weather smart irrigation

Discussion in 'Irrigation / Sprinkler Forum' started by tuffguy05189, Oct 1, 2007.

  1. tuffguy05189

    tuffguy05189 New Member

    Messages:
    6
    The ET Manager from rainbird has been proven to lower your waterbill up to 50%. Its not a controller but a retofit that fits to nearly every existing controller, and very easy to install it just breaks the common wire. It works by receiving realtime weather data from Aquasaves extensive network of weather stations and uses calculated information to determine how much moisture has left the landscape. Then the ET Manager distributes the exact amount of water needed to promote a healthy landscape.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2007
  2. Kiril

    Kiril New Member

    Messages:
    87
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    IMHO, there are much better solutions on that market than the RB ET manager for a fraction of the cost.
  3. tuffguy05189

    tuffguy05189 New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Rainbird is the only ET device that uses all 5 variables of weather needed to calculate the exact ET. The hunter system is the only other one that does that but an $800 weather station is needed in the yard, which is cheap as far as weather stations go and the customer wont maintain it, and it wont be put somewhere where the weather isnt affected by what its near.

    The other systems use national weather data or historical weather data, which isnt sufficient. Plus they dont include Solar radiation which is obviously important, how strong the suns rays are is going to have an affect on ET. And using historical data is stupid, how can you say what the weather is today by the past years... last year and the year before it rained on this day it was an average of 60 degrees so this year its raining today and an average of 60 degrees? i dont think so, sounds like a cheap way to join the Conservation bandwagon.

    The only way to determine the exact ET is real time weather data, not once a day like the others. This system uses managed allowed depletion which the others dont and this promotes a healthier landscape than other previous systems.

    Dont get me wrong about Hunter they have a good product but this is so much less work and not as costly.. and as far as the others go, well you get what you pay for. Of course they help, but your still wasting money.

    you save a buck now when you buy it but you waste money the long you have another system..
  4. Mort

    Mort New Member

    Messages:
    83
    Location:
    CA
    Wow....sure sounds a lot more hi-tech than looking at the sky and using the metal handle to turn on my sprinklers when needed;)

    Mort (who still uses under half his water allocation each year and keeps things green)
  5. tuffguy05189

    tuffguy05189 New Member

    Messages:
    6
    your more concious about the whole operation.. the average homeowner wants to come home to a green lawn everyday and have no work to do to make it that way, these systems are designed with those homeowners in mind.

    businesses too. big businesses dont want to manually work the irrigation system they want it automatic. But as you know automatic just doesnt do, thats why they are giving rebates for ET devices is many states and making them mandatory in others
  6. Kiril

    Kiril New Member

    Messages:
    87
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    Not true. The CalSense controller is the controller that tops all, and you pay a pretty penny for it.

    There are many different ways to calculate ET, some require more data than others. The question people need to ask themselves is how much data is required to efficiently irrigate their yard at a price they can afford.

    Here are some links to some resources and discussion on the topic of smart irrigation.

    An excellent review of available products, updated August 2007.

    Weather and Soil Moisture Based Landscape Irrigation Scheduling Devices Technical Review Report – 2nd Edition


    Discussion on RB ET manager

    Links to threads concerning smart controllers


    The ET - Information & Discussion thread from the last link also contains discussion of the RB ET manager
  7. tuffguy05189

    tuffguy05189 New Member

    Messages:
    6
    the technical review report is a good resource...

    about calsense its a good product but its not economical for the average homeowner and why would a business want to buy that when the ET Manager gets the same result..

    both the ET Manager and the Calsense ET2000e according to the IA's SWAT technical performance report are equally conservative. They both score that same percentage of savings across the board in overall irrigation efficiency.

    http://www.irrigation.org/SWAT/Industry/ia-tested.asp
  8. TANK

    TANK New Member

    Messages:
    5
    ET/Weather reading controllers

    Actually the market leading ET controller is the SmartLine (SmartLine.com) by Weathermatic. I have installed dozens personally over the past 2 years due to the mandates in Frisco Texas and the product is great. Not only does it take on site weather readings but it is no more expensive than my standard controller. I just upgrade the standard controller with the weather station (monitor the size of a coke can-cost $100) which fits to the gutter like a rain freeze sensor and your done. I've tracked the savings at my home and several customers and it varies around 30% on the low side and over 60% on the high side. I also installed 5 units at my HOA and they are loving the savings which has been on the high side.

    It is all I use.
  9. tuffguy05189

    tuffguy05189 New Member

    Messages:
    6
    I'm sorry to here you've decided to exclusively use smartline, what I like to do is look at all my options and pick the best and that wouldnt have been first, second, or even third.

    You say industry leader which sounds like something someone working for Weathermatic would say. I believe industry leaders in "smart" technology should be decided by the "smartest" product and using historical data isn't very smart. The ET Manager is the best and saves the most water, any other product that use national weather service or historical data can't compare... especially historical data.

    This "weather station" must not take full weather readings or why would you put it in a gutter (the weathers alot different up in the gutter then where your lawn in growing). Wind, solar radiation, rain, temperature, humidity.. how can you accurately measure that in a gutter? (or with a station that doesnt measure all of that). Can you figure that a coke can size "weather station" is going to take all the readings you need and accurately? No

    But the facts are that the ET Manager saved more water in the SWAT tests than Smartline. When you want to save as much water as possible you cant rely on past weather (historical) because the weather is always changing. You might save some but not as much as you can.. your just cutting corners.
  10. Siestabob

    Siestabob New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Wow Blown Away

    I'm a meterologist and this is fasinating dicussion about lawn watering. I think the best solution is to have a weather station properly set up at site or at a corner of development and everyone use it to schedule lawn watering limits. What do you think?
    Thanks
    Bob
  11. tuffguy05189

    tuffguy05189 New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Well I think there are a few problems with on-site weather stations. First you need a quality weather station that accurately records all the required weather information, that type of weather station is thousands of dollars (hunter made the cheap version that costs about $800) the problem with that is its cheap as far as weather station go, and its still too expensive for the average homeowner, and it wont get calibrated or serviced when it should because that would cost the homeowner more money and time. Another problem with the hunter weather station is it doesn’t have a screen that tells what information its receiving so if something with the temperature sensor goes bad and its reading 4500 degrees... You won’t know and you’ll waste water. Plus weather stations on site (your home) are ugly.

    As far as at the corner of a development goes... not everyone lives in a development, the majority live on roads where houses have been built at different times. With these types of cases not everyone is going to pay for a weather station at the end of the road because not everyone has an irrigation system. And personally I think building that many weather stations with such a small area is a waste of money. The weather stations the ET Manager use have a range of 30 miles which I believe is fine, the only difference between having a weather station at the end of every development and having one every 30 miles is you have a different rain reading but that’s no reason to build that many. All the variables are the same (with the occasional wind gust in one town) with in the radius except rain which is why I think you should have a rain gauge at every home. The other four wind, humidity, solar radiation, and temperature will be just about the same with in the area.

    With that said I think its too expensive for the homeowners to put a weather station every couple miles, with such minor differences plus the homeowner still needs the controller that reads this information.


    I read your other posts about putting an irrigation system in and you water problems... you are running from a well and saving water usually doesn’t concern people that are running from a well. However it sounds like you have some water shortage issues so looking into smart technology might be a good idea.
  12. savegreen

    savegreen New Member

    Messages:
    7
    In addition to all the information here...

    The Joe Gardener Company has awarded the ET Manager as one of the "best must haves" of 2008. This is an impressive recognition since only 10 products are chosen.

    This just goes to show that the ET Manager truly is the best ET technology available.
  13. savegreen

    savegreen New Member

    Messages:
    7
    ultimatum

    Studies show that in most areas where ET technology isnt mandatory that there is a reluctance to accept this new technology. Contractors must be able to adapt to ET technology and saving water. If they dont the outcome is simple... there wont be irrigation and therefore no need for the contractors.

    Towns all over the US have banned irrigation putting contractors out of work. The solution is simple.. take a class learn the system and install the devices. Installing the ET Manager is easy... very easy. This will save water and mean the town will continue to allow watering.

    The time is coming and its been predicted that ET devices will be mandatory country wide very soon. When that time comes there wont be any choice but to give in to conservation and saving the environment.
  14. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots Sprinkler Guy

    Messages:
    798
    Location:
    Metro NYC
    How's the Kool-Aid?
  15. osx-addict

    osx-addict Software Engineer

    Messages:
    38
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Well.. Quite a heated debate.. I personally have one SmartLine by Weathermatic -- currently decommissioned (due to home renovations -- no water is being done at all now until I hook things back up again). Anyway, I'll be the first to admit that it's a nice piece of equipment and much cheaper than many of the other models out there by other firms. I did a once-over on the above mentioned report and I frankly don't think that many people will be buying a Rainbird ET controller once they find out that it will cost them >$1k to buy (sorry NO rebates here in my area of Los Angeles)..

    In my case, our house is setup to have two controllers -- one for the front yard and one for the back.. I guess if these big $$ controllers are the cats meow then people will need to rewire their systems to use a single controller with >10 channels (instead of two 6 channel controllers).

    Anyway, I haven't got the optional weather station hardware for my SmartLine (SL1600) controller yet so I can't say how good it works or not in my case.. As a regular time-based controller, it's about as good as it gets IMHO -- particularly with some of the wiring debug features its got. Just my $0.02 worth..:D
  16. savegreen

    savegreen New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Yes.. obviously written by someone who doesnt have proper experience or knowledge in the field.

    Why dont I start at the beginning with the rebates.... you have two or more options that you can use in southern California (yes including LA) and they are:

    Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Consumer Rebate Program

    which is a rebate program only in LA that offers rebates for nearly all energy efficient products.

    the other:

    The Save a Buck Program

    which offers up to $630 per acre of irrigated land serviced by the metropolitan water district (thats you LA)


    I would say that covers the cost wouldnt you?

    And as far as Smartline goes... Studies show that historical data can be off by as much as 20%...

    you miss out on 20% of the savings since you use historical data... and since you used so many dollar signs and numbers lets do some math.

    Now take the cost of running your irrigation each month before your "ET" device, next take what it cost you now and subtract it from the first number(since you dont know much about this stuff you can have a contractor do it.. its called an audit), then take 20% of that number and that is how much more the ET Manager saves compared to you. Now times that by how many months you plan to live there. (commercial would save alot)

    Its easy to say its the best when you dont know anything about the rest.. ET is complicated and always changing. There for you cant use preprogrammed numbers.
  17. tomm

    tomm New Member

    Messages:
    41
    In my opinion:

    The Rainbird ET manager is the worst choice of all the available ET based controllers. Read the programming instructions. It states that the controller you have should be programmed to water everyday. The ET manager will then calculate whether or not to allow watering based on the ET inputs it receives. Thats a pretty expensive (~$700.) solution. I'm not sure if there is an ongoing ET service fee for it.

    The irritrol smartdial and toro intellisense (same controllers) cost at least half and use a similiar type ET paging service. You get 2 years free, then pay $48 a year thereafter.

    Weathermatic smartdial uses historical ET info and then fine tunes it if you install the temperature based weather monitor. Its cost is less than or equal to the irritrol/toro solution depending on if the user purchases the weather station.

    All these controllers attempt to montor/maintain the soil moisture/soil reservoir level without the actual use of a soil measuring device. Its kind of like driving a car with a broken gas gauge and guessing how much gas is left by tracking the miles you drive based on your mpg average.

    It could be that a more econmical and perhaps logical solution is to use a soil measuring device on an existing sprinkler controller.

    -OR-

    Install the least expensive option (Weathermatic Smartline sans weather monitor) with a soil measuring/montoring device.
  18. savegreen

    savegreen New Member

    Messages:
    7
    How can you say its the worst? Your saying that historical data and NOAA data and these rediculus formulas are going to give you a more accurate number for ET then monitoring all 5 variables of weather on an hourly basis? Thats stupid...

    You think $700 is alot but you didnt take into account the rebates or the savings. What about the ET device that are thousands of dollars. Toro and Irritrol are $889 for 24 zone system but ET Manager is still $700...

    Toro and Irritrol use ET everywhere (aka NOAA and CIMIS). These national weather services dont use solar radiation on most of their weather stations(the ones that are in the sun and not under overhangs)... does the sun being hotter effect Evapotranspiration? very much so... how is this acurate? it isnt


    Soil moisture sensors are coming along but arent a perfected technology yet. They work in hot areas that dont freeze. Once the ground freezes it loosens the soil and screws up the readings.. another problem I've noticed with them is they break down easily being in the soil. But they are a coming technology that has alot of promise.


    Does humidity or wind change ET? yes but how does Smartline find these figures?


    so you say install the cheapest (with rebates that could be any) until you get 24 stations or more because most of them go up drastically in price but I say install the most accurate, for the most savings.
  19. osx-addict

    osx-addict Software Engineer

    Messages:
    38
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Ok guys! Play nice please! Anyway, Thanks for the Info SaveGreen.. Interesting that you mention the Save-A-Buck site -- something I'd never heard of.. If I go to my own water companies website (calwater.com), they don't mention this at all unless it's buried really well.. I figured if it wasn't on their site then there wasn't one.. Anyway, I dropped a note to the Save-a-buck people just to be sure my city qualifies which I *think* it does -- just to be on the safe side before I pony up $$ for something that could be out of my own pocket.

    Anyway, in doing more research on the Rainbird ET hardware -- it looks nice, but it looks like you must use it with a regular controller (such as my non-ET SmartLine).. Too bad you can't use it directly w/o another existing controller -- that seems like a good way to increase installation costs if you've got to replace an crappy older controller anyway. I'll have to dig through the docs to see if this is completely true or not..

    One other issue with this service is that the local weather station nearest me is >60 miles away (in Camarillo,CA) -- certainly not the most optimal setup in my opinion, but the climate should be similar since they're an ocean town as we are.. I guess I could setup my own weather station and get connected to the Rainbird infrastructure to be a closer-locality if anyone else nearby was using another ET controller.. Not sure how that works other than using some sort of internet connected software..

    Anyway.. Since I can get at most $630 in refunds for the controller (for a single irrigated ACRE) -- what's the chance that the $630 is reduced by X for smaller parcels? My entire lot is ~8000SF and if I divide 630/43560 (1acre), the rebate is only ~$116 -- not much off that $700 controller (particularly when you figure that my house is taking up ~50% of that lot size reducing the rebate by even more -- to perhaps $60 for the controller only).. :eek:

    I guess what you're really getting at is that the cost of the controller shouldn't matter since it's about saving $$ through extended use over time (similar to payback from installing Solar panels -- sure the upfront costs are $$$$, but the payback is over many years in lower electric bills) -- correct?

    Anyway, let me know if you know the answer to the last question.. That's the kicker for me.. If they'll still give me $630 in rebates for my much-smaller-than-1-acre yard, then I'm probably in.. However the wording in the rebate application isn't very favorable :

    I'll have to admit that as a computer geek by trade, I like the idea of being able to analyze this thing better than most other controllers out there.. I can tell that some thought was put into the design.. Too bad it can't get the data off the internet via WIFI.. Oh well.. Perhaps for the next version..
  20. Bill Arden

    Bill Arden Computer Programmer

    Messages:
    584
    Location:
    MN, USA
    :rolleyes: Wow, I can lower my bill 50% from NOTHING!

    I don't water my lawn.
    One year I did not even mow the lawn!

    If your lawn can't handle the climent you live in, then you should change the lawn.

    Now if the lawn was harvested instead being mowed, then I could see this type of thing as being useful.
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