NOTE: This page documents the most commonly asked questions. For additional help, please visit the Support page, or use the Forums to report issues.

General Questions

What is OpenSprinkler?

OpenSprinkler is an open-source, web-based sprinkler / irrigation controller. It’s a drop-in replacement for conventional sprinkler controllers that are not web connected. A web-connected controller like OpenSprinkler provides the following advantages:

  • Intuitive User Interface (UI): no more messing with buttons and knobs, no more running to your garage to make a single sprinkler program change. Instead, use web browsers and mobile apps to set or change sprinkler programs. The web interface is much more intuitive than a small LCD screen.
  • Remote Access: you can access your OpenSprinkler anywhere and at any time, whether you are at home, at office, or traveling away.
  • Smart Control: OpenSprinkler can connect to the Internet and use real-time weather data (including historic and forecast data) to automatically make water time adjustments. It not only stops watering when it rains, but also scales water time up and down based on your local temperature and humidity.
Who is OpenSprinkler for?

OpenSprinkler is for homeowners as well as business owners including churches, farms, business parks, ranches, and sprinkler service professionals. Its applications include lawn and garden watering, plant irrigation, drip irrigation, hydroponics. It’s low-cost and expandable: it can scale from a few zones for a modest house up to 56 for a large business installations. Our app lets you to access multiple OpenSprinklers together for unlimited coverage.

 

How many zones does it support?

The main controller supports 8 zones. Each expansion board adds 16 zones. The current firmware supports a maximum of 56 zones (three expansion boards).

 

How many programs does it support? What about program schedule dates and start times?

The most recent firmware supports up to 17 programs. Each program allows an individual water time for every station (from 0 to 18 hours, in units of seconds), and two different types schedule dates: 1) weekly schedule where you can select any combination of weekdays; 2) interval schedule where you can set the program to run every n days (n is between 2 to 127).

Each program also allows two types of start times: 1) up to 4 fixed start times; or 2) repeating start times (e.g. start at 8:30am, repeat every 45 minutes for 8 times). The flexible start times can accommodate both situations where the program needs to run at arbitrary given start times, and situations where the program needs to repeat regularly for many times during a day.

 

How is OpenSprinkler different from competitors?

Web-based sprinkler controller is not a new idea. OpenSprinkler differs from similar products on the market in the following aspects:

  • OpenSprinkler’s has a built-in web interface and runs programs on its own. It does not rely on proprietary or PC-only software, or cloud-only software. The web interface works with any modern (including mobile) browser. The HTTP API is well documented and allows local access without going through cloud server. Our mobile app is free and supports all major platforms.
  • You can easily expand the number of stations. The cost is considerably cheaper than competing products on the market.
  • The software provides an advanced set of features, such as support for rain sensor, flow sensor, manual control using buttons, special station such as remote, radio frequency (RF), GPIO, and HTTP stations. It offers flexible program start times, graphical preview of program schedules and logging data, custom zone and program names, support to run zones either in sequence or parallel, water time down to one second. These features are rarely found in competing products.
  • OpenSprinkler is shipped worldwide, and supports 20+ different languages.
  • OpenSprinkler is built on open-source hardware and software. Its design files are publicly available. There is a strong educational aspect of it. If you are a technical developer, you can easily customize and extend its functionality, both software and hardware.

Installation and Usage

What’s included in the package?

The package includes one OpenSprinkler controller (8 zones). The optional add-ons include sprinkler transformer, wireless adapter, and zone expansion boards (each adds 16 zones). The reason transformer is an optional add-on is that if you have an existing sprinkler controller you can reuse the sprinkler transformer, hence there is no need to buy a new one. Also, International customers should be aware of their country’s powerline voltage standard and source appropriate transformers on their own.

Note: OpenSprinkler DC version comes with a universal DC power adapter.

 

Does OpenSprinkler have built-in wireless?

Not yet. Many customers prefer wired connection instead of wireless, due to signal strength and security concerns. OpenSprinkler currently only supports wired Ethernet cable connection. Wireless connection is possible by using a WiFi adapter (optional add-on) or alternatively powerline network adapters. Please refer to the Web Connections section below.

 

How do I install OpenSprinkler?

OpenSprinkler is designed to be a drop-in replacement of your conventional sprinkler controller. Whether you are installing a new system or replacing an existing controller, do-it-yourself (DIY) installation is easy and can be completed within 30 minutes:

  • Carefully label and remove the wires from your existing controller.
  • Replace your existing controller with OpenSprinkler, then re-insert the wires into OpenSprinkler.
  • Attach a wired Ethernet cable; alternatively, use a WiFi adapter or powerline network adapters.
  • Check our tutorial videos in the Support page — Installation section.

 

What type of sprinkler valves can it work with?
  • OpenSprinkler AC version works with standard 24V AC sprinkler valves. It’s compatible with existing 24V AC system, including pump start relays, wireless sensors that require 24V AC power.
  • OpenSprinkler DC version works with both 24V AC sprinkler valves as well as 12V DC valves. It comes with a universal (worldwide) power adapter, which is particularly useful for International customers. However, for certain 24V AC pump start relays and wireless sensors that require 24V AC power, you may need a separate 24V AC power supply.

 

Is the controller waterproof?

No, the controller is not waterproof and should not be installed outdoors without protection. For outdoor installation, you can buy an off-the-shelf waterproof enclosure, which usually comes with a built-in power outlet, and enough space to fit one OpenSprinkler, a couple of expansion boards, and WiFi adapter.

 

What sensors does OpenSprinkler support?

OpenSprinkler currently has one sensor port that can be software configured to accept a rain sensor, a flow sensor, or a program start button. Any off-the-shelf rain sensor is supported, either normally open or normally closed type. By default, dry-contact flow sensors (i.e. two-wire type) are supported, but some three-wire type (powered by 5V) are also supported. The program start button allows you to connect a switch / button to the sensor port and trigger a program by pressing the button. The firmware allows you to choose the sensor type and configure the sensor parameters.

 

Does OpenSprinkler support master zone or pump station?

Yes. OpenSprinkler uses software-defined master zone / pump station, and supports up to 2 master / pump zones. Any of the available stations can be configured as a master / pump zone.

 

Can I use OpenSprinkler to switch devices other than sprinkler valves?

Yes. OpenSprinkler firmware has built-in support for GPIO (general-purpose) IO stations, HTTP stations, and radio frequency (RF) stations. This allows it to directly toggle a spare GPIO pin, send a general HTTP GET command, or talk to RF remote power sockets, which in turn switches any powerline device, such as landscape lights, Christmas lights, pumps, heaters, fans. Details can be found in our blog article. Besides, you can also use 24V AC relays to allow OpenSprinkler to switch other devices. Details can be found in this blog article.

 

What are the LCD and buttons used for?

OpenSprinkler has a built-in LCD screen which displays the current time, zone status, and rain status. The buttons are used to display OpenSprinkler’s IP address, perform emergency stop, and manually start a program on the controller.

 

What happens if I lose power?

OpenSprinkler stores all programs and settings in non-volatile memory. So the data is preserved during power outage.

 

Can OpenSprinkler run offline without web connection?

Once programmed, OpenSprinkler can run offline without network connection at all. The controller has built-in real-time clock and battery for time keeping. You can also manually start an existing or test program on the controller by using buttons.

 

Does OpenSprinkler support soil moisture sensor?

Not yet. Development is under way to integrate soil moisture sensor. As OpenSprinkler is open-source, you can modify the software to include these and additional sensors such as water-level sensor, motion sensor. If you are not familiar with programming, this provides a great motivation to start learning to program.


Web Connections

How do I connect OpenSprinkler to the Internet?

OpenSprinkler has a standard Ethernet jack. If you don’t have an available Ethernet cable in the location where you’re installing OpenSprinkler, you can use either a powerline network adapter or a WiFi adapter. Check the tutorial videos in our Support page for details.

 

How do I access OpenSprinkler?

OpenSprinkler has a built-in web interface that works with both desktop and mobile web browsers, and mobile apps. Just open a browser and type in the controller’s IP address of the controller. The mobile app can automatically scan your local network to discover OpenSprinkler’s IP address. Supported browsers / devices include:

  • Desktop: Google Chrome, Firefox, IE 9+, Apple OSX app, Google Chrome app.
  • Mobile: Apple iOS, Google Android, Amazon Kindle, Windows Mobile, Blackberry.

 

How do I access OpenSprinkler remotely, such as from office?

You can access OpenSprinkler remotely by using the port forwarding feature that’s available on most routers. To do so, you need to log into your router’s configuration page, go to the Port Forwarding section, and set up an entry that maps an external request (from outside your local network) to OpenSprinkler’s IP address and port number. Tutorial videos can be found in the Support page. Once set up, you’ll be able to access OpenSprinkler remotely, by using your router’s external IP address. You can find out your external IP address from your router’s status page, or simple open a browser and search ‘what’s my ip’.

 

Does it support push notifications?

Starting from firmware 2.1.7, OpenSprinkler supports push notifications through IFTTT, which can be configured to send notifications through SMS text message, email, or app notifications. Please check this Support Article for details.

 

If I have multiple OpenSprinklers, can they talk to each other?

Our firmware supports Remote Stations — a feature that allows one OpenSprinkler to function as a master controller sending commands to one or multiple remote controllers to open or close their valves. This is useful if you have a large property with separate clusters of valves.


Shipping Questions

How fast can you ship?

Unless noted otherwise, we ship within 1-2 days after your order is placed. Once shipped, you will get a notification with tracking number.

 

What shipping options do you provide?

For Domestic orders within the United States, we offer Flat-Rate Shipping via USPS. The delivery time is typically 2-4 days across the country.

For International orders, we offer the following options:

  • First-Class — no tracking number, not insured, delivery time 2-6 weeks (varies by country).
  • Priority — trackable and insured, delivery time 2-3 weeks.
  • Express — trackable and insured, delivery time 1-2 weeks.

Note that we are not responsible for customs duty tax payment, which varies from country to country. Also, if you choose the First-Class option, the package is not trackable and we are not responsible for package loss. Sometimes the package can take a long time to clear customs at your destination country. Delivery time varies by country, but 3-4 weeks are typical, and 6-8 weeks are not unseen.

If you have urgent need, please contact us directly (through the Support page) for custom shipping need.


Technical Questions

What’s the difference between OpenSprinkler, OpenSprinkler Pi, and Beagle?

OpenSprinkler is a fully assembled commercial product that works out of the box. OpenSprinkler uses Atmel microcontrollers, and the software is written using the open-source Arduino software.

OpenSprinkler Pi (OSPi) is a sprinkler extension board for Raspberry Pi — it uses Raspberry Pi as the processor. Similarly OpenSprinkler Beagle (OSBo) is for the BeagleBone Black. For these two products, the software is written in Python, and users are expected to have some experience with Raspberry Pi or BeagleBone Black to set up software. Please check the specific product webpages for details.

OpenSprinkler AC or DC OpenSprinkler Pi (OSPi) OpenSprinkler Bee
Compatibility 24V AC sprinkler solenoids. OpenSprinkler DC additionally supports 12V DC solenoids. 9V to 24V DC Latching solenoid
Power Source OS AC and OSPi requires 24VAC (not included by default)
OS DC is versatile: 5V~12VDC (e.g. 5V USB, 12V solar panel). A 7.5VDC adapter is included.
USB
# of Stations 8 (expandable to 56) 8 (expandable to 56) 4
Mobile App Yes Yes
Weather Integration Yes Yes
Logging Support Yes Yes
Processor Atmel Atmega1284 MCU (included) Fits RPi 1 Model A+/B+ or RPi 2 Arduino (sold separately)
Assembly Fully assembled Requires plugging in RPi, and software setup Requires plugging in Arduino
LCD Yes None None
Ethernet Jack Yes Yes (except RPi 1 A+) Arduino Ethernet Shield
WiFi Support WiFi adapter (sold separately) USB dongle (sold separately) Arduino WiFi Shield (sold separately)
Firmware Unified OS Firmware Unified OS Firmware, Python Interval program
Google Calendar program
Arduino Demo programs
Firmware Upgrade via USB via Network Not applicable
Targeted to Everyone RPi enthusiasts Arduino enthusiasts
Price $150 OSPi: $80 + $40 (RPi and uSD card) $30 + $25 (Arduino)
Package includes OS controller, terminal blocks, with enclosure Fully assembled OSPi board, terminal
blocks, with enclosure. RPi not included.
Fully assembled OSBee board,
terminal blocks (Arduino NOT included)
Enclosure Yes, injection molded Yes, laser cut acrylic
Optional Add-ons 24VAC adapter, WiFi adapter.
(OSDC includes a universal power adapter).
24VAC adapter, WiFi dongle, uSD card Arduino Ethernet / WiFi Shileds
Bottom-Line Price $170 (including WiFi) $140 (including RPi, WiFi, uSD) $45~$55 (including Arduino)

 

What’s the maximum distance allowed between the controller and the valves?

This depends on the wire gauge (AWG) that you are using to connect the valves. In general, you can run up to 700 ft (200 m) with 20 AWG wires, 1000 ft (300 m) with 18 AWG wires, and 1500 ft (450 m) with 16 AWG wires. Thicker wires allow longer distances.

 

What’s the maximum distance allowed between the main controller and extension boards?

Again, this depends on the wire gauge (AWG) of the extension cable. The default cable shipped with expansion boards is a 24 AWG 15-inch long cable. You can extend the length by using a custom cable with thicker wires.

 

Can I connect the sprinkler valves with garden hoses?

Sure. You will most likely need an NTP (National Pipe Thread) to GHT (Garden Hose Thread) adapter which you can get online or at local stores.

 

How do I upgrade firmware?

Being an open-source product, OpenSprinkler continues to evolve and we release new firmwares regularly to improve its features and functionality. Currently, firmware upgrade is done through the USB port on the controller. All you need is a USB cable, and the cross-platform firmware update program that we provide. Please check the Support page for firmware upgrade instructions and tutorial video. In the future, we will support upgrading firmware directly through the web interface.

 

How can I set a static IP address?

The recommended way to set static IP address is by using your router’s DHCP Reservation or Bind IP to MAC feature.

Alternatively, you can set a static IP address on OpenSprinkler by turning off OpenSprinkler’s DHCP option, then manually set a static IP and the gateway (i.e. router) IP. Note that you must set the router IP correctly in order for all features to function correctly.

 

How do I restore settings to factory default?

Turn off OpenSprinkler. Then press and hold button B1 while turning it back on, until you see the message ‘Reset All’? Click B1 to select Yes, then press and hold B3 until the controller restarts and finishes resetting.

 

Can I develop my own app, or use my own scripts to interface with OpenSprinkler?

Absolutely. Please refer to the Support page for API documentation.