Thursday, September 13, 2012

All things video: the old, the new & the massive!

I recently produced a video for the Urban Conservation Unit (UCU). This short piece heralds the arrival of a user-friendly wireless soil moisture sensor (SMS) for use in residential and modest-scale commercial irrigation systems.

Spaghetti be gone!
Although an effective method for preventing unnecessary irrigation, one of the shortcomings of traditional SMS technology is all the wiring that’s involved in the installation. The add-on SMS pictured below has seven wires on its controller to connect to the automated timer in order to communicate with the buried sensor component.
oodles of noodles: an SMS add-on device controller
The sensor component wires into a zone valve and often requires extension wire to reach the ideal installation location (driest spot in landscape). Proper installation introduces the labor intensive wire trenching/wire concealing process.
Step one: the wire trench to extend the sensor to the sunny area
Step two: now you see it, now you don't!
In cases where walkways, driveways and other obstructions impede the wiring route to the ideal location, compromises must be made that may limit the technology’s water-saving potential. In other instances, obstacles may discourage installation altogether.
A modern-age SMS
The wireless SMS has two components.
From left: wireless sensor and receiver
The receiver connects to the digital timer through the timer’s rain sensor ports; it is powered by the 24V timer ports. The sensor can communicate with the receiver at a distance of up to 500 feet; it is powered by 3 AA batteries.
Another innovative aspect is how this device portrays soil moisture. In the calibration process, it will designate field capacity (water content held in soil after excess has drained away) as 100. From there, as the soil dries the reading will decrease.
Gainesville, FL: one of 3 wireless SMS installed in on-campus irrigation plot
Once the moisture value reaches 50 or below, the sensor will again allow irrigation events. This kind of scale greatly simplifies the concept of maximum allowable depletion for the everyday consumer.
See the video here.
The City Beautiful: a wireless SMS trailblazer!
Less than one month following the release of the wireless SMS video, the UCU was already in Coral Gables evaluating a wireless SMS installation! We shot a micro-video to commemorate the occasion.
Going statewide
Recently, Citrus County in west FL loved one classic video about weather-based timers so much, they contacted the UCU to share news of plans to embed the short on the website the county is using to promote water conservation and an irrigation rebate program!
The 15K club
And lastly, in August the UCU celebrated the fifteen thousandth viewing of the Spanish-language drip irrigation video we produced just over a year ago. Yes, drip irrigation is that popular and rightly so!
Claro que les gusta: delivering water right to the roots!