Very basic irrigation automation

Hi everyone,
I am drawning in complicated solutions for sprinkler valve automation...but I am looking for a very basic automation, "3 sprinklers, each works 20 min 3 times a week" type of routine, no wheather input, no integration of brand name valve controlers etc...All I have right now are my 3 sprinklers hooke to hoses and water outlet...I have yet to buy valves and some kind of a zwave or zigbee module to control them, even wifi if it is easly integrated into HE.

I was thinking of using a zwave or zigbee dry contact, to supply 24v ac to a simple water valve, based on a schedule routine, as simple as that.

But then I wonder whether there is some kind of zwave or zigbee valve already available and integrated into HE, I haven't found one yet...Does anyone have a similare setup, or advice for what I want to accomplish ?

Thanks !

I did this project last year. Inexpensive, fun and very reliable.
Shelly switches are natively supported by Hubitat.
I eventually ended up replacing the Spruce moisture sensors, which are very expensive and not very precise, with Ecowitt soil moisture sensors, which are much more affordable and precise.
These are the valves I paired the system with.

Very nice ! This is exactly what I am looking for. Why the 24ac to 12dc converter though ? The valve is 24ac right ? and also, why the master switch ?

Thanks!

Also, how did you connect the Ecowitt sensors to Hubitat?

The Shelly 1 can accept 110-240V AC, 24-60V DC or 12V DC. I don't think using 110V, this close to water, is a good idea. Sprinkler transformers usually output 24V AC but I don't know if the Shelly 1 can work directly with that, so I decided to play it save and add a 24V AC to 12V DC converter.
The master valve is just an extra safety in case any of the zone valves fails; probably not necessary.

I wrote a driver for them :wink:

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Is this the right gateway device?

@mircolino: hat's a really cool project that you created, and it looks very tidy! I was looking to do something similar in the past but the cost was too high with my initial concept. When I add up all the components in your design, I see it's around $150 US (not including the moisture sensors), and that's for only 4 valve controllers.

I currently have a Rachio system which cost me $200 US when I purchased it in 2017 and it can handle up to 8 valves. I'm able to access the Rachio controller through Hubitat using a community Rachio app (works pretty well). Another alternative I was looking into recently was the Wyze Irrigation controller for $60 US which seems like a cheap, effective alternative controller. I don't know if there's a way to use the Wyze controller with Hubitat, though.

Yes, that's the gateway which has a temperature, humidity and pressure sensor wired to it. Then you pair all the other sensors wirelessly.

Unless you need/want the ability to control things from HE, why not just get an off the shelf sprinkler controller and be done with it? Sometimes the simpler, the better.

You're not going to find a zigbee or zwave valve. A sprinkler valve lives in harsh conditions. It's one thing to build a simple electromechanical value that's either on or off (and that can easily be repaired in the field). It's quite another to build one with a circuit board and antenna and require power to always be on. You could not retrofit such a device into existing systems without additional wiring, you'd need a strong enough signal to reach outdoors and possibly underground, and support would be a nightmare for the manufacturer. Besides there being probably no market for such a thing.

You can certainly rig up something that HE can control, but sometimes a purpose-built device can be a simpler solution. Not as geeky or interesting though to most people here though.

BTW, if you're going to hook up your system to city water, you really need to check local codes first. Most likely you're going to need a backflow preventer and at that point you may need to get a plumber.

I hear Rachios are good irrigation systems and I'm glad you're enjoying yours.

Personally I'm trying to avoid cloud integrations like the plague.
Also, I wanted the most obvious and basic irrigation functionality:

if (soil_moisture < x%) then irrigate

and Rachio just doesn't provide that.

4x Shellys are about $70 on Amazon ($48 on eBay). They are UL certified, super reliable and easy to integrate locally with hubitat.
I use them everywhere around my house including my garage door opener and my fireplace.

This.

I ended up building a filter + backflow + hammer arrestor at my place.

I have always had the idea of using a Gledopto LED controller with Hubitat where each colour channel would correspond to a water valve, and then have RM turnon just the channel for that particular valve. You can feed the controller with a 24v source and get RM to control the channels. Since I dabble in PC programming I thought I could also write a program that manages the timings/schedules and send the required commands to HE via Maker API. The only reason I never pursued it was because my system has 6 zones and the controller only handles 5. Does anyone think this could work or am I missing a very important reason that it would fail?

Exactly right. In my area backflow preventers are required AND also have to have yearly inspection by a certified technician (can not self-inspect), and inspection results filed with the water company.

I fully understand and agree with you completely. I also try to avoid cloud involvement. I'm going to have to get one of those Shelly devices to test it out. Seems very interesting, so long as you have AC power nearby to use it. Love your garage door opener project too!

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Doesn't the Rachio controller need AC power as well?

Yes it does.

Same. Yearly seems a bit excessive, but we have no choice. They'll shut the water off if you don't provide inspection results by a qualified plumber.

Yup. Same here. You get 1 warning, then if you don't get the inspection done your water is cut off. They don't play.

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