3

Ken Wiens

Lives in: Calgary, Alberta, CA
Using: SPRITE-6

Questions

Controller offline every few days / minutes - no longer turns water on

3
Ken Wiens
Updated at 2022-06-19 17:14:35 UTC
Topic: Troubleshooting

I had a controller for a couple years that worked fine until completely dieing this spring. I replaced it with a new unit, installed in exactly the same place. The new unit goes offline every few days. Usually power cycling it a few times brings it back online.  I've even had to install a smart plug in line with the power supply so I can reset this remotely - but why does the new controller go offline every 2-3 days when the old one never did?


Added information:

At the suggestion of support, I tried a reset (pin in the front) and this did what was expected - it reset it. Some of the times it goes offline it goes into reset mode by itself - and this appears to just do the same as it was sometimes doing by itself. 

Also, it now often stays offline all the time and nothing I do other than a reset seems to bring it back online.


Just to provide further information, sometimes when it won't go online, I get the slow blinking indicating it is in setup mode. This then requires me to remove and re-add the controller - which then requires me to completely setup my garden again ( a lengthy job). It would sure be nice if I didn't have to completely reconfigure the garden each time I re-add the controller.


My updated for today - after todays factory reset, following by another garden reconfiguration, I did a manual run for each of my 4 zones. From the app, it looks like everything ran - but a physical check showed that no water was applied. The app thinks it turned on the water, but it didn't.  I'm really starting to think maybe I have a dud controller.


It now goes off-line every few minutes. Signal strength tests using various tools show the wi-fi signal is very strong right at the controller


Fyi - I did remove the common and the zone 1 wire, ran a 24v current across them and zone 1 began watering - so I know that everything downstream from the Netro controller still works.

Whisperer setup works - but never reconnects to network

3
Ken Wiens
Updated at 2021-10-03 16:59:12 UTC
Topic: Troubleshooting

I have 2 whisperers and have the same behaviour from both.  One worked for a few months and then failed.  The second one is brand new and never has worked.


For both devices I have done the full reset many times.  The reset and subsequent setup appear to work.  The Whisperer connects to the network and I can change the LED colour (so I know my phone and the whisperer are talking).  I then power off the whisperer and turn it back on for a transmission test.  The device powers on, the LED comes on and then within about 20 seconds the LED turns red and the unit shuts off.  This is supposed to indicate that the whisperer cannot reconnect to the network (and that I should move closer to my router).  I moved it right up to within 1 foot of the router and still cannot reconnect.


The fact that I had 2 of these and neither works suggested the problem was not with the devices, so I replaced the router with a high end Asus Zenwifi mesh network.  This still did not resolve the problem.


I do not believe I have a battery issue.  The units have sat in the sun for about 6 weeks during this testing.  The support documentation in 1 place says the setup must be done within 20ft of the router and in another place says the setup must be done within 20 feet of the sprite.  I've tried both and in both cases the setup appears to work properly. But in no case can I reconnect to my network after the unit is set up.


Both units are hardware version 2.2 and firmware version 2.2.0.  My app version is 2.5.3.  Server Status reports OK (response time 1.0 s)


Any suggestions for what else I can try?

Recharging whisperer in spring after winter shutdown

3
Ken Wiens
Updated at 2021-05-28 19:17:48 UTC
Topic: Smart watering

I buy a new whisperer every year (on my 4th year now). I also try to charge the old ones each year. I set them in the direct sun. At night I put them under a direct indoor light source. This year they have been charging for a little over 4 weeks now. This gives them enough power to run for 7-10 seconds. As the watering season where I live is only about 4.5 months, this means that every whisperer only lasts me 4.5 months. It's a pretty expensive solution at this rate. 

Is my experience common? Has anyone gotten a whisperer to work after being stored over the winter (and I do charge then fully before turning them off for the winter)?  I assume the internal rechargeable batteries just aren't that good. Has any one had any experience changing the batteries?

Restriction for specific days

3
Ken Wiens
Updated at 2019-06-24 18:20:32 UTC
Topic: Netro app
I want to create restrictions for a set of specific days in the future.  Birthdays of family members for example. Or days that I have outdoor entertainment planned. I want to set these up long in advance (before a smart schedule has been scheduled.) How can I do this? 

Two zones on same spot

3
Ken Wiens
Updated at 2018-07-31 22:06:08 UTC
Topic: Smart watering

I have 4 zones. Two of these cover the same piece of ground. One zone has pgm sprayers and the other zone has regular sprayers .But they cover exactly the same area. How do I tell the app this so that it knows that running the sprinklers for one zone waters the same trees and grass as the other zone? 


To try and clarify the question - these zones cover the same physical piece of ground, (they overlap 100%) but netro doesn't know that, so it will water one zone and think the other zone is still in need of watering - and thus water the same grass twice. (each zone once so the same grass twice).  Netro's algorithm for determining soil moisture levels can't work if it doesn't realize these two zones are the same physical piece of grass. 

Accuracy of dark sky in Canada

3
Ken Wiens
Updated at 2018-07-31 03:16:54 UTC
Topic: Netro app

The dark sky android app is not available in Canada  so I wonder how accurate their weather is here.  To try and determine this for myself, I looked at the netro temperature graph..  Today it is 34C at my house  but the temperature summary graph in  Netro says it is only 22C. (for my friends still using Fahrenheit that is about a 24F difference )  Does anyone know when Netro gets the temperature that it uses in the graph? Other thoughts on dark sky accuracy in Canada? 

 

Netro and Alexa

3
Ken Wiens
Updated at 2018-07-30 22:29:36 UTC
Topic: Netro app

I've loaded the Alexa skill for Netro. When I tell Alexa to ask Netro to water a zone, it just looks up references for "metro" instead. Much as I appreciate Alexa looking up train schedules for me, I'm curious if others have had this problem.  I've tried pronouncing  it "net row" and "neat row" but  neither gets recognized. 


This isn't a critical issue, as I'm not sure I would ever see the point in voice control over my sprinklers  but thought I would set it up to try anyway