- The function of the Central Controller is to automatically send and receive programs and instructions to hundreds of remote sites without the need for human intervention using analog phone lines, Ethernet, fiber optic, link radio, mesh network, cellular phone, or direct connections via serial ports.
- The Central Controller will post events, warnings and alarm conditions for each via email or text.
- Weather stations contains a computer that monitors & records measurements from solar radiation, relative humidity, air temperature, wind run and rainfall sensors & provides data input to a control system.
- ET is a measurement of the inches of water lost to the plants use in 24 hrs.
- Effective rainfall (rain that is accepted by the soil) can be subtracted from the ET to calculate the Irrigation ET.
- The Irrigation ET is used to calculate the minutes of sprinkler run time required to return the soil moisture level back to desired levels – no more / no less.
- Studies have shown that daily automated ET adjustment systems offer a high potential savings.
Daily ET vs Soil Moisture
While ET central control does a great job saving water it is connected to a $12,000 weather station in a general location on the site. But after using ET and Soil moisture sensors. I have found that while both do a good job, Soil moisture technology does an even better job. During the month of August on a site in 2014 we got a lot of rain the above ET system did a good job in reducing the Irrigation needed and shut down the system for 8 days during this month. The majority of the stations on soil moisture technology never watered at all or only watered 8 times in the whole month. That’s pretty awesome. Both sites are in the same geographic location. But if you look at the ET you’ll notice it only it only shut off the irrigation 8 times in august. While it did reduce the water use some days. 80% of the soil moisture stations didn’t water for 23 days. I’d say that’s a big difference in the technologies. Keep in mind each type of technology Soil moisture & ET has good and bad systems out there in both. I believe in this Comparison I have compared the two best in each technology.
Types of Central Control
Yes there are many types of central control. What type of central control are you looking for? Well let’s look at the criteria. These are the things I think any central control should have as a must.
- 1. Web based central control. That can be accessed for any computer, laptop, or mobile device.
- 2. Communication between web based central and Controller should be able do to Ethernet, WIFI or GPRS to keep monthly reoccurring cost at minimum.
- 3. Make sure they can do both of Flow management and flow monitoring.
- 4. Have the ability to flow manage between multiple points of connection on one clock or manage flow between multiple clocks on one POC.
Importance of Central Control
Not having one central control system to manage the water is like having a room full of kids and a table with enough candy for each kid to have 40 pieces. Then telling the kids that they each can only have 5 pieces. I guarantee that if you leave them room and don’t manage those kids that all the candy will be gone when you come back. Some kids will have only eaten their allotted 5, but all the candy will be gone
Water management control systems are designed to efficiently manage large sites residential & commercial or sites with multiple users. Controllers will automatically detect a mainline break and stop irrigation to prevent excessive water loss. Then, the water manager will receive alerts via text message or email. These and other alerts allow water managers to make important decisions about how to allocate personnel resources and manage what’s really important in the most efficient way possible. Central Control water management saves time running out to a site needlessly for rain shutdowns, upcoming events, Etc.
Importance of Flow Management
Flow management determines the optimal station irrigating sequence. The system runs at its fullest capacity until programs are complete. The controller automatically selects and runs multiple valves at the same time within hydraulic parameters allowing for shorter water windows.
- Flow monitoring constantly monitors for low flow and excess flow conditions caused by broken lines or heads, automatically quarantines and shuts down the problem area, continues to irrigate non affected areas, saves water, saves plant material and enables irrigation programs to continue and complete Flow Management.
- If you can’t measure your water, you can’t manage it, let alone conserve it.
- Flow sensors and meters are accurate across all ranges of flow so you’ll know without a doubt how much water you’re using