I’m developing a Hazelnut orchard in Oregon and deploying a drip irrigation system to water each tree. After much work, I’ve decided to use the OpenSprinklerPI box in a distributed system to control the zones. I’m broadcasting a WiFi connection throughout the orchard and talk to the controllers. Each controller support 4 zones which will be turned on and off by the controller. In addition, each zone have a pressure indicator which will inform the controller once the zone pressurizes. There will be a master controller that will communicate with the distributed controllers as well as turning on/off the water pump.
I’ve been researching the use of solar panels, connected to a 12 volt battery, to power the controllers and the values. So far I’ve been experimenting with the “40 Watt 12VDC to 24VAC Pure Sine Wave DC/AC Inverter” from PowerStream (http://www.powerstream.com/inv-12dc-24vac.htm) with limited success. With some fiddling, I can get the Pi to boot and run using wired ethernet. I can run programs in OSPi and turn on and off valve solenoids. One issue seems to relate to the USB port. If I plug a Edimax wifi adaptor into a USB port, it will not run correctly. If the wired ethernet is connected, it will not work with the Edimax plugged into the USB port. I believe the ethernet uses the USB bus and so I suspect there is a power problem related to the required 5 vdc needed for USB.
I’d be more than happy to work with Ray’s hobby to get this to work. I could send you a PowerStream Inverter, for example.
BTW, I have a PhD in Electrical Engineering from Stanford and was a Professor at Cornell for several years. My BS and MS are from UMass and I lived in Amherst for 5 years. I’m also pretty familiar with Debian linux…