Water your lawn smart with the Rainmachine Touch HD-12
copyright Green Electronics, used with permission
Rainmachine Touch HD-12
Watering a lawn hasn’t changed all that much over the years — instead of someone dragging a water sprinkler from one corner of the lawn to the other, now there’s automated sprinklers sunk into the ground that pop up and dispense liquid according to a timer. But something that’s so 20th Century can’t cut it in today’s world where water just isn’t the universally available commodity it once was. And with states having to fight off drought conditions (like California, for example), leaving it up to a digital timer just doesn’t cut it anymore.
That’s why the RainMachine Touch HD-12 makes so much sense — and not just because it’s so simple to “slip” it into the sprinkler system already in place to be the brain taking over control. It’s because of what the Touch can do — a simple to understand starting position being it has the ability to control up to 12 “zones” (there are models that do less also) so it’s not like you have to treat the entire area that the sprinklers are covering like they were a single unit. Obviously that “brain” needs to be smart, so instead of just some chips tossed around it’s actually an Android computer working the sprinklers.
So why is hooking up the RainMachine Touch HD-12 to the sprinkler system so it can take the place of the electronic “brain” which controls when the water is going to flow such a big deal? For one thing, that timer we mentioned earlier had a distinct lack of intelligence — for example, if it’s just rained an hour before the sprinkler’s timer is to go on, shouldn’t the sprinklers NOT go on this time? With the Touch, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to use it, but you’re a lot closer to that when it’s up and running. This is for two reasons.
The first is connectivity: the Touch can interact with your smartphone or tablet (iOS/Android) and communicate back/forth. So you not only can know what it knows, but tell it what to do. That’s because it’s using the wireless WiFi home network that’s powering so many other things already. So now you can check on what is going on no matter where you are (providing you use the app and a WiFi hot spot or network — it’s 802.11N tech,by the way). As to what you can do, there are programs to select from and preferences to work through. And for the security minded (which should be all of us now), the Touch doesn’t do any talk-talk over some company server — what rains in your neighborhood stays in your neighborhood, so to speak. Hooked up and with the SoCal weather being so dry, the Touch immediately took charge and began to work the scheduling as to watering the lawn (okay, it didn’t do everything on its own — it’s not Skynet yet remember?). Being able to monitor and control it from afar is cool, but then doing so from within the house or even outside in the backyard has its merits too.
The second thing that makes the RainMachine Touch HD-12 so “smart” is that it is able to connect to national and international weather satellites like NOAA, and so pull in forecasts as close as under 2 miles distance — plus use local weather historical data to calculate how much water is needed in which zone. And as a further positive thing, the Touch stores data days in advance so if the Internet goes down, it doesn’t.
Plus for those who prefer getting their hands “wet,” the controls of the Touch can be worked right on its front as it has a 6.5” LCD touch-screen (you can’t always go mobile).
The RainMachine Touch HD-12 might not sound so sexy when you say what it is — it’s a sprinkler controller at heart — but when you add in the Internet of Things, then people get the idea. But more important than that is how it functions to not just provide a service and allow that service to be monitored and controlled, but also aids in water preservation. That makes the retail of $259.00 pretty smart too.