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Thread: WebBrick Compeition

  1. #1

    Default WebBrick Compeition

    WebBrick Competition - Win a superb WebBrick from www.o2m8.com
    (Click here to learn all about the WebBrick - http://www.automatedhome.co.uk/article1528.html )

    O2M8 have kindly donated a WebBrick as a prize for our competition. This is the full development board valued at over £350.00 !

    The competition is simple to enter. Just come up with an interesting idea on how you would utilise the WebBrick in a planned home automation project.

    Perhaps you would use the system to control a new aquarium, setting the pump speed via the WebBrick’s rotary input, whilst monitoring the water temperature using the Dallas digital temperature probes. Maybe you would control your central heating via the Net or mobile phone.

    Simply prepare your proposal then post it as a reply on this forum. You are free to post diagrams or photos to accompany your idea, the more detail the better.

    NB – users should make sure to SIGN IN to these forums before posting their entry so we can contact you by email if you are the winner. To join these forums you need a free account (we do not share your email or any other details with any third party!) Follow this link to join –

    http://www.automatedhome.co.uk/modul...nt&op=new_user

    Rules – You can enter as many times as you wish. The judges will award the prize to the submission they deem the best. The Judges' decision is final. No cash alternative is available. The prize has a 12 month warranty. The closing date for applications is 30th April 2005. The winner will be announced before the end of May 2005. The prize will be posted to the winner.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: WebBrick Compeition

    I live in the South Island of New Zealand, in an area known as North Canterbury. North Canty is a mostly rural farming area, as well as being absolutely gorgeous.

    Irrigation is big around here, as the sun is fierce, the winds can be blowy, and thus water evaporates from the acres (transpiration), the gardens, and the ponds alike. Unfortunately, when the need for irrigation is the greatest, the supply of water is most limited. This applies both to domestic gardens and to multi-hectare fields.

    Thus it is important to use the right amount of irrigation, so as to conserve a precious resource.

    As a small example, my garden has three plumbed irrigation zones, using Neta type components, a feed to fill the garden pond off spurs off one zone, and also there is a travelling irrigator.

    A what?

    A travelling irrigator, a Pope Water Tractor, see http://www.javelinwater.co.uk/html/C...er_tractoc.htm

    This thing is cool, it moves under its water power, slowly following the hose, so that it covers a fairly large strip of ground. If you use the auto-cutoff thing (which I dont) its supposed to switch itself off when it gets to its destination. In practice, there comes a point where the weight of hose it's dragging is too great, the wheels lose traction with the wet lawn, and the thing just stays put, spinning its wheels, watering just one area of the lawn. Unfortunately it is fully manually controlled at the moment, which is OK from the turn-on perspective, as you've had to lay the hose down anyway. But its not so much fun at night wandering out to turn the tap off, a solenoid valve is required :-)

    I need to put all this lot together with some technology to automate it.

    Enter the WebBrick.

    The WebBrick has the first essential element for irrigation control, the ability to act autonomously, so as to provide a failsafe water shutoff. Getting a zone stuck on for a couple of weeks whilst you are on holiday isnt funny... There are very few control systems or I/O devices with this level of sophistication.

    The WebBrick isn't nearly smart enough to know how much water is really needed for irrigation, but the house automation can supply that data, in the form of dwell times. Weather data is available, and the Weather Display software (another great Kiwi product, speaks xAP!) I use knows how to calculate evapotranspiration.


    Weather Display and xAP monitor and desktop

    Once calculated I can then generate a watering schedule, which will be sent to the WebBrick using UDP, over the wireless network.

    The missing measurement is soil moisture, and that will be submitted to the HA system via the WebBrick analogue input.

    Of course, the weather system only knows air temperature, it doesnt know what level of frost has settled in to the irrigation pipework and pond. But if its too cold, you shouldn't be trying to operate solenoid valves, they may be iced. Webbrick can measure temperature using a one-wire sensor, and also make the decision not to water if too cold, using setpoints.

    Another problem is that the garden pond loses water, always through general evaporation, but more so when one of the fountains is running. The foutains are currently just plugged in on a long extension cord. The HA system will (soon!) be aware of when people are in the garden, and that information could be sent via UDP to the WebBrick, and thus it could just turn the fountain on when there is (a) enough water in the pond, and (b) someone there to appreciate it :-) The home HA system has no idea what the water level is in the pond, the WebBrick is managing that autonomously, nestled into the grander scheme of irrigation.


    The spur off the irrigation tube for pump filling, and solenoid valve. Note wires waiting for pump and lighting control...

    There are also some underwater lights, still waiting for a control solution...

    Anyway, the WebBrick will be responsible for maintaining the pond water level, and thus it will have the level sensor on a digital input, and a solenoid on a digital out.

    Finally, there's the travelling irrigator. I'll need to figure out if it is actually moving, and get that data to the logic on the WebBrick. I have a few ideas, from the downright ugly, namely connect a bit of fishing wire to the robot and use the movement of a rotary encoder that counts when it moves, to something on the robot and a radio link... time will tell.

    So thats my suggestion, not terribly sexy, but eminently functional, making good use of the WebBrick's local intelligence to implement grander plans under central direction.

    And what I really should do is use a spare digital out to operate a solenoid to let the chooks out in the morning.... maybe one day.


    Some of the chooks sheltering from the rain on the deck, the big one is Rocky the Rooster

  3. #3
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    Default Re: WebBrick Compeition

    Crikey, how to compete with a polished suggestion from David - one of the most respected HA people in the world? Never mind - to prevent it being a one-horse raise, I'll put up my donkey against his thoroughbred.

    My house is a typical surburban box - I have no room to extend outwards, only upwards or downwards. Moving upwards would be a good way of creating another bedroom or two, but it's actually "function rooms" that we're short of, not bedrooms.

    The problem is, of course, that barring home cinema rooms and laundrys, there are few room types which can realistically be put underground elegantly.

    There is one thing, however, that is currently done throughout the house that takes up a LOT of room - that is the storage. Until my son gets a bit older, I am currently camping out in bedroom three as a study. As well as my desk, I have 7 bookcases. This is in addition to the 3 in the guest bedroom, the 3 in the kitchen, the 2 in the nursery (aka bedroom 2), the 4 in the dining room, the 2 on the landing and the 13 in the living room / library / home cinema room.

    Bookcases have great storage capacity - as well as books, we use them to storage children's toys, paperwork, CDs / DVDs, and cables (12 boxfulls sorted by type - CAT5 in two, audio connectors in two... etc.) and of course, the obligatory shelf or two full of old computer bits "that will come in useful one day".

    The main requirement, however, is to store books. In the "fiction" category, we currently have 2441. I know that we have 2441 because I have them in a speadsheet (a vital tool when going book shopping to prevent the purchase of duplicates which had become a non-trivial economic drain on the household.) Non-fiction runs to about 1,000 but isn't yet catalogued.

    Book cases, particularly when lined up on opposite walls, cut down the useable space significantly. A room that was previously wide enough for facing sofas becomes only wide enough for a single one. If you allow enough space to stand in front of the bookcase to examine its contents, then the space requirements become major - about 3' projection into the room per bookcase - 1' for the book case, 2' for a reader crouching so as to see into the bottom shelf.

    Enter the rolling stack.

    As a student, I was employed in the library of a large organisation. Behind the chief librarians desk were a pair of basically railway tracks on which sat bookcases. There was enough space to stand between a pair of bookcases and scan the contents of any given one.

    The upside is one of simple mathematics. Under the current arrangement, a bookcase 3' wide takes up 3' x 3' = 9 sq. feet of space, allowing for crouch room.

    Hence, a wall 13' long (the width of our lounge) can take 4 bookcases.

    However, with a rolling stack, allowing a generous 3' for crouch room (50% more space than the current arrangement in places), still leaves room for 10 bookcases, a dramatic increase.

    Now, bizarre as it may sound, and this may be specific to me, SWMBO is actually supportive of a rolling stack, since about 50% of the books are hers, and she understands how the figures, if you'll pardon the pun, stack up.

    We already have a list of books in a computer-readable format. While we don't have a "location code" to specify which bookcase is in, we don't need one. We can simply chuck together some software that calculates it, on the basis that books are stored in a known order (by category, then author, then series, then number (for series) / title (for standalones)). All that needs to be added is a "first book in bookcase X" datum, and a simple binary chop will tell us which bookcase contains Y in milliseconds.

    So far so, good, but all this could be implemented for the cost of a couple of rails, a bunch of wheels, and a weekends worth of the kind of DIY that sends Lawrence Llewelun Bowen fleeing for the hills.

    Enter that marvellous invention called the "motor". Why oh why would we have a requirement to heave fully-loaded bookcases by hand when we have electric motors for reasonable amounts of money. There's no requirement to have them move "fast", only slowly.

    Then we need to consider control logic issues. We want the bookcases to stop if the load is over a certain threshold - because the bookcase is pressing up against something, either the next bookcase, or the wall, or a trapped child.

    Well, pressure sensors aren't exactly rocket science either.

    The local control on the bookcase is a simple circuit that starts with a direction. If input line 1 is high, then go left, else go right.... but in series with those is an input from the appropriate pressure sensor stopping current to the motor if the pressure is above a known threshold (broadly adjusted by watching it run, and turning a potentiometer down until it stopped, then back up again slightly to calibrate.) To be honest, an "emergency cutoff switch" operated by a big button, that cut power to the whole stack would probably be wise.

    So, we now have a set of independantly controlled, mobile bookcases, all of which need a single input line to say whether they are trying to go left or right. This feels like a job for Mr. Webbrick. Directly couple some buttons to the inputs, so that you can tell any bookcase to go left or right manually....

    ... AND have the control software issue a command that is basically "give me access to book Z", and lo, all the bookcases move into place.

    Now, this may seem over the top, but here's the point. Doing this with industrial factory automation systems is PHENOMENALLY expensive. Doing this with off the shelf motors, off the shelf bookcases (my goodness, the pun police are going to get me for that one), and a webbrick would still cost "a few thousand" for a room, but that's about a 20th of the price that you'd pay for a library technology firm to come and do it.

    It may only be "Home" automation for the eccentric few (such as me), but there's a smallish commercial market sector that I think would lap it up...

    ... and it would beat the hell out of a plasma telly as a way to get onto the next series of Grand Designs for anyone out there looking to selfbuild this year or next.

    M.

  4. #4
    Administrator Eddie's Avatar
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    Default Re: WebBrick Compeition

    Once upon a time there was a boy called Eddie.

    Now Eddie had a dream, not the biggest dream in the world he would be the first to admit, but it was a dream nonetheless.

    Eddie dreamt that one day his heating would be automated, it would respond to changes in the weather and temperature, it would know if people were home or not and act accordingly and could also be controlled from anywhere in the world. (Especially useful as Eddie had been to France once and would never know when it could happen again).

    Now Eddie worked hard to achieve his dream, despite overwhelming odds (mainly obstacles placed in his path by an unsympathetic SWMBO) his central heating was converted to X10 control, he had a PC with a temperature sensor and a web interface and he had software to control everything… But then… disaster struck…

    Eddie fell out with a small software outfit from Redmond, Washington.

    Eddie wasn’t sure what caused the falling out, maybe it was one crash too many, or maybe it was the sudden realisation that he didn’t have a PC in his possession that met the minimum specifications for any of their products.

    Now Eddie was sad, his home was cold and no matter where in the world he was he would never be able do anything about it, times were hard…

    But then, Eddie heard talk of something else, something new and improved, and it laughed in the face of bloated PC’s, it could do it all…

    Maybe this time it would be different, maybe this time Eddie’s dream would come true…

  5. #5
    Automated Home Jr Member Stubbs's Avatar
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    Default Re: WebBrick Compeition

    The webbrick could be used to implement an intelligent doorbell & entry system, using
    the internal state machine of the webbrick to keep track of the occupation
    status of the house.

    When the house is occupied it operates in normal annunciation mode, sending a
    udp alarm that turns down the volume on the telly or stereo.

    When the house is unocupied the udp alarm triggers Asterisk to connect to your
    phone and the audio from your front door speakerphone is redirected to you,
    wherever you are.

    You could use the global intelligence functionality of the webbrick to capture images of the person at the front door also.

    The webbrick could also be used to control your automatic garage doors, a
    remote control keyfob, either an X10 one connected to a powerflash, or a
    normal one that changes state when it's trigger is received is connected to one
    of the trigger inputs of the webbrick.

    When triggered one of the outputs is toggled to open retract the solonoid that's
    keeping the front door locked.

    Embedded in the garage floor is a sensor that detects a car, LetsAutomate sell
    these, among others. If the trigger that this is connected to is set then the
    car is in the garage, so there is no need to open the garage doors, otherwise
    another trigger is used to open the garage doors too. (Might get more complex
    if you have a double garage, but I don't so it's not a problem I'm worried
    about :-) )

    If the garage doors are opened, the value of the analogue input is read, and
    if low enough the lights in the garage are switched on.

    There is a push switch by the door of the garage, pressing this closes the
    doors, and switches the lights off. It could also be a read or some other
    switch on the door, that when triggered uses a dwell timer to switch the light
    off after a few seconds, enough for you to get out of the garage into the
    kitchen.

  6. #6
    Automated Home Jr Member Stubbs's Avatar
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    Default Re: WebBrick Compeition

    The basic central heating controller could be extended either using the remaing ditigal outputs of the webbrick, or by using a 2nd brick to control electric radiator valves in rooms around the house.

    A webbrick only has 1 1-wire input, but the webbrick could interact with an external system doing the temperate monitoring to decide if to open the vale or not.

  7. #7
    Automated Home Guru Anonymous's Avatar
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    Default Re: WebBrick Competition

    I think the webbrick would look great languishing in my drawer of miscellaneous vaguely HA-related gizmos that I don't have time to play with, beyond the initial excitement of unwrapping them.

    If it's really lucky, it might get pressed into service at next to no notice to perform the starring role in one of my "Sledgehammer vs. Walnut" solutions, such as the Modtronix ethernet board whose current sole function is to simulate pressing the "on" button on the cable box that those whores at NTL insist on turning off every night.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: WebBrick Compeition

    WebBrick and the Secret Garden.

    I have always desired a small tranquil, hidden garden, a place I could relax with a book or a thought, maybe even a Gin and Tonic or 4. A small but magical place of solitude. That place is slowing developing, this summer should see the installation of the pond and the burbling sound of running water will add to the peaceful retreat.

    A bit more of this paradise gets built every summer, its already very pleasant to just go and sit in. Whilst quietly musing to myself in a snatched 10 minutes of rest I thought how nice it would be if I could light this place differently and expand the usefulness into the night, currently I just have a big flood light and a pir, essential for security but not very suitable for relaxation.

    If I were to light this garden sucessfully I figure I'll need so sort of scene setting for different events or time of year. X10 control via homeseer is out because the garden is too far from node 0 for reliable signalling. A purpose built stand alone system would be fun but tying into other systems maybe akward due to the distance. When installing power and intruder alarm to the adjcent garage I had taken the precaution of running some cat5 lines out there as well. (what do you want them for? she said, dunno I said)

    Enter the WebBrick.

    The scheme would be to have two WebBricks, one in the house with controls by the back door and one in the garage. The house unit would, primarily be responsible for sending instructions out to the garden unit and the garden unit being responsible for carring them out. Reciprical signalling would of course be possible (press button marked "bring more ice dear"? OK may be not) :wink: .

    Selection of a particular input on the house unit would bring certain effects in the garden into use. My first depolyment of technolgy would be along the lines of press button 1- tells HA server I'm going out to garden so set house to suit, activates pumps for fountain and rill, disables the irrigation system, enables the lighting circuits so that if it goes dark whilst I'm out there set scene 1. Webbrick analogue input checks water temp. above 5deg = ok to run. Colder than that would have illuminated an LED contected to House unit to warn me I may wish to reconsider my actions! press button 2 to activate a different lighting scene for, say, an intimate garden party. press button 3 for... and so on. There would be a permit disturb selection ie the door bell is normally NOT relayed to the garden.

    Advantage of the garden end inputs could be taken for telling the house things like "I'll be coming in in a few minutes" so put the heating on - boil the kettle - make sure the curtains are shut, after dwell period shut down the fountain and rill , activate the PIR that controls the flood light.

    You may have noted that I have not refered to either unit as local or remote, I'm taking advantage of WebBricks versatility and haven't actually worked out which one is remote! On top of all this functionality I can use the Lan and Wan to monitor the garden status, who left the gate open?

    I haven't included irrigation (Rainbird 6 channel does that) Garage door opening (intruder alarm does that) further integration of these systems could be implemented if I was left with any spare IO's.

    WebBrick #3

    My dogs would love a WebBrick of their own. I have 3 Spaniels that live in their own purpose built pen. They say if I installed a WebBrick their enviroment could be controlled automatically and then they could laze around even more.
    These dogs are tough but the ability to monitor the enclosure 24/7 and the knowledge that WebBrick was constantly ready to make adjustments automatically, autonomously and reliably would bring me a piece of mind hither too unheard off.
    Max is particularly keen to have his kennel door on a solenoid bolt with day light sensing. Sun rise - door open, once round the pen and back to kip. Tag would like to have and electric fire so that he could sit between it and Max!
    Digger wants a voice activated feeder, trouble is he's so greedy the silo would need automatic re ordering capabilities from the feed mill (I guess that would be possible too.)
    I would be particularly keen to monitor the temperatures in the pens, Hot dogs not good. Currently I have green house automatic openers in the kennel section, fairly effective but knowing would be better. An automatically extending retracting sun/rain shade would be the dogs.....
    I would also fit level sensors to the water bowls, not that they run out, just 'cos it'd be cool to view the web page and see the water level ok symbol.
    Auto feeding is not required, there's always someone on site, but it would be a fun project that would be used one day per year and would take a least a week a year maintainance!
    Finally a master soleniod on the main gate would save me the walk down the garden at exersize time. Press the button, Dogs into Landrover, shut the tailgate and gone!

    PS if any one is worried that my dogs are not best cared for please email in and tell the judges to award me the prize!!!!!! :P

    AndyW
    Dazed but not defeated

  9. #9
    Automated Home Legend TimH's Avatar
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    Default Re: WebBrick Compeition

    Another central heating controller?

    What do I want to do? Well, so many things so little time . . . but the first area ripe for more intelligent control is the boiler, central heating and hot water system. Now while there are some clever time clocks that can be fitted that allow different programs for heating and hot water, even depending on the day of the week, the key feature that all of these solutions lack is remote control. Time clocks, with their ‘advance’ buttons are all very well, but you can’t turn the system on or off, or change the room thermostat setting when you’re 200, 20, 2 miles, or even just 200 yards away. This leaves me with a dilemma when we go away for the weekend; do I turn the room stat down to save energy and come back to a cold house, or do I keep the house warm and just hang the expense?

    Another thing that happens in my house is that the heating is left “on” all the time and cuts in and out based on the room stat. This works ok until doors and windows are left open and then the heating fires up, and all my expensive heat disappears through the open windows. I don’t really need to try and heat the outside air. I guess it’s like trying to raise the sea level by peeing into it ;-) Sure, turning the stat down, or turning the heating off would work, but it then requires you to go back and turn it up/turn it on. Did I also mention I’m forgetful?

    The final feature I’ll include, which may be somewhat of a luxury, is instant hot water at the taps. This has been standard practice in hotels for many years and involves circulating hot water through a loop of pipework running around the building. The water only needs to be circulated at very low speed – just enough to overcome the heat loss of still water. Normal central heating pumps run too quickly and hence pump too much water for this duty so what’s needed is a way to slow the pump down i.e. speed control.

    Oh, and whatever I do has to be so simple and transparent to use that anyone can operate it. Ideally, we shouldn’t even have to think about it once we’ve set the target room temperature - this controller should manage the heating completely invisibly.

    What has all this got to do with the Web Brick?
    The Web Brick has local intelligence (like a boiler’s regular time clock/controller) but it also can be accessed remotely. This is a huge advance over standard, domestic, heating control technology. This lets me control my heating with, at the very least, a web browser, but it also opens the door for more advanced control from other HA protocols.

    Web browser access lets me achieve my first aim of controlling my heating when I’m not in my house. And, it doesn’t even need to be me that controls things – pretty much anyone can use a browser can’t they? So this goes a long way to my other goal of simple house controls.

    The 1-Wire interface allows me to replace my existing room thermostat with a much more discrete version. Being an analogue-type device, the 1-Wire sensor means I can have a number of different set points for the heating, including frost protection, all from the same unit.

    To avoid me wasting heat the Web Brick will know whether doors and windows are open via a connection to magnetic contacts fitted to the openings, and will inhibit the start of the heating until some time after all they had all been closed.

    The Web Brick’s industry-standard 0-10V analogue output makes pump speed control incredibly easy as it allows standard speed control boxes to be used to interface to the pump itself, for example: http://www.cse-distributors.co.uk/co...r/fanspeed.htm

    What I/O on the Web Brick have I used?
    DIN1 Trigger 1 Push button for "Heating Boost" – each push gives a 1hr boost
    DIN2 Trigger 2 Push button for "Water Boost" – each push gives a 1hr boost
    DIN3 Trigger 3 Push button for "Heating Off" – cancels heating until next start
    DIN4 Trigger 4 Push button for "Water Off" – cancels water until next start

    DOH-1 Output 1 To relay to start/stop central heating, and LED = "Heating ON"
    DOH-2 Output 2 To LED showing "Heating Boost ON"
    DOH-3 Output 3 To relay to start/stop hot water, and LED = "Water ON"
    DOH-4 Output 4 To LED showing "Water Boost ON"

    JP1-7 1-Wire Bus House temperature monitor (replaces conventional Room Stat)

    X2-1 GND Ground connection for pump speed control
    X2-2 AO-1 0-10V for pump speed control

    RJ45 LAN For connection to web browser


    Apologies for the length of the post, if you’ve made it all the way to the bottom then thank you, and well done

    Thanks,

    Tim.

  10. #10
    Automated Home Legend TimH's Avatar
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    Default Re: WebBrick Compeition

    Irrigation Controller

    So it’s not rocket science, but it’s a neat solution to a job that I absolutely hate. I’m so desperate to make this solution work, I’ve even already started on the basic irrigation pipework so the Web Brick and other controls can just slot in when they arrive ;-)

    There are other, commercial, solutions to this, but where’s the fun in just buying something in? and besides, I’m a tight-wad ;-)

    Here’s the plan. Rainwater collected from the house and garage roofs is directed through a filter (for leaves and other crud) and into an underground tank for storage. If the tank is full, excess water overflows to the normal house drain system. Inside the tank is a submersible pump, typically like one of these: http://www.screwfix.com/app/sfd/cat/pro.jsp?id=71445 which will push the water around the garden. Also in the tank, and wired to the Web Brick’s 0-5V analogue input is a level transmitter http://www.senzors.com/us/products/l...products/level. This gives a graduated indication of the amount of water in the tank, as well as allowing different actions to occur at different water levels.

    The pump outlet is plumbed, via “zone valves” to the different areas of the garden, e.g.
    * Lawn areas (3 zones)
    * Flower beds (2 zones)
    * Hanging baskets / pots / planters (1 zone)

    Zone valves are standard solenoid operated valves from the likes of RS, e.g. rswww.com part # 342-023. These valves are under a tenner each so that’s even better.
    Credit is due to Ian Bird’s excellent site at www.mollyology.com for the pointer to these items
    Other plumbing pipework, and sprinklers, drippers etc. are from Gardena, see http://www.gardena.co.uk/catalog/sub...cat=irrigation for the sort of thing.

    The Irrigation Plan
    * The ‘gimme’ here is all features are available from the web browser interface, as is the ability to schedule a series of watering actions by some of the more advanced HA software. Of course, through the web interface, I can even start/stop/change my watering programs when I’m on holiday.
    * Each type of zone will have a local push-button for manual initiation of a watering sequence, e.g. zones 1, 2 & 3 = lawn sprinklers, and time = 10 minutes.
    * There’s also a “total stop” button which halts whatever watering is going on at the time.
    * A 1-Wire temperature sensor connected to the Web Brick will inhibit irrigation if the ambient temperature is too low, e.g. less than 5 degC. This prevents potential frost damage to pipework and valves.
    * Web Brick outputs operate the pump’s start/stop controls via interposing relays. Generally, the zone valves will be opened first, then the pump started to avoid dead-heading the pump and potentially creating leaks in the pipework.
    * Final control of the pump start/stop is still retained within the pump’s own integral float switch. While these pumps are pretty robust, it’s not good practice to run then dry.
    * A "watchdog" timer monitors the progress of each watering program and, if the pump is still running after the program should've finished, the pump is automatically shut-off via a separate relay in the pump power supply.

    Why the Web Brick?
    For the functionality available at the price, it beats anything else hands down. The other big plus for me is that, once programmed, it can work completely by itself. Local control / override is always possible but it doesn’t impact the normal operation of the system. The Web Brick doesn’t need any other computer or controller to be running for it to complete it’s basic tasks. That said however, the interface to other systems in the outside world makes it so much more accessible.


    Future developments
    1. Allow mains water to be used for topping up only when the tank is very low, and the ambient temperature has been high for an extended period. Also, only top up with a small amount of water each time and don’t re-fill the whole tank with mains water. The existing level transmitter can be used, however a new solenoid valve will be required to admit the mains water into the tank.

    2. Use rainwater for toilet flushing and clothes washing. Next time I need to modify the plumbing I’ll be adding individual water feeds to the toilets from a new header tank in the loft. The Web Brick monitors the level in the new tank and uses the irrigation pump to top it up. Topping-up does not happen after every flush (avoids stop/start cycling the pump) and doesn’t happen at night (noise etc.). Level switches in the tank (e.g. “LH2 Mini-Float Horizontal Switches” here: http://<a href="http://www.inotek.co...e2pfl.html</a>) will stop the pump if the water level is too high and, additionally, another “watchdog timer” keeps an eye on how long the pump has been running and stops it regardless of whether a high level signal has been received. This ensures I don’t flood the house in the event of a broken pipe or level switch failure.

    3. A watering “game”. With a webcam trained on the lawn and a series of “fire” buttons programmed to a web page, the user can pulse the zone sprinklers to deliver a 1 or 2 second burst of water over whomever, or whatever happens to be on the lawn at the time. I think I’d better password-protect that feature ;-)

    4. Calculate rain fall, and water consumption by level variation within the tank. The graduated level gauge makes this achievable since the alternative multiple level switch solution is: (a) expensive, (b) too coarse i.e. not enough resolution within the switch locations to make the calculation worth-while.

    Wow, looking at that list I can see me needing another couple of these Web Bricks

    Thanks again for reading this far

    Tim.

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