Create your own irrigation controller: The hardware

My first post about irrigation raised a few questions about the hardware I was using. The problem is, my setup isn't completed yet. It works, but it has some flaws that I need to address before showing it to the world (I don't want you to burn down your house on my advices!). Here's what I have built so far.


There's many valves that can be used with this setup. Personally, I bought the Rainbird DVF-100 and used a manifold to inline them just outside of my house, close to the water outlet. I drilled a hole to pass the wires inside the house, where I would install my pi.


Your valves probably doesn't have long enough wires to go from their installation place to your raspberry Pi inside your house. I personally used 18 awg wires, because that's what I had on hands. The valves I used requires 0.4 amps as a holding current (To keep the valve open) so I guess you could use a much smaller (22 awg) wire if you want. Just remember that longer your wires needs to be, lower the awg has to be.

Because the box is waterproof, you don't need to buy waterproof connector. However, you need to use electric tape to tighten up your connectors. See the list here to understand what I'm talking about.


Even though your system doesn't run on 120VAC, you should still protect your equipment and setup by using PVC pipes. If you use 8 valves and under, you could manage with pipes of 3/4 inches in diameter. Over 8, I suggest you use 1 inch pipes. You can find the conduits and fittings in your local home depot, Lowe's, etc. in the electricity section.

You should buy a box like this one so you have an accessible place to connect the valves wire. This way, if something happens, it's easy to replace, add, remove valves. You want to have this box installed next to your valves.

Also, it's a good practice to make your PCV conduit penetrate completely the hole you drilled earlier. You will also want to make sure your hole is sealed. Polyurethane foam is what you need: you spray it in your hole around the pvc pipe.

Relay board or OpenSprinkler Pi

Here's the part that I haven't quite finished yet. Basically you have 2 options. You can buy the OpenSprinkler PI board or you can buy a relay controller and assemble all the parts yourself. I didn't know about OpenSprinkler when I first started so I had invested too much time to start over again. This part will be explained at a later time once I'll be finished.

OpenSprinkler Pi

If you happen to buy one of those, it seems very easy to install. It comes with wires and connectors so you shouldn't have anything to buy. There's even a video that teaches you how to connect the Pi to the board. The only thing that is left for you is to connect the wires from the valves to the controller. Once you have it installed, you can install irrigation and get started with your system.

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