Automating My Fall Blowout


#1

Hello all - hoping I can get some input on automating my fall sprinkler blowout. First a little background on my current process:

I have a small compressor that I use to blowout each zone. I charge the compressor up to about 100 PSI and then “dump” it into the zone. The compressor empties in about 30 seconds and then I shut the zone off and wait for the compressor to charge back up (takes about 5 minutes) before repeating the process. I have a total of 10 zones and I must repeat this process at least twice for each zone to make sure I am getting all of the water out. Takes awhile for me to finish the job up, but I am typically doing other things at the same time.

This is my first year with my new Rachio Iro controller and I am hoping to automate my process. What I would like to do is automatically cycle through each of my zones - run it for 1 minute and then delay 5-10 minutes (to allow the compressor to recharge) before I open the next zone for 1 minute - wash rinse repeat.

I’m thinking that I can use IFTTT to accomplish my task. First thing I need is way to trigger a zone for a minute run every 10 minutes. Off the top of my head, I’m thinking I can set my Iro to be triggered by an email that I will somehow automate to come in every 10 minutes. I’ll have to setup 10 unique email triggers and then schedule them to come in once every 10 minutes. I am pretty sure that this will work - but it does seem a bit clunky - not a real elegant solution. But it would be cool and would pretty much give me a hands-off solution.

Any other thoughts out there on how to accomplish? Anyone ever tried anything similar? I love this sort of a challenge - even though I’m sure I will spend more time than just manually doing it myself - but it’ll be fun if I can pull it off!

What do you think?

Thanks,

Tom


#2

@EBoon, interesting request, but good idea! You can do this via IFTTT and Google Calendar. Here’s a quick recipe I created for it – in short, you’ll just setup appointments by zone with with keyword ‘blowout’ for the zones to trigger.

Here’s more information on how to blowout your sprinklers for anyone interested.

Hope this helps :smile:

Best, Emil


#3

@emil thanks for the reply. Not sure that the Google Calendar Trigger will work though.Looks like it is not a “quick trigger” so that means it can take up to 15 minutes to actually trigger. My plan is to blow out a new zone every 10 minutes to give the compressor a chance to recover. The mail trigger is a “quick trigger” and I have verified through testing that it will trigger the action (Iro) within seconds (not minutes). If I’m only waiting 10 minutes between zone blowouts, the Google Calendar within 15 minutes trigger is way to slow. Please correct me if my assumptions are wrong.

I would like to note that if there was a way to add a delay between zones when I setup a schedule, this would be all very rudimentary. Isn’t there discussion of adding just such a delay for a well pump to recover? If not, please consider this a request to add just such a feature!

Thanks - I will report back with my results.Still would love to hear if you or anyone else has any other ideas for me!

Tom


#4

This is correct. We do not have control over other trigger firing times.

Yes, this is a feature we are investigating, and will hopefully have it in before the watering season starts again.

Thanks for thinking outside of the box, next year we hope to have a lot of these features pre-built to make it easier for our customers.

:cheers:


#5

@EBoon, I’ll need to play with this myself. I wasn’t aware that the email trigger was instant.

Perhaps you could share the recipe with us once you’re done with your blowout :smile:

Best, Emil


#6

@emil So close … Got the triggers working and tested using an action of sending me an email instead of starting the zone for testing purposes - seemed to work fine. I was getting my email back (gmail channel) within 10 seconds or so of sending the trigger to IFTTT. When I changed the trigger to actually start a zone instead of sending me an email though, the zone was taking 5 - 10 minutes to trigger from the Rachio channel :frowning: - so that’s NOT going to work.

Think I may actually have to resort to running 10 separate schedules with 1 zone each for a minute (scheduled inside of Iro) that are 10 minutes apart and skip the IFTTT integration- seems it just isn’t responsive enough to do what I need.

Sigh,

Tom


#7

@EBoon :disappointed: bummers, I had my fingers crossed.

If you’re really bored you could tag team your neighbors compressors and have them cycle between one another…more work then it’s worth, but would be fun to setup :wink:


#8

What compressor do you have? Thinking of picking one up myself. Any recommendations?

The rotary nozzles are the worst. Seriously take like 10 minutes to blow out a zone.


#9

Larger volume of air is best pending what you can afford. However, given the number of landscaping companies in my area, I just call one and let them bring out the big toys. Good companies will warranty their work so if there’s any freeze damage over the winter, it’s on them to replace in the spring. It’s also nice to have a spring and summer audit to repoint heads and replace bad nozzles as needed. Similar to tire maintenance – you don’t think about rotating or balancing your tires, but it helps with your mileage if done on a regular basis.