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The last 10 posts

Saturday, May 17th 2014, 8:06am

by Bellanca

Looking at price, user reviews and features BlueSpray looks like a winner.

It also has the odd/even watering days many SoCal cities are trying to enforce during the drought.

Sunday, August 25th 2013, 1:56pm

by BigAlT

ET Data

I can still foresee potential problems if the weather data that the ET app ( when you finally develop and update the controllers with it ) on the controller is using comes from your servers rather than NOAA directly.

Sunday, August 25th 2013, 12:14pm

by bluespray (Guest)

RE: RE: RE: Bluespray not ET based at time of release

I was taking my information from your FAQ:
"Q. How does the weather feature work?
A. We store NOAA forecast weather data on our server for registered controllers. One hour before a scheduled run, the controller checks for the forecast weather. If any weather condition meets or exceeds the configured threshold at the start of the run, that run is cancelled. For the rain forecast, you can configure the controller to look for up to 24 hours ahead."
I can see the confusion. The weather info you refer to is for the forecast weather feature, not the Et weather data. The reason we store it on our server is to provide quick access for the controllers, rather than querying it from NOAA, which can be slow at times.

The difference between us and other Et based controller such as cyber-rain is that the Et app is on the controller rather than on the cloud, which can cause the problem you see with cyber-rain. If the Et app is on the controller, the controller can make decision on its own based on the data it acquires without depending on the server.

Sunday, August 25th 2013, 1:20am

by BigAlT

RE: RE: Bluespray not ET based at time of release

Quoted


Sir, you are mis-informed. BlueSpray controller has more than enough horse power to run Et algorithtm natively on the controller. The reason why Et is not high on our priority list is because we haven't seen a significant market acceptance to spend our resources on it right now.

If we make an analogy, we would be like a "hybrid" controller. We have the ultimate "green" technology in mind, but we don't think the market is ready for it, so we offer a "hybrid" model. With flexible, granular scheduling aided with forecast weather, BlueSpray can save you water and money as much as an Et controller, without the hassle and cost of one.

When the infrastructure is in place and the market is ready, our controller can easily become an Et controller with a firmware upgrade.


I was taking my information from your FAQ:
"Q. How does the weather feature work?
A. We store NOAA forecast weather data on our server for registered controllers. One hour before a scheduled run, the controller checks for the forecast weather. If any weather condition meets or exceeds the configured threshold at the start of the run, that run is cancelled. For the rain forecast, you can configure the controller to look for up to 24 hours ahead."

Saturday, August 24th 2013, 2:13pm

by bluespray (Guest)

RE: Bluespray not ET based at time of release

According to the Bluespray FAQ it is not ET enabled though they state they plan to add this feature in the future ( like the cyber rain it will be calculated on Bluesprays servers with the problems inherent therein ). There is also no programming possible from the unit itself, only thru their browser GUI.
Take a look at the RainMachine. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
Sir, you are mis-informed. BlueSpray controller has more than enough horse power to run Et algorithtm natively on the controller. The reason why Et is not high on our priority list is because we haven't seen a significant market acceptance to spend our resources on it right now.

If we make an analogy, we would be like a "hybrid" controller. We have the ultimate "green" technology in mind, but we don't think the market is ready for it, so we offer a "hybrid" model. With flexible, granular scheduling aided with forecast weather, BlueSpray can save you water and money as much as an Et controller, without the hassle and cost of one.

When the infrastructure is in place and the market is ready, our controller can easily become an Et controller with a firmware upgrade.

Friday, August 23rd 2013, 11:16am

by BigAlT

ET

From what I can tell, the ET data doesn't actually cost anything. It's calculated from various types of data such as humidity, solar radiation, temperature and the type of plant. The companies that charge a subscription for the weather data are really charging for their server use along with their support for analyzing the weather data for your site ( or micro climate or local area depending on what their data source is ) and transmitting it to your controller.
When I lived in CA I had an Orange Grove that I watered based on ET. The ET data was supplied by a State operated automated weather station that was approx 10 miles away from my grove, the data from which I could access via the Internet . Watering was manually calculated by me based on the ET and a formula specific to my variety of orange trees so was pretty accurate. I had a water valve that I could set to a specific number of gallons to water. So taking into account that the ET was from a site 10 miles away it was as close to a perfect ET based system you could have.
All the " smart" controllers use some " local " weather source ( how local it actually is, what types of data it actually reports, and which items of data it reports the company that supports the controller actually uses in their calculations are what really matter). They all have the ability to set some type of vegetation for each zone though the selections are rather basic and therefore not extremely accurate.
If the controller actually varies the watering times based on the weather information it will obviously save water. And since water is becoming a valuable commodity will save you money compared to the typical set and forget zone watering controller. Whether it will maintain your lawn and other landscaping in a green and healthy condition is the real question. None of the 4 controllers I used did so for my lawn either in CA or here in WA. Whether the RainMachine will do so and be reliable only time will tell.

Friday, August 23rd 2013, 9:19am

by scercpio

I think if you seal it inside a weatherproof case, it might be OK. My assumption is based on what I've seen from the phones and tablets after a couple of years. Only time will tell, I guess.

I don't think rainmachine uses Et, because the weather data for Et is not free. That's why you have to pay subscription fee for those Et based controller. Et controllers basically come in 2 flavors, either with weather station or internet. The ones that come with weather station are more expensive up front, but you don't have to pay for subscription, and you have to maintain the weather station. The ones that don't have weather stations are cheaper (still expensive), but they get the weather data from the internet, they have to pay for it, hence you have to pay for it.

I can relate to your experience with Et or "smart" controller. I used to have one (internet based), but I was in their beta program so I got it for free. I took it down after 1 year because my grass was more brown than green and there was nothing I could do about it but water it with my garden hose. So much for smart. Another problem with "smart" controllers is that they're difficult to use. You have to know your flow rate, soil type, grass type, slope, etc. and that's just too much info for an average homeowner. Also, studies have shown that smart controllers don't water consistently and some are just plain erroneous.

So unless they become smarter, easier, and cheaper, I don't think smart controllers will be in many homes.

Friday, August 23rd 2013, 2:23am

by BigAlT

RE: RE: Bluespray not ET based at time of release

Quoted From Serpico

"Rain machine is not Et enabled either. What it does is look at the forecast and makes its own calculation. How accurate it is, no one knows, probably as good as the forecast. According to their documentation, it uses qpf data, which basically is a predicted rain falls for an area over a long period of time. So if your area normally has 20" of rain of the year, and it has rained 10 so far, you only need 10" for the rest of the year. Well, 10" in the 1st month will make your grass very green, but not so much if you only have 10" for the other 11 months. Weather changes and climate changes all the time. Places that rain a lot now in drought and dry places are getting flooded. And as far as the forecast goes, you can't even rely on the forecast for tomorrow, much less far ahead in the future.

I could be wrong, but until rainmachine can explain what their "complex" algorithm is, this is what I assume.

I'm also curious to know how that fancy touchscreen will hold up in a hot and dusty environment called the garage after a few years later."

According to the RainMachine operating manual it does use ET which it calculates using their " complex algorithm " . It then uses qpf data downloaded from the National Weather Service ( which from the NWS website is not based on yearly data, but data as recent as 6 hours which corresponds to RainMachines statement that it is more accurate if your cycles are less than 3 days apart.
At least RainMachine will adjust watering times based on Weather information. BlueSpray on the other hand, at least until they actually implement ET based watering ( which based on my experience with Cyber Rain may never come to pass and even if it does will be dependent on Bluesprays servers which adds another level of reliability issues ) doesn't adjust watering times at all, only delaying or preventing a cycle from running based on the same type of weather data that RainMachine uses.
I don't know if RainMachines " fancy touchscreen" is any more susceptible to heat or dust related failures than any other electronic component ( they state the operating temperature range is 0 to 120 degrees ), but being in Western Washington I am fortunate that my garage doesn't get very hot in the summer and to prevent any dust or other forms of external contamination, I've mounted the controller in an Orbit Weatherproof Enclosure.
I do like the fact that Bluespray has 8, 16 and 24 valve models unlike RainMachine which only has 12 ( 11 if you need a pump or master valve zone ). But until Bluespray has a working ET or Weather based controller that actually adjusts watering times based on the weather, it's just another controller that essentially uses the weather forcast as an electronic rain and temperature switch. An actual on site rain/freeze switch would actually be more accurate.
As I've mentioned in another post, I've had a Weather Trak, a Weathermatic, an ET Water Smart Controller and most recently a Cyber Rain Pro Cloud. I had the Weathertrak in So Cal and it required a subscription to their service and my lawn would get lots of brown spots in summer. I've used the Weathermatic with it's wireless weather station but I didn't like the fact that you couldn't tell how long it was going to water and my lawn wasn't happy. The ET Water controller is normally very costly, I got one cheap on EBay, but instead of varying the watering times of each zone, it would vary the Interval between watering days which my lawn really didn't like, it was difficult to plan when to mow so the lawn would be dry, and they raised their subscription fees to a really uneconomical level. I thought the cyber rain would be the answer since It would use the information from my on site personal weather station, but it turns out they have never been able to implement actually varying the scheduled watering program on a daily basis using the information downloaded from my weather station but were only changing the watering times on a quarterly basis using some on board historical data.
If you're going to go with a Bluespray controller I hope that it does what you need it to do. For me, the RainMachine seems to be the answer, however, as you can see from my controller history, only time will tell.

Thursday, August 22nd 2013, 8:25pm

by scercpio

RE: Bluespray not ET based at time of release

According to the Bluespray FAQ it is not ET enabled though they state they plan to add this feature in the future ( like the cyber rain it will be calculated on Bluesprays servers with the problems inherent therein ). There is also no programming possible from the unit itself, only thru their browser GUI.
Take a look at the RainMachine. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
Rain machine is not Et enabled either. What it does is look at the forecast and makes its own calculation. How accurate it is, no one knows, probably as good as the forecast. According to their documentation, it uses qpf data, which basically is a predicted rain falls for an area over a long period of time. So if your area normally has 20" of rain of the year, and it has rained 10 so far, you only need 10" for the rest of the year. Well, 10" in the 1st month will make your grass very green, but not so much if you only have 10" for the other 11 months. Weather changes and climate changes all the time. Places that rain a lot now in drought and dry places are getting flooded. And as far as the forecast goes, you can't even rely on the forecast for tomorrow, much less far ahead in the future.

I could be wrong, but until rainmachine can explain what their "complex" algorithm is, this is what I assume.

I'm also curious to know how that fancy touchscreen will hold up in a hot and dusty environment called the garage after a few years later.

Wednesday, August 21st 2013, 11:32pm

by BigAlT

Bluespray not ET based at time of release

According to the Bluespray FAQ it is not ET enabled though they state they plan to add this feature in the future ( like the cyber rain it will be calculated on Bluesprays servers with the problems inherent therein ). There is also no programming possible from the unit itself, only thru their browser GUI.
Take a look at the RainMachine. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.