Soil Moisture Sensors / Rachio / IFTTT / Smartthings


#1

I have order (5) Geree 12V soil humidity sensors controller module automatic watering modules from Amazon. I am go to connect them to the post inside of some Ecolink Intelligent Technology DWZWAVE2-ECO-2 Z-Wave. Will waterproof the sensors first (open to suggestions). Then I will bury one soil moisture sensor in each zone and the wires back to the house. This way I don’t have to worry about the lawn mower destroying my sensors. The DWZWAVE2-ECO-2, Controller Module and 12v power supply for the sensor will be mounted in my tempter controlled attic. I don’t know how to write script, so this is how I am handling this project. I plan on the logic working like this.

Low Moisture

  1. When soil moisture sensors detects high set level of moisture in that zone. (set on controller module)
  2. It will close the relay on the soil moisture sensors controller module.
  3. That will close the reed on the DWZWAVE2-ECO-2
  4. Which will indicate the switch to be closed in Smartthings.
  5. Using IFTTT. Turn on the respective zone with Rachio.

High Moisture

  1. When soil moisture sensors detects high set level of moisture in that zone. (set on controller module)
  2. It will open the relay on the soil moisture sensors controller module.
  3. That will open the reed on the DWZWAVE2-ECO-2
  4. Which will indicate the switch to be open in Smartthings.
  5. Using IFTTT. Turn off all watering.

Some of my worries are

  1. More than one zones tries to start at the same time.
    2 . Waterproofing the sensors.


I will post pictures and update as this moves along.
Thank you for your advise in advance.


Rachio Iro Smart Irrigation Controller Integration
(Mark) #2

I was looking for something similar. Really curious how this turned out for you.


(Dennis Ungureanu) #3

@Joshpan Why not try these sensors that are already water proof and work with ST independent of the irrigation controller?

http://spruceirrigation.com/

I haven’t tried this yet, but I’m thinking that you could use this sensor to send a low moisture signal to ST and then tell ST to tell Rachio to start that zone for either a certain amount time or maybe have the sensor send a high moisture signal and then tell Rachio to stop that zone.

These sensors are cool. They are already waterproof and are low to the ground that you wouldn’t hit it with a lawn mower. It will cost about the same amount of what you’re trying to do.


#4

Dennis,

You are right. That is the first time I have seen those. They look great. It is about the same cost or cheaper after you add in wire and time.

Some times you can get a real good deal on the door sensor, but you still have all the work of making a waterproof case for the moister sensor. Then you have to bury the wire back to the house from the moister sensor.

I haven’t completed the first one yet.

Some of my concerns about the Spruce Irrigation moister sensor are:

  1. The distance from my hub to the moister sensor. I would have to buy repeaters. That would make the project more expensive than the original plan.

  2. I have not had good luck with ZigBee. I have an outlet that I keep having to pair because it randomly loses connection.

  3. What will the Smartthings recognize these sensors as? I can’t code so I have to be able to use a rules engine.

  4. Will the moister sensor require the Spruce Irrigation controller? I already have a Rachio. I don’t want to have to spend the extra money for a new controller. This might would be a better option for other that don’t already smart controller yet.

I think it is a great idea though. Very worthy of looking into. It would be a WHOOOOLE LOT easier this way.

Thank you for sharing!


#5

You can build a Z-Wave moisture sensor based on Z-Uno. Should be similiar to http://z-uno.z-wave.me/examples/waterlevel/ but with something like this https://www.sparkfun.com/products/13322 connected.


(hugh) #6

I am interested in using the Spruce moisture sensors too with my Rachio controller. Has anyone had any luck with this? It looks like a much more cost effective solution than the “approved” moisture sensors which connect directly to the Rachio controller.

I have not done any kind of IFTTT things yet with my SmartThings gen 2 hub yet. Would this be difficult to set up, and would this work to turn off zones or watering all together?

What prompted me to consider this, is we had 2" of rain in less than 24 hours, but since the Rachio only cares if there is rain occurring 1 hour before the schedule kicks off, then my watering started on a day when the ground was already saturated. It was a waste of water.


#7

I use the wirelesstag.net soil moisture sensors and have had a lot of luck with them. They have a nice standalone UI, long battery life, and IFTTT integration. The individual sensors are reasonably priced. Once you have the hub you’ll find the temperature sensors and other sensors are also useful. I had it water the big planters in the sun on the south side whenever they got dry, just using IFTTT from WirelessTag.net to Rachio. Now that I have a SmartThings hub, with it integrated with both Rachio and Wireless, I’m thinking of a smarter integration, to avoid watering in the heat of the day.

Edit: their normal sensors have a 1 year battery life with replacable batteries, but their soil moisture sensors have 3 year battery life and disposable. They also measure temperature, which is handy to know the temperature of your grass.


(hugh) #8

@music_and_cities

Thanks for your response. I am always open to suggestions for alternate implementations. Right now I am leaning towards adding 4 of these devices and using them in conjunction with IFTTT to water each yard’s zone when needed (only one day a week, and only during certain time periods.)

It sounds like your implementation goal is about the same as mine. I’m not a fan of adding another “hub” to my house ( I have the ST, a Chamberlain bridge, and though my Nest thermostat, and collection of Alexa Dots could be argued one way or another … I have them too.) One of the things I like about the Spruce is it is a Zigbee device so adding another hub would not be necessary and it should just be adding more devices on my ST hub.

Since you already have some of these sensors, I’ll ask you the question I tried to ask through “chat” on the wirelesstag.net website. I sat in the 1st position in their queue for over 30 minutes with no interaction or acknowledgement in the middle of the day. I was trying to find out how tall the part of the sensor that sticks out of the soil is, and how durable they are (for instance, if I accidentally step on one.)

I’m looking forward to hearing how your implementation works for you and any and all challenges that occur during your quest to better automate your irrigation controller.:grinning:


#9

I think I read the zigbee devices have a shorter range and use batteries faster (than the wirelesstag.net ones.)

In the lawn I half buried the sensor body in the soil (so it stuck up about 1cm above the soil and was fully buried under the blades of grass) and I had some trouble maintaining a connection to it. (Now it’s under a foot of snow, and not responding, so I can’t find it.). However the other two I own have been rock solid so I’m not yet willing to blame the partial burial for its lack of response. It could be a calibration or quality control issue. The motion and temperature sensors have also been rock solid, with 12 month battery life.

I build an html showing the temperature graph outside my back door : http://ho.hbaspecto.com/WebView/

I’ll measure a tag this evening for you.

User support has been a bit problematic, I think it’s actually just one guy with a couple of staff. I like to support small businesses and since I run one I have some tolerance for individuals just trying to do the best they can. They have been working wonderfully for me.


#10

Oh, they seem very durable but the reason I partially buried it is to protect it more from shoes and lawnmower wheels.


#11

Pictures of the WirelessTag moisture sensor


(Dan) #12

What do you end of doing? I want to also use the smarthing hub to add some kind of moist soil sensor and activate a electric pump when is dry.