Irrigation controller is an appliance used extensively in the field of irrigation to operate various systems including water sprinklers, drip irrigation systems etc. In ancient times, when there was not much of a technical help, sluice gates were taken in use to permit or block the passage of water.
Most of the irrigation controllers taken in use can be made to work according to pre-fixed frequencies. This allows one to fix the starting time and even the watering duration before-hand.
Recent developments in this field have made it possible for the owners to pre-determine different watering frequencies for different kinds of plants. One gets the added advantage of programs that facilitate rain delay settings and inbuilt applications that provide inbuilt sensors for rain, frost etc.
Types and working principle of an irrigation controllers
Irrigation controllers are essentially of two types- electric or hydraulic. The majority of irrigation valves that operate automatically are basically diaphragm valves which require water above the diaphragm to be discharged for its proper opening. Most of the new irrigation systems take in use electromechanical irrigation controllers.
These remain connected to an in-built electric circuit that in turn runs a solenoid attached to each of the valves. Every time the solenoid actuates, water stored above the diaphragm gets discharged and the valve opens up. The new irrigation controllers are provided with an in-built “smart controller”. This is helpful in saving both time and labor as it relieves one of the arduous tasks of changing the controller several times according to the season and other factors.
These are also equipped with “ET controllers” or “evapotranspiration controllers” that deal with the balancing between transpiration and evaporation related requirements. Specific sensors fitted in the machine facilitate automatic updating procedure related to different weather seasons.
Domestic irrigation controlling devices are used for minor gardening purposes in normal households.
Professional irrigation controller is also available in the market that irrigate in sync with the required volume and even receive feedback from the procedure that acts, according to the actual events.
Central Sensor System in an irrigation controller
The modern irrigation controllers come loaded with a central sensor system that can look over the proper functioning of valves located at remote places. The central controlling device sends signals to individual satellite irrigation controllers that are in close proximity to the individual valves.
These also measure the actual water flowing rate and adjust the irrigation procedure accordingly so as to suit the requirements.