Lowering the cost & simplifying routine maintenance

solid set sprinkler in the background being controlled by farmer

The Spring 2020 edition of Water Insight’s web based IMS system is packed with new features to support farmers and irrigation companies alike. The focus for this year’s edition has been on three main areas of development:

-Lowering the cost of IPC sprinkler controller deployment by automating the installation process

-Simplifying routine maintenance procedures to make them quicker and cheaper to do.

-Enabling farmers to monitor their water tanks in IMS

New features have been added to the mesh radio system to identify and configure IPC sprinkler controllers from a phone, saving significant time and effort. A typical installation might include a team doing post installation, pipe earthworks and pipelaying. A second stage includes installing sprinkler valves, pipe connections and fitting the sprinkler controller. At this point an installer typically wants to check that the sprinkler controller works. With an IMS gateway on site they can do this with their smartphone. The installer can then commission the site with its initial watering schedules and check operation with a water pressurised system. Again, this can be done remotely or with a phone once gateway hardware is in place.

IMS now significantly simplifies the deployment process by allowing configuration, pre-checking and even scheduling of IPC units when they arrive on site or in some cases as they are mounted. Since IPCs need to be within short line of sight of the IMS gateway during deployment, some installers are also employing portable IMS gateways that they can use on multiple jobs to shorten the rollout.

The Spring 2020 IMS edition also focuses on lowering routine maintenance costs and recording maintenance events so that farmers can plan for future maintenance as sites (and batteries) age or identify trouble spots with sprinklers. With an IMS gateway in place many of the wellness checks on sprinkler controllers can now be undertaken with a smartphone and do not require the EP3 handheld control unit. Battery replacements can also be recorded, and we are encouraging farmers to hold spare units (about 1-2 % of the total number in the system). These can be quickly set to work and swapped out with units on posts or pods, using a smartphone. The process is covered on training videos “Managing Spares in IMS” and “Swapping IPCs in IMS”.

Tank water level monitoring just got easier with the Water-Insight Tank Level Monitor (TLM). This is a cost effective IoT solution that uses an Internet gateway and LoRa radio technology making the connection of sensor devices to IMS more affordable. IMS can monitor an unlimited number of tanks and provides graphs and details of water levels history, estimated usage and alerts and notifications for different levels or rapid water level changes. All this information is available on a smartphone and alerts can be delivered by SMS text message, app notification and email. You don’t even need to be running an irrigation system to use IMS for monitoring your water storage.

Please contact us now for further details.

Water-Insight are also continuing to evolve and add scheduling capabilities to accommodate more complex irrigation needs. This is part of our ongoing commitment to make it simple for farmers to manage their own irrigation needs.