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Intelligent Sprinkler System. Group #16 - Tom Kubicki Paul Martis Joe Bonilla. Introduction. Idea: Design a control system to prevent unnecessary over watering Fact: A golf course’s average daily use of water is 300,000 gallons per day at an average

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intelligent sprinkler system

Intelligent Sprinkler System

Group #16 - Tom Kubicki

Paul Martis

Joe Bonilla

  • Idea: Design a control system to prevent unnecessary over watering
  • Fact: A golf course’s average

daily use of water is 300,000

gallons per day at an average

cost of $4.00 per 1000 gallons

  • Daily total cost = $1,200
  • If system allows conservation of water for one hour a day, savings = $300 per day
  • Fact: Most courses water

4 to 5 hours a day

  • The cost of our proposed

system could be paid for

after just one day’s use

  • To design a system to control the operation of a sprinkler system to optimize use of water and maintain healthy grass
  • System must be small and easily managed and maintained
  • Design must withstand various environmental conditions
review of original design6
Review of Original Design
  • Major components:
    • Moisture sensing transducer
    • Moisture sensing circuit
    • Motorola 68HC11 Microcontroller w/RTC
    • Linx modules for RF link
  • Moisture circuit tells microcontroller whether or not the ground needs watering
review of original design7
Review of Original Design
  • Microcontroller also keeps track of time with the RTC
  • Using the combination, we can have it behave like a timer, turning the sprinkler system on or off at various times
  • System only turns on if timer is set for that time and moisture circuit reports watering is needed
details of functional blocks
Details of functional blocks
  • Moisture transducer: we needed

a device to quantify ground

moisture into an electrical signal

  • Solution: Model 6513 Soil

Moisture Transducer

  • Gypsum block which changes electrical resistance proportionally as moisture changes
details of functional blocks11
Details of functional blocks
  • Moisture Circuit: we needed to translate the resistance into a logical value that the microcontroller can understand
  • Solution: use a voltage divider along with a voltage threshold detector to decide when desired ground moisture is achieved
details of functional blocks13
Details of functional blocks
  • Microcontroller: we needed a device to decide when the sprinklers should be on
  • Solution: use a HC12 with an RTC to create a timer circuit and take in signal from moisture circuit
  • Timer can be set for various times a day and on specific days of the week
details of functional blocks14
Details of functional blocks
  • RF Link: we wanted to have the moisture sensing device remote from the microcontroller
  • Solution: use Linx LC series TX and RX modules
  • Provides short-range link suitable for remote field installations to prevent excessive cabling lengths
tx rx chip details
TX/RX chip details
  • TX Chip:
  • RX Chip:
successes and challenges
Successes and Challenges
  • Challenges
    • Moisture Transducer

calibration and operation

    • RF Link
    • Microcontroller
    • Voltage threshold detector
  • Moisture transducer required an AC voltage in order to function correctly
successes and challenges17
Successes and Challenges
  • Resistance could not be measured directly with a multimeter
  • Solution required the use of a waveform generator chip to provide a 1KHz sine wave to transducer
  • Output was passed through a peak detector to the voltage threshold detector to determine need for watering
successes and challenges18
Successes and Challenges
  • Problems with transmitting

data to receiver

  • Intermittent success with


  • Long range communication

not probable

  • Solution: Changed faulty chips and replaced with working ones
  • Range increased and system was more reliable
successes and challenges19
Successes and Challenges
  • Problems with microcontroller: choosing a model that would accommodate a system with a user display
  • Problem with keeping track of real time
  • Decided on Intel 386EX with RTC chip
  • Created a graphical menu system for setting up times for watering
successes and challenges20
Successes and Challenges
  • When we ordered voltage threshold

detector, we did not realize size

  • Part was a surface-mount part

much too small to solder on

pins for protoboard use

  • Solution involved design of custom board to surface-mount the chip
successes and challenges21
Successes and Challenges
  • Main success, besides the

system working as we planned,

was that the final size is small

  • Also, power consumption would

allow for long-term use on just

alkaline batteries

  • System can be easily modified to

allow for future features

future recommendations
Future Recommendations
  • Multiple sensors – property

can be set up with watering

zones each with its own sensor

  • Unique ID for each sensor unit –

allow for power save by only transmitting moisture status when central controller polls its ID

future recommendations23
Future Recommendations
  • Adapt a rain sensor into the system
  • Mount all components onto small PCB’s and use surface-mount parts to conserve space and use more efficient chips
  • Cost-effective and efficient system could be marketable
  • We would like to thank
    • Prof. Swenson
    • Wojciech Magda
    • Unidata Australia
    • National Semiconductor
    • Anyone else who contributed to our success

Thank you all!