Site based plus tipping rain guage

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by FIMCO-MEISTER, Aug 5, 2011.

  1. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    Let me pull a quote out of that unreferenced copy and paste you just did. 2010 Smart Controller Report 7-15-11.pdf

    Factors that could have caused over/under irrigation of landscapes are improper ETo calculations and insufficient accounting for rainfall.

    Are these the only factors that could have caused these issues. I suppose how the controller was programmed couldn't also have caused the very same results?

    Messages: 18,668

    Sounds like you encountered the same experience with the sl that i did. I jumped off the sl bandwagon because of its unreliability long ago and made that known in this forum several times. Live by cheap chinese manufacturing then you will die because of cheap chinese manufacturing.

    The point to any et based smart controller is that it performs as close to ideal as possible. Being unable to put in all the parameters is a factor in the study. Those that allow more parameters and an onsite tipping rain gauge are going to perform better than those that don't.

    We are in agreement that under watering is better than over watering and that is more likely to occur with an onsite weather station.
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  3. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    The point of these smart controllers is to provide hands-off irrigation adjustments due to changes in weather .... which "should" lead to significant water savings. This study is pointless with regard to field conditions, where we have highly variable system performance, mixtures of smart and standard controllers, and incorrect programming of all controllers in the vast majority of cases.

    This is a controller evaluation study under ideal virtual conditions, some of which are completely unrealistic. The first year of the study attempted to evaluate in the field ..... and failed miserably.

    Even if a controller is programmed correctly, and the lawn boys and home owners stay out of the controller, it still requires adjustments throughout the season (smart or not), which hardly ever occurs. Since the "industry standard" is to program a controller for peak water use, controllers that go unadjusted (the majority) waste huge amounts of water during times when peak water use is not the case. The smart controllers should easily outperform a standard controller in this case as they will self-adjust to some extent (perfectly accurate or not) based on current weather conditions .... of course assuming it was programmed correctly.

    Now if you want a realistic evaluation of controllers under typical field conditions, then you need to perform the study in the field under typically found field conditions with typically found controller programming.
  4. SoCalLandscapeMgmt

    SoCalLandscapeMgmt LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,154

    I'm not sure who's industry standards you're talking about but in the commercial world we adjust controllers weekly. Every single commercial contractor that I know down here does as well.
  5. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 50,746

    Zone by zone? Or globally?
  6. SoCalLandscapeMgmt

    SoCalLandscapeMgmt LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,154

    Depends on the particular site and the type of controller. My preferred method is zone by zone.
  7. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    The majority of commercial properties around these parts waste huge amounts of water because they aren't managed properly .... starting with incorrect programming .... and that isn't just commercial properties ... it is also the case with municipal, schools, and residential.

    Beyond that, based on what I have seen posted on these forums over the years I have no good reason to believe this is not the case around the entire country .... if not the entire irrigated planet.

    I am curious though ..... what exactly are you adjusting weekly?

    Messages: 18,668

    The goal of this study is stated as such.

    The term smart irrigation controller is commonly used to refer to various types of controllers that
    have the capability to calculate and implement irrigation schedules automatically and without
    human intervention. Ideally, smart controllers are designed to use site specific information to
    produce irrigation schedules that closely match the day-to-day water use of plants and landscapes.
    In recent years, manufacturers have introduced a new generation of smart controllers which are
    being promoted for use in both residential and commercial landscape applications.
    However, many questions exist about the performance, dependability and water savings benefits
    of smart controllers. Of particular concern in Texas is the complication imposed by rainfall.
    Average rainfall in the State varies from 56 inches in the southeast to less than eight inches in the
    western desert. In much of the State, significant rainfall commonly occurs during the primary
    landscape irrigation seasons. Some Texas cities and water purveyors are now mandating smart
    controllers. If these controllers are to become requirements across the state, then it is important
    that they be evaluated formally under Texas conditions.

    It had no intention of trying to explain how to manage a smart controller. It took a virtual landscape and exposed the sensors to the elements or used the ET data provided by the manufacturers. Even if we are all aware that tweaking is needed the controllers still need to perform to a certain level in the absence of adjustments to be considered a tool for conserving Texas water. If they or certain brands compound the problem then cities need to be made aware of that.
  9. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    Pete .... unlike you I actually read the studies ..... not just skimmed them. You can skip the copy and paste routine.

    If the goal is to evaluate these controllers under "Texas conditions", then as I have already stated, they need to be field evaluated under typical field conditions found around the state.

    Again .... if the goal is to conserve water .... then the majority of these controllers operating in this virtual landscape have performed admirably based on the latest report.
  10. SoCalLandscapeMgmt

    SoCalLandscapeMgmt LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,154

    frequency along with run time if needed.

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