I installed an Arduino version for half my yard, and just installed the PI version in the other half of my yard. I also installed a PI version in my wife’s raised bed vegetable gardens (one zone per bed). My wife (more interested in gardening than geek stuff) really likes it. I also tested Dan’s Python version (Now called SID).
My reactions to all three:
If all I wanted was to plug in a controller and use it without modifications, I’d use the Arduino version. It is much more self-contained, doesn’t have to boot an operating system, boots faster, and is probably much more reliable than the PI, not being dependent on an SD card. But modifying the controller is much more difficult, if not impossible for certain tasks. There is no SSH shell available, you have to upload an entire new program to change anything.
If I wanted a reliable (and compatible) controller that I could run as a “production” controller but still run other programs, I would go with the PI or Beaglebone version of the unified firmware. This takes more setup time, but provides far greater expandability and customization. But it also requires more geek work to set up. I’m currently in a geeky mood, so this fits my current interests very well. I love being able to SSH into the controller and look at things, add a CPU temperature channel on ThingSpeak (see https://thingspeak.com/channels/41518 ) and monitor the status of my system with a simple Unix command (“watch curl http://osbedroom.local:8080/js” shows which zones, if any, are activated – replace osbedroom.local with your local IP address, turn off passwords on the site )
If I wanted to explore even more leading-edge PI technology, I would go back to Dan’s Python program. I really liked the openness and the overall general architecture and plug-in approach. But it wasn’t compatible with my previous Arduino system, and I wanted to have a reliable production controller that I could use as a foundation for my own techie adventures. It sure would be nice to have the best of both worlds… a solid core system that will run across Arduino and PI platforms compatibly, but also a plug-in (and REST API interface) capability to mod it as well.
All in all, I am delighted with the technology. It’s running well (fingers crossed), and I’m having fun analyzing flows and logs.