For Controlling Soil Irrigation Patents (Class 137/78.2)
  • Patent number: 9414552
    Abstract: A smart irrigation system for an irrigation controller associated with an irrigation site is described herein. The smart irrigation system comprises a central control system having a user interface and a smart scheduler. The central control system is configured to receive a landscape information associated with the irrigation site. The landscape information is provided by a user via the user interface. The central control system is further configured to receive an environmental information associated with the irrigation site. The central control system is further configured to derive an irrigation schedule for the irrigation site based on the landscape information and the environmental information. The central control system being further configured to send the irrigation schedule. The smart scheduler comprises a data receiver, a processor, and a signal interface. The data receiver is configured to receive the irrigation schedule.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 2, 2015
    Date of Patent: August 16, 2016
    Assignee: ET WATER SYSTEMS, INC.
    Inventors: Patrick B. Halahan, J. Patrick McIntyre, Mark Coopersmith, Mark Puckett
  • Patent number: 8981946
    Abstract: In one embodiment, the present invention is directed to a soil moisture sensor for interrupting an irrigation schedule of an irrigation controller. The moisture sensor comprises a relatively flat body with two lower electrodes and two lower anchoring barbs. A receiver receives moisture readings from the sensor and compares moisture data to a predetermined moisture interrupt value or limit, over which irrigation is interrupted.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 24, 2012
    Date of Patent: March 17, 2015
    Assignee: The Toro Company
    Inventors: Thomas H. Runge, Jason Lester Hill, James Zimmerman
  • Patent number: 8793024
    Abstract: An irrigation controller has a control panel including a display and a plurality of user inputs. A processor is operatively connected to the control panel and to a memory. A plurality of switches are operatively connected to the processor for turning a power signal ON and OFF to a plurality of valves that deliver water to a plurality of sprinklers in different zones. Programming is stored in the memory for implementing a seasonal adjustment feature that is independently operable with a plurality of individual watering programs to selectively energize the valves. The programming calculates a soil moisture requirement value for each program using a signal from at least one soil moisture sensor that is associated with a zone that is assigned to that watering program, and automatically modifies the watering program assigned to that zone through the seasonal adjust feature based on the soil moisture requirement value.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 25, 2010
    Date of Patent: July 29, 2014
    Assignee: Hunter Industries, Inc.
    Inventors: Peter J. Woytowitz, Jeffrey J. Kremicki, LaMonte D. Porter
  • Patent number: 8649910
    Abstract: Methods and devices are provided to automatically determine plant water requirements and adjust irrigation in order to make efficient use of water. In one implementation an irrigation control unit comprises at least one input configured to be coupled to and receive signals from a temperature sensor, the signals corresponding to current values of temperature. The unit also includes a memory storing historical values of a plurality of variables and a processor coupled to the at least one input and the memory. The processor is configured to determine plant water requirements at least in part using the historical values of the plurality of variables and the current values of the temperature.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 12, 2012
    Date of Patent: February 11, 2014
    Assignee: Rain Bird Corporation
    Inventors: Harvey J. Nickerson, John R. German
  • Patent number: 8504210
    Abstract: Several embodiments provide wireless extensions to an irrigation controller system and related methods of use, as well as other improvements to irrigation control equipment. In one implementation, an irrigation control system includes a transmitter unit including a controller and having a connector to be coupled to an irrigation controller having station actuation output connectors. The controller is configured to receive an indication that the irrigation controller has activated an irrigation station, and is also configured to cause the transmitter unit to transmit a wireless activation signal responsive to the indication. A receiver unit is coupled to an actuator coupled to an actuatable device, such as an irrigation valve, the actuator configured to actuate the irrigation valve to control the flow of water therethrough. The receiver unit receives the wireless activation signal and in response, causes the actuator to actuate the actuatable device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 18, 2012
    Date of Patent: August 6, 2013
    Assignee: Rain Bird Corporation
    Inventors: Mark M. Ensworth, Barbara E. Booth, Dean C. Thornton, David G. Fern, Randall A. Hern, Malcolm N. Napier
  • Patent number: 8443849
    Abstract: An irrigation system draining apparatus adapted for use with an irrigation system having a conduit with a fluid source connection, an air inlet, and at least one output port, the apparatus includes a suction device. The suction device has an input port that is adapted to access an interior of the conduit, and to drain fluid from the conduit by suction when the fluid source connection is closed and the air inlet is open. A method of draining an irrigation system includes closing a fluid source connection for the irrigation system, opening an air inlet of the irrigation system, and using a suction device to drain fluid from the irrigation system conduit through the one output port.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 1, 2008
    Date of Patent: May 21, 2013
    Inventors: Joseph Rosselli, Arto Cinoglu
  • Patent number: 8433448
    Abstract: Various embodiments are described in which different irrigation controllers in an irrigation control system have machine code having a same code base. In one implementation, a first irrigation control unit comprises a processor and a medium storing a first set of machine code to be executed by the processor. The first set is based on a portion of source code on which a second set of machine code stored in a second irrigation control unit is based, and the first and second sets not identical to each other. The first and second irrigation control units are in a predefined hierarchical control relationship. In one variation, the first and second control units have at least related operating systems. In another variation, a central controller includes machine code developed from at least a portion of the same source code as machine code in a remote controller for simulation or execution purposes.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 30, 2006
    Date of Patent: April 30, 2013
    Assignee: Rain Bird Corporation
    Inventors: Ryan L. Walker, David E. Columbo, Whitney M. Kew
  • Patent number: 8369996
    Abstract: To allow for optimal uniform application of irrigation fluid in a field space outfitted with a center pivot irrigation machine having a main pipeline and an auxiliary or corner pipeline, the auxiliary pipeline is operable to both lead and lag the main pipeline as the main pipeline makes a progressive rotation in a single direction through the field space. In one embodiment a control system for the irrigation machine comprises a buried cable control system. In another embodiment a control system comprises a global positioning satellite control system. In a third embodiment a control system comprises at least two position sensing devices, a first device for sensing an angle of the main pipeline with respect to a center tower and a second device for sensing an angle between the main pipeline and the auxiliary pipeline, and a speed controlling device for controlling a speed of rotation of the main and auxiliary pipelines.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 28, 2009
    Date of Patent: February 5, 2013
    Assignee: Lindsay Corporation
    Inventor: Wayne D. Choat
  • Patent number: 8260466
    Abstract: A device for controlling an irrigation system includes an interrupter for interconnection in a serial manner between a solenoid return common line and a preexisting irrigation timer, a controller for operating the interrupter in a periodic fashion is provided as well as an adjuster, in communication with the controller, for changing the periodicity of the interrupter operation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 25, 2010
    Date of Patent: September 4, 2012
    Inventors: Greig E. Altieri, Matthew K. Davenport, Howard J. Jelinek, Jae Y. Kim, Henry M. Ortiz
  • Patent number: 8200368
    Abstract: Methods and devices are provided to automatically determine plant water requirements and adjust irrigation in order to make efficient use of water. In one implementation, an irrigation control unit comprises at least one input adapted to be coupled to and receive signals from a rainfall sensor and a temperature sensor, the signals corresponding to current values of an amount of rainfall and temperature. The unit also includes a memory storing historical values of a plurality of variables and a processor coupled to the at least one input and the memory. The processor is adapted to determine plant water requirements at least in part using the historical values of the plurality of variables and the current values of the temperature and the amount of rainfall.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 10, 2008
    Date of Patent: June 12, 2012
    Assignee: Rain Bird Corporation
    Inventors: Harvey J. Nickerson, John R. German
  • Patent number: 8170721
    Abstract: Methods and devices are provided to automatically determine plant water requirements and adjust irrigation in order to make efficient use of water. In one implementation, an irrigation control unit comprises a memory storing historical values of a plurality of variables used at least in part in calculating plant water requirements, and at least one input adapted to receive signals corresponding to current values of one or more of the plurality of variables. The unit also comprises a processor coupled to the at least one input and the memory, the processor adapted to determine the plant water requirements at least in part using, for each of the plurality of variables, a current value in the event the current value is available and at least in part using, for each of the plurality of variables, a stored historical value in the event the current value is not available.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 16, 2010
    Date of Patent: May 1, 2012
    Assignee: Rain Bird Corporation
    Inventor: Harvey J. Nickerson
  • Patent number: 8145359
    Abstract: An irrigation management system reduces high peak water use values by utilizing a microprocessor disposed in an irrigation controller to (a) receive peak water use information from a source other than a water supplier (b) receive water use information at a consumer site, and (c) automatically derive a new irrigation schedule that is at least partly based on the information received. The new irrigation schedule preferably includes at least one of a modification in a default irrigation frequency or start time, a reduction in a default irrigation application duration, the use of a rolling-average in the determination of the new irrigation application duration and other changes or modifications to the default irrigation schedule that will provide for the reduction in high peak water use values. Additionally, the microprocessor will display to the water user and/or third parties details on the new irrigation schedule and information received from the water supplier.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 15, 2008
    Date of Patent: March 27, 2012
    Inventor: John Addink
  • Patent number: 8024074
    Abstract: A method for managing substances in a plant root zone, including the steps of providing a fluid distribution system, controlling the fluid distribution system, modeling the plant root zone, and distributing the substances thereto. The fluid distribution system is associated with an agricultural area. The fluid distribution system is controlled by way of a controller. The plant root zone is modeled for a plurality of locations in the agricultural area. The modeling step incorporates a desired three-dimensional distribution of the substances for each of the plurality of locations for a future time period. Substances are distributed to the plurality of locations by way of the fluid distribution system under control of the controller. The controller is dependent upon the desired three-dimensional distribution and the future time.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 7, 2007
    Date of Patent: September 20, 2011
    Assignee: Deere & Company
    Inventors: Mark Stelford, Noel W. Anderson, Richard Boniak, Darian Landolt
  • Patent number: 7957843
    Abstract: A method of controlling the duration of irrigation is described, comprising compiling a database that includes information relating to historical evapo-transpiration rates for a plurality of sectors (preferably identified by zip code) located within a geographical area. Period Reduction Factors for each sector are derived. Parameters are entered into the controller including a Maximum Irrigation Duration, a sector identifier; and the current date. The Maximum Irrigation Duration is adjusted by multiplying the Maximum Irrigation Duration by a Period Reduction Factor for the current period associated with the sector that has been identified by the user, to obtain an Actual Irrigation Duration. The irrigation system is caused to irrigate for the Actual Irrigation Duration during the current period.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 24, 2008
    Date of Patent: June 7, 2011
    Assignee: National Diversified Sales, Inc.
    Inventor: Rael Sacks
  • Patent number: 7931045
    Abstract: A water sensor apparatus used in connection with a watering system. The water sensor apparatus includes a main housing comprising an inlet and an outlet. A valve mechanism is provided inside the main housing. The valve mechanism opens and closes the outlet of the main housing in response to a water level collected in the main housing and a water pressure entering the inlet of the main housing.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 12, 2008
    Date of Patent: April 26, 2011
    Assignee: Melnor, Inc.
    Inventors: Juergen Nies, Ha Van Duong, Chunling Zhao
  • Patent number: 7711454
    Abstract: An irrigation controller has run-times that are modified as a function of a calculated volumetric irrigation amount and a preferred irrigation amount. The preferred irrigation amount is at least partly based on an evapotranspiration (ETo) value and the area of the irrigated site. The calculated volumetric irrigation amount is based on flow meter data and inputted irrigation run-times. Preferably the flow meter is a water meter that measures water distributed to the irrigation system and to other water using devices at the irrigated site, and the flow data is based on signature data. In addition to flow data, water pressure may be measured that corresponds with the flow data. It is anticipated that the function will involve the dividing of the preferred irrigation amount by the calculated volumetric irrigation amount to arrive at a modifying factor.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 2, 2006
    Date of Patent: May 4, 2010
    Inventor: John W Addink
  • Patent number: 7619322
    Abstract: A large number of irrigation system devices connected to a common two-wire cable can be powered and individually controlled from a central location by transmitting over the cable DC pulses of alternating polarity. Control information is conveyed by transmitting a command pulse train consisting of a series of pulses, separated by short no-power intervals, whose polarities indicate logic ones or zeros. Following a command pulse train, a selected watering station decoder acknowledges receipt of instructions by drawing current during a predetermined pulse of an alternating-polarity power pulse cycle, while a sensor decoder returns binary data by drawing current during one or the other of the alternating-polarity pulses of a series of power pulse cycles.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 14, 2008
    Date of Patent: November 17, 2009
    Assignee: The Toro Company
    Inventors: Randall James Gardner, Michael D. Heine, John C. Dalman
  • Publication number: 20090277506
    Abstract: An irrigation system includes a control arrangement which receives field information relating to an area to be irrigated and source information relating to one or more water sources which supply water to the irrigation system. The control arrangement optimizes an irrigation plan based on the field information and source information and then controls one or more irrigators in accordance with the plan. The control arrangement may pulse valves positioned on the irrigator on and off in order to control the amount of water applied to the land by individual outlets on the irrigator. Latching valves may be used.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 8, 2009
    Publication date: November 12, 2009
    Applicant: WMC Technology Limited
    Inventors: Stuart Francis Bradbury, Michael George Ricketts
  • Patent number: 7574284
    Abstract: A self-adjusting irrigation controller takes a pre-irrigation soil moisture reading prior to irrigation, chooses an amount of water to be dispensed corresponding to that reading from a table, and dispenses that amount of water. A predetermined length of time after the end of irrigation, the controller takes a post-irrigation soil moisture reading and compares the value of that reading to a predetermined target value. If the post-irrigation value differs substantially from the target value, the water amount corresponding to the pre-irrigation value in the table is adjusted to reduce that difference on the next scheduled irrigation cycle having that same pre-irrigation soil moisture reading. The target value is determined by watering the soil to field capacity, then computing the target value as a function of the reading of the sensor at field capacity. The controller thus converges toward an ideal runtime and follows changes in the environment.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 31, 2006
    Date of Patent: August 11, 2009
    Assignee: The Toro Company
    Inventors: Allan Morris Goldberg, Larry Kent Hopkins, Larry Hawkes, James Zimmerman
  • Publication number: 20090120506
    Abstract: An automated watering controller (“WC”) that includes a ground moisture sensor, rain sensor, sound transducer, and program button. The controller may include a solar cell window 26 and a lawn treatment or fertilizer pill compartment 24. The controller may also include an LED indicator ring 36, time of day slider 34, and amount of moisture selector 32. The WC may also automatically determine the time of day, latitude, rain fall level and intensity, sun intensity, and other environmental attributes.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 17, 2007
    Publication date: May 14, 2009
    Inventor: David Hoch
  • Patent number: 7506658
    Abstract: A liquid flow control device includes an annular housing having an inlet for liquid in one periphery of the housing and an outlet for liquid in the other periphery. An annular block of water swellable material is located in the housing. A layer of sealing material encircles the annular block on the side thereof adjacent the inlet to close the inlet when the block is swollen through contact with the liquid.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 8, 2006
    Date of Patent: March 24, 2009
    Assignee: John Guest International Limited
    Inventors: John Derek Guest, Timothy Stephen Guest
  • Patent number: 7502665
    Abstract: A networked delivery system and method for controlling operation of a spraying system includes nozzles for emitting an agrochemical according to a predetermined spray pattern and flow rate; vibration sensors located adjacent an agricultural spray system component to sense vibrations of the agricultural spray system component, such as spray nozzles. The networked delivery system also includes a control area network with a computer processor in communication with the vibration sensors. The processor conveys information to an operator regarding the agricultural spray system component based on the sensed vibrations. The processor also actuates each of the agricultural spray system components such as the spray nozzles to selectively control each of the nozzles or a designated group of the nozzles.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 23, 2005
    Date of Patent: March 10, 2009
    Assignee: Capstan Ag Systems, Inc.
    Inventors: Durham Kenimer Giles, Duane Needham
  • Publication number: 20080251601
    Abstract: A water sensor apparatus used in connection with a watering system. The water sensor apparatus includes a main housing comprising an inlet and an outlet. A valve mechanism is provided inside the main housing. The valve mechanism opens and closes the outlet of the main housing in response to a water level collected in the main housing and a water pressure entering the inlet of the main housing.
    Type: Application
    Filed: March 12, 2008
    Publication date: October 16, 2008
    Applicant: MELNOR, INC.
    Inventors: Juergen NIES, Ha Van DUONG, Chunling ZHAO
  • Patent number: 7421317
    Abstract: A controlling and monitoring system for irrigation of localized areas of soil includes a water pipeline, a plurality of controllable irrigation valves, a plurality of field sensors measuring specific irrigation parameters, and a plurality of localized irrigation control units. Each of the control units has a sensor decoder connected to a specific one of the field sensors and a line decoder connected to a specific one of the irrigation valves. The system further includes a controller and power supply unit that applies a first alternating DC voltage signal to a two-wire cable interconnecting the controller and power supply unit and the control units. The cable provides power from the controller and power supply unit to each of the control units. The controller and power supply unit transmits schedules of instructions to the control units, and receives the irrigation parameters from the control units, through the cable.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 18, 2005
    Date of Patent: September 2, 2008
    Assignee: S-Rain Control A/S
    Inventor: Tom N. Christiansen
  • Patent number: 7358626
    Abstract: A large number of irrigation system devices connected to a common two-wire cable can be powered and individually controlled from a central location by transmitting over the cable DC pulses of alternating polarity. Control information is conveyed by transmitting a command pulse train consisting of a series of pulses, separated by short no-power intervals, whose polarities indicate logic ones or zeros. Following a command pulse train, a selected watering station decoder acknowledges receipt of instructions by drawing current during a predetermined pulse of an alternating-polarity power pulse cycle, while a sensor decoder returns binary data by drawing current during one or the other of the alternating-polarity pulses of a series of power pulse cycles.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 25, 2005
    Date of Patent: April 15, 2008
    Assignee: The Toro Company
    Inventors: Randall James Gardner, Michael D. Heine, John C. Dalman
  • Patent number: 7349764
    Abstract: A watering warning device (1) for determining watering intervals for at least one plant to be monitored, having at least one moisture content sensor (2), a timer (6) and an evaluation unit (3) is described. The evaluation unit (3) is designed for determining the time (tG) of the next necessary watering operation for the at least one monitored plant in dependence on a characteristic watering curve (S) over time (t), the watering curve (S) being determinable in a self-learning manner in at least one learning phase from a low moisture value (FGN), measured at a watering time, the high moisture value (FGH), measured after completion of the watering operation following the watering time, and the time (tN) until the low moisture value (FGN) is reached, determined with the timer (6) or extrapolated.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 20, 2005
    Date of Patent: March 25, 2008
    Inventor: Rolf Wilhelm Haupt
  • Patent number: 7328089
    Abstract: In one embodiment, the present invention provides a satellite irrigation controller that allows a user to insert a input/output card into any position in any sequence and be recognized as an input card or an output card. When the correct card type is determined, the card is service according to its specified functionality. In another embodiment, the satellite irrigation controller includes firmware which allows a user to program a range of stations at one time. In yet another embodiment, the satellite irrigation controller provides three user input programs that reduce the amount of input data needed to program the irrigation cycle of an irrigation station.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 10, 2005
    Date of Patent: February 5, 2008
    Assignee: The Toro Company
    Inventor: Scott Curren
  • Patent number: 7317972
    Abstract: The present invention provides systems and methods in which an irrigation management system reduces high peak water use values by utilizing a microprocessor (220) disposed in an irrigation controller (100) to receive peak water use information from a water supplier receive water use information at a consumer site and automatically derive a new irrigation schedule that is at least partly based on the information received. The new irrigation schedule, derived by the microprocessor (220), may include a modification in a default irrigation frequency, a modification in a default irrigation start time(s), a reduction in a default irrigation application duration, the use of a rolling-average in the determination of the new irrigation application duration and other changes or modifications to the default irrigation schedule that will provide for the reduction in high peak water use values.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 31, 2001
    Date of Patent: January 8, 2008
    Assignee: Aqua Conserve, Inc.
    Inventors: John W. Addink, Sylvan Addink
  • Patent number: 7306167
    Abstract: An automatic mist-sprayer system comprising a control unit having electronic circuitry adapted to activate the sprayer for a predetermined interval in response to a sensed ambient light condition of desired intensity and duration. The system desirably further includes an electrical power supply and a plurality of spaced-apart sprayer heads. A preferred utility for the system of the invention is spraying dilute solutions of insecticide or insect repellent during the periods of significant insect activity that typically occur around dusk and dawn. Manual overrides and a remote receiving unit are also disclosed for use of the system at times other than dusk and dawn.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 21, 2004
    Date of Patent: December 11, 2007
    Assignee: NCH Corporation
    Inventors: Joseph Thomas Colarusso, Dale Vilmer Kiplinger, Michael Lee Paulson, Robert Clarence Pearce, III
  • Patent number: 7305280
    Abstract: A system for providing irrigation control is provided. The system includes a processor configured to calculate an offset to an evapotranspiration (ET) value and an irrigation system configured to receive the offset from the processor and provide appropriate irrigation adjustment based on the offset. The offset is calculated based on the ET value and the ET value has been previously provided to the irrigation system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 29, 2004
    Date of Patent: December 4, 2007
    Assignee: Hydropoint Data Systems, Inc.
    Inventor: Michael Marian
  • Patent number: 7216020
    Abstract: A system for providing irrigation control is provided. The system includes a number of non-local data sources for providing data, a processor and an irrigation system. The processor is configured to receive data from one or more of the non-local data sources and calculate an evapotranspiration (ET) value for an irrigation area that is non-local with respect to the non-local data sources. The processor is further configured to create or alter an irrigation program based on the ET value. The irrigation system is configured to receive the irrigation program from the processor and provide appropriate irrigation control for the irrigation area using the irrigation program.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 29, 2004
    Date of Patent: May 8, 2007
    Assignee: Hydropoint Data Systems, Inc.
    Inventor: Michael Marian
  • Patent number: 7206669
    Abstract: A two-wire controlling and monitoring system for irrigation of localized areas of soil includes a water pipeline, a plurality of controllable irrigation valves, a plurality of field sensors measuring specific irrigation parameters, and a plurality of localized irrigation control units. Each irrigation control unit has a sensor decoder connected to a specific field sensor and/or a line decoder connected to a specific controllable irrigation valve. The system further includes a controller and power supply unit that applies a first alternating DC voltage signal to a two-wire cable interconnecting the controller and power supply unit and the irrigation control units. The two-wire cable provides power from the controller and power supply unit to each of the irrigation control units, it transmits schedules of instructions to the irrigation control units through the two-wire cable, and it receives the irrigation parameters from the irrigation control units through the two-wire cable.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 13, 2006
    Date of Patent: April 17, 2007
    Assignee: S-Rain Control A/S
    Inventor: Tom N. Christiansen
  • Patent number: 7146255
    Abstract: A two-wire controlling and monitoring system for irrigation of localized areas of soil includes a water pipeline, a plurality of controllable irrigation valves, a plurality of field sensors measuring specific irrigation parameters, and a plurality of localized irrigation control units. Each irrigation control unit has a sensor decoder connected to a specific field sensor and/or a line decoder connected to a specific controllable irrigation valve. The system further includes a controller and power supply unit that applies a first alternating DC voltage signal to a two-wire cable interconnecting the controller and power supply unit and the irrigation control units. The two-wire cable provides power from the controller and power supply unit to each of the irrigation control units, it transmits schedules of instructions to the irrigation control units through the two-wire cable, and it receives the irrigation parameters from the irrigation control units through the two-wire cable.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 18, 2005
    Date of Patent: December 5, 2006
    Assignee: S-Rain Control A/S
    Inventor: Tom Nøhr Christiansen
  • Patent number: 7133749
    Abstract: A self-adjusting irrigation controller takes a pre-irrigation soil moisture reading prior to irrigation, chooses an amount of water to be dispensed corresponding to that reading from a table, and dispenses that amount of water. A predetermined length of time after the end of irrigation, the controller takes a post-irrigation soil moisture reading and compares the value of that reading to a predetermined target value. If the post-irrigation value differs substantially from the target value, the water amount corresponding to the pre-irrigation value in the table is adjusted to reduce that difference on the next scheduled irrigation cycle having that same pre-irrigation soil moisture reading. The target value is determined by watering the soil to field capacity, then computing the target value as a function of the reading of the sensor at field capacity. The controller thus converges toward an ideal runtime and follows changes in the environment.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 10, 2005
    Date of Patent: November 7, 2006
    Assignee: The Toro Company
    Inventors: Allan Morris Goldberg, Larry Kent Hopkins, Larry Hawkes, James Zimmerman
  • Patent number: 7096094
    Abstract: The present invention provides systems and methods in which a microprocessor (220) is programmed to calculate an accumulated watering need for an irrigation zone of station (400)and control irrigation to the zone or station (400) using an automatically varied cycle amount that falls between a user controllable maximum threshold and a user controllable minimum threshold. The cycle amount is preferably at least partly derived from ETo data. The minimum threshold may vary during a period of 12 consecutive months, may vary as a function of time of year, as a function of crop maturity or as a function of any other suitable factor where it would be advantageous to set a minimum threshold. The cycle amount may equal the accumulated ETo value(s) or may equal the maximum threshold value. Furthermore, the microprocessor (220) may be programmed to control the irrigation to the zone or station (400) using an automatically varied day schedule.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 18, 2001
    Date of Patent: August 22, 2006
    Inventors: John Addink, Kirk Buhler
  • Patent number: 7048204
    Abstract: An irrigation controller (200) receives temperature data, and at least partly derives an estimated solar radiation value from the temperature data. A regression model stored in a memory (220) of the irrigation controller (200) operates upon a data point from the estimated solar radiation to estimate an evapotranspiration rate, which is used to affect an irrigation schedule executed by the controller (200). The regression model is preferably based upon a comparison of historical ETo values against corresponding historical environmental values, with the data advantageously spanning a time period of at least two days, and more preferably at least one month. Data from one or more environmental factors may also be used, including especially estimated solar radiation, temperature, wind speed, humidity, and soil moisture, and so forth. Values relating the environmental factor(s) may enter the controller from a local sensor (240), a distal signal source, or both.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 6, 2000
    Date of Patent: May 23, 2006
    Assignee: Aqua Conserve, Inc.
    Inventors: John W. Addink, Sylvan Addink
  • Patent number: 7033108
    Abstract: A perforated pipe network beneath a playing surface. A blower connected to the pipe network drawing an air flow through the pipe network to create a vacuum. A drain pipe connecting to the pipe network. An air/water separator connected upstream of the blower for separating water from the air flow prior to entering the blower and channeling the water into the drain pipe for discharge. A flow control unit having a unit inlet connected to the drain pipe downstream of the air/water separator and a unit outlet discharging water to a drain outlet. The flow control unit blocking air flow through the unit inlet into the drain pipe when the blower is in the vacuum mode, and opening the unit inlet when a waterhead buildup at the unit inlet exceeds the vacuum level established by the blower to discharge water through the drain outlet.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 31, 2005
    Date of Patent: April 25, 2006
    Assignee: SubAir Systems, LLC
    Inventors: George T. Hummert, Fredrick O. Hartenstein
  • Patent number: 6993416
    Abstract: A controlling and monitoring system for irrigation of localized areas of soil includes a water pipeline, a plurality of controllable irrigation valves, a plurality of field sensors measuring specific irrigation parameters, and a plurality of localized irrigation control units. Each of the control units has a sensor decoder connected to a specific one of the field sensors and a line decoder connected to a specific one of the irrigation valves. The system further includes a controller and power supply unit that applies a first alternating DC voltage signal to a two-wire cable interconnecting the controller and power supply unit and the control units. The cable provides power from the controller and power supply unit to each of the control units. The controller and power supply unit transmits schedules of instructions to the control units, and receives the irrigation parameters from the control units, through the cable.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 7, 2004
    Date of Patent: January 31, 2006
    Assignee: S-Rain Control A/S
    Inventor: Tom N. Christiansen
  • Patent number: 6976386
    Abstract: A method for collecting data regarding a matric potential of a media includes providing a tensiometer having a stainless steel tensiometer casing, the stainless steel tensiometer casing comprising a tip portion which includes a wetted porous stainless steel membrane through which a matric potential of a media is sensed; driving the tensiometer into the media using an insertion tube comprising a plurality of probe casing which are selectively coupled to form the insertion tube as the tensiometer is progressively driven deeper into the media, wherein the wetted porous stainless steel membrane is in contact with the media; and sensing the matric potential the media exerts on the wetted porous stainless steel membrane by a pressure sensor in fluid hydraulic connection with the porous stainless steel membrane. A tensiometer includes a stainless steel casing.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 22, 2004
    Date of Patent: December 20, 2005
    Assignee: Battelle Energy Alliance, LLC
    Inventors: Blair K. Grover, Joel M. Hubbell, James B. Sisson, William L. Casper
  • Patent number: 6959882
    Abstract: When the dripline used for watering soil, low pressure air in the range 10–100 inch water column is flowed through a buried dripline, in alternation of with flow of water at 5 psig or more. The flow of air provides oxygen to the soil, and more widely and evenly disperses the water within the soil, and impedes or counters saturation. A buried dripline runs in a U-shape path, so that low pressure and flow of air from emitters near the dripline terminal end is compensated for by higher pressure and flow of air near the inlet end. Flow of low pressure air or other gas, which pushes water from the dripline and surrounding soil, enables use of driplines in soil subject to freezing.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 13, 2003
    Date of Patent: November 1, 2005
    Inventor: David A. Potts
  • Patent number: 6950728
    Abstract: An interactive irrigation system exchanges information between an irrigation controller and a distal computer, between the irrigation controller and a user, between the user and the distal computer, and between the distal computer and a third party. The information is preferably exchanged over an Internet communication system. The exchanged information includes the following: irrigation scheduling; quantity of water applied to the landscape at the user location, which is compared to ETo values; warnings to users when potential problems with their irrigation systems are detected; and other irrigation information that is useful to the user or a third party.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 17, 2000
    Date of Patent: September 27, 2005
    Assignee: Aqua Conservation Systems, Inc.
    Inventors: John Addink, Tony Givargis
  • Patent number: 6944523
    Abstract: The present invention provides a recording node (100) at a consummer site that is used for the receiving, storing, determining and/or sending of utility commodity information. The recording node (100) is an integral part of networks (370) or can access networks (370) for the receiving and transmitting of information. The recording node (100) is part of a network process control system (300) that includes other nodes, such as a controller (200), computer (320), monitor (330), display (340) and communication node (360). The recording node (100) receives data on utility commodity flow rates, commodity pressure and environmental factors; stores the data; performs determinations on the data; and sends utility commodity information over the network (370) to consumers (380) and/or third parties (381). The utility commodity may be water, electricity and/or gas.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 7, 2000
    Date of Patent: September 13, 2005
    Assignee: Aqua Conserve, Inc.
    Inventors: John Addink, Sylvan Addink
  • Patent number: 6892114
    Abstract: An irrigation scheduler modifies output of a preprogrammed irrigation schedule of an installed irrigation controller to at least partially improve irrigation of the corresponding landscape. Preferred embodiments accomplish this task using a microprocessor programmed to: (a) derive a first set of information from the output of an irrigation controller used to control an operation of an irrigation valve; (b) receive a second set of information comprising at least one of an environmental factor and a meteorological factor; and (c) use the first set of information and the second set of information to interfere with reception of the output by the valve.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 26, 2000
    Date of Patent: May 10, 2005
    Assignee: Aqua Conserve, Inc.
    Inventors: John Addink, Kirk Buhler, Tony Givargis
  • Patent number: 6850819
    Abstract: An irrigation control system for land comprising: (a) at least one meter to measure one or more wheather conditions in a first area; (b) at least one monitor to (i) examine rainfall data derived from a radar scanning at least the first area according to predetermined criteria and (ii) to extract data which is representative of the scanned rainfall in a sub-area of the first area; (c) a store to store the extracted data; and (d) a controller connected directly or indirectly to the meter and the monitor and to the store, to calculate a moisture content value for the sub-area and a predetermined moisture content value for the sub-area, and to regulate the irrigation in a sub-area.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 19, 1999
    Date of Patent: February 1, 2005
    Assignee: Irrigation Control Networks Pty Ltd
    Inventor: James Dunstone Townsend
  • Publication number: 20040244833
    Abstract: A rain detector comprises a porous material, a sensor that detects rain absorption by the porous material and a switching mechanism that is linked to the sensor to effect an execution of an irrigation application by an irrigation controller. The porous material may be composed of brick or other substance with porous properties. When the sensor does not detect any rain absorption by the porous material, the switching mechanism will remain in the closed position providing an electrical connection between the irrigation controller and at least one sprinkler valve, thereby allowing the execution of an irrigation application by the irrigation controller. When the sensor detects rain absorption by the porous material, the switching mechanism will be in the open position.
    Type: Application
    Filed: June 5, 2003
    Publication date: December 9, 2004
    Inventor: Kirk Buhler
  • Patent number: 6772621
    Abstract: A method for collecting data regarding a matric potential of a media includes providing a tensiometer having a stainless steel tensiometer casing, the stainless steel tensiometer casing comprising a tip portion which includes a wetted porous stainless steel membrane through which a matric potential of a media is sensed; driving the tensiometer into the media using an insertion tube comprising a plurality of probe casing which are selectively coupled to form the insertion tube as the tensiometer is progressively driven deeper into the media, wherein the wetted porous stainless steel membrane is in contact with the media; and sensing the matric potential the media exerts on the wetted porous stainless steel membrane by a pressure sensor in fluid hydraulic connection with the porous stainless steel membrane. A tensiometer includes a stainless steel casing.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 31, 2002
    Date of Patent: August 10, 2004
    Assignee: Bechtel BWXT Idaho, LLC
    Inventors: Blair K. Grover, Joel M. Hubbell, James B. Sisson, William L. Casper
  • Patent number: 6766221
    Abstract: A two-wire controlling and monitoring system for in particular irrigation of localized areas of soil according to a aspect of the invention comprises a water pipeline, a first plurality of controllable irrigation valves, a second plurality of field sensors measuring specific irrigation parameters, and a third plurality of localized irrigation control units. The third plurality of localized irrigation control units each comprises a sensor decoder connected to a specific field sensor of the second plurality of field sensors and/or a line decoder connected to a specific controllable irrigation valve of the first plurality of controllable irrigation valves. The two-wire controlling and monitoring system further comprises a controller and power supply unit having a set of schedules of instructions and supplying power by applying a first alternating DC voltage signal to a two-wire cable interconnecting the controller and power supply unit and the third plurality of localized irrigation control units.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 22, 2000
    Date of Patent: July 20, 2004
    Inventor: Tom Nøhr Christiansen
  • Patent number: 6585168
    Abstract: An Electrically operated valve controls the flow of irrigation water. A clock or computer controls the time of day and a programmed watering schedule. The clock signal is serially connected through differential relative humidity (RH) and temperature sensitive circuits. These circuits sense the difference between the surrounding RH and above ground temperature and set points derived from meterological “Normals, Means and Extremes” weather data. When the difference between the set point readings and the surrounding RH or temperature becomes zero and beyond, solenoid activation is prevented during and sometimes before inappropriate weather and evapotranspiration conditions; such as rain, snow or freeze.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 12, 1999
    Date of Patent: July 1, 2003
    Inventor: Alphonse E. Caprio
  • Patent number: 6453216
    Abstract: The present invention is a method of controlling an irrigation system that minimizes the use of irrigation water comprising defining a stop time for each watering event that is as late as possible to maximize the statistical contribution of predicted or actual rainfall to the proper watering of crops or turf. High rain probabilities cause deferral of the watering event. The present invention includes the embodiments of watering the largest water volume/water flow rate zone last, measuring the actual water applied and using mathematical curve-fitting techniques incorporating historical data from recent watering events to calculate actual plant/soil response to applied water for each irrigated zone.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 14, 1999
    Date of Patent: September 17, 2002
    Inventors: James F. McCabe, Clifford R. Hawkins
  • Patent number: 6452499
    Abstract: An environmental sensor system that communicates sensor data to a receiving unit using wireless means such as a radio frequency signal. The receiving unit interfaces with a controllable system, possibly affecting its operation. This arrangement allows one or more sensor and transmitter units to be remotely mounted at a distance from the receiver, without regard to installation complications that often result with a hardwired type units. In the preferred embodiment, an irrigation system is interfaced wirelessly with an environmental sensor such as a rain sensor. The rain sensor is contemplated such that in the event of sufficient rainfall, a wireless signal is transmitted to the receiver unit, which in turn interfaces with an irrigation controller resulting in the cessation of watering cycles until the sensor system provides another wireless directive to resume watering.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 6, 1999
    Date of Patent: September 17, 2002
    Inventors: Thomas Henry Runge, Bruce Martin Downie, Michael Henry Runge