** The Auto Watering Development **

This scheme allows me to walk away on sunny days, knowing that the power stored in the battery will drive the timer and water the critical growing plants. The water butt is fed from guttering on the sheds and the butt can always be topped up by a hose if required. As the Solar power was already available in Shedland. This was an obvious extension of the application of Solar power. The timer is a standard Mains driven Electronic timer adapted for 12 volt use, and drives a 12v Pump assembly. the period of watering is short with the drive to the pump set for only 2 mins of an evening. Initial tests show this will lift about 2.5 litre's of water for distribution via the trickle feeds to the plants.

The basic units above show the Pump unit and the Circuit Board stripped from the Timer case assembly. The original relay output on the board was for a 24volt relay, but substitution of a 12volt relay with points rated at 5amps or more and an NE555 Chip to drive the relay, was the only change to the components. The main 12volt feed is tapped into the board after the original mains dropper, still using the original trickle feed to the 1.2 volt battery needed for the timer backup. The only other addition I intend to make as the unit is cased, is to include a push button to call the pump, and then I will have ' PUSH BUTTON WATERING ', on Demand.

2004 sees the first 'LIVE', use of this system, which has a basic regulation built in. The more total sunlight in a day the longer the system waters in the evening.

After a working Summer in 2004, the initial results of using this system are now with us.

1. The relay drive has proven unreliable, so a buffer amplifier has been added between the clock unit and the relay, now the relay calls reliably.

2. The wettest August on record made the unit somewhat redundant, but at least the trial worked.

3. The design has had to be modified as if ( for any reason ) the pump was called and just allowed to run, the pump motor burnt out. After this happened once a 50 second timer was inserted in the pump power feed. Now the timer sets when it will water and the 50 second timer is set to be just enough to just fill the water reseviours.
2005 becomes a hands off year for this project ! We will see if it works " all by itself ? ".

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