I agree with Samer… The OSPI has always announced itself as a test bed for experimentation and addons…. I think it is great as a “science experiment” – and billed itself as such. The Unified Firmware is a much more solid tool, with a lot of addon potential through APIs and modifying the Open Source software itself.
Given the California rebate situation, (>1 acre of irrigated area pays $35/zone for a smart controller listed on the rebate list), I am installing 3 Rachio controllers now for my 45 zone system. In some ways, I like Rachio better (better documentation, customer support, communication reliability, ET algorithm (I think). It also has cool ITTT integration, to build simple rules to capture events and react to them (e.g. add a row to a google spreadsheet when a run finishes) But in other ways, it is inferior to OS. It can only hold a max of 16 stations; the wires have to be fed through a very small channel, for no apparent reason other than they thought it would look cool that way. The controller snaps over the wiring block, so you can access the wires without disconnecting the controller, making it a pain to debug (or even see) the wiring. The app has some serious User interface problems, (e.g. you can’t tap on a zone and turn it on, you have to get out of the edit mode, open the key pad, reselect the zone, and hope that you don’t put it into an “all zones” water cycle by accident. So, all is not nirvana.
I really like the hardware and software that Ray and Samer and others are putting out. Congrats to all … The OS is MUCH easier to install with its terminal blocks and expansion boxes, the user interface is on par or better than the Rachio. I think that the open source community around the OS hasn’t reached critical mass yet; a larger group could deliver greater benefits to all.
I looked at the Rain Bird system – it would have required a $1600 communications add on board to a $750 48 station controller to get the full ET/communications/logging capability on a dedicated PC (Last thing I want to do is run another PC full time to run my sprinklers). These are selling very well to commercial applications- why would they want to introduce a free app to replace this? At the same time, the public (and old-time irrigation guys) look in horror at a controller without a dial. They just can’t imagine I can run my sprinklers from my phone (or watch).
Anyway, I do think that there is great potential for an open source sprinkler initiative, but there is a huge gap between what folks buy at Home Depot or their irrigation store and what modern technology can provide.
And yes, it would be enormously valuable to be on the accepted rebate list…
So, I’m not giving up on Open Sprinkler, just taking side excursion 🙂