ARTICLES

30.06.2014

Wireless Controllers: Welcome the new generation of automatic irrigation technologies

We are lucky to be the contemporaries of the remarkable mobile technologies’ epoch. Wireless technology has influenced all our lives and the whole world greatly. No longer are we tethered to telephones attached to walls or boxes. We can talk on the phone just about anywhere, and do it hands-free; it’s the common thing for everybody. Being the basis for the whole mobile industry cellular communication has given birth to numerous accompanying technologies. Thanks to the high-speed WI-FI, GPRS/EDGE or 3-G access to your Internet provider, you don’t have to sit at a desk to use a computer anymore. Any place with a ‘hotspot’ allows your notebook or tablet to become your portable office.

This same revolution has hit the “green industry”. The intellectual irrigation system provided with a wireless controller guarantees a wide choice of automation variants beginning with a message service and ending with the total control and managing service via the Internet on the basis of the GPRS technology in the current time. The series of the soft irrigation control equipment work on batteries. In addition to their flexibility, reliability and innovation, these controllers make it possible to do the reliable monitoring of the system without the electricity supply, informing you about onsite soil moisture, flow, rain and wind, barometric pressure sensors and so on. Good setting of the wireless controller can idealize your irrigation work, as it normally combines numerous functions able to evaluate the majority of weather conditions. It’s optimal in difficult of access places, for instance in sport pitches, the lawns separating roadways, park zones and other landscapes where the installation of wire technologies isn’t advisable from the economical and practical point of view.

 

SO, IN WHAT WAYS CAN THIS WIRELESS TECHNOLOGY CHANGE THE WAY YOU DO YOUR IRRIGATION WORK?

 

The first way is that you no longer have to do as much driving to get the job done. Smart controllers with web access allow a maintenance manager to see what’s happening on a site without having to physically go there. He can get reports, change settings and check the onsite weather on his laptop or smartphone.

“Say, for instance, there’s a broken pipe on a large municipal  site kilometers away”, says the principal of the «LANDSCAPE TECHNOLOGIES» company Dmytro Brovarsky. “That broken pipe is spewing hundreds of gallons of water every hour. Previously, nobody would have known about the pipe break until it created a swamp (and caused the owner’s water bill to skyrocket)”.

Now, the flow sensor on the pipe “tells” the smart controller about the break. The smart controller then sends the manager an email alert, which he receives on his smartphone. Using that same smartphone, he can shut down that section of the system and send a crew out to fix it. No swamps, sinkholes or skyrocketing water bills, all thanks to wireless technology, which helps to optimize the irrigation process. The savings in time, fuel and vehicle really add up after awhile. Sophisticated central control systems even allow you to monitor multiple sites from a remote location on a PC, tablet or smartphone.

“When we consider this or that improvement, we always question ourselves: why haven’t the developers come to this innovation earlier? It’s such an easy thing. The point is that only those contractors who are constantly working in this field are due to become familiar with the most innovative irrigation products. That’s why we really welcome the idea exchange and realization”, continues  Dmytro Brovarsky.

“You can’t effectively manage the irrigation process  without a wireless controller nowadays. The innovation and continued evolution of wireless technology in the irrigation industry allows remote access for the management and measurement of irrigation systems from anywhere, anytime, contributing to water, energy and time savings,” emphasizes the founder of the «LANDSCAPE TECHNOLOGIES». “It also enables capabilities that were never before possible. Wireless technology also allows us to better serve our customers while helping them conserve water, optimizing the water resources management. The automatic  irrigation systems equipped with such a high-tech device are the pride of the most renowned world companies working in this field. ”

There are many good reasons why a contractor should familiarize himself with wireless irrigation products. Recent years have shown the tendency towards the growth of work concerned with aesthetic landscape improvements and planting greenery. This fact makes us search new technologies we haven’t considered before”, adds Dmytro Brovarsky.

 

LET’S TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT SOME OF THE ADVANTAGES OF WIRELESS TECHNOLOGY FOR THE IRRIGATION CONTRACTOR.

 

1) It can go anywhere. The first and most obvious benefit of wireless components is that they can be installed in situations where wired would be a major hassle to put in. This is particularly true in the case of retrofitting an existing built space or when you’re not allowed to do any kind of drilling - on a historical property, for instance. “There’s the old expression, ‘time is money.’ The quicker a contractor can put in a job, the quicker he can move on to the next. Where in the past, it might have taken him 30 to 45 minutes to install a wired rain sensor; today he can install a wireless rain sensor in about 10 to 15 minutes.”

2) The digital interface easy to work with and intellectual remote management are the key advantages. Using easy menus of high-speed access and some other effective functions,  the  systems of wireless controllers can be set to operate the irrigation process throughout the whole landscape, including pumps, water reservoirs, low-voltage landscape lightning.

3) The energy-efficient technology enabled to manage the irrigation process via the Internet and wireless controllers makes it more effective and reduces water costs. The automatic systems of irrigation, equipped with a timer usually give water when there’s no need of it. The sensors of soil moisture on the wireless controllers multiply the effectiveness of water use, supporting the soil moisture on the proper level.

4) An easy recharge process – there’s no need in dismantling a controller , using the instruments.

5) The frame is made of a high-quality polymeric material, resistible to UV a ray which guarantees the flawless work in bad weather conditions.

 

CONS: IS THERE ANY DOWN SIDE TO WIRELESS?

Interference is one, especially with a radio-based system. Or, you might have a communications system that is already there onsite that uses the same frequency. This can usually be overcome, however. Many units have the ability to ‘frequency hop’ up or down when the circuitry detects that it can’t get through.

Though wireless technology has come a long way, it’s not “bulletproof.” When the wi-fi box in your house goes bad, you have to hit the reset button, then wait. “The technology’s good, but it’s not perfect yet.”

There is a growing trend towards the use of wireless products. All the big players like «TORO», «RAIN BIRD», «HUNTER» have their own versions of wireless products. Plus, there are a lot of smaller niche companies that are getting into the irrigation industry by offering wireless products, such as wireless valve controllers.

Wireless irrigation technology will continue to evolve. However, wireless systems aren’t going to totally replace hardwired systems, which are not so aesthetically appealing and economically profitable. “They’ll exist side-by-side for quite awhile. When you have a new construction, it’s always going to be more cost efficient to run the wires”, agree many landscape experts.

Wireless Controllers: Welcome the new generation of automatic irrigation technologies