July 06, 2007
| by Arlen Schweiger
Even though the 1970s are long past, green is the hot color again these days. Energy conservation and environmentalism are at the top of the hot button list, especially in the world of electronics. The folks at Cyber-Rain have incorporated the PC, Internet and wireless technology to help consumers conserve water (and save on their water bills) with their XCI smart sprinkler controller.
The Cyber-Rain XCI is an eight-zone sprinkler controller system that the company says is especially effective in cities and communities with severe water shortages. Using PC-based software, you can conveniently set your watering schedule.
Other cool aspects that the software allows for, according to Cyber-Rain, include:
- Daily Weather Checks: The system will automatically check your local weather forecast several times a day via the Internet and make adjustments in your watering schedule. If the forecast is for rain, the system will stop watering for 24 hours.
- Automatic Water Savings: After every weather check, the system will change the percentage of watering each zone needs, based on the humidity and precipitation forecasted in your area.
- Cycle and Soak Feature: Cyber-Rain breaks the watering schedule into Cycle & Soak segments to eliminate wasteful water runoff. You can customize the pattern for each zone individually depending on the type of soil or slope of your yard.
- Watering Index: A guideline used to adjust your watering schedule based on seasonal changes, it calculates percentage of water needed in your area based on seasonality and number of minutes currently programmed for each zone. Cyber-Rain uses the Watering Index table if your PC is offline.
- Sod and Seed and Fertilizing Features: Allows you to temporarily increase the percentage of water in a specific zone and will gradually and automatically return to the normal schedule.
- Tracks Water Usage: The controller wirelessly reports to the PC every time each sprinkler comes on. You can use the activity report for fine tuning your schedule or keeping track of water usage for individual zones.
The system uses a USB port and connects wirelessly to your sprinkler controller to automatically transmit changes in the schedule. With additional controllers, more zones can be added, using the same software to be managed.
The XCI is available at www.cyber-rain.com for $295. Additional controllers are $245.
Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.