Irrigation - Remote Valve Control
When installing an irrigation system, adding on a remote control system is the logical next step. Rather than operating irrigation valves simply based on time, neglecting the actual need of a plant based on parameters such as soil moisture, Evapotranspiration and the weather, the valves should be an integrated component of a monitoring system and be operated remotely - according to real needs of your crop.
Traditionally irrigation valves are operated by an in-situ control unit which opens and closes valves based on preset irrigation schedules. Programming an updated schedule usually requires a field trip. Some devices allow a remote upload through the mobile phone network, but this requires the respective field to be within coverage of a cell phone operator.
Therefore it would be highly desirable to be able to open and close valves from the office at any time (e.g. when it starts to rain), create irrigation schedules in the office rather than in the field, modify and update these at any given time, and send remote commands independently from GSM coverage.
Another common fear of system operators needs to be addressed, only too common in systems operated through text messages: what happens if the OFF command is not received, because the text is not delivered, the GSM system is down or in overload? Will the fields get flooded? And what happens if the batteries run dry, while all valves are still open? Again, will the fields be flooded?
Guess what – ADCON addresses all these issues and more with the addTIMER and A724 addSWITCH irrigation control system!
No matter how you want to operate your irrigation system or your valves, simply based on time or in combination with your weather and soil sensors, the ADCON A724 addSWITCH and the addTIMER software extension will let you setup any irrigation schedule you like.
The A724 addSWITCH Series 4 Valve Controller
The A724 addSWITCH, a 10mW UHF radio based device, is fully compatible to the entire family of ADCON radio RTUs and can easily be integrated into existing weather station or soil moisture networks. It can handle up to 4 latching solenoids of various voltages, with outputs programmable within a range of 5.5 to 15VDC.
To get an even better grasp of what's going on you can also connect up to four pulse counters to your addSWITCH, be that water meters or irrigation gauges. And if you would even like to know if your pumps provide enough pressure to operate your system you can also connect one or two manometer sensors to your A724 addSWITCH.
addTIMER Extension for advantage Pro
addTIMER can be added to any addVANTAGE Pro software version 5.3 and higher. This extension lets you define for anunlimited number of A724 addSWITCHes (but also for other RTU's of course!) not only a daily or weekly, but also a monthly and a seasonal schedule. The following settings can easily be programmed:
up to 5 operating cycles per day each day of the week can be individually programmed various weekly plans can make a monthly plan various monthly plans can make a seasonal plan determine start time and run time determine seasonal multipliers (which will save you lots of time! Instead of reprogramming each run time you can simply extend them all by entering a multiplier - e.g. entering 1,1 will extend each run-time by 10%) insert a single, non-repeatable irrigation event on the fly stop running cycles by the push of a button
High Operative Safety
A frequently asked question concerns the security of radio controlled irrigation commands. There are two major "what if's"?
- What if all valves are open, but the OFF signal cannot be transmitted due to radio interference? Will my fields be flooded?
- What if the device's battery runs empty while irrigating, and there is not enough power to close the valves?
There is no need to worry - both cannot happen!
1) There is no OFF command! The addTIMER - addSWITCH system operates on start times and run times, both being sent to the valve controller within the same radio command. The A724 addSWITCH thus exactly knows when to open the valves and for how long to keep them open. And since this run-time is being stored in the A724 addSWITCH there simply is no need to send an OFF command!
2) Battery voltage is monitored permanently. As soon as the A724 recognizes that the voltage of its internal battery approaches a critical value, below which operation of the attached valves might get unsafe, it will automatically turn off open valves, and will no longer accept ON commands, until the batteries have again been sufficiently recharged by the device’s solar panel.