Soil Moisture Based On-demand Irrigation Controllers: Info & Discussion

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by Kiril, Jul 23, 2007.

  1. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 50,379

    Did the thing even get rained on? I see a lot of detectors that get overshadowed by trees. But they do dry out pretty quick, with the vents open.
  2. jeffinsgf

    jeffinsgf LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 641

    There's nothing to shadow it at all. I'll get up there and take another look at the vents...I thought they were all the way closed, but maybe not.

    The way the rain came down Saturday, I don't think any tree could shadow anything.
  3. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 50,379

    I think the things are highly imperfect, but I try to let the customers know that up front, and assure them that at least the flaws don't prevent watering, like the water-cup types would do, when they failed. How many hundreds of dollars do you want to throw at the problem of buying a better rain detector?
  4. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    IMHO, your best system will combine both ET and SMS.

    The Irrometer Co., who has been doing this since 1951, manufactures the Watermark Sensor (basically an improved gypsum block sensor) at reasonable prices.

    Here are some prices for the Aclima system. I have not used this controller or sensors, but the technology the sensors use (TDT) is considered to be quite accurate.
  5. mangusta1969

    mangusta1969 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 20


    Kiril, thanks for your information and links. Here is another link to the Acclima moisture sensor systems with a bit more information on their product and some better discounts on prices:

    Being a cheap experimenter, I was initially thinking about just adding an Acclima SCX interrupt type moisture sensor controller to an existing 12 zone controller, but the SCX controller can only be connected to one moisture sensor. I would think at least two moisture sensors will be needed in most yards, one for shady or semi-shady areas and a different sensor for full sun areas. If there are different landscape elevations involved, even more sensors might be needed to dial a system in properly.

    So I am now thinking of taking a small plunge toward the Acclima SC12 twelve zone controller, which can connect to twelve different buried sensors, if needed. I hope to get away with just using 2 or 3 buried sensors, though.

    Fimco, sorry to hear that your moisture sensor experiment went bad so quickly due to reliability problems, but that is useful information for the rest of us, so thanks.

    Any other happy or unhappy users of soil moisture sensing devices out there?
    I would certainly appreciate your feedback before I start my experiment.
  6. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    Ideally you would want a SMS per hydrozone if your budget allows for it.
  7. AI Inc

    AI Inc LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 26,813

    Was it set to 1 inch , or is it bypassed at the clock? Try setting it to 1/8 inch. Every time I hear someone say a mini clik dosnt work there is a reason for it. Take a pic of the setting if you can. What type of controller is it wired to?
    Also , what do you mean by vents?

    Messages: 18,668

    Jeff, I'm tired of sounding like a WM sales rep on this site but their SL with the monitor allows for delays to be set to keep it off after it dries out. I put it at 72 hours in the fall, winter, spring and 48 hours in the summer. I use the 1/4" setting. I prefer the irritrol sensor to the Hunter but they both dry out too rapidly. I think it would be a better option in your case.

    I think you can add the Hunter ET system to the PRO-C which may be an option as well. They have a true rain gauge and radiation thingamajig on theirs.

    There is also the off switch on the timer.:)
  9. Waterit

    Waterit LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,930

    Seen WM's Smart Watering Month Promo? SL1600, plus module and weather station for $150 (basically get the WS fo' free). Supposedly Texas irrigators get an even bigger better deal.
  10. Tom Tom

    Tom Tom LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,281

    where did you see this?

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