AnonymousJanuary 27, 2012 at 5:14 pmPost count: 4
I have a problem that while it is unusual, I hardly think that it is unique; I have set up an Insteon/Indigo system for my sister and Brother in Law’s rural home and am thinking of adding their sprinkler system to the computerized age; it has 23 zones varying in size from 5 (soaker hoses which need to run for several hours each) gpm up to 15 gpm (most of which need to run 30 minutes to an hour depending on the amount of sun exposure). The problem is that the well pump that supplies the house as well as the sprinkler system is sized to deliver 40 to 50 gpm into a 100 gallon pressure tank, which means that if Mike only runs one zone at a time, the pump cycles on and off about every 5 minutes, which is why he currently has multiple valves tied to each sprinkler zone to load the pump to a nominal 45 gpm, but this means that all the sprinklers tied to a particular zone must run the same amount of time. I can of course achieve a similar effect by using 3 8 zone EZFlora controllers and having all three of them active at once, but it seems to me that an EZIO8SA or ST would allow even more flexibility. But then I started wondering whether I need a separate PLM for each EZIOSA, or if one PLM will handle multiple SAs (which makes their price less than the T) or if there is some way go fool the EZFlora into starting multiple zones as well (which would eliminate the notorious problem of blowing up triacs if a short exceeds their ratings). Does anyone have any experience with any similar systems?AnonymousJanuary 27, 2012 at 6:56 pmPost count: 1001
Each EZIO8SA requires a unique PLM. Several reasons. A Serial Port can be connected to one application (EZIO8SA or software application) at a time. The PLM carries the Insteon address so there would be no way to differentiate one EZIO8SA from another even if the Serial Port design allowed more than one application.
An EZFlora will not run more than one Zone at a time. Normally zones are designed with the source water flow capacity in mind. Allowing multiple Zones could exceed the source water supply.
The EZFlora has a maximum Zone run time for each Zone. This prevents a Zone from running for hours should the automation fail to turn Off a Zone.AnonymousJanuary 27, 2012 at 7:17 pmPost count: 4
Normally zones are designed with the source water flow capacity in mind. Allowing multiple Zones could exceed the source water supply.
SOMETIMES true in the city, but if one has an irrigation pump (an option which the EZFlora DOES allow), it could easily be configured to do multiple zones at a time, and the cycleing shortens the life of the starter relays… and even urban settings often contain multiple zones which are geographically rather than capacity constrained at far less than the water supply (typically 20 gpm). These are your small flowerbed and soaker hose zones which COULD be run simultaneously without inhibiting house pressure, drastically shortening the cycle if it had even been considered as an option.
The EZFlora has a maximum Zone run time for each Zone. This prevents a Zone from running for hours should the automation fail to turn Off a Zone.
However, the EZIO channels can also be preloaded with a set of durations which will shut down the active zone should communication with the cntroller be lost. Or at least that’s what the documentation implies. And since I can’t be sure what any of those maximums are, I need to reload them from Indigo before starting a programmed schedule anyway…AnonymousJanuary 27, 2012 at 8:01 pmPost count: 1001
I pump from a lake using a 1.5 HP pump which I would never allow to cycle. It is an irrigation pump not designed for sustained cycling. I added a mechanical pressure relief value after a lighting strike damaged a Rain Bird controller, turning on the Pump Control relay with no Zones open. Luckily the pump housing expanded with the excess heat allowing the discharge pipe to slip slightly providing a path for the hot water to flow. Otherwise the pump would have been damaged. I do turn On multiple valves with a single zone.
You are absolutely right that there are configurations where one Zone only is an impediment. I used Rain Bird controllers before moving to the EZFlora and none of them allowed more than one Zone on at a time.AnonymousJanuary 27, 2012 at 9:30 pmPost count: 4
You are absolutely right that there are configurations where one Zone only is an impediment. I used Rain Bird controllers before moving to the EZFlora and none of them allowed more than one Zone on at a time.
Which moves me on to the next question… do you have any ideas on how rugged the triacs (EZIO8T) are relative to hard relay contacts(EZIO8SA+PLM)? Because if I do this, one of the big selling points to my Brouther in Law is going to be not having to use a screwdriver to reconfigure which zones run simultaneously… his rainbirds don’t allow it either, and as the sun moves from winter to spring to summer to fall shade patterns, he’s got to change the run times for the various zones, meaning a real hardware reprogramming job.AnonymousJanuary 27, 2012 at 10:14 pmPost count: 1001
I used an EZIO8T for garage door control early on using 24V AC relays to switch the door opener. Never had a failure. Eventually changed to EZIO2X4s when they became available as I wanted more digital sensors and the 2X4 relays could be used directly for door opener control.
Have more years of use with other EZIOxx devices with no relay failures either.
Without any failure pattern to point to I really cannot say which would be better.
The EZIO8SA relays are spec’ed at 3A which is more capacity than the .5A Triacs in the EZIO8T. The EZIO8SA is more expensive per available relay. It would seem the .5A Triacs would be more than enough to run Zone valves. The EZIO8T would be easier to install as it is all contained in a single SmartLabs shell. The EZIO8SA has the external PLM as well as a separate package for the 8SA function.
Sorry but I don’t have any objective information either way. I think either would provide a good solution.AnonymousJanuary 30, 2012 at 12:16 pmPost count: 4
So have you ever used the “maximum duration” option in the EZIO8s as a backstop for controller failure? Looking at the documentation, it looks identical to what’s in the EZFlora zones, and since it’s set in integer minutes, it’s obviously not intended to be used for momentary contact triggers like a garage door opener signal. But since I haven’t had hands on the actual hardware, I obviously haven’t had a chance to test that.AnonymousJanuary 30, 2012 at 1:53 pmPost count: 1001
I used the EZIO8T in a garage application. There is a Configuration Register option to set the timeout to seconds rather than minutes.
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