Author Topic: Pump Controller?  (Read 10922 times)

DWIM

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Pump Controller?
« on: May 26, 2014, 08:06:11 am »
New user, first time question: Have 1 BlueSpray controller. House has 2 sets of valves, one uses normal city-supplied water source and the other uses a pump to provide water (& pressure) from river water. I only want some of the valves, when their turn to water, to turn on the pump. Whenever I use the normal (city) water, I do NOT want the pump to be triggered. How do I do that with this one controller?

bluespray_admin

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Re: Pump Controller?
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2014, 03:31:54 pm »
You can dedicate 1 terminal to the pump, treating it like a zone.  You can then say no to stack mode. Have a program that runs the pump only, then start the pump at the same time as any other run you wish.

DWIM

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Re: Pump Controller?
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2014, 05:46:30 am »
Yes, I had seen that reply in another post asking a similar thing. So my question is: Why not add in the UI an option to turn on the pump when setting up a zone? I realize using a zone is a 'hack', given the feature isn't available where one might expect it to be placed (used to be a Deputy CIO having lots of SW Dev't and DAS background).

In doing the hack, one places the req't for using the pump on the user when coordinating scheduling, as opposed to allowing an essential configuration feature in the specification of the zone, which is how those designing watering systems naturally think of such a thing.

Just my two cents.

On another topic, I just looked at the calendar. I have scheduled a couple of runs this morning (starting in ~1 hr). But the calendar doesn't even show today; it starts with tomorrow. Shouldn't the UI also show the CURRENT day as well? Sounds like a >= instead of a > check (hint).

bluespray_admin

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Re: Pump Controller?
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2014, 02:18:08 pm »
Yes, it is a bit of a hack, but when we design the controller, we design it for the most likely scenario of a master valve, which in most cases, turns on when a run is in progress.  Your scenario is a bit different.

The calendar is designed to show future runs.  Today's runs are shown on the status panel, under the Today's Runs tab.

DWIM

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Re: Pump Controller?
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2014, 05:34:54 am »
Re 'a bit of a hack': From my experience doing SCADA systems, running software (SW) dev't groups, a deputy CIO (large organizations), I guess I'd ask with a bit more intensity. Why can't the SW be adjusted such that turning on the controller is flagged by a check box on the screen that pops up when one is defining a zone? I'd think turning on and off / applying the controller voltage can be a part of the code that turns on any zone's voltage. Of course, I'm not the architect of the system, but I'm just sayin'.

bluespray_admin

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Re: Pump Controller?
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2014, 01:54:43 pm »
Yes, it can be done.  It's just that our controller is designed to be a typical controller, tailored to the masses.  It doesn't mean that we can't apply this feature.  We continually want to improve our product and your suggestion will be taken into consideration for future firmware.

DWIM

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Re: Pump Controller?
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2014, 02:51:04 pm »
Thank you for your consideration. I am quite happy with this controller. Given the pump controller 'hack', I only use this BlueSpray device with all the drip lines (11 zones) coming from house water. For the other zones (8) utilizing river water (and therefore needs the pump), I continue to use my current controller (Hunter Pro-C). Prior to the BlueSpray device, I used a separate Hunter Pro-C controller just for the drip lines. Once I understand from you that your device will support turning on the pump when any particular zone turns on (e.g., based on a check box on the per-zone Edit settings), I'll be happy to migrate the remaining Pro-C over as well. If you are able to, please keep me in the loop vis-a-vis software / feature modifications.

bluespray_admin

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Re: Pump Controller?
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2014, 03:49:45 pm »
Perhaps what you'd want is the ability to specify turning on the master valve per zone, but per run or program.  This way, you don't get a checkbox
for every zone, which would clutter up the screen.
For your application, for example, if you want to have the master valve to turn on for zone 1,3, and 5 only, then you'd create a program that runs zones 1,3,5, check the master valve checkbox for this program and it'll only apply to this program.

DWIM

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Re: Pump Controller?
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2014, 05:41:27 pm »
Great to have an analysis discussion. I have those often where I work.

To your point: I have thought about how and where pump functionality would best fit. My thoughts are:
- It's the zone that has its water source from the pump or elsewhere. So, where one defines zones, to me, would be the most 'logical' place. That's why I mentioned adding a check box on the zone definition screen (the Edit popup).
- Since one either says to supply voltage to the pump electrical header (or not), all that is needed is a predicate; i.e., a check box (This zone uses the pump (or something)).
- Once the zone is defined, given that's where the water source is tied, one only then need to include the zone in whichever schedule.
- To me, if you're going to use a pump-sourced zone at all, water pressure is available if and only, for that specific zone, the pump IS ALSO turned on. Again, that's my rationale for binding the check box to the zone.
- Re per run or program, if I'm going to use a pump-sourced zone at all, anywhere, it MUST also have the pump turned on. To me, why, for a pump-sourced zone, would I ever want to run a zone without the pump? Doesn't make sense (to me). Similar reasoning for a program. If the zone is included, it ALWAYS implies the pump needs to be turned on.
- All of the above implies placing the check box at the zone definition level. Then, if I include that zone in some run or schedule (which I do often enough), if the zone needs the pump, that's also included.

bluespray_admin

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Re: Pump Controller?
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2014, 04:04:35 pm »
But since a program is a collection of group of zones, applying the master here would be more flexible to some folks who want to turn it on for multiple zones or different combination of zones.

I think either way would work, but we'd like to implement something that appeals to the masses.

DWIM

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Re: Pump Controller?
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2014, 06:13:57 pm »
I think you are making my point here. Say you implement the pump controller at the program level.
- For each program I include any zone that has the pump-water as its source, I must check a check-box for that program.
- In addition, for those of us having hybrid water sources (e.g., river water and city-supplied water in my case, if I create a program that includes zones driven from the pump and zones driven from the city water, what are you going to do? Turn the pump on when it should NOT be turned on? E.g., some of the zones for a given program need the pump on (pump-water sourced zones), and some of the zones for that same program should NOT have the pump turned on (city-water sourced zones).

Please note that I have consistently stated my preference is to place a check-box on the pop-up screen used to DEFINE any given zone. In general, one does that during initialization. So done only once. I did NOT imply placing the check box on the program definition screen (i.e., where the program's name is defined, and all the zones are presented for inclusion (by specifying a run duration per zone)).

- By 'zone definition time', I specifically mean on the Lawn view tab, wherein one drags the sprinkler icon somewhere onto the picture, which then causes the pop-up to appear (or you can right-click an already defined zone). That pop-up currently contains two (2) items: Name, and Active. My 'suggestion' would be to add a third item, a Turn on pump check-box. 

I hope I've made this clear. Again, thank you.

bluespray_admin

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Re: Pump Controller?
« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2014, 10:51:00 pm »
We'll take your point into consideration, and others as well.
Is there any controller out there you know that does something like this?

DWIM

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Re: Pump Controller?
« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2014, 03:50:12 am »
I do not know. Have used the Hunter Pro (but with 2 controllers - pump-driven on one and city water on the other). Also used Cyber-Rain but that was a while ago so don't remember if they allowed mixed schedules.

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Re: Pump Controller?
« Reply #13 on: August 18, 2014, 01:32:11 pm »
Does Hunter allow master valve activation per zone?  Just want to see a use case.

DWIM

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Re: Pump Controller?
« Reply #14 on: August 18, 2014, 04:08:06 pm »
No. This feature, if included (and depending on how it's implemented), IMHO, is a deciding factor in product selection. My guess is if you implement it, other software-based manufacturers will follow suit, even if only because it provides much more flexibility. But that's just my 2 cents.