Our last sprinkler timer was not working properly. As it turned out the timer was only part of the problem. The wiring at the valves was rotted from being in the sun and there were places the previous owners had taken shortcuts and wired multiple valves together to get all the zones to fit on a cheaper timer. Even when the last timer was working, the zones that had more than one valve wired together had too many heads running at once. This made for lower water pressure and inefficient watering.
So I repaired the wiring. But to break out the 9 valves to separate zones again was going to require a different timer. Most timers have 6 or 8 zones. Anything above 8 zones starts getting pricey anyway. So after digging around in the local hardware stores and online I decided to check out some web based timers. Some are crazy expensive. Some will even check the weather for you and alter your watering schedule based on the weather. I didn’t need that, or especially the cost of that. I kind of accidentally stumbled on the Irrigation Caddy. At $150, it may seem expensive, but is really a bargain as a web controllable sprinkler timer. Since Irrigation Caddy can run up to 10 zones. So, we were able to break the valves out to individual zones again.
It took longer to set up the programs in the web interface than it did to connect the wires. Since there are no buttons, knobs, or dials on the irrigation caddy itself, I never have to stick my hand in that black widow infested corner of the garage again! The tricky part is that you have to have an Ethernet cable that can reach to the Internet Caddy. My garage does have network since that is where the services to the house come in. But definitely something to be aware of. Some users have successfully used a wireless bridge to connect their Caddy to their home network. You do not need internet or network access for the Caddy to run. You only need it to program it. So in theory, you could just bring the Irrigation Caddy in the house, plug it into your home network, program it, and then put it back wherever your sprinkler wires are (the wires have a quick disconnect thing). But then you don’t really get the full benefit of the web interface. You will definitely want the web interface when you are first setting up and testing your schedules.
Scheduling with the web interface is easy. I did have some confusion about the days, odd/even, every other, thing. But when you read the manual a little you realize how powerful and flexible the scheduling can be. It is too long a topic to get into here probably, but you can get pretty granular with the watering control.
It is also easy to manually run zones if you are just sitting in the back yard and you wanted to turn the sprinklers on for the kids to run through on a hot day. Just bring up the web interface on your laptop, tablet, or smartphone and turn on the zone! The web interface is not really optimized for the iPad or iPhone yet. But I bet there will be an interface in the future. And yes, there are regular firmware updates, or at least there have been lately.
I don’t know what else to say. If you imagined in your head what you would want a web controllable sprinkler timer to be, Irrigation Caddy would probably nail it, or be really close. It just works. And for the ultimate endorsement, it even got the “what electronic thing did you buy this time” seal of approval!