HOME  |  NEWS  |  BLOGS  |  MESSAGES  |  FEATURES  |  VIDEOS  |  WEBINARS  |  INDUSTRIES  |  FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
  |  REGISTER  |  LOGIN  |  HELP
Page 1/3  >  >>
Jon Titus
User Rank
Blogger
Total cost, about $30
Jon Titus   7/11/2012 5:22:31 PM
NO RATINGS
I have a well-stocked supply of electronic "stuff," so this project won't cost more than about $US 30. I have bi-color (green-red) LEDs, small toggle switches, a few resistors, and wire on hand.  I just ordered a heavy-duty case and some contact strips.

This primitive blog tool won't let me post a schematic diagram of the simple circuit, so I have put it here: http://www.hendrielane.com/Sprinkler.jpg

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Total cost, about $30
Charles Murray   7/11/2012 7:03:26 PM
NO RATINGS
Jon: The dilemma you cite -- putting all the bells and whistles in software -- is one that has confounded the auto industry, too. Doing such things in software, you end up with a series of nested menus and a manual in your lap.

Jon Titus
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Total cost, about $30
Jon Titus   7/11/2012 7:07:23 PM
NO RATINGS
True.  In a few years we'll probably look for a new car.  I hope to find one without all sorts of confounding electronics.  I like gadgets as much as anyone, but they shouldn't stand in the way of getting things done as easily as possible.

Chipmonger
User Rank
Iron
Re: Total cost, about $30
Chipmonger   7/11/2012 7:10:02 PM
NO RATINGS
I did almost the same many years ago by placing a single switch in the common lead to the sprinkler valves.  Where I live, we frequently have a few consecutive days of morning showers. During those days I open the switch thus disabling the valves. During the drier days, I close the switch and watering resumes as programmed. I located the switch indoors to make it convenient. More recently, I replaced the switch with a relay. The relay is connected to a low-power embedded web server. I can now control it from my iPad.

Jon Titus
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Total cost, about $30
Jon Titus   7/11/2012 7:30:06 PM
NO RATINGS
That's cool.  Contact Design News editor Rob Spiegel about submitting it as a Gadget Freak:  rob.spiegel@ubm.com.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Total cost, about $30
Rob Spiegel   7/11/2012 9:07:49 PM
NO RATINGS
Good luck finding a car without confounding electronics, Jon. Some of those electronics, though, can be pretty handy. Some are annoying, though. My Taurus locks the backdoors when I turn off the ignition. If I have passangers or packages in the backseat, I have to remember to unlock the doors before exiting the car.

naperlou
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Total cost, about $30
naperlou   7/12/2012 9:37:15 AM
NO RATINGS
Well, Chuck, the UI can be better.  I have the same brand of sprinkler system.  I find it interesting that the controller box in the picture looks fancier more colorful, but is EXACTLY the same as the one I have.  I guess that in a business like this, the core competency is not the controller, but the system parts.  There are lots of controller electronics and displays that would make this easy and do what Jon wants.  On the other hand, Jon's solution is a good one.  We have exactly the same problem.

JRThro
User Rank
Iron
Re: Total cost, about $30
JRThro   7/12/2012 10:09:01 AM
NO RATINGS
Charles Murray, you're absolutely right about that.

I own a 2008 Saturn Astra, and I'm completely unable to set the clock without referring to the owner's manual. I can never remember the steps required to get to the clock controls via the car's "Board Computer" and display, because it's not something I need to do very often.

I also own a 2011 Kia Sedona, and it's very simple to set the clock: push the "Hour" button to increment the hours, and push the "Minute" button to increment the minutes.  That's the *right* way to design the controls for a car's clock.

streetrodder
User Rank
Gold
Re: Total cost, about $30
streetrodder   7/12/2012 10:11:24 AM
NO RATINGS
Nice mod, Jon.

I work for a large healtchcare system and one of our ongoing challenges is helping nurse users struggle through multiple layers of menus to set up medical equipment.  The equipment is designed by people that love technology for people that don't really care about how 'cool' it is; they just want to take care of patients.  Simply put, nurses are people focussed, we tend to be equipment focussed.

Perhaps we can all learn a lesson in user interfaces from this.

mrmikel
User Rank
Iron
Sprinkler troubles
mrmikel   7/12/2012 4:57:57 PM
NO RATINGS
The issue is appropriate technology.  Sometimes that means very little technology at all.  If these companies had a brain, they would provide something simple at the same price as now and sell their complicated unit at an additional price.  They would limit support issues and make more money.


Engineers are not immune to the "See How Clever I Am" syndrome.

Page 1/3  >  >>


Partner Zone
Latest Analysis
Battery maker LG Chem Power Inc. plans to offer a new cell chemistry that could serve as the foundation for an affordable electric car with a 200-mile driving range by 2017.
The amount of plastic clogging the ocean continues to grow. Some startling, not-so-good news has come out recently about the roles plastic is playing in the ocean, as well as more heartening news about efforts to collect and reuse it.
New developments in sensors span a wide range of applications in all areas of manufacturing and plant automation.
Some of our culture's most enduring robots appeared in the 80s. The Aliens series produced another evil android, and we saw light robot fare in the form of Short Circuit. Two of the great robots of all time also showed up: The Terminator and RoboCop.
Two students have created a voice-command system for our homes, based on the simple and affordable Raspberry Pi.
More:Blogs|News
Design News Webinar Series
7/23/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
7/17/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
6/25/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
5/13/2014 10:00 a.m. California / 1:00 p.m. New York / 6:00 p.m. London
Quick Poll
The Continuing Education Center offers engineers an entirely new way to get the education they need to formulate next-generation solutions.
Aug 4 - 8, Introduction to Linux Device Drivers
SEMESTERS: 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6


Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.
Next Class: August 12 - 14
Sponsored by igus
Learn More   |   Login   |   Archived Classes
Twitter Feed
Design News Twitter Feed
Like Us on Facebook

Sponsored Content

Technology Marketplace

Copyright © 2014 UBM Canon, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service