OpenSprinkler Forums Hardware Questions OpenSprinkler Clones

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    I’m preparing to purchase & install an OpenSprinkler Pi system on my property to replace a 12-zone Rainbird unit. Just for kicks, I searched for OpenSprinkler on Amazon and found this:

    16 zones (which is fine for me as I only need 11) and it uses OpenSprinkler as the OS. It has an ethernet port, so I can use a Powerline networking adapter I already have to get it on the network. At ~1/3 the cost of an OSPI setup, it might be worth dealing with the USB firmware upgrades.

    No enclosure and, of course, no community support on this forum for the hardware since it’s not an OSP device.

    I’m inclined to continue with my OSPi project just for the community support and, of course, to support the OSP team.

    Has anyone tried this yet, or would I be the first experimenter, if I decided to purchase it? 😉



    I use the Raspberry Pi version 1.0 of the board (I think they’re on 2.0 now) and it works fine. I don’t believe there’s an RTC on it but I set it up to use NTP and it works fine. With the Raspberry Pi one, I have been able to upgrade OpenSprinkler via the web interface.

    Just put it in use about a month ago but so far no complaints, everything has worked great.

    FYI, their products seem cheaper if you order them direct:

    The one you linked to is a little different but thus far mine has been fine. I have 10 zones which is why that option was attractive to me.



    The TIAO sprinkler controller was recently brought to my attention. It is basically a clone of OpenSprinkler, but be aware that their product has no enclosure. While it’s true that it’s cheaper than OpenSprinkler, let’s be fair: they don’t pay for R&D, and they provide no support to customers either (see below for details). Most importantly, I would like to point out that the creator of TIAO did something dishonest and unethical: they did not mention anywhere on their product page that the hardware design is based on OpenSprinkler; and they have not fully open-sourced their product — if you check their documentation, it only has a diagram of the circuit board, with no schematic or part list. Everything on their webpage seems to suggest that this is their original work, and it’s only until you start using the software that you realize it’s based on OpenSprinkler. This is against the open-source license. I have contacted the seller about this and have so far received no response.

    I fully embrace the open-source ideology and am happy to see OpenSprinkler being cloned, and I believe the seller should have the basic honesty of acknowledging us and giving us courtesy of inventing the hardware and writing the software.

    I also want to point out that by buying their product you run the risk of having no support. In fact, the very reason I came to notice TIAO is that a customer who bought their product submitted support ticket to us. After a bunch of back-and-forth emails, I came to realize that he is using a clone that’s neither manufactured nor sold by us. This is very confusing and we certainly don’t have the resources of providing support to products that are not made by us.

    In addition, please keep in mind these devices make use of our cloud services which we pay for. We have been monitoring the device types and may exercise our right to block these 3rd party devices, if financially necessary.

    OpenSprinkler being an open-source product, I am happy to see it replicated and improved. However, any 3rd party manufacturer of OpenSprinkler should at least acknowledge us for our work, and should provide their own cloud services and customer support. This is really basic ethics.



    They’ve since updated the listing to include a (small) mention of OpenSprinkler, but it’s not prominent enough, IMHO.

    The least they could do is donate a portion of sales to support the cloud services.

    Either way, I’m going to continue with my OSPi project.

    Thanks, Ray.




    I agree with everything you have said about the competing product. I would hope that most (like me) would not ask you for hardware support on a competitor’s device. That having been said, I have been using the TAIO model for 4 months now and yes, I have contributed to the open source project with my posts and with subsequent purchases from you (The RF Toy so I could hook up my light controllers along with the receivers and transmitter of yours. I also then purchased your Open Garage Door). While I may not have purchased the same amount of $$$$ products as your sprinkler controller, I have indeed been driven to your site and aforementioned purchases because I had never heard of Open Sprinkler before finding the TAIO device.

    I for one appreciate and applaud your work and embrace every bit of it and will continue to do so in the future.




    Quite unexpectedly, the maker of TIAO actually responded to my email. Although I still don’t see where they mentioned on their site (particularly the Amazon product page), at least it’s good to start a conversation.

    As an academic scholar, what I care about primarily is being recognized for doing useful work. I am very happy to see others build their products on top of ours — that’s an important point of the open-source culture: being able to build on top of each other’s work, as opposed to reinventing the wheels.

    We don’t want a share of their sales, all we want is to reference us on their product webpage. This is a simple request that I don’t see why the maker of TIAO wouldn’t do it.



    As I said, the OpenSprinkler mention isn’t prominent enough, but it is there in the detailed product description.

    Ray, what about adding some language in the OSS license about branding?

    You could simply require that third-party commercial products include “Powered by OpenSprinkler”?



    When I purchased the TIAO, it actually didn’t mention anything about being “OpenSprinkler compatible” and I was really just planning on writing my own while looking at what their software did. Like many projects, it went on the shelf for a while and when I picked it back up was when I actually found the OpenSprinkler project. So while I would be happy to help support the OpenSprinkler project financially, I didn’t know about it until I purchased the TIAO.



    Hello Ray,
    Shutting these down is not fair to guys like me who were simply surfing through amazon and found these taio devices for sale. My timer was ready to die when i stumbled on to this device you are speaking of. I will admit that i did not do much research on it. I did do a quick comparison on amazon for smart controllers and everything else seemed to be too expensive. I remember seeing a rainbird, a orbit in the really primitive comparison i did. I dont remember seeing any of your products although it has been a few months back and i may not remember seeing them. Knowing what i know now after trying to find a manual for my product I will just get a product from open sprinkler when the time comes and everybody knows the time will eventually come as electronics dont last forever. Ps: I will admit i did find the most support for my product on this site. What i can do for you if you want is review my order on amazon and mention open sprinkler design. I wont be too harsh on taio though because they did deliver what i asked for.

    Martin Jones



    They added this line to the discrition:

    Authorized to use OpenSprinkler cloud service – thanks to OpenSprinkler!
    Please contact us directly for support questions!




    Given that they’ve acknowledged us on their product page, we’ve temporarily arrived at an agreement and will not block their devices. Still, I think they should provide their own cloud server instead of relying on ours.

    Since a couple of months ago, we’ve added OpenSprinkler to Amazon, so customers can purchase our product from Amazon as well.



    I just bought an opensprinkler pi. I have a pi 3 sitting around that I got free. I’m looking forward to setting all this up this weekend.

    Just a FYI it seems as though TIAO is “currently working on the next generation of the TIAO smart sprinkler controller” from here:

    So they must be still selling the clones enough to make it worth while to put development time into it.

    I bought the O.S. hardware because O.S. is running the cloud servers and it’s a way of kicking some money to support that, even though I will mostly not be using the cloud server (since I have a permanent VPN to the remote site the sprinklers are at)



    Thanks for pointing this out. Not sure what their plan is. I personally don’t mind them selling clones. We don’t even ask them for their financial contributions, but they are quite unethical about giving us credit for software and hardware development. Their amazon product page does not mention OpenSprinkler anywhere — ‘OpenSprinkler’ only appears in the reviews, and appears in almost every post on their forum. I am not sure why they have to be so sneaky about it — when their customers get the product they will see that the software is OpenSprinkler, so I don’t understand why they can’t do the minimal ethical thing of acknowledging us for our contributions. In any case, at least we are not getting support tickets from their customers like a few years ago, so at least we are not also providing customer support for their systems, lol.

    Just did a bit more research on this after I posted. It seems their ‘next generation’ product is in the plan since 2017:
    so I don’t think this is any recent news.

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OpenSprinkler Forums Hardware Questions OpenSprinkler Clones