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August 20, 2005
AccuWater Irrigation Controller
Being involved with product development, I've come to appreciate truly innovative products, and here's one I've run across recently:

AccuWater Irrigation Control System

I'm hoping to cut my water consumption in half with this controller and increase the health and look of my lawn and landscape vegetation.

If you have property and an irrigation system, and would like to minimize your use of water, check it out.

The basic premise is that if you have a sprinkler system on a timer, and your lawn is in decent shape, you're almost certainly wasting VAST amounts of water. The idea is that using what we know about how plants use water (evapotranspiration - ET), the known variables about each irrigation zone on your property (soil type, incline, vegetation type, irrigation system head types, etc), PLUS the fact that we usually know the current and forecasted weather conditions...why not use this data together to water "smart", providing just enough water to supplement natural precipitation, rather than blindly allowing a timer to water regardless of whether water is needed or not?


The AccuWater controllers run the TINI-OS and Java platform from Maxim/Dallas Semiconductor, and can connect to a full locally installed weather station with all its instruments (optional - I have this installed), PLUS it downloads weather forecast data from the internet. So it not only knows when and how much it rains, but it also knows when it's forecast to rain, and takes all this into account to optimize watering.

If you're interested, take a live, real-time look at the built-in website on my AccuWater controller running in my garage right now. You can see the weather and other stats real time at my house. You can also see which of my zones it watered recently in history, etc.

Each night, the AccuWater Data Center calculates the schedule for each zone (if required), and the controller downloads it and executes it, contingent on local conditions (ie if it starts to rain after downloading that night's schedule, the amount of watering is adjusted downward, or eliminated, depending on the amount of local rainfall).

You operate your entire system over the internet via AccuWater's web site, and there's even a J2ME-based cell phone applet that you can use to control the system, water zones, check status, etc, so you can walk around the yard and fire up zones, or control things remotely anywhere with your phone.

Pretty slick, and makes good environmental and fiscal sense.

I got mine installed by a local pro, Dwight Marchant, (a real irrigation guru) of Irri-Tek Inc. here in Massachusetts. Dwight's an awesome guy, they did a great job, and I highly recommend both the AccuWater Irrigation Control system and Irri-tek Inc.



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