Soil Moisture Sensing Patents (Class 137/78.3)
  • Patent number: 10856476
    Abstract: An agricultural irrigation control system including a pump, a dual port and on/off diverter in fluid communication with the pump, a multi-port diverter in fluid communication with the dual port and on/off diverter, a controller board in electronic communication with the dual port and on/off diverter and the multi-port diverter, the controller board controlling the operation of the dual port and on/off diverter and the multi-port diverter, and a plurality of environmental sensors in electronic communication with the controller board, where the agricultural irrigation control system is configured for individualized administration of one or more substances to one or more agricultural products based on real-time analysis of the one or more agricultural products and/or a surrounding environment of the one or more agricultural products provided by one or more environmental sensors of the plurality of environmental sensors.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 17, 2019
    Date of Patent: December 8, 2020
    Assignee: AgroMe Inc.
    Inventor: Alejandro Gustavo Imass Tariffi
  • Patent number: 10750685
    Abstract: The present disclosure relates systems and methods for providing remote irrigation system operation. In any embodiment, the method for a home automation system may include coupling an irrigation control bypass module with a legacy irrigation control panel associated with a legacy irrigation automation system. The method may also include setting the legacy irrigation control panel to an inactive state, and operating the legacy irrigation automation system based at least in part on a first set of one or more instructions received from the irrigation control bypass module. In any embodiment, the irrigation control bypass module may be initiated based at least in part on a second set of one or more instructions received from the home automation system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 13, 2018
    Date of Patent: August 25, 2020
    Assignee: Vivint, Inc.
    Inventors: Richard Scott Carlson, Thomas Colby Winegar, Brian Brower, Jeremy Bruce Warren, Harrison Taylor Jenkins, Alexander J. Dunn, Michael Scott Moulton
  • Patent number: 10561081
    Abstract: A fertigation system comprises: a controller that transmits sensor data to a fertigation control server, and that controls a water supply valve, a culture stock solution supply valve, and a discharge valve on the basis of received data; and a fertigation control server that, on the basis of the sensor data received from the controller, calculates control amounts for the water supply valve, the culture stock solution supply valve, and the discharge valve, and returns the control amounts to the controller.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 29, 2016
    Date of Patent: February 18, 2020
    Assignees: Routrek Networks, Inc., MEIJI UNIVERSITY
    Inventors: Kiyoshi Ozawa, Shunrokuro Fujiwara, Shinichi Sasaki, Eiji Kita, Hironao Tokitsu, Hiroshi Taketazu
  • Patent number: 10531617
    Abstract: Plant-initiated, cognitive watering is provided, which includes ascertaining tensile stress on a root wall of a plant, and determining whether the tensile stress on the root wall of the plant reaches a specified threshold. Based on determining that the tensile stress on the root wall of the plant reaches the specified threshold, the method includes facilitating increasing water content in soil around the plant. In one or more implementations, the method may be implemented via a cognitive watering system, which controls the increasing of water content in soil around the plant based, for instance, on data analytics.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 21, 2017
    Date of Patent: January 14, 2020
    Assignee: INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORPORATION
    Inventor: Pramod Verma
  • Patent number: 10390501
    Abstract: A controller including Wi-Fi connectivity to the internet and adapted as an add-on over-riding controller for a controller of electric sprinkler valves. The over-riding controller provides local intelligence to optionally prevent an electrical output of the sprinkler controller from actuating a sprinkler valve if one or more parameter is exceeded.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 4, 2017
    Date of Patent: August 27, 2019
    Assignee: Technology West, LLC
    Inventors: Aaron G. Schoenberg, Alexander S. Whitelock
  • Patent number: 10365196
    Abstract: The present invention provides a water tension sensor with a non-sintered core that allows batches of similar and standard sensors to be manufactured in a simple manner, for operation with air and with an air flow outlet, which sensor can be used to read water tension and trigger dripping. The sensor according to the invention is ideal for manually reading soil water tension and for automating irrigation systems based on a static pressure or gas propulsion mechanism.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 24, 2014
    Date of Patent: July 30, 2019
    Assignees: EMPRESA BRASILEIRA DE PESQUISA AGROPECUÁRIA—EMBRAPA, TECNICER TECHNOLOGIA CERÂMICA LTDA
    Inventors: Adonai Gimenez Calbo, Carlos Manoel Pedro Vaz, Waldir Aparecido Marouelli, Luis Fernando Porto
  • Patent number: 10292345
    Abstract: A plant watering system includes a reservoir, a plant growth container located adjacent the reservoir, the reservoir having a water level in use below the container, one or more channels communicating between the reservoir and container, and a closing member for each channel movable between a lower open position and an upper closed position, wherein in the open position water in the reservoir may pass into the container to moisten a plant growth medium contained in the container and wherein, in the closed position the passage of water is prevented.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 27, 2016
    Date of Patent: May 21, 2019
    Inventor: Ki Mau Lau
  • Patent number: 10285344
    Abstract: An irrigation controller comprises actuable controls, a memory to store the watering program, and one or more displays. The actuable controls and display are incorporated into a removable face pack that is mounted to an interior door of the irrigation controller. The face pack can be easily moved from a first position on the front side of the interior door to a second position on the back side of the interior door and the face pack automatically senses its position. When the face pack is in the first position, the actuable controls and display are configured for operating information. When the face pack is in the second position, the wiring hook up area of the irrigation controller is exposed and the actuable controls and display are configured for diagnostics.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 16, 2016
    Date of Patent: May 14, 2019
    Assignee: Hunter Industries, Inc.
    Inventors: Richard C. Stange, Thomas C. Kadien, Steven B. Cook, Kok Huat Chong
  • Patent number: 10206343
    Abstract: A plant nutrient delivery system comprises a sensor, an electronically actuated valve and an electronic controller. The sensor is positionable in plant growing media and operable to detect a condition of the plant growing media. The electronically actuated valve has a connection to a liquid nutrient source. The electronic controller is linked to the sensor and to the electronically actuated valve. The controller is programmed to carry out automatic demand-based nutrient delivery to the plant growing media by controlling the electronically actuated valve to turn on and off based on signals received from the sensor regarding a condition of the plant growing media, thereby causing a flow of the liquid nutrient into the plant growth media to start and to stop. Methods are also described.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 27, 2015
    Date of Patent: February 19, 2019
    Assignee: EwerSmith Enterprises, LLC
    Inventors: Fred Lee Ewer, Christopher Harry Smith, Alan Leroy Harris
  • Patent number: 10188051
    Abstract: A system and method for efficiently controlling irrigation and leaching of crops (52) using a pulse detector (60) and digital controller (74) of a water source is disclosed. Irrigation was controlled by using a detector (60) for the water exiting a crop (52) designed to generate a pulse when a predetermined volume of water passes through the crop (52). The grower determines the number of pulses that optimizes the grower's object of minimizing wasted irrigation water or optimizing leaching of the crop.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 11, 2014
    Date of Patent: January 29, 2019
    Inventors: Maureen Estelle Thiessen, Jeffrey Stewart Beasley, Edward Wayne Bush
  • Patent number: 10010031
    Abstract: A multifunctional underground irrigation system comprises of an underground irrigation, fertilization and respiration (UIFR) device with three types of air/pressure releasing structures, an universal unique label and label reader, three irrigation monitoring indicators, various sample collecting channels and measurement devices, a movable monitoring device, a water supply system, and a data center. The water containers, water drip controlling device, water flow rate controlling device, AAB device and AWPAE devices constitute the irrigation device for field plants or potted plants culture. The combination of the wireless technologies with various sensors in one of three indicators enables the underground irrigation to be visible, hearable, viewable and remotely controllable at real time and real-location manner for precision management of plant cultivation. The movable device provides a way to monitor the water supply system and to calibrate data obtained from UIFR devices.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 25, 2017
    Date of Patent: July 3, 2018
    Inventors: Xue Wu Liu, Tian Li David Liu, Rui Li
  • Patent number: 10012182
    Abstract: A fuel vapor processing apparatus may include a diaphragm valve disposed in a vapor path communicating between a fuel tank and a canister. The diaphragm valve may include a valve chamber, a backpressure chamber, a diaphragm partitioning the valve chamber and the backpressure chamber from each other; and a valve member attached to the diaphragm. The backpressure chamber is not directly opened to an outside of the diaphragm valve. A control valve device may control a pressure within the backpressure chamber of the diaphragm valve.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 7, 2016
    Date of Patent: July 3, 2018
    Assignee: AISAN KOGYO KABUSHIKI KAISHA
    Inventors: Tetsuya Ishikawa, Norihisa Yamamoto
  • Patent number: 9987649
    Abstract: A sprinkler includes a compartment that surrounds its riser portion in an offset or asymmetrical configuration. More specifically, the distance of the compartments walls from those of the riser vary (i.e., increase or decrease) at different locations surrounding the riser. Put another way, the riser is closer to one side of the compartment than other sides of the compartment. This non-concentric configuration allows larger components to fit inside the compartment than would otherwise fit if the riser was symmetrically surrounded by the compartment.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 15, 2016
    Date of Patent: June 5, 2018
    Assignee: The Toro Company
    Inventors: James T. Wright, III, Steven C. Renquist
  • Patent number: 9958301
    Abstract: Yield monitoring systems for harvesting machines and methods that can provide yield monitoring of crops are described. Machines include those that pneumatically convey crop through the machine such as peanut harvesting machines. The yield monitoring system includes a force sensor that can be located in conjunction with a duct of the harvesting machine such that impact of the crop materials on an impact plate within the duct will be registered by the force sensor. This registration can be used to determine a mass flow rate for the crop, which can be correlated to yield of the crop. The systems can include additional components such as optical monitors, moisture sensors, and pressure sensors.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 9, 2015
    Date of Patent: May 1, 2018
    Assignee: Clemson University
    Inventors: Kendall R. Kirk, J. Warren White, W. Scott Monfort, Hunter F. Massey, D. Hollens Free, Stanley A. Brantley, Joel S. Peele, Jacob B. Fravel, William G. Henderson, Jr.
  • Patent number: 9756797
    Abstract: In an irrigation system and method, a controller acquires data regarding soil moisture from one or more soil moisture sensors disposed in an irrigation area and determines whether to irrigate or withhold irrigation from the irrigation area based on a combination of evapotranspiration (ET) data and the acquired soil moisture data. An irrigation means is responsive to the controller determining whether to apply or withhold irrigation from the irrigation area for respectively applying or withholding irrigation from the irrigation area.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 18, 2012
    Date of Patent: September 12, 2017
    Inventors: Larry C. Sarver, Soren Haxvig
  • Patent number: 9717191
    Abstract: The disclosure extends to methods, systems, and computer program products for generating and optimizing irrigation protocols that are in compliance with municipal restrictions. The disclosure also extends to methods, systems and computer program products for providing automated irrigation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 25, 2014
    Date of Patent: August 1, 2017
    Assignee: Skydrop Holdings, LLC
    Inventors: Clark Endrizzi, Matt Romney, Mack Dalley, Robert Mars
  • Patent number: 9599286
    Abstract: Embodiments of a fluid flow regulating device and methods of using the same are described. Certain embodiments manages fluid flow between one or more input ports and output ports at least partly in response to fluid pressure changes and/or by a mechanism driven by fluid flow, optionally without using electrical power.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 16, 2015
    Date of Patent: March 21, 2017
    Assignee: Colt Irrigation, LLC
    Inventor: James Walter Hurst
  • Patent number: 9462762
    Abstract: A drip irrigation system valve for placement directly onto soil, including a valve chamber defining an interior space and having an open bottom in fluid communication with the soil onto which it is placed; a water inlet in fluid communication with said interior space and having a valve seat disposed on an interior end; a base stake connected to said valve chamber for insertion into soil; a platform for supporting an expandable member; an expandable member disposed on said platform within said interior space; a valve membrane disposed within said interior space above said expandable member and having an upper side and a lower side and which defines a water reservoir within said interior space above said upper side and which prevents water entering into said valve chamber and from directly contacting said expandable membrane; and a valve seal disposed on said upper side of said valve membrane immediately above said expandable member for sealing engagement with said valve seat when said expandable member is wett
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 30, 2014
    Date of Patent: October 11, 2016
    Inventor: Timothy B. Sheets
  • Patent number: 9347905
    Abstract: A transparency, e.g. an aircraft laminated windshield, includes one or more moisture sensors to monitor moisture penetration to monitor performance of the moisture barrier. The moisture sensor includes a moisture corrodible article or sensor element, e.g. a strip or wire, which changes resistance as a function of corrosion. The sensor element can also include two dissimilar metals, e.g. a bimetal sensor element, or two similar metals having different physical dimensions. With the information provided by the moisture sensors performance of the windshield is available to schedule timely repair or replacement of the windshield that is performing outside of acceptable limits.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 18, 2013
    Date of Patent: May 24, 2016
    Assignee: PPG Industries Ohio, Inc.
    Inventors: Yu Jiao, Nicolas Benjamin Duarte, Jeremy D. Acord
  • Patent number: 9335315
    Abstract: A system (100) for measuring the depth of saturated soil includes a water level detector (102) along with a stimulating/actuating device (104) that directs an actuating medium into the ground at the elevation of the capillary fringe or below the elevation of the capillary fringe. The actuating medium may consist of water, ultrasound emissions, or vibrations.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 5, 2013
    Date of Patent: May 10, 2016
    Inventor: Odd Hauge
  • Patent number: 9220205
    Abstract: An electronic control unit for programmed watering of lawns, gardens, flower boxes and similar spaces, comprises a front panel, a display, watering program selection push-buttons for selecting the watering duration and the watering repetition frequency and at least one start push-button for starting the selected program. The control unit comprises an electronic micro controller which, in response to the operation of said selection push-buttons, controls the visualization of the duration and frequency of the selected program and, in response to a single operation of the start push-button, controls the immediate start of the selected watering program. If the start push-button is operated for a variable number of times, the micro controller programs the delayed start of the selected program.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 14, 2013
    Date of Patent: December 29, 2015
    Assignee: CLABER S.P.A.
    Inventors: Andrea Brundisini, Gaetano Franchini, Roberto De Biasi
  • Patent number: 9215848
    Abstract: Electronic control units for programmed watering of lawns, gardens, flower boxes and similar spaces, comprise a front panel including a single push-button for selecting a watering program, at least one push-button for starting the selected program and a display. The control units comprise an electronic micro controller which in response to the operation of said push-button causes the visualization of the duration and the frequency of the selected program, and in response to a single operation of the start push-button causes the immediate start of the selected watering program, while the operation of the start push-button for a variable number of times programs the delayed start of the selected program.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 14, 2013
    Date of Patent: December 22, 2015
    Assignee: CLABER S.P.A
    Inventors: Andrea Brundisini, Gaetano Franchini, Roberto De Biasi
  • Patent number: 9032998
    Abstract: Methods and systems control an irrigation system that includes an irrigation controller, a valve actuator, and at least one irrigation sensor connected by a communication circuit. A sensor charging pulse having a temporal duration less than a solenoid actuation time threshold for a solenoid is provided over the communication circuit. The sensor charging pulse charges a charge storage device in at least one irrigation sensor. A series of addressing pulses is also generated over the communication circuit, which indicate a device identifier of at least one irrigation sensor. The series of addressing pulses activate at least one irrigation sensor having the device identifier indicated by the series of addressing pulses such that the activated irrigation sensor provides a sensor signal indicative of an irrigation condition to the irrigation controller via the communication network.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 16, 2012
    Date of Patent: May 19, 2015
    Assignee: DIG Corporation
    Inventor: Mike O'Brien
  • Patent number: 8979430
    Abstract: A moisture responsive device is described having a moisture responsive element comprising at least a moisture responsive formation of a first material in association with a less moisture responsive formation of a second material, in that the first material has a greater tendency to absorb moisture and to increase in volume as a result than the second material, the two formations being so mechanically arranged together that such swelling tends to cause mechanical deformation of the moisture responsive element; and an actuation member optionally of flexibly resilient material in mechanical association with the moisture responsive element so that distortion of the moisture responsive element in the presence of moisture tends to mechanically distort the actuation member and thereby cause the actuation member to change between at least a first functional state and a second functional state. A method of use, especially in irrigation control, is also described.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 7, 2007
    Date of Patent: March 17, 2015
    Inventor: Michael E. Brown
  • 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: 8979431
    Abstract: An irrigation device comprising a moisture responsive barrier is provided. At least a portion of the barrier has perforations, at least some of the perforations are associated with a water swellable material. The perforations are configured to open as the water swellable material loses moisture and dries out and are configured to close as said water swellable material is exposed to and absorbs water, such as during a watering step.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 27, 2013
    Date of Patent: March 17, 2015
    Assignee: Canplas Industries Ltd.
    Inventor: Jeff Bayley
  • Publication number: 20140230917
    Abstract: A moisture sensing water system comprising at least one moisture sensor coupled with at least one wheel coupled with a water conveyance system, the at least one moisture sensor pierces the ground during each rotation of the at least one wheel and performs a moisture sensing. A moisture information converter receives the moisture sensing information and converts the moisture sensing information into a signal indicative of the moisture content of the ground. A moisture content provider provides the signal indicative of the moisture content of the ground in a user accessible format to automatically control the amount of water disseminated by the moisture sensing watering system.
    Type: Application
    Filed: February 19, 2013
    Publication date: August 21, 2014
    Applicant: TRIMBLE NAVIGATION LIMITED
    Inventor: Robert James Lindores
  • Patent number: 8733155
    Abstract: The present invention is directed to an irrigation sprinkler sensor for sensing if a sprinkler riser has elevated, if water is flowing through the sprinkler riser, if the sprinkler is rotating, or if a sprinkler valve has properly closed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 18, 2011
    Date of Patent: May 27, 2014
    Assignee: The Toro Company
    Inventors: Jason Lester Hill, Thomas H. Runge, Alex Korol
  • Patent number: 8714181
    Abstract: A tensiometer for use in determining matric potential of a soil includes a water inlet; a hydraulic coupler comprising a porous material for providing hydraulic coupling between water that enters the inlet and the soil; and a septum that seals water that enters the inlet against ingress of air via the porous material.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 22, 2011
    Date of Patent: May 6, 2014
    Assignees: Netafim, Ltd., Yissum Research Development Company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
    Inventors: Uri Shani, Abraham Schweitzer
  • Patent number: 8695407
    Abstract: A microtensiometer sensor includes a substrate layer fluidly coupled to an enclosed reservoir. A porous membrane is disposed on a surface of the substrate layer. The membrane defines a liquid side fluidly coupled to the reservoir and a vapor side fluidly coupled to a vapor interface. The porous membrane includes a plurality of through holes fluidly coupling the liquid reservoir to the vapor interface, and a nanoporous filler material disposed within the plurality of through holes. The filler material includes a plurality of open pores having a maximum diameter in the range of 0.2 to 200 nanometers. In one embodiment, the microtensiometer sensor includes a molecular membrane disposed adjacent to the vapor side of the porous membrane. In one example, the molecular membrane is formed of a highly crystalline polytetrafluoroethylene polymer having a microstructure characterized by nodes interconnected by fibrils.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 16, 2010
    Date of Patent: April 15, 2014
    Assignee: Cornell University
    Inventors: Abraham D. Stroock, Alan N. Lakso, Vinay Pagay, Bojan Ilic, Meredith Metzler
  • Patent number: 8671969
    Abstract: Moisture sensor devices and methods are disclosed herein. One embodiment includes an integrated moisture sensor and controller to be placed in soil comprising a controller circuit for controlling a switch; a sensor circuit comprising a probe and adapted to provide a soil moisture level; and a memory coupled to the controller circuit. The controller, sensor circuits, and the memory integrated into a single device positioned within the soil; the switch coupled to the controller circuit and to be coupled to a control line of an irrigation controller between the controller and a valve, the control line to carry a power signal from the controller to the valve; the controller circuit is adapted to cause interruption of irrigation based on the moisture level of the soil and a soil moisture threshold; the memory adapted to store data of the soil moisture threshold level and the moisture level of the soil.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 23, 2011
    Date of Patent: March 18, 2014
    Assignee: Rain Bird Corporation
    Inventors: Daniel D. Dresselhaus, Kevin G. O'Brien
  • Patent number: 8660705
    Abstract: A soil moisture based irrigation system includes a stand alone irrigation controller with a seasonal adjust feature and a stand alone weather station including at least one soil moisture sensor. The soil moisture based irrigation system further includes a stand alone soil moisture control unit operatively connected to the irrigation controller and the soil moisture sensor. The soil moisture control unit includes programming configured to calculate an estimated soil moisture requirement value using a signal from the soil moisture sensor and to automatically modify a watering schedule of the irrigation controller through the seasonal adjust feature based on the estimated soil moisture requirement value to thereby conserve water while maintaining plant health.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 6, 2011
    Date of Patent: February 25, 2014
    Assignee: Hunter Industries, Inc.
    Inventors: Peter J. Woytowitz, Jeffery 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: 8615329
    Abstract: A control system is disclosed for regulating the flow of a liquid from a liquid provider through a liquid distribution system. The distribution system has a major liquid distribution channel connected to a plurality of minor liquid distribution channels providing the liquid to a multiplicity of users. A plurality of controllable user valves are interposed in the multiplicity of user channels. A liquid monitor senses a liquid flow characteristic within the liquid distribution channel. A user control changes selective controllable user valves for restoring a desired liquid flow characteristic within the liquid distribution channel.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 16, 2007
    Date of Patent: December 24, 2013
    Assignee: Water Optimizer LLC
    Inventor: Thomas M. O'Connor
  • Publication number: 20130255783
    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: Application
    Filed: October 24, 2012
    Publication date: October 3, 2013
    Applicant: The Toro Company
    Inventors: Thomas H. Runge, Jason Lester Hill, James Zimmerman
  • 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: 8443822
    Abstract: A method for detecting a breach in an irrigation line (32) of an irrigation system (10) includes comparing a fluid condition at a first point along the irrigation line (32) with the fluid condition at a second point located at an irrigation unit (20) to determine whether a disparity of at least a predetermined percentage in the fluid conditions exists. The fluid condition can include a measurement of irrigation fluid pressure, quantity of irrigation fluid (19), rate of flow of the irrigation fluid (19), voltage and/or electrical current through the irrigation fluid (19). The method can include selectively monitoring the fluid condition at the irrigation unit (20) over time using a main control system (22). In another embodiment, the method includes comparing the fluid condition at the first point along the irrigation line (32) with the fluid condition at each of a plurality of second points.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 18, 2005
    Date of Patent: May 21, 2013
    Inventor: Norman Ivans
  • Patent number: 8408229
    Abstract: An automatic plant watering apparatus having a cavity for receiving a standard houseplant pot, a reservoir for holding water, a pump for removing water from the reservoir, a host for delivering water from the pump to a plant positioned in the cavity. The pump is operated by a microcontroller that is programmed to measure a first time period during which the pump is not operated, and a second time period during which the pump is operated. According, the apparatus can be programmed to automatically water a house plant at predetermined intervals, as well as deliver a predetermined amount of water.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 11, 2009
    Date of Patent: April 2, 2013
    Assignee: Federal Pacific Trading, Inc.
    Inventors: Leonard Goldberg, James P. Romano, John J. Feketa
  • Patent number: 8374553
    Abstract: A wireless sub-surface soil sensor having a switchable configuration antenna that can be optimized for various soils is disclosed herein. The wireless sub-surface sensor also measures the moisture and salinity of a material. The wireless sub-surface sensor preferably includes a cover for protecting circuitry of the sensor. The wireless soil sensor is designed to be buried underground and to transmit to above ground receivers, which provide feedback for configuring the switchable antenna.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 31, 2010
    Date of Patent: February 12, 2013
    Assignee: Green Badge, LLC
    Inventors: Jeffrey Campbell, Kathy Sohrabi, Clayton R. Karmel
  • Patent number: 8371325
    Abstract: A housing has at least one port for allowing entry of subterranean water into an interior of the housing when the housing is buried in soil. The housing has an inlet fitting configured to be coupled to drip tubing and an outlet for discharging water conveyed from a pressurized water source conveyed through the tubing. A valve includes a valve member that is movable to open and close a fluid communication path between the inlet fitting and the outlet. A hygroscopic member is positioned in the interior of the housing and is capable of absorbing subterranean water and expanding to move the valve member to close the fluid communication path. A spring element is positioned to bias the valve member to open the fluid communication path.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 25, 2010
    Date of Patent: February 12, 2013
    Assignee: Hunter Industries, Inc.
    Inventor: Glendale Grizzle
  • 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: 8245720
    Abstract: A control valve has an inlet, a first outlet and a second outlet. The control valve includes a poppet valve to selectably close one of the first outlet and the second outlet. A pair of diaphragms move from a first position to a second position when fluid is supplied to the control valve to permit the poppet valve to close the first passage when fluid is removed from the control valve. A magnet operably couples a wireless transmitter to a power source when fluid is supplied to the control valve. The wireless transmitter may send a signal to terminate irrigation by the control valve when the control valve is one of a plurality of control valves connected serially to a master valve only by a fluid supply line.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 12, 2008
    Date of Patent: August 21, 2012
    Assignee: Sturman BG, LLC
    Inventors: Benjamin Grill, Timothy P. Kranz, Oded Eddie Sturman
  • Patent number: 8225810
    Abstract: Described herein are various embodiments of an apparatus, system, and method for controlling the irrigation of an area. In one embodiment, an apparatus includes at least one sensor module that is configured to detect the soil moisture content of soil in an irrigation area. The sensor module is further configured to determine a rate of change of the soil moisture content based on the detected soil moisture content. A rate at which the sensor module detects the soil moisture content of the soil is based on the determined rate of change of the soil moisture content. The apparatus also includes a central control module that is configured to execute an irrigation event for an irrigation area if the detected soil moisture content reaches a moisture content lower threshold. The central control module also is configured to terminate the irrigation event for the irrigation area if the detected soil moisture content reaches a moisture content upper threshold.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 14, 2009
    Date of Patent: July 24, 2012
    Inventor: Rod N. Blanchard
  • Patent number: 8219254
    Abstract: A combined water management and communication system for a water provider wirelessly communicating with selected ones of the multiplicity of user wireless transceiver for changing water distribution to selective ones of the multiplicity of independent users upon an undesired water flow characteristic within the water distribution channels. The multiplicity of user wireless transceivers communicating with proximate user wireless transceivers for forming a network for communicating information to a third party wireless transceiver unrelated to liquid flow. The invention is also incorporated into a remote controlled solar operated wireless irrigation valve. The invention is further incorporated into an improved water management irrigation system incorporating an adaptive weather based controller that is adjusted by a weather based sensor base controller.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 6, 2010
    Date of Patent: July 10, 2012
    Assignee: Water Optimizer LLC.
    Inventor: Thomas M. O'Connor
  • 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: 8104498
    Abstract: Moisture sensor devices and methods are disclosed herein. One embodiment includes an integrated moisture sensor and controller to be placed in soil comprising a controller circuit for controlling a switch; a sensor circuit comprising a probe and adapted to provide the controller circuit a signal corresponding to a moisture level of the soil. The controller and sensor circuits integrated into a single device positioned within the soil; the switch coupled to the controller circuit and to be coupled to a control line of an irrigation controller at an electrical position between the controller and a valve, the control line to carry a power signal from the controller to the valve; the switch to interrupt irrigation in response to a signal from the controller circuit; the controller circuit is adapted to determine an amount of time for which irrigation is interrupted.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 22, 2010
    Date of Patent: January 31, 2012
    Assignee: Rain Bird Corporation
    Inventors: Daniel D. Dresselhaus, Kevin G. O'Brien
  • Publication number: 20120006421
    Abstract: A tensiometer for use in determining matric potential of a soil includes a water inlet; a hydraulic coupler comprising a porous material for providing hydraulic coupling between water that enters the inlet and the soil; and a septum that seals water that enters the inlet against ingress of air via the porous material.
    Type: Application
    Filed: September 22, 2011
    Publication date: January 12, 2012
    Applicants: Yissum Research Development Company Of The Hebrew University Of Jerusalem, Netafim Ltd.
    Inventors: Uri SHANI, Abraham Schweitzer
  • Patent number: 8051871
    Abstract: A tensiometer for use in determining matric potential of a soil comprising: a water inlet; a hydraulic coupler comprising a porous material for providing hydraulic coupling between water that enters the inlet and the soil; and a septum that seals water that enters the inlet against ingress of air via the porous material.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 18, 2008
    Date of Patent: November 8, 2011
    Assignees: Netafim Ltd., Yissum Research Development Company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
    Inventors: Uri Shani, Abraham Schweitzer
  • Patent number: 8014904
    Abstract: A plurality of receptacles in an irrigation controller removably receive a plurality of modules. At least one station module is configured for insertion into a first one of the receptacles and is connectable to a corresponding solenoid actuated valve through a dedicated field valve line and common return line. The station module includes at least one switching device for selectively providing a first power signal that energizes the corresponding solenoid actuated valve. At least one encoder module is configured for insertion into a second one of the receptacles and is connectable to a multi-wire path for sending encoded signals and a second power signal along the multi-wire path for selectively energizing one of a plurality of solenoid actuated valves connected to corresponding decoder circuits connected along the multi-wire path. A processor executes the stored watering program and controls the station module and/or the encoder module in accordance with the stored watering program.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 15, 2010
    Date of Patent: September 6, 2011
    Assignee: Hunter Industries, Inc.
    Inventor: Peter J. Woytowitz