IrrigationCaddy ICEthS1 Web Based Sprinkler Controller and Watering System
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- Web integrated controller with secure password protection
- Graphical user interface from any web browser
- Control up to 10 zones
- Complex scheduling, 4 programs, 5 start times
- 1 Rain sensor port
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|Manufacturer Part Number||ICEthS1|
|Package Height||2.6 x 8.1 x 10.7 inches|
|Shipping Weight||2.15 pounds|
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|Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping|
|Sold By||IrrigationCaddy||Amazon.com||Amazon.com||Netro Inc||Amazon.com||Kingdom Home Store|
|Item Dimensions||—||9.38 x 3.75 x 8.63 in||1.5 x 9.25 x 5.5 in||5.7 x 5.7 x 1.2 in||4.5 x 5.9 x 1.1 in||6.25 x 1.54 x 6.25 in|
|Item Weight||—||3.7 lbs||2.5 lbs||0.51 lb||0.69 lb||1.5 lbs|
The Irrigation Caddy ( IC ) device is an ethernet based irrigation control system. The system allows the user to control and schedule an irrigation system from any computer with a web browser. No special software or clients are required, just a Web Browser on a computer. Installation is simple. Connect the IC to your network using an ethernet cable, and the IC will automatically obtain a DHCP IP address from ( typically ) your DSL/Cable router. Then connect the valve wires to the IC and the IC is ready to run. Setting the schedules is also very simple. The IC can be accessed using your Web Browser from your home computer. The interface is clear and user friendly. Simply tell it what days it should water, and at what times, and the IC will save the information. The Irrigation Caddy supports "Even / Odd", "Every X Days", and "Days of the Week" scheduling. The information is kept on the IC, even if the power is turned off. Technical Specs:
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PC based software is very basic and the phone App is very poor. I have updated my controller and user interface several times trying to improve this system and it feels like you are installing DOS and WINDOWS 3.1. The last update effected the zone names, so that it lost all data and replaced it with random txt.
Over all, a poor product, feels more like a prototype device that needs more refinement and improved user interface. If you are not computer savvy and not able to set-up port forwarding on your router, able to download and update batch files, then this is not the product for you. With all the alternative products out there with slick user interfaces, save yourself the time and frustration and avoid this company.
The company's Web site and App's don't seem to have been updated for a relatively long time so I don't really expect much support or updates.
At any rate, I decided it was a good time to replace the old irrigation controller with a smarter one and started shopping around. I am a high-tech engineer and I was particularly interested in "smart home gadgets" in recent years including irrigation controllers. So, it was fun to shop around.
Conclusion first. I find the IrrigationCady ICEthS1 is a near-perfect match with my requirements and preferences among several similar smart irrigation controllers available in the market. It's been about a month since I installed it in our downstairs closet, I've been very happy to see it work as intended, although I have a long wish list as well.
First, the around-$100 price including a 24VAC transformer is very good. Other competitor products usually carry $200-300 price tags which I cannot afford. This price is I guess possible because it has only necessary (but satisfactorily enough) hardware features. For example, ICEthS1 has no fancy LCD or touch panel UI that would be very seldom used once it is installed in a closet. Another cost-saving is lack of WiFi (there is a WiFi IrrigationCaddy model with a higher price tag). In our house's particular case, the closet where I installed my IrrigationCaddy serves as a "downstairs network center" and it houses network switches, WiFi AP, NAS, Arlo house monitoring camera base station, and other network devices. So, it was a tiny piece of cake to run a 2-foot Ethernet cable for my IrrigationCaddy, but every household may have its own situation.
As to networking, I generally dislike to use WiFi for this kind of stationary network devices because WiFi not only is less reliable (or at least no more reliable) than wired Ethernet but also requires SSID/passcode settings. Reliability may not be an issue in reality, but, if it happens, it's difficult to notice the disconnection for this kind of set-and-forget device which is seldom accessed. Another thing is that our home WiFi disables SSID broadcasting for a security reason. If a WiFi gadget connects only to a broadcast SSID, which is often seen on simple gadgets, it will be a problem for us.
The IrrigationCaddy ICEthS1's body is a rectangle-shaped shallow plastic box with only a power LED but no other indicators or switches/buttons. The installation ear-tabs on both sides make wall installation much easier than hidden screw-head hanging slots on the rear. Some competitor products are like a pastel colored disc, but I have never wanted to decorate our living room wall with an irrigation controller, and this simple and practical design is perfect.
One caveat is that the rain sensor terminal block is smaller in size than valve and power terminals. I had to look for a smaller screw driver in my tool box. To me, this does not make much sense because an existing rain sensor was connected with wires of the same gage as valves (because of the same amperage) and there's no reason to make this smaller. This rain sensor port is not a hard-wired valve gateway/switch. Rather, it is a sensor input to the internal intelligence (logic). So, it is configurable either CLOSED/DRY and OPEN/WET or the other way.
There are 10 (ten) valve terminals of which one (valve #10) can be configured a master valve controller. I replaced an existing 6-valve controller so that this was enough. If you need much more, an upper model has extender capability.
The IrrigationCaddy ICEthS1'sdefault IP setting is DHCP, unlike cheap similar devices that have default static IP address of 192.168.x.x, so it can join your LAN without any trick. The IrrigationCaddy ICEthS1 seems to employ the BonJour name service client, so you can immediately access its web interface by the default domain name of irricgationcaddy if your LAN supports BonJour. Unfortunately, my LAN does not. So, I had to discover my IrrigationCaddy ICEthS1 by looking for a new DHCP client with a strange MAC address, but this is not a big deal at all.
One of the excellences of the IrrigationCaddy ICEthS1 is that it can be programmed and controlled from a LAN client PC using a regular web browser. These days more and more gadgets like this feature and advertise they are controlled from smart phones via cloud, but I am very against this trend for several reasons.:
- First, I have never wanted turning on and off my bedside lamp (or opening/closing a garage door, controlling irrigation) while riding a train, driving a car, or even while working.
- Smart phone control uses proprietary app, and if the app updates do not catch up OS updates, there may be problems.
- Most importantly, if the vendor goes out of business and the cloud stops working, the gadget becomes a brick. I have experienced this with Chumby (although it has resumed with a different fee-based business model). Gadgets like an irrigation controller are supposed be used for a long time; Our old controller was in use for 20 year. Hardware failure due to aging over time is unavoidable, but it's sad to dispose of a working piece of hardware due to an external service shutdown.
Well, I have to confess I have difficulties in viewing smart phone's tiny screen with my aging vision, but....
The IrrigationCaddy ICEthS1 does provide cloud-based remote control using a regular web browser (free) as well as a smart phone app (an app costs $4.99) so that you can set up and control the IrrigationCaddy ICEthS1 from anywhere in the world with reasonable security control. I mostly use a local web browser even from my work place through a VPN between my house and work place. The browser-based cloud remote UI is mostly the same as the local UI.
Each of the 10 valves/zones can be nicknamed, but the IrrigationCaddy ICEthS1 accepts only Latin alpha-numerics, not even punctuations like "&," but nickname lengths are not artificially limited short. So names like "Patio and Backyard Orchards" are possible.
You can set up to 3 (three) individual programs, Progarm1 through Program3, but these programs cannot be nicknamed. My impression is that these programs aim to provide different concurrent scheduling, like Program1 to irrigate every day zones A, B, and C, Program2 to irrigate zones X every other day, etc.
Overall, the IrrigationCaddy ICEthS1 is very well priced, has everything necessary but nothing unnecessary to me, is easy to install, program and use. It is well designed as a practical set-and-forget irrigation controller, not as a techie toy.
Now my wish list.
I wish the IrrigationCaddy ICEthS1 had simple LED indicators to show which valve is currently on and a simple push button switch to manually turn on each valve in a cyclic manner. Irrigation components like hoses, tubes, nozzles, etc. do break over time and they need to be tested after repair. In such a case, I'd rather just tap on a button than log in to my PC and open a web browser. Well, I could have used a smart phone app instead of taking my laptop PC to our backyard to control the IrrigationCaddy ICEthS1...
Programs 1 through 3 for concurrent different watering schedules may be good, but not to me. Instead , I would rather have multiple programs for different seasons, like winter, summer, spring/autumn automatically observed by the IrrigationCaddy ICEthS1. Again, I'd like to emphasize the importance of the set-and-forget nature of this kind of gadgets.
Precise HTTP control
The IrrigationCaddy ICEthS1 provides only interactive web UI to control. I am building a system to implement much more precise irrigation watering by collecting information from soil moisture sensors, humidity sensors, and the national weather service (NOAA, weather.gov). The IrrigationCaddy ICEthS1 can disable scheduled watering using the rainsensor input, but I'd rather control individual valves because the front yard lawn and back yard vegetable boxes may have different soil moisture situations. I searched the IrrigationCaddy ICEthS1 for an open TCP port for debugging and development, but found no other ports than HTTP. So I guess the HTTP port accepts unpublished URI or protocol for more precise control.
Most recent customer reviews
although it works great for what I want, the direct Ethernet connection.Read more