Innovative Security Solutions

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Security Bytes - August 2016 OpenSprinkler

This month I will take a slight departure from the usual security related news to more of a tech product review. In recent months I have been struggling with a failing sprinkler box that controls 18 zones but simply was NOT intelligent to not water when it rains nor was it easy to switch zones without having to go back to the timer in garage and manually set the next zone time and then walk back around house to see the effects.

 

I had been looking at many “intelligent” networked sprinkler systems that are available many of which have a multitude of features that make them very attractive for my purposes. Some had very fancy graphical interfaces, some seemed to be more secure, some had the ability to be expandable.  In my case, due to the high number of zones I have ( 18 ) , I was having a hard time finding a solution that was expandable, simple to use and program, easily updatable and most of all remotely accessible and intelligent.

 

Many of the systems are capable of controlling 8 – 10 zones and have auto update features, but I was looking for more… I wanted something that I had total control over and that was flexible for my expansion needs. A friend of mine suggested that I look at the Open Sprinkler project ( www.opensprinkler.com). After comparing feature for feature with other more expensive solutions I found that Opensprinkler is the perfect solution for my needs. While the physical box is plain, it is packed with many of the features that most people would want.

  1. Set multiple program schedules for different purposes independent of zones. It is capable of up to 24 independent programs!
  2. Be able to pull weather related information from online weather sources to automatically adjust watering patterns without my intervention. I can pull from Weather Underground and automatically set a rain delay.
  3. Be expandable and configurable to work with a large number of zones. The one I have can daisy chain expansion boxes up to 56 zones ( as of writing this article )
  4. Has easily updatable firmware. I can connect my laptop to the unit and update its firmware easily.
  5. Has a simple, easy to use interface for programming and control.
  6. Has the ability to connect to network via hardwired cable or optionally via an Ethernet to Wifi adapter.

 

These were my basic needs criteria and Opensprinkler has totally surpassed my expectations! After setting it up I was able to set up a complete, intelligent watering program that was weather aware in about 5 minutes. If I need to maintain a sprinkler head, I can do so right from my smartphone when I need to test it as I am standing next to it. ( Of course avoiding getting sprayed!) Of course when it comes to setting this up on your network I would put it on its own IOT (Internet of Things ) segment.

If you are in the market for a sprinkler I feel this is the gadget to have! Not to mention the FUN you can have if you want to spray pets, or random wildlife that enter your yard!

 

 

 

-Paul Mavrovic, CISSP