a green tick then you will be able to see its IP address.
  • In this example we will just use the dynamically assigned IP address 10.0.0.48.
  • In the 'Hostname' edit field you can type any name that you want to call your irrigation controller, e.g. 'IrrigationController' (no space characters allowed)

         

  • Now hit the small blue button with the plus '+' symbol.

           

  • You will have now given your irrigation controller a permanent or static local IP address and the name 'IrrigationController' will appear in the main settings of your ADSL modem.

           

  • You can see in the main page of the ADSL modem settings there is now a device with the name 'IrrigationController' with a local IP address of 10.0.0.48
  • So while you are at home, you can connect to your irrigation controller by typing this local IP address into the address bar of your web browser.
  • But this local IP address will not work away from your home network. e.g. at the office or a friend's house.

Port forwarding

  • In order to access the irrigation controller away from home you need to setup port forwarding.
  • Reconnect the power to your irrigation controller and make sure the green tick re-appears next to device 10.0.0.79
  • Click 'User Settings:

            

  • Now click 'Port Forwarding':

           

  • Click 'Add new port mapping and select 'HTTP Server':

           

  • A new blank item will appear:

           

  • The 'Name' field can contain any device name you like - I would suggest just typing 'Irrigation controller' in this field.
  • Leave the 'Protocol' field as 'TCP'.
  • Leave the 'LAN Port' field as '80'
  • In the 'Destination IP' field you type the local IP address of your irrigation controller - in this example it was '10.0.0.79'.
  • Now the 'WAN Port' field can contain any integer you like - it is used if you have multiple network devices that you want to access away from home.
  • For example, if you were running two irrigation controllers on your home network then you could give the first one a WAN port of 84 and the second one a WAN port of 85.
  • In this example the public IP address of the ADSL modem was '101.182.208.140' so, at the office you could access the first irrigation controller by typing '101.182.208.140:84' into the address bar of your web browser - please note ':84'.
  • The second irrigation controller would be accessed by typing '101.182.208.140:85' into the address bar of your web browser.
  • If you have only one irrigation controller that you want access from the office for example then you could leave the 'WAN Port' field as '80' and you would then access your irrigation controller at work bt typing '101.182.208.140' into the address bar of your web browser.
  • Once you have finished you will need to click the blue button in this example to save the changes you have made.

Dynamic IP addresses

  • More than likely you will have a dynamic public IP address asigned to you by your Internet Service Provider.
  • This means that your public IP address, that you would use to access your irrigation controller from work like this '101.182.208.140:85' or like this '101.182.208.140', will change when ever your ADSL modem reboots and somtimes on the fly at the discretion of your ISP. .
  • So tomorrow or next week you may have to access your irrigation controller from work via '101.182.250.145' rather than '101.182.208.140'.
  • There are two ways around this:
    • Request a static IP address from you ISP - this will incurr additional costs but it is the simplest method of overcoming the above problem because your public IP address will never change.
    • Simply check what you latest public IP address is before leaving home and hope that it does not change while you are away from home.
    • Use a DNS hosting service like 'https://freedns.afraid.org'.
    • There are many others but I have used this one so I will use it as an example here.
    • Most of these web sites allow you to setup a free account with the bare basic features.

freedns.afraid.org

  • Setting up an account is quite simple and I won't go into details here.
  • Once you create you account click on the link named 'Subdomain'.

           

  • Next click the link named 'Add'.

           

  • The first thing you need to do is give your subdomain a name in the 'Subdomain' edit field - in this example I have simply used my surname 'boyles' as the name of my sub-domain but you can choose any meaningful name you like.
  • Next you need to choose one of the fee domains from the 'Domain' combox box below:

           

  • If you don't like any of those domains then click 'Many many more available':

           

  • From here click 'Shared domain registry':

            

  • Select any domain that takes your fancy and it will then appear in the combo box back here:

           

  • Your current public IP address automatically appears in the 'Destination' edit box.
  • Leave the 'Type' combox box on 'A'.
  • Now you just need to type the text in the 'captcha' image into the edit box below - this is just a check to make sure you are not a 'web robot' up to no good.
  • Now click the 'Save!' button and you will have created your subdomain.
  • I have previously created the subdomain 'boylesg.homenet.org'

Dynamic DNS on your ADSL modem 

  • Now you need to go back to your ADSL modem settings - type in the web address or the local IP address of your ADSL modem and click the 'User settings' link

                       

  • From the 'Service name' combo box you need to select the name of the free DNS service you have chosen to use - in this example we have chosen 'freedns.afraid.org' so select 'FREEDNS' in from the combo box.
  • Back at 'https://freedns.afraid.org' there is a link 'Router setup guide' - this explains how to setup your ADSL modem to use the subdomian you have just created in your 'freedns.afraid.org' account.
  • Essentially you need to click the link named 'Dynamic DNS'.
  • Go down to the bottom of this page and you should see your subdomain - in this example it is 'boylesg.homenet.org'

           

  • Click the link named 'Direct URL':
  • Ignore the page contents - you need to look up in the address bar for you web browser that will contain text something like this 'https://freedns.afraid.org/dynamic/update.php?d1E0RmdTUGxDOFQ2YmRncllMWVkxQWxsOjE2MTg1Njk1'.
  • Highlight all the text after the '?' character and copy it to your clipboard.
  • Now go back to here:

            

  • In the 'Domain' edit field you need to type your FreeDNS sub-domain name - in this exaple it is 'boylesg.homenet.org'.
  • Type a comma - ','.
  • Now paste the text you copied to your clipboard.
  • Into both the 'User Name' and 'Password' edit fields type the word 'guest'.
  • Now you will be able to type the web address 'boylesg.homenet.org' into the address field of your web browser, at any location, and you will be able to view the web pages from your irrigation controller.
  • And your ADSL modem will automatically update your public IP address at  'freedns.afraid.org' whenever it changes.

IP address update app

  • If your ADSL modem does not have the above feature then, when your public IP address changes, 'boylesg.homenet.org' would then have an invalid IP address stored against it and you won't be able to connect to your irrigation controller.
  • In this situation you would normally have to go back to this werb page and click the 'Direct URL' to make 'freedns.afraid.org' update your public IP address:

          

  • However, conveninetly, the community has created a whole bunch of apps that run in the background of your Windows PC, Android device or Apple device and automatically make 'freedns.afraid.org' update your public IP address.
  • The only restriction is that the device needs to remain at home, running all the time and connected to your home network.
  • Now it is likely that you have more than one mobile device, e.g. a tablet associated with your landline phone or a spare mobile phone or what ever.
  • These various apps are listed here for download and installation: https://freedns.afraid.org/scripts/freedns.clients.php.
  • Installing an Android or IPhone app is far less prone to catastrophes.

Irrigation Controller User Interface

  • Please remember the device is not as powerful as a laptop or android device so it will take longer to download the web pages from the device - please be patient.
  • If the irriagtion controller fails to respond then please wait a few minutes and hit the refresh button in your web browser.
  • If the irrigation controller is in the process of turning stations on or off then this is probably why it has failed to respond to your web page request.

Login

  • This is the first web page you will be presented with when you connect to your irrigation controller.
  • It provides some minimal security to prevent unauthorised access.
  • The password you should enter here is the SSID for your WiFi network.
  • If it is correct then you will remain logged on for 15 minutes, after which you will have to enter your WiFi SSID again.
  • Once you hit the 'Login' button you will automatically be re-directed to the 'Irrigation Programs' page.

System Clock

  • The first thing you need to do is visit this page and change your time zone to the appropriate offset from Greenwich Mean Time (Universal Time).
  • By default this is set to +10 hours (Australian Eastern Standard Time).
  • If you region does use daylight savings then uncheck the 'Adjust time for daylight savings' check box.
  • The system time of the device you are using will be automatically detected, but if this is incorrect then you can specifiy a system time and date in the relevant edit fields.
  • There is also an edit field 'Irrigation Controller ID' that allows you to enter a name for the irrigation controller, which is useful if you happen to be running two or more controllers.
  • The name you enter if this field appears at the top of each web page.
  • Hit the 'Upload to irrigation controller' and the time in the Irrigation controller will be altered accordingly.
  • Please also note that the irrigation controller will automatically synchronise its internal clock with the Greenwich time server (plus time zone adjustment) on boot up and once weekly.
  • Also note this this page gives you an indication of the backup battery voltage for the irrigation controllers internal clock.
  • The back battery consists of 2 x 1.5V AA cells and these will keep the internal clock ticking should power to the irrigation controller be lost.
  • If you set an email address in the 'Email Settings' below then the irrigation controller will email when the back battery needs to be replaced.

Manual Control

  • Simply select the station and type in a run time in minutes and hit the upload button.
  • If that station is already running then it you will get a message stating this.

Irrigation Programs

Station Description
  • The first thing to note about this page is the edit field, containing 'Station 1' in this example, immediately below the 'Settings for' (stations 1 - 8) combo box.
  • This field allows you to enter a description for each station so that you can easily remember what part of the garden each station is irrigating.
  • Examples might be 'vege garden', 'side' or 'front'.
Persistence of station details
  • Another important thing to note is that, once you enter irrigation details for the currently selected 'Station 1', the details are saved in the background.
  • If you select a different station and then go back to station 1 then you will find that all your settings for station 1 are the same.
  • Each station will be intially set to default once a month watering.
Uploading to Irrigation Controller
  • Notice than in the above example the 'Upload to irigation controller' button is disabled.
  • In order for this button to become enabled the big list box above that button must be filled for at least one of the stations from 1 to 8.
Correct Procedure
  1. Select the station to which you want to make changes by selecting a station from the 'Settings fo' combo box at the top of the form.
  2. Type or re-type the description you want to apply to this station.
  3. If you wish to enter a period over which irrigation for this station will be suspended then use the two edit field labelled "Suspend irrigation between" - the top edit box is the start date, the bottom edit box is the end date and the data format should be of the form 1/12. You can use this feature to suspend irrigation to an area of your garden over winter for example.
  4. Next you need to choose a broad frequency via the radio buttons labelled 'Monthly', 'Weekly' and 'Daily' - clicking these will enable the drop down box beside it and disable the other drop down boxes.
  5. Next you need to select a fine frequency via the drop down box - if you have selected the 'Weekly' radio button then you have the option of irrigating once per week, once every 2 weeks or once every 3 weeks.
  6. Next you will need to select a station run time in minutes from the 'Run time' edit box.
  7. Then select a run frequency from the 'Run every' drop down box - options range from once every 2 hours to once per 24 hours.
  8. You can also select a start and end times in 24 hour clock format, e.g. 23:00. For example, if you have selected 'once every 2 hours', and you enter start and end times of 1:00 and 6:00 then the controller will turn this station on every 2 hours between 1:00am and 6:00am. If you don't enter an start and end times then the controller will turn the station on every 2 hours between 12:00am and the following 12:00am.
  9. You will notice that changing any of these settings will result in the contents of the two list boxes being updated automatically.
  10. The station will be turned on at these dates and at these times during that day.
  11. You can hit the "Upload to irrigation controller" button any time to upload your changes.
Turning a station off
  • If you want to turn a station off then simply hit the 'Station off' button.
  • This will result in the two list boxes being emptied and a '0'  (minutes) will be placed in the 'Runtime' edit field.
  • A station run time of 0 minutes indicates to the irrigation controller that this station is not in use.

Wired Soil Moisture Alarms

Persistence of alarm details
  • Like 'Irrigation Programs' above, once you enter alarm details for the currently selected 'Station 1', the details are saved in the background.
  • If you select a different station and then go back to station 1 then you will find that all your settings for station 1 are the same.
How enable an alarm
  • Select the station you want to enable an alarm on - if you have set an email address then the details of the alarm condition will be emailed to you.
  • The station description, e.g. 'tomatoes', will be displayed to remind you what part of the garden this station is watering.
  • You will also need to physically install the wired soil moisture probe in the irrigation controller box and insert the probes into the soil.
  • Click the 'Installed' checkbox and the first to edit fields will be enabled.
  • 'Allowed dry time' is where you enter the maximum number of minutes that you are prepared to allow the soil moisture level to remain below the specified threshold before an alarm condition is triggered.
  • 'Probe threshold value' is where you specify the minimum soil moisture threshold, below which an alarm condition is triggered should the soil moisture remain below this level for longer than the 'Allowed dry time'.
  • A value of 0 for 'Probe threshold value' indicates bone dry soil while a value of 100 represents sopping wet soil.
  • You will need to play around with the value you use for 'Probe threshold value' because moisture availability varies widely with different soil types, for example heavy clay soil may seem quite damp but that soil moisture may not be easily available to plants.
  • A value of around 30 - 40 is a good starting point to indicate dry soil.
  • If you wish you can also click the 'Auto' check box - this will enable the 'On time' edit field wher you enter the number of minutes that the station is to be turned on for.
  • If a soil moisture alarm is triggered then this station will automatically be turned on for this number of minutes.
  • Any irrigation program you have set for this station will be suspended while the 'Auto' checkbox remains checked.
Making a moisture probe
  • Moisture probes are simply two metal contacts about 1cm apart - they are very easy to make if you are handy.
  • Here is one I made:
  • If you can find some large enough terminal blocks (the white thing) you could simply insert the stainless steel rods into the terminal block, in place of the electrical wires, and tighten down the screws.
  • I made it from these two products available at Bunnings:

                      

  • The riser stakes in the left photo are ideal as they are strong and made of stainless steel that can be soldered.
  • I simply cut down the riser stakes into short lengths, cut a hort length of dual core speaker wire and soldered each core of the speaker wire to two of the pieces of riser stake.
  • You need to put a small piece of heat shrink tube over the solder jount to ensure that the soft copper core of the speaker wire does not break off over time due to flexing.
  • I then cut short lengths of the plastic riser tube in the right photo and slid them over the lenghts of stainless steel such that a short length of each was protruding.
  • I then simply taped to two firmly together using black electrical insulation tape and attache an electrical terminal block to the other end of the speaker wires - this allows for easy connecting of wire that then goes to the irrigation controller.
  • It is best to use metals that won't corrode in the moist soil.
  • Stainless steel is ideal because you can solder copper core electrical wire to it.
  • But you can use aluminium if you wish, bearing in mind that you won't be able to solder copper core electrical wire to it - some sort of stiff aluminium wire, that you can attach the electrical terminal block directly to, would be ideal.

Email Settings

  • On this web page you can enter your email address that will received alarm notifications and your email account settings.
  • Then you will need to type in your outgoing mail server, mail server username and password.
  • I will use Microsoft Outlook 2007 as an example for obtaining these email account settings if you don' have them handy some where:
    • Click 'Tools' from the menu bar and select 'Account details' from the popup menu.

                      

    • You should see this:

                      

    • Select the appropriate email address and hit the 'Change' button and you should then see this:

                     

    • You will need to write down the contents of 'Outgoing mail server (SMTP)' and 'User Name'
    • Unfortunately there is no way to reveal the actual contents of  'Password' so, if you don't know or can't remember the password for your email account then you will need to login in to your Bigpond (or other ISP) account and find it there.
    • If you don't use Microsoft Outlook as your email program then you will need to consult the online user manual for the software you are using, but it is likely that the process will be similar.

Changing the Backup Battery

  • Simply remove the lid, locate the battery holder and replace the two AA cells.
  • Then cycle the power to the irrigation controller to make it re-boot and synchronize its clock with the Greenwich timer server.

Irrigation Controller Data Files

  • These data files are simple text files so you can edit them directly with Windows Notepad or any other simple text editor.
  • But please ensure you maintain the format detailed below for each file.
program.txt
  • This file has the following format

         station1
                 description:front
                  suspend:1/4-1/8
                 1/1=00:00-1,08:00-1,16:00-1
                 1/3=00:00-1,08:00-1,16:00-1
                 30/4=00:00-1,08:00-1,16:00-1
                 29/6=00:00-1,08:00-1,16:00-1
                 28/8=00:00-1,08:00-1,16:00-1
                 27/10=00:00-1,08:00-1,16:00-1
                 26/12=00:00-1,08:00-1,16:00-1
         station2
                 description:2222
                 suspend:
                 1/1=00:00-10
                 1/3=00:00-10
                 30/4=00:00-10
                 29/6=00:00-10
                 28/8=00:00-10
                 27/10=00:00-10
                 26/12=00:00-10
         station3
                 description:3333
                 suspend:
                 1/1=00:00-10
                 1/3=00:00-10
                 30/4=00:00-10
                 29/6=00:00-10
                 28/8=00:00-10
                 27/10=00:00-10
                 26/12=00:00-10
         station4
                 description:4444
                 suspend:
                 1/1=00:00-10
                 1/3=00:00-10
                 30/4=00:00-10
                 29/6=00:00-10
                 28/8=00:00-10
                 27/10=00:00-10
                 26/12=00:00-10
         station5
                 description:5555
                 suspend:
                 1/1=00:00-10
                 1/3=00:00-10
                 30/4=00:00-10
                 29/6=00:00-10
                 28/8=00:00-10
                 27/10=00:00-10
                 26/12=00:00-10
         station6
                 description:6666
                 suspend:
                 1/1=00:00-10
                 1/3=00:00-10
                 30/4=00:00-10
                 29/6=00:00-10
                 28/8=00:00-10
                 27/10=00:00-10
                 26/12=00:00-10
         station7
                 description:7777
                 suspend:
                 1/1=00:00-10
                 1/3=00:00-10
                 30/4=00:00-10
                 29/6=00:00-10
                 28/8=00:00-10
                 27/10=00:00-10
                 26/12=00:00-10
         station8
                 description:8888
                 suspend:
                 1/1=00:00-10
                 1/3=00:00-10
                 30/4=00:00-10
                 29/6=00:00-10
                 28/8=00:00-10
                 27/10=00:00-10
                 26/12=00:00-10

  • The rules are as follows:
    • The key words 'station1' through to 'station8' MUST appear in the file on seperate lines.
    • Each station must be followed by the key words 'description:' and 'suspend:' on seperate lines and in that order, but can be blank after the colon (:) if you wish.
    • The key word 'description' can followed by a text string up to 24 characters long describing the station, e.g. front, back or vegetables.
    • The key word 'suspend' can be followed by 2 dates seperated by a dash (-) and the dates must have the format day/month (no year required). I.E. Irrigation on this station will be suspended starting from the first date and ending with the second date. The two dates can span the end of the year, e.g. 2/10-2/2.
    • Following these can be any number of dates on seperate lines and each date must be have the format day/month.
    • Each date must also be follwed by an equal (=) and at least one start time / run time pair, with multiple start time / run time pairs seperated by comma (,). E.G. 1/1=1:00-10,2:00-10 or 1/1=1:00
    • Start times must have the format h:mm.
    • Run time is in minutes and must be a whole number.
    • The maximum number of start time / run time pairs per date is 12 - any start time / run time pairs beyond 12 will be ignored.
    • You can use indenting (using tab characters or space characters) to make the file easier to read.
  • The web page (html file) interface provides you with a restricted range of irrigation frequencies etc, and this is necessary to keep the html file size to a minimum and therefore the download time of that web page to a minumum.
  • However by editing 'program.txt' directly you can enter any dates and start times you want:
    • The dates you enter don't need to be regular.
    • The start times don't need to be regular.
    • And the run times for each start don't need to be the same number of minutes.
walarms.txt
  • This file has the following format:

         station1
                 probe:
                 allowed_dry_time:0
                 probe_threshold_value:0
                 probe_auto:
                 auto_runtime:0
         station2
                 probe:installed
                 allowed_dry_time:10
                 probe_threshold_value:1500
                 probe_auto:yes
                 auto_runtime:1
         station3
                 probe:
                 allowed_dry_time:0
                 probe_threshold_value:0
                 probe_auto:
                 auto_runtime:0
         station4
                 probe:
                 allowed_dry_time:0
                 probe_threshold_value:0
                 probe_auto:
                 auto_runtime:0
         station5
                 probe:
                 allowed_dry_time:0
                 probe_threshold_value:0
                 probe_auto:
                 auto_runtime:0
         station6
                 probe:
                 allowed_dry_time:0
                 probe_threshold_value:0
                 probe_auto:
                 auto_runtime:0
         station7
                 probe:
                 allowed_dry_time:0
                 probe_threshold_value:0
                 probe_auto:
                 auto_runtime:0
         station8
                 probe:
                 allowed_dry_time:0
                 probe_threshold_value:0
                 probe_auto:
                 auto_runtime:0

  • The rules are as follows:
    • The key words 'station1' through to 'station8' MUST appear in the file on seperate lines.
    • Each station must be followed by the key words 'probe:', 'allowed_dry_time:', 'probe_threshold_value:', 'probe_auto:' and 'auto_runtime:' on seperate lines and in that order, but can be blank after the colon (:) if you wish.
    • If you have a wired soil moisture probe installed on any particular station then you must have the key word 'installed' after 'probe:' for that station.
    • You should also have values after the key words 'allowed_dry_time:' and 'probe_threshold_value:'
      • The value after 'allowed_dry_time:' should be a whole number corresponding the number of minutes the soil is allowed to remain dry for this station.
      • The value after 'probe_threshold_value:' should be a whole number corresponding to the soil conductivity and therefore how wet it is - 600 corresponds to bone dry soil while 2000 corresponds to sopping wet soil and you will need to play around with this value to get it right for you particular situation.
    • So, if the controller measures soil conductivity at or below the value for  'probe_threshold_value:' and for longer than the number of minutes after 'allowed_dry_time:' then a system alarm will be triggered and you will receive an email.
    • Optionally you can have the controller automatically turn the station on if an alarm is triggered on that station.
    • If you want this to happen then you must put the key word 'yes' after the key word ' probe_auto:'.
    • You must also specify the number of minutes that the station should be turned on for by typing a whole number after the key word 'auto_runtime:'.
  • This feature can also be used to warn you should any of your solenoid valves or pipes fail.
wifi.txt
  • This file contains to lines of text:
    • Your wifi network name.
    • Your wifi network key.
email.txt
  • This file contains 4 lines ot text:
    • The email address that alarm notifcations will be emailed to.
    • Your outgoing mail server.
    • Your mail server user name.
    • Your mail server password.
timezone.txt
  • This file contains 2 lines ot text:
    • Your time zone offset from Greenwich Mean Time - this should be a whole number and can be negative.
    • Either 'yes' or 'no' that specifies whether or not to adjust the time for daylight savings.