The eKo Pro Irrigation Management System (ePIMS) is a major new product from Camalie Networks based on the eKo Pro wireless monitoring system from Memsic Inc. ePIMS extends the functionality of eKo Pro to include full closed loop control of large scale, distributed irrigation systems. To achieve the new control capability the following components were added to the system.
--Valve and Pump control interface - CN101va
--Water Meter interface - CN101wm
--Pressure Sensors - CN201p-15G, 50G, 100G
--eKo Pro Tranceiver Nodes, with bidirectional communication firmware to enable valve actuation, eN2120va
--Manual Control Web Interface Software, Smart phone compatible, both Droid and Apple
--Automatic Real Time, Closed Loop, Control Engine Software for the Gateway
--Control Rule Editor, Web based Software
--Dashboard interface to monitor control system performance; Web based, open source, Non-Flash, Smart Phone compatible
Valve and Pump Control Interface - CN101va
The photo on the left below shows the control interface with its PVC enclosure open to show the two circuit boards which comprise the CN101va interface between an eKo Pro tranceiver node and bistable solenoids two of which are shown. The solenoids screw into almost any solenoid actuated valve body with an appropriate adapter. A bistable relay can be installed in place of any solenoid to switch electrical power and thereby control pumps and other electrically powered equipment.
The photo on the right below shows a typical installation of a node, and CN101va at a typical valve manifold used to irrigate landscape in this case.
CN101va Valve Actuation Hardware including solenoids.
Above is a solenoid valve used to control filling of a 10,000 gallon water tank from a well 200 yards away from the tank. The eKo Pro Gateway's control engine software performs the control function. It reads the latest tank water level value from a sensor connected to a node at the tank and if the level is below the desired level sends a command to open the valve to fill the tank to the desired level.
Rainbird Solenoid valve and Netafim water meter compatible with eKo Pro interfaces.
The CN101va has two modes of behavior. The first is an an actuator that accepts command packets from the node which specify which valve to open or close and how long to open valves for. It then produces current pulses to switch the connected solenoids or relays. Note the bistable solenoids and latching relays used consume no DC power. They require only power when switching state. No power source other than occasional sunshine is required for this system to open and close valves.
The CN101va's second mode is sensor mode in which it generates sensor packets which the eKo Pro network transports back to its gateway where the data is stored in the eKo View sqlite database just like any other sensor data. The CN101va packets contain information about the state of the valves connected and how much time is remaining if a valve is currently open. The CN101va automatically closes the valve after the time specified in the open command to prevent valves from being left open should a network or gateway fault occur.
Below is a plot showing control of lawn soil moisture using a Decogon EC5 sensor to measure soil water content ( orange curve) and a CN101va unit and the eKo control engine running on the gateway. Here the control rule is set to irrigate once a day for 15 minutes if the soil water content is below 18%. You can see two rain events around 4/12/12 which wet the soil and eliminated the need for irrigation for more than a week. The system automatically backed off and didn't water during that time. The picture on the right is the actual lawn being irrigated. The sensor is in the center foreground and the node and valve actuator on the far right edge.
Below is a sample plot of time remaining data for 8 valves connected to two nodes at Camalie Vineyards. The standard eKo View user interface can present CN101va data the same as any other sensor data.
Water Meter Interface Unit CN101wm
The water metering capability was added to the Camalie Networks product line in August 2011 with the addition of the CN101wm water meter interface. Four water meters and eKo Pro interfaces to those meters were installed at Green and Red Vineyards in the Chiles Valley. Photos from that installation are shown below along with the data taken in 2011. NRCS supported this installation.
Manual Control Web Interface Software
The simplest mode of controlling valves is to access the "Manual Control" web page below and use the open and close buttons to open and close valves. This Non Flash software developed by Camalie Networks can be used easily from any smart phone enabling actuation in the field in real time. This AJAX application is highly responsive and interacts with several new actuation web services developed by Camalie Networks that are running on the eKo Pro gateway.
Below you can see the same software running under Safari on an iPhone 3Gs.
Typical valve actuation time from cell phone is between 15 seconds and 1.5 minutes.
Automatic Real Time, Closed Loop, Control Engine Software for the Gateway
The greatest value of iPIMS is its ability to fully automate irrigation or large farming operations, saving labor and reducing errors. The core of this capability is a real time actuation engine developed by Camalie Networks which runs continuously on the eKo Pro Gateway.
Below is a specification of three block irrigations of 10 minutes once a day in response to the Soil Water Content dropping below 18% at Node 14. Rules are easily edited and can be compound, depending on multiple sensors or calculations such as ET (evapotranspiration).