Pre-Season Checks for IPCs with Cloud IMS

This application note describes a method for identifying IPCs that may need servicing. This is ideal for pre-season checks, but the method is equally valid at any time.
Important Consideration when looking at Battery or IPC Replacement
If an IPC has had limited sun exposure over winter, the battery charge % may be low. As we move into Summer, the battery may very well recharge as expected.

This guide assumes some familiarity with IMS and EP3 use, if this is not the case please refer to the full application note and/or the EP3 user guide.

Before performing field work ensure the following:

  • Latest firmware (V5.x or later) is loaded on your EP3
  • EP3 time is set correctly
  • Spare EP3 batteries are available
  • Magnet is on hand
Create a Report from IMS
  1. Select Sprinklers from the farm card
  2. Click the Filter icon (funnel) and select the units you want to see (e.g. select “out of contact” for units that have not communicated for 30 days).
  3. Select the Display Sprinklers List icon.
  4. Sort the list in the order that you wish (typically alphabetically by IPC name) using the Sort icon.
  5. Click the more icon (3 dots) and select Export PDF report. This will generate a report in PDF format and copy it to your downloads folder or if you are on a phone provide options to share via email or store the file.
  6. Print the report to a printer and take it with you to the farm site.
Export Site Configuration and Create a SD Card
  • Create a SD card
  • Install it in your EP3
  • Load the IPC File (podlist) and Schedule File
On Site Investigation

You can use your device to help guide you to the identified IPCs of interest.

  • Select Sprinklers from the farm card
  • Filter the view to the desired IPCs (e.g. out of contact)
  • You can select the user icon on the map to show your current location if you wish

Investigate each IPC in turn

  1. Visual checks
    • Confirm solar panel is clean
    • Solenoid wires are connected correctly
    • Storage magnet is not installed
    • No physical damage to IPC
  2. Check serial number of IPC matches that in podlist(EP3)/IMS report
  3. Send a Status request
    • Confrim the IPC responds, check the battery charge %, schedule matches and time is correct
  4. If the IPC does not respond, it may be in hibernation – LED flashes briefly every 10s (Refer to Effect of Battery Charge % on IPC Behaviour)
    Briefly place a magnet on the IPC magnet label
    Confirm LED fast flashes (entered bootloader mode)
    If LED does not start flashing the battery may be completely flat

  1. Once the LED stops flashing you will have about 10-20s in which the IPC will respond to another status request.
    If the battery charge % is unexpectedly low you may wish to replace the battery or replace/service the IPC
  2. If IPC does not respond to a status request, but did respond to magnet (fast flashing LED), first check the firmware version is as required for your site
  3. Confirm channel and/or Farm ID (V5) are set correctly
  4. Check Solenoid Operation
    • Perform manual ON and OFF commands and confirm sprinkler starts/stops (if water is available) or solenoid clicks (no water available)
Actions

If an IPC needs replacing, has a flat battery or if the charge % is unexpectedly low:

Related Documents
AN36 –Pre-Season Checks for IPCs with Cloud IMS
EP3 User Guide   Upgrading Firmware on the EP3   Importing and Exporting using IMS   Replacing an IPC in the Field   Discovering IPC firmware version  IPC Firmware Upgrade Guide   How to Discover the Radio Channel of an IPC  Changing the Radio Channel and/or Farm ID of an IPC   Effect of Battery Charge % on IPC Behaviour   Replacing an IPC Battery