Frequently Asked Questions

FAQThis page should answer the most commonly asked questions about OpenSprinkler. If you have a question that isn’t listed here please feel free to Contact Us.

Index

General

What is OpenSprinkler?

OpenSprinkler is an open-source, web-based sprinkler/irrigation controller that is easy to program and has far more features than traditional irrigation controllers. OpenSprinkler is a great option if you are installing a new irrigation system or simply use it as a drop-in replacement for your old irrigation controller. OpenSprinkler has the following advantages:

  • Easy to use: Programming your irrigation controller shouldn’t be a complicated and frustrating task. The OpenSprinkler App is user friendly and easy to learn.
  • Intuitive User Interface (UI): No more messing with buttons and knobs, no difficult programming sequences and no more running outside to make a single sprinkler program change. Instead, use your web browser or the mobile App to set or change your sprinkler programs.
  • Flexibility: You can create a wide variety of programs with custom names and start times to fit your own unique requirements. OpenSprinkler supports running multiple stations in sequence (one after another) or parallel (concurrently) and up to 28 programs.
  • Remote Access: You can access your OpenSprinkler from almost anywhere and at any time, whether you are at home, at office, or traveling.*
  • Weather-based watering: OpenSprinkler can connect to the Internet and use real-time weather data (including historic and forecast data) to automatically make watering time adjustments. It not only stops watering when it rains, but also scales watering time up and down based on your local temperature, humidity and rainfall.
Who is OpenSprinkler for?

OpenSprinkler is a great addition to any garden big or small and is used by both residential and business customers worldwide. Suitable for small and large installations, OpenSprinkler easily scales from 8 zones up to 56 zones making it suitable for farms, golf courses, large estates and sprinkler service professionals. Our app lets you to access multiple OpenSprinklers together for unlimited coverage.

What is OpenSprinkler used for?

Its applications include lawn and garden watering, plant irrigation, drip irrigation, hydroponics. OpenSprinkler is both affordable and scalable from a few zones for a typical garden home up to 56 for a large business installations. The OpenSprinkler App also allows you to manage multiple OpenSprinkler controllers for for virtually unlimited coverage.

How many zones does it support?

The main controller supports 8 zones. Optional Zone Expansion boards can be added to extend this further. Each zone expansion board adds 16 zones. The current firmware supports a maximum of 56 zones (main controller plus three expansion boards).

How many programs does OpenSprinkler support?

The current firmware supports up to 28 programs.

Each program allows an individual watering time for every zone/station, and two different types scheduling to choose from:
1. A weekly schedule where you can select any combination of weekdays.
2. An interval schedule where you can set the program to run every n days (n is between 2 and 127).

Each program also allows two types of start times:
1. Up to 4 given start times;
2. Repeating start times (e.g. start at 8:30am, repeat every 45 minutes for 8 times).
The flexible start times can accommodate both situations where the program needs to run at specific start times and situations where the program needs to repeat regularly many times during a day.

How is OpenSprinkler different from competitors?

While there are other web-based sprinkler controllers on the market OpenSprinkler differs from similar products in the following aspects:

  • OpenSprinkler has a built-in web server and runs programs on its own. It does not rely on proprietary or additional PC software. The web interface is compatible with most modern (including mobile) web browsers. The OpenSprinkler mobile App is free and supports all major platforms.
  • You can easily expand the number of stations. OpenSprinkler scales well and the cost is considerably cheaper than other competing products on the market.
  • OpenSprinkler offers a rich set of features, such as flexible program start times, graphical preview of program schedules and logging data, custom zone and program names, support to run zones either in sequence or parallel, watering time down to one second. Such extensive features are rarely found in competing products.
  • OpenSprinkler is shipped worldwide, supports 20+ languages and OpenSprinkler South Africa is proud to be the local authorised distributor.
  • OpenSprinkler is built on open-source hardware and software. Its design files are publicly available and there is a strong educational aspect of it. If you are a technical developer, you can easily customise and extend its functionality, both software and hardware.

What’s included?

What’s included in the package?

Various packages are available from OpenSprinkler South Africa. You can purchase only the OpenSprinkler controller if you have an existing power supply that you wish to use, or you can buy OpenSprinkler with a power supply. We strongly recommend using our power supply as a cheap power supply can damage the controller. Complete packages that also include WiFi and a weatherproof housing are also available and we offer a range of other accessories.

Does OpenSprinkler have built-in wireless (WiFi)?

No, OpenSprinkler uses a wired Ethernet cable connection for network connectivity but you can add an optional WiFi bridge or network over powerline adapter. The WiFi bridges recommended and available from OpenSprinkler South Africa can also be powered using the USB port on your OpenSprinkler controller.

 


Installation

 

How do I install OpenSprinkler?

OpenSprinkler is designed to be a drop-in replacement of your conventional sprinkler controller. Do-it-yourself installation is easy and can be completed within 30-45 minutes:

  • Carefully label and remove the wires from your existing controller, then remove the controller from the wall or sprinkler enclosure.
  • Attach OpenSprinkler to the wall, then re-insert the wires into OpenSprinkler, and tighten the screws on the terminal blocks.
  • Attach a wired Ethernet cable; alternatively, use WiFi adapter or powerline network adapters.
  • Tutorial videos are available on our Getting Started page.

Note that OpenSprinkler’s screw terminal blocks can be plugged in or out at any time. To unplug, grab the terminal block on both ends firmly, and pull it out. Wiggling it around if it’s too tight.

What type of sprinkler valves can it work with?
  • OpenSprinkler AC works with standard 24V AC sprinkler valves. It’s compatible with existing 24V AC systems, including pump start relays and wireless sensors that require 24V AC power.
  • OpenSprinkler DC version works with both 24V AC sprinkler valves as well as 12V DC valves. However, for certain 24V AC pump start relays and wireless sensors that require 24V AC power, you may need a separate 24V AC power supply.
Is the controller waterproof?

No, the controller is not waterproof and should not be installed outdoors without protection. Various weatherproof enclosures are available from OpenSprinkler South Africa that provide sufficient space for your OpenSprinkler controller, an expansion board, relays and/or WiFi adapter.

What’s the maximum distance allowed between the controller and the valves?

This depends on the wire gauge (AWG) that you are using to connect the valves. In general, you can run up to 200 m with 20 AWG wires, 300 m with 18 AWG wires and 150 m with 16 AWG wires. Thicker wires allow for longer distances.

Does OpenSprinkler support a flow sensor?

Yes, when using a flow sensor, the controller will detect flow sensor pulses, display real-time flow rate at the footer, and log the flow volume at the end of each program run. Only dry-contact, 2-wire flow sensors are supported: these sensors are essentially flow-activated switches which close and open repeatedly as water flows through the meter. They do not need power, and typically come with 2 wires.  Flow sensors with 3 wires usually require power and thus need some modifications before they can be used with OpenSprinkler.

Does OpenSprinkler support rain sensor?

Yes, OpenSprinkler has a rain sensor terminal that can accept most off-the-shelf rain sensors. Essentially rain sensors are basically rain-activated switches. OpenSprinkler is compatible with both normally open or normally closed rain sensors.

Does OpenSprinkler support a pump start relay?

Yes. OpenSprinkler uses software-defined master zone / pump station, and supports up to 2 master / pump zones. Any of the available stations can be set as a master / pump zone. Both single phase and three phase OpenSprinkler compatible relays are available from OpenSprinkler South Africa.

Can I use OpenSprinkler to switch devices other than sprinkler valves?

Yes. You can also use 24V AC relays to allow OpenSprinkler to switch other devices. Details can be found in this blog article. The OpenSprinkler firmware also has built-in support for radio frequency (RF) stations. This allows it to talk to RF remote power sockets, which in turn switches any powerline device, such as landscape lights, Christmas lights, pumps, heaters, fans. Details can be found in this blog articlePlease note that RF switching is for advanced users and it not officially supported by OpenSprinkler South Africa.


Using OpenSprinkler

What information is displayed on the LCD screen?

The OpenSprinkler LCD screen displays the current time, zone status, rain delay / rain sensor status and the network connection status.

Is there a power button on the controller?

The power button is located on the left side of the controller. If the switch is in the “up” position the controller will be off. To switch the controller on move the switch to the “down” position.

What are the three buttons used for?

OpenSprinkler has three buttons (B1, B2 and B3) located on the right side of the controller.

After OpenSprinkler is switched on, they perform the following functions:

  • B1: Click B1 — Display the controller’s IP address; Press and hold B1 — Stop all zones.
  • B2: Click B2 — Display the network gateway (i.e. router) IP address for firmware 2.1.0; Display the controller MAC Address in firmware 2.1.2 and later.
    Press and hold B1 — Restart controller.
  • B3: Click B3 — Switch between main controller and expansion boards; Press and hold B1 — manually start an existing or test program.

If OpenSprinkler has not been switched on, they perform the following functions:

  • B3: If you press and hold B3 while the controller is switched on, the controller will enter the ‘Setup Options’ menu where you can change various settings. This is most commonly used to configure network settings because managing your OpenSprinkler from your smart device or web interface is much easier.
What happens if there is a power outage?

OpenSprinkler won’t be able to water your garden; however, all your settings and programs as well as the date and time will be preserved. OpenSprinkler stores all programs and settings in non-volatile memory and an internal battery keeps the clock correct.

Can OpenSprinkler run offline without an Internet connection?

Yes, once programmed, OpenSprinkler can run offline without any network connection at all. You can also manually start an existing or test program from the controller by using the buttons. To enjoy all the features and functionality that come with OpenSprinkler an Internet connection is highly recommended though. OpenSprinkler uses your Internet connection to download information on weather conditions so that it can automatically adjust your watering times. If you wish to manage your OpenSprinkler remotely, an Internet connection as well as port forwarding rules on your router are required.

How do I upgrade the firmware?

Being an open-source product, OpenSprinkler continues to evolve and we release new firmwares regularly to improve its features and functionality. Currently, a firmware upgrade is done through the USB port on the controller. All you need is a standard USB cable, and the cross-platform firmware update program that we provide. The latest firmware is available from the support page. In the future, we will support upgrading the firmware using the web interface.


Network connectivity

 

How do I connect OpenSprinkler to the Internet?

OpenSprinkler uses a wired LAN/Ethernet port for network connectivity. If installing a network cable to your controller is not feasible you can use a WiFi bridge to connect OpenSprinkler to your WiFi network OR an Ethernet over power line adapter. WiFi bridges that have been tested with OpenSprinkler are available from OpenSprinker South Africa. Complete kits including a WiFi bridge are also available from the online shop.

How do I access OpenSprinkler?

OpenSprinkler has a built-in web interface that works with both desktop and mobile web browsers. Just open a browser and type in the IP address of the controller. If you don’t know the IP address, click button B1 on the controller and the IP address will be displayed on the LCD screen.

In addition, we provide both mobile and desktop apps free of charge and available on all major platforms. Download The App The mobile app provides additional features such as automatically scanning your network to discover any OpenSprinkler units.

Browsers / devices that we have tested include:

  • Desktop: Google Chrome, Firefox, IE 9+, Apple OSX app, Google Chrome app.
  • Mobile: Apple iOS, Google Android, Amazon Kindle, Windows Mobile, Blackberry.
How can I set a static IP address?

The recommended way to set static IP address is by using your router’s DHCP Reservation or Bind IP to MAC feature.

Alternatively, you can set a static IP address on OpenSprinkler by turning off OpenSprinkler’s DHCP option, then manually set a static IP and the gateway (i.e. router) IP. Note that you must set the router IP correctly in order for all features to function correctly.

How do I access OpenSprinkler remotely, such as from office?

You can access OpenSprinkler remotely by using the port forwarding feature that’s available on most routers. To do so, you need to log into your router’s configuration page, go to the Port Forwarding section, and set up an entry that maps an external request (from outside your local network) to OpenSprinkler’s IP address and port number. Once set up, you’ll be able to access OpenSprinkler remotely, by using your router’s external IP address. You can find out your external IP address from your router’s status page, or simple open a browser and search ‘what’s my ip’.

If I have multiple OpenSprinklers, can they talk to each other?

Our firmware supports Remote Stations — a feature that allows one OpenSprinkler to function as a master controller sending commands to one or multiple remote controllers to open or close their valves. This is useful if you have a large property with separate clusters of valves.

Can I develop my own app, or use my own scripts to interface with OpenSprinkler?

Absolutely. Please refer to the Support page for API documentation which is available from the OpenSprinkler international site, https://opensprinkler.freshdesk.com/support/home


Support

How is OpenSprinkler supported?

Support is generally provided through the information and links on the website as well as the OpenSprinkler forums where users from all over the world help each other. In additional to this you can also get in touch with the local OpenSprinkler team in South Africa. We’re here to help and ensure you are getting the most out of your OpenSprinkler controller.

Why do you need my serial number for support?

Your serial number tells us a lot about your OpenSprinkler product such as what hardware version you have, the firmware that was shipped with the product etc. We use this information to assist us in determining what could be the cause of the issue you are experiencing.


Delivery and payment

 

Which payment options are available

We accept Visa and MasterCard credit card payments as well as EFT.
Unfortunately we DO NOT accept cash or cheques.

How quickly will my order be processed?

Within 24 hours of placing your order you will receive an email with information on your order status and how long we expect it to take to process. We always keep stock of OpenSprinkler, Expansion Zone Boards & Power supplies. Other products listed on our website such as valves, irrigation boxes and enclosures are ordered from our supplier when a customer places an order with us. We place a note on each product with the typical delivery time. If you have ordered a pre-assembled or custom-built kit your order will take a little longer. In most cases, your order is shipped within 7 days, unless there is a delay.

Where do you deliver to?

Our courier delivers nationally. If you are outside South Africa but are resident of Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho, Zimbabwe or Mozambique please contact us to place your order.


Return Policy

 

What is your return policy?

We want all our customers to be fully satisfied with their OpenSprinkler products. All our products are thoroughly tested before shipping for quality assurance.

All OpenSprinkler products available from OpenSprinkler South Africa are covered by our 30-day return policy. If you’re not satisfied with your purchase, simply return your product within 30 days (from the date of delivery) for replacement or a full refund (shipping costs are not refundable). No restocking fee is charged. To request a replacement or return, please contact Support with your order number and a brief explanation of why you are returning it.

Unless the product is faulty or you received the wrong product, you will be responsible for the return shipping cost. We refund the price you paid for the product, but shipping cost is not refundable (unless the product is faulty or you received the wrong product). For a refund, please make sure you include the original product box, accessories, and ensure the product is in mint condition. We cannot issue full refund if the product has missing parts, has been modified or is damaged.

1 Year Warranty After the 30-day period, products are not eligible for refund but are covered under warranty for 1 year from date of purchase.

The following exceptions apply to our return policy and warranty:

  • Products that have been modified, soldered, or physically damaged in any way are not eligible for return.
  • If your product has been damaged because it was incorrectly connected or the wrong voltage power supply used we cannot refund or exchange the damaged product.
  • If your OpenSprinkler system is damaged as the result of a lightning strike, electrical surge or improper connection we will unfortunately not be able to issue a refund or replacement.

*OpenSprinkler uses a wired LAN/Ethernet port for network connectivity. If installing a network cable to your controller is not feasible you can use a WiFi bridge to connect OpenSprinkler to your WiFi network OR an Ethernet over power line adapter. WiFi bridges that have been tested with OpenSprinkler are available from OpenSprinker South Africa. Complete kits including a WiFi bridge are also available from the online shop.