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The Sprinkler Online Project


Table of Contents

  1. Why Sprinklers online ... ?
  2. Email Connectivity ... ?
  3. When is ... ?

Why Sprinklers online ... ?

The sprinklers online project is something that I've been thinking about for a while. If you have one of these sprinkler computers in your garage, you probably know that programming them is about as bad as programming your VCR. I have two, and I can't program either one of them. 

So the first goal is to get a normal user interface for sprinklers. 

Now that it is easy to program your sprinkler using web based technologies, it will be possible to connect localized weather information and your sprinklers together. This would allow to save water, by not activating the sprinklers when it rains. Also, water can be saved by getting reports on the amount of water dispersed. Right now, it's everybody's  best guess as to how wet your plants are.

So the second goal is to save water and money and improve the quality of irrigation, even in your lawn. 

I'm an avid reader of Circuit Cellar, an electronics hacker magazine. Internet connectivity for simple devices has become cheaper and cheaper. I've bought a Rabbit controller + development kit, that is essentially the same as the controller or computer in your basement, but it can be networked in your home network. 

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Email connectivity ... ?

The following connectivity scenario's have been looked at:

Local network
For a local connection, the sprinkler controller is connected to the PC or Mac with an Ethernet cable. 

Internet: POP email connection
This scenario assumes a local (in the residence) machine that acts as a server. It's responsibility is to obtain emails from an ISP. Here there are two sub-scenario's:

  • Server is always on the network
    A little daemon on the server initiates a call to the controller at a set time.
  • Server polls the ISP at set times, or initiated by user. 
    The controller could call the ISP at a set time (before the server downloads mail)

Yahoo
Yahoo supports POP for their HTML mail service as long as you're willing to receive advertisements from them. The controller would call in at a set time, and leave the messages on the server.

Hotmail
Hotmail requires further research, but they do allow 3rd party email clients to read their mail through a HTML filter. This filter probably acts as a user using html mail obtaining email. This could be mimicked by the controller as well.

Aol
AOL seems to be completely proprietary.


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When is ... ?

Sprinklers online will open sometime this year.

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Revised: September 03, 2001 .