Sprinkler Controller

../_images/sprinkler.png

The sprinkler controller component aims to behave like a sprinkler/irrigation valve controller, much like those made by companies such as Rain Bird or Hunter. It does so by automating control of a number of switch components, each of which would typically be used to control an individual electric valve via a relay or other switching device. It provides a number of features you’d expect of a sprinkler controller, including:

  • Virtually any number of zones (sections of the sprinkler system) per controller instance, limited only by available memory and/or GPIO (including I/O expanders!) pin availability on the ESP

  • The ability to run:

    • One or more full cycles (iterations through all zones) of the system

    • Only a single zone

  • Automatic cycle repeating

  • A multiplier value to proportionally increase or decrease the run duration for all zones

  • Support for pumps/main valves located upstream of distribution valves

  • Pausing and resuming a zone/cycle

  • Iterating through zones in forward or reverse order

  • Support for both latching (“pulsed”) and non-latching valves (which can be arbitrarily mixed!)

It reaches even further, however, offering several more advanced features, as well:

  • Multiple sprinkler controller instances can operate simultaneously on a single (ESP) device

  • Multiple pumps, each of which may be shared across controller instances

  • Enable/disable switches for each individual zone, allowing zones to be omitted from full cycles of the system

  • A valve/zone queuing mechanism aimed at providing advanced support for automation

  • Several valve management strategies to accommodate varying types of hardware/installations:

    • Adjustable “valve open delay” to help ensure valves are fully closed before the next one is opened

    • Adjustable “valve overlap” to help minimize banging of pipes due to water hammer

    • Adjustable delay intervals to coordinate pump starting and stopping relative to distribution valve opening and closing

Note

While the term “pump” is used throughout this document, the device controlled need not be a physical pump. Instead, it may simply be another electric valve located upstream of distribution valves (often known in the industry as a “main” or “master” valve). The pump or upstream valve simply controls the water supply to other downstream valves.

../_images/sprinkler-ui.jpg

Example Sprinkler Controller UI – Note that this example leverages number components for setting run durations, repeat and multiplier values. More details below.

# Example minimal configuration entry
# (...but please see more detailed examples below!)
sprinkler:
  - id: sprinkler_ctrlr
    main_switch: "Sprinklers"
    auto_advance_switch: "Sprinklers Auto Advance"
    valves:
      - valve_switch: "Front Lawn"
        enable_switch: "Enable Front Lawn"
        run_duration: 1800s
        valve_switch_id: lawn_sprinkler_valve_sw0
      - valve_switch: "Back Lawn"
        enable_switch: "Enable Back Lawn"
        run_duration: 900s
        valve_switch_id: lawn_sprinkler_valve_sw1

Please see the Controller Examples section below for extensive, detailed configuration examples that are ready for you to copy and paste!

Configuration variables:

  • main_switch (Optional, string): Required with more than one valve. The name for the sprinkler controller’s main switch as it will appear in the front end. This switch, when turned on, calls the sprinkler.resume_or_start_full_cycle action; when turned off, it calls the sprinkler.shutdown action (see below). It will appear to be “on” when any valve on the controller is active. This switch will not appear in the front end if the controller is configured with only one valve.

  • auto_advance_switch (Optional, string): Required with more than one valve. The name for the sprinkler controller’s “auto-advance” switch as it will appear in the front end. When this switch is turned on while a valve is active, when the valve’s run_duration is reached, the sprinkler controller will automatically advance to the next enabled valve as a part of a “full cycle” of the system. When turned off, the sprinkler controller will shut down after the active valve’s run_duration is reached (unless there are valves in the queue – see The Sprinkler Controller Queue section below for more detail). This switch will not appear in the front end if the controller is configured with only one valve.

  • manual_selection_delay (Optional, Time): The amount of time the controller should wait to activate a valve after the next_valve and previous_valve actions are called. Useful if the control interface consists of only forward/reverse buttons as the button(s) may be pressed multiple times to make the selection.

  • queue_enable_switch (Optional, string): The name for the sprinkler controller’s queue enable switch as it will appear in the front end. When this switch is turned on or not provided, the controller will select the next valve/zone to run based on the contents of the queue; the queue takes precedence over valves that would otherwise run as a part of a full cycle of the system (when auto-advance is on/enabled). See The Sprinkler Controller Queue section below for more detail.

  • reverse_switch (Optional, string): The name for the sprinkler controller’s reverse switch as it will appear in the front end. When this switch is turned on, the controller will iterate through the valves in reverse order (last-to-first as they appear in the controller’s configuration). When this switch is turned off or not provided, the controller will iterate through the valves first-to-last. This switch will not appear in the front end if the controller is configured with only one valve.

  • valve_open_delay (Optional, Time): The minimum delay in seconds that should be inserted between (distribution) valve switching – in other words, the amount of time that must elapse between one valve switching off and the next one switching on. Useful for systems with valves which depend on sufficient water pressure to close. May not be used with valve_overlap.

  • valve_overlap (Optional, Time): The amount of time in seconds that the current valve and the next valve should run simultaneously as the next valve/zone starts up. This may help prevent pipes from banging as valves close. May not be used with valve_open_delay.

  • pump_switch_off_during_valve_open_delay (Optional, boolean): If set to true, the pump will be switched off during the valve_open_delay interval; otherwise, it remains on. This may only be specified when valve_open_delay is configured (see above). Defaults to false.

  • pump_start_pump_delay (Optional, Time): The delay in seconds from when a distribution valve is opened to when the associated pump is activated. Useful to ensure pressure does not build up from running the pump when no distribution valves are open. May not be used with pump_start_valve_delay.

  • pump_start_valve_delay (Optional, Time): The delay in seconds from when a pump is started to when the associated distribution valve is opened. Useful for systems where distribution valves require sufficient pressure to fully/quickly close. May not be used with pump_start_pump_delay.

  • pump_stop_pump_delay (Optional, Time): The delay in seconds from when a distribution valve is closed to when the respective pump is deactivated. Useful for systems where distribution valves require sufficient pressure to fully/quickly close. May not be used with pump_stop_valve_delay.

  • pump_stop_valve_delay (Optional, Time): The delay in seconds from when a pump is deactivated to when the respective distribution valve is closed. Useful to ensure pressure does not build up from running the pump when no distribution valves are open or to allow the main line out to distribution valves to drain. May not be used with pump_stop_pump_delay.

  • pump_pulse_duration (Optional, Time): The minimum length of the pulse generated to operate a pump in milliseconds. Required when one or more latching pumps is configured. Note that the exact length of the pulse is determined by the frequency of the main application loop (as are other delay timers used in ESPHome). Typically this is expected to provide a resolution of approximately 16 milliseconds, however this may vary somewhat depending on your exact configuration. Regardless, it should provide more-than-sufficient precision to operate any such valve.

  • valve_pulse_duration (Optional, Time): The minimum length of the pulse generated to operate a valve in milliseconds. Required when one or more latching valves is configured. Note that the exact length of the pulse is determined by the frequency of the main application loop (as are other delay timers used in ESPHome). Typically this is expected to provide a resolution of approximately 16 milliseconds, however this may vary somewhat depending on your exact configuration. Regardless, it should provide more-than-sufficient precision to operate any such valve.

  • repeat (Optional, int): The number of times a full cycle should be repeated. Defaults to 0.

  • id (Optional, ID): Manually specify the ID used for code generation. While optional, this is necessary to identify the controller instance (particularly in cases where more than one is defined) when calling controller actions (see below) such as start_full_cycle or shutdown.

  • valves (Required, list): A list of valves the controller should use. Each valve consists of:

    • enable_switch (Optional, string): The name for the switch component to be used to enable this valve to be run as a part of a full cycle of the system. When this switch is turned off, the valve will be excluded from a full cycle of the system. When this switch is turned on or not provided, the controller will include the valve in a full cycle of the system.

    • valve_switch (Required, string): The name for the switch component to be used to control the valve for this part of the sprinkler system (often referred to as a “zone”). When this switch is turned on, the controller’s “auto-advance” feature is disabled and it will activate the associated valve for its run_duration multiplied by the controller’s multiplier value. When this switch is turned off, the sprinkler.shutdown action is called (see below).

    • pump_switch_id (Optional, Switch): This is the switch component to be used to control the valve’s pump or upstream electric valve. Typically this would be a GPIO switch wired to control a relay or other switching device which in turn would activate the respective pump/valve. It is not recommended to expose this switch to the front end; please see An Important Note about GPIO Switches and Control below for more detail. May not be specified with pump_off_switch_id or pump_on_switch_id.

    • pump_off_switch_id (Optional, Switch): This is the switch component to be used to turn off the valve’s pump or upstream electric latching valve. Typically this would be a GPIO switch wired to control a relay or other switching device which in turn would switch off the respective pump/valve. It is not recommended to expose this switch to the front end; please see An Important Note about GPIO Switches and Control below for more detail. May not be specified with pump_switch_id.

    • pump_on_switch_id (Optional, Switch): This is the switch component to be used to turn on the valve’s pump or upstream electric latching valve. Typically this would be a GPIO switch wired to control a relay or other switching device which in turn would switch on the respective pump/valve. It is not recommended to expose this switch to the front end; please see An Important Note about GPIO Switches and Control below for more detail. May not be specified with pump_switch_id.

    • run_duration (Required, Time): The duration in seconds this valve should remain on/open after it is activated. When a given valve is activated, the controller’s multiplier value is multiplied by this value to determine the actual run duration for the valve, thus allowing the run duration for all valves/zones to be proportionally increased or decreased as desired.

    • valve_switch_id (Required, Switch): This is the switch component to be used to control the valve that operates the given section or zone of the sprinkler system. Typically this would be a GPIO switch wired to control a relay or other switching device which in turn would activate the respective valve. It is not recommended to expose this switch to the front end; please see An Important Note about GPIO Switches and Control below for more detail. May not be specified with valve_off_switch_id or valve_on_switch_id.

    • valve_off_switch_id (Required, Switch): This is the switch component to be used to turn off the latching valve that operates the given section or zone of the sprinkler system. Typically this would be a GPIO switch wired to control a relay or other switching device which in turn would switch off the respective valve. It is not recommended to expose this switch to the front end; please see An Important Note about GPIO Switches and Control below for more detail. May not be specified with valve_switch_id.

    • valve_on_switch_id (Required, Switch): This is the switch component to be used to turn on the latching valve that operates the given section or zone of the sprinkler system. Typically this would be a GPIO switch wired to control a relay or other switching device which in turn would switch on the respective valve. It is not recommended to expose this switch to the front end; please see An Important Note about GPIO Switches and Control below for more detail. May not be specified with valve_switch_id.

An Important Note about GPIO Switches and Control

The savvy and/or seasoned ESPHome user will quickly realize that pump_switch_id, pump_off_switch_id, pump_on_switch_id, valve_switch_id, valve_off_switch_id and valve_on_switch_id (as described above) are really just pointers to other (GPIO) switches elsewhere in the ESPHome yaml configuration.

It might seem reasonable to assume that these GPIO switches may be used to switch the various sprinkler zones on and off, however, this is not the case. It’s important to note that the sprinkler controller provides a switch for each configured zone – ultimately, this switch is to be used to switch any given zone on or off, not the GPIO switch the zone is configured with.

Keep in mind that a GPIO switch directly controls the state of the GPIO pin it is associated with. While it’s technically feasible to “override” this behavior, it might not always be desirable. For example, if you wanted to control the state of the switch/pin manually during testing of your system/configuration, this would make that impossible (or at least more difficult than necessary), presenting other complications. Ultimately, flexibility is key, as we’ve learned from any number of conversations on the ESPHome Discord server.

As mentioned in the introduction, the sprinkler controller automates control of the GPIO switches you provide it with – it does not “override” control of these switches or alter how they behave beyond simply switching them on or off as required based on the configured scheduling.

So why not just use the GPIO switch to control the various sprinkler zones directly? As it relates to the sprinkler controller itself, the primary reason relates to state – that is, we need to be able to ensure that the GPIO switch state(s) are kept consistent with the configuration of the sprinkler controller. While it’s less important for systems that simply consist of one valve per zone, it becomes very important for systems with some additional complexity. Consider the example of a system with a pump and multiple distribution valves attached to said pump; the controller in this case is configured to switch the pump off three seconds before switching off any given distribution valve. If you suddenly manually switch off a GPIO switch connected to one of these distribution valves, what happens to the pump? What should the sprinkler controller do? Should it switch the distribution valve back on?…or maybe just switch the pump off, too? In either case, based on its configuration, the pump was supposed be shut down before the valve, but you just went and turned off the valve. The pump could be damaged. There are many other similar situations such as this that may occur, the simplest of which is little more than ensuring that any given valve is switched off after some duration and does not remain on/open perpetually.

In summary, to ensure that your sprinkler controller consistently operates as expected:

  • Only use the switches provided by the sprinkler controller component to switch any given sprinkler zone on or off.

  • Do not use the GPIO switches you have in your configuration to control sprinkler zones/valves outside of initial testing of your device configuration.

  • To help prevent accidents, it’s probably best if the GPIO switches for each sprinkler zone are not exposed to the front end. This can be accomplished in two ways:

    • Do not provide a name: parameter to your GPIO switches, or

    • Add internal: true to each of your GPIO switch configurations

These simple configuration tweaks will help prevent any number of errors (human, automation, or otherwise) and may help to avert disaster!

Controller Actions

sprinkler.start_full_cycle action

Starts a full cycle of the system. This enables the controller’s “auto-advance” feature and disables the queue. The controller will iterate through all enabled valves/zones. They will each run for their configured run_duration multiplied by the controller’s multiplier value. Note that if NO valves are enabled when this action is called, the controller will automatically enable all valves.

on_...:
  then:
    - sprinkler.start_full_cycle: sprinkler_ctrlr

sprinkler.start_from_queue action

Starts the controller running valves from its queue. If no valves are in the queue, this action does nothing; otherwise, this disables the controller’s “auto-advance” feature so that only queued valves/zones will run. Queued valves will remain on for either the amount of time specified in the queue request or for their configured run_duration multiplied by the controller’s multiplier value (if the queue request run duration is not specified or is zero). Note that queued valves ignore whether the valve is enabled; that is, queued valves will always run once the controller is started, unless, of course, the queue is (manually) cleared prior to the queue reaching them. Also note that, at present, the queue has a hard-coded limit of 100 entries to limit memory use. See The Sprinkler Controller Queue section below for more detail.

on_...:
  then:
    - sprinkler.start_from_queue:
        id: sprinkler_ctrlr

sprinkler.start_single_valve action

Starts a single valve. This disables the controller’s “auto-advance” and queue features so that only this valve/zone will run. The valve will remain on for its configured run_duration multiplied by the controller’s multiplier value. Note that this action ignores whether the valve is enabled; that is, when called, the specified valve will always run. Valves are numbered in the order they appear in the sprinkler controller’s configuration starting at zero (0).

on_...:
  then:
    - sprinkler.start_single_valve:
        id: sprinkler_ctrlr
        valve_number: 0

sprinkler.shutdown action

Immediately (begins to) turns off all valves, effectively shutting down the system, respecting any configured pump or valve stop delays.

on_...:
  then:
    - sprinkler.shutdown: sprinkler_ctrlr

sprinkler.next_valve action

Advances to the next valve (numerically). If manual_selection_delay is configured, the controller will wait before activating the selected valve. If no valve is active, the first valve (as they appear in the controller’s configuration) will be started.

on_...:
  then:
    - sprinkler.next_valve: sprinkler_ctrlr

sprinkler.previous_valve action

Advances to the previous valve (numerically). If manual_selection_delay is configured, the controller will wait before activating the selected valve. If no valve is active, the last valve (as they appear in the controller’s configuration) will be started.

on_...:
  then:
    - sprinkler.previous_valve: sprinkler_ctrlr

sprinkler.pause action

Immediately turns off all valves, saving the active valve and the amount of time remaining so that the cycle may be resumed later on.

on_...:
  then:
    - sprinkler.pause: sprinkler_ctrlr

sprinkler.resume action

Resumes a cycle placed on hold with sprinkler.pause. If there is no paused cycle, this action will do nothing.

on_...:
  then:
    - sprinkler.resume: sprinkler_ctrlr

sprinkler.resume_or_start_full_cycle action

Resumes a cycle placed on hold with sprinkler.pause, but if no cycle was paused, starts a full cycle (equivalent to sprinkler.start_full_cycle).

on_...:
  then:
    - sprinkler.resume_or_start_full_cycle: sprinkler_ctrlr

sprinkler.queue_valve action

Adds the specified valve into the controller’s queue. When the queue is enabled, valves in the queue take precedence over valves scheduled as a part of a full cycle of the system (when auto-advance is enabled). If run_duration is not specified or is zero, the sprinkler controller will use the valve’s configured run duration. Valves are numbered in the order they appear in the sprinkler controller’s configuration starting at zero (0). Note that, at present, the queue has a hard-coded limit of 100 entries to limit memory use. Please see The Sprinkler Controller Queue section below for more detail and examples.

on_...:
  then:
    - sprinkler.queue_valve:
        id: sprinkler_ctrlr
        valve_number: 2
        run_duration: 900s

sprinkler.clear_queued_valves action

Removes all queued valves from the controller’s queue. Please see The Sprinkler Controller Queue section below for more detail and examples.

on_...:
  then:
    - sprinkler.clear_queued_valves:
        id: sprinkler_ctrlr

sprinkler.set_multiplier action

Sets the multiplier value used to proportionally increase or decrease the run duration for all valves/zones. When a given valve is activated, this value is multiplied by the valve’s run duration (see below) to determine the valve’s actual run duration.

on_...:
  then:
    - sprinkler.set_multiplier:
        id: sprinkler_ctrlr
        multiplier: 1.5

sprinkler.set_repeat action

Specifies the number of times full cycles should be repeated. Note that the total number of cycles the controller will run is equal to the repeat value plus one. For example, with a repeat value of 1, the initial cycle will run, then the repeat cycle will run, resulting in a total of two cycles.

on_...:
  then:
    - sprinkler.set_repeat:
        id: sprinkler_ctrlr
        repeat: 2  # would run three cycles

sprinkler.set_valve_run_duration action

Sets the run duration for the specified valve. When the valve is activated, this value is multiplied by the multiplier value (see above) to determine the valve’s actual run duration.

on_...:
  then:
    - sprinkler.set_valve_run_duration:
        id: sprinkler_ctrlr
        valve_number: 0
        run_duration: 600s

Note

  • The next_valve, previous_valve and start_single_valve actions ignore whether a valve is enabled via its enable switch.

  • The next_valve and previous_valve actions may not appear to respond immediately if either manual_selection_delay or any of the various delay mechanisms described in the Pump and Distribution Valve Coordination section below are configured. If you are using any of these configuration options, be sure to allow the delay intervals to elapse before assuming something isn’t working!

  • If a valve is active when its run_duration or the multiplier value is changed, the active valve’s run duration will remain unaffected until the next time it is started.

Pump and Distribution Valve Coordination

The sprinkler controller allows extensive flexibility relating to the switching of pumps and valves. Let’s take a closer look at how to use these features to tune your system.

Delayed Starting and/or Stopping of Pumps or Valves

For systems with pumps, it’s generally a bad idea to run the pump with no distribution valves open. This causes pressure to build up and can even destroy the pump after some time. For systems with (a) pump(s), you’ll likely want to add two configuration options:

sprinkler:
  - id: lawn_sprinkler_ctrlr
    pump_start_pump_delay: 3s
    pump_stop_valve_delay: 3s
    ...

This will cause any given pump to start (in this example) three seconds after any associated distribution valve is opened. In addition, it will wait three seconds to close the last distribution valve after the pump is stopped. This would allow the pump to spin down, pressure to drop and lines to drain prior to switching off the (last) associated distribution valve. (In these configurations, it might also be desirable to enable valve_overlap, as well – more on this below.)

Some types of electric valves require sufficient water pressure to (fully/quickly) close. These types of valves, when coupled with electric valves upstream of distribution valves (often known in the industry as “main” or “master” valves), may require that the upstream valve is switched on before any given distribution valve(s), allowing the water pressure to stabilize and force all distribution valves closed before any single distribution valve is opened. In these situations, the reverse of the above configuration may be desirable:

sprinkler:
  - id: lawn_sprinkler_ctrlr
    pump_start_valve_delay: 3s
    pump_stop_pump_delay: 3s
    ...

In this example, the upstream valve would open three seconds prior to any given associated distribution valve, allowing the water pressure to force any attached distribution valves closed. After the delay, the required distribution valve is opened and the cycle starts. When the cycle is complete, the (last) distribution valve would be switched off three seconds prior to the upstream valve. (In these configurations, it might also be desirable to enable valve_open_delay, as well.)

Note

Using pump_stop_valve_delay or pump_stop_pump_delay with valve_open_delay and pump_switch_off_during_valve_open_delay may increase the off-time inserted between the operation of each zone, as the controller must wait for a given zone (pump and valve) to fully shut down before it can be started again.

Banging Pipes or Valves That Don’t Consistently Close

A common complaint people have with sprinkler systems is that of banging pipes. In other, less common situations, some systems suffer from valves that do not (fully/quickly) close. There are three controller options available to address either of these complaints/concerns:

  • valve_overlap

  • valve_open_delay

  • pump_switch_off_during_valve_open_delay

The first option, valve_overlap, causes the current valve and the next valve (as the controller is iterating through valves) to run simultaneously for the duration specified. The idea here is that this causes a reduction in water pressure as the next zone starts up, therefore minimizing banging pipes (aka the “water hammer” effect) when the valve that is finishing up finally closes.

The second and third options may be used to ensure sufficient water pressure is available to force valves closed. This may be useful for pressure-sensitive valves that don’t quickly and/or fully close when water pressure is low.

For systems with pumps, it may be desirable to switch off the pump before switching to the next distribution valve/zone. In these situations, pump_switch_off_during_valve_open_delay may prove useful in conjunction with valve_open_delay.

In any case, the examples in the next section illustrate how/where to add these options into your configuration.

Controller Examples

Single Controller, Single Valve, No Pump

This first example illustrates a complete, single-valve system with no pump/upstream valve(s). It could be useful for controlling a single valve independent of any other sprinkler controllers. A pump could easily be added by adding the pump_switch_id parameter and a switch.

esphome:
    name: esp-sprinkler-controller
    platform: ESP32
    board: featheresp32

wifi:
    ssid: "wifi_ssid"
    password: "wifi_password"

logger:

sprinkler:
  - id: garden_sprinkler_ctrlr
    valves:
      - valve_switch: "Flower Garden"
        run_duration: 300s
        valve_switch_id: garden_sprinkler_valve

switch:
  - platform: gpio
    id: garden_sprinkler_valve
    pin: 5

Single Controller, Three Valves, No Pump

This example illustrates a complete, simple three-valve system with no pump/upstream valve(s):

esphome:
    name: esp-sprinkler-controller
    platform: ESP32
    board: featheresp32

wifi:
    ssid: "wifi_ssid"
    password: "wifi_password"

logger:

sprinkler:
  - id: lawn_sprinkler_ctrlr
    main_switch: "Lawn Sprinklers"
    auto_advance_switch: "Lawn Sprinklers Auto Advance"
    reverse_switch: "Lawn Sprinklers Reverse"
    valve_overlap: 5s
    valves:
      - valve_switch: "Front Lawn"
        enable_switch: "Enable Front Lawn"
        run_duration: 900s
        valve_switch_id: lawn_sprinkler_valve_sw0
      - valve_switch: "Side Lawn"
        enable_switch: "Enable Side Lawn"
        run_duration: 900s
        valve_switch_id: lawn_sprinkler_valve_sw1
      - valve_switch: "Back Lawn"
        enable_switch: "Enable Back Lawn"
        run_duration: 900s
        valve_switch_id: lawn_sprinkler_valve_sw2

switch:
  - platform: gpio
    id: lawn_sprinkler_valve_sw0
    pin: 0
  - platform: gpio
    id: lawn_sprinkler_valve_sw1
    pin: 2
  - platform: gpio
    id: lawn_sprinkler_valve_sw2
    pin: 4

Single Controller, Three Valves, Single Pump

This example illustrates a complete three-valve system with a single pump/upstream valve:

esphome:
    name: esp-sprinkler-controller
    platform: ESP32
    board: featheresp32

wifi:
    ssid: "wifi_ssid"
    password: "wifi_password"

logger:

sprinkler:
  - id: lawn_sprinkler_ctrlr
    main_switch: "Lawn Sprinklers"
    auto_advance_switch: "Lawn Sprinklers Auto Advance"
    reverse_switch: "Lawn Sprinklers Reverse"
    valve_open_delay: 5s
    valves:
      - valve_switch: "Front Lawn"
        enable_switch: "Enable Front Lawn"
        pump_switch_id: sprinkler_pump_sw
        run_duration: 900s
        valve_switch_id: lawn_sprinkler_valve_sw0
      - valve_switch: "Side Lawn"
        enable_switch: "Enable Side Lawn"
        pump_switch_id: sprinkler_pump_sw
        run_duration: 900s
        valve_switch_id: lawn_sprinkler_valve_sw1
      - valve_switch: "Back Lawn"
        enable_switch: "Enable Back Lawn"
        pump_switch_id: sprinkler_pump_sw
        run_duration: 900s
        valve_switch_id: lawn_sprinkler_valve_sw2

switch:
  - platform: gpio
    id: sprinkler_pump_sw
    pin: 12
  - platform: gpio
    id: lawn_sprinkler_valve_sw0
    pin: 0
  - platform: gpio
    id: lawn_sprinkler_valve_sw1
    pin: 2
  - platform: gpio
    id: lawn_sprinkler_valve_sw2
    pin: 4

Single Controller, Three Latching Valves, Single Latching Pump

This example is similar to the previous example, however it illustrates how a “latching” or “pulsed” valve can be configured. This type of valve requires two GPIO switches to operate – one to switch the valve on and one to switch the valve off. To switch on the valve, the “on” GPIO switch is switched on for the configured duration and then switched off. To switch the valve off, the “off” GPIO switch is switched on for the configured duration and then switched off.

Note that, while this example illustrates a configuration that uses exclusively latching valves, latching and non-latching valves may be mixed and matched in any configuration, even if attached to a common pump/upstream valve.

esphome:
  name: esp-sprinkler-controller
  platform: ESP32
  board: featheresp32

wifi:
  ssid: "wifi_ssid"
  password: "wifi_password"

logger:

sprinkler:
  - id: lawn_sprinkler_ctrlr
    main_switch: "Lawn Sprinklers"
    auto_advance_switch: "Lawn Sprinklers Auto Advance"
    queue_enable_switch: "Lawn Sprinklers Queue Enable"
    reverse_switch: "Lawn Sprinklers Reverse"
    pump_pulse_duration: 250ms
    valve_pulse_duration: 250ms
    valve_open_delay: 5s
    valves:
      - valve_switch: "Front Lawn"
        enable_switch: "Enable Front Lawn"
        pump_off_switch_id: sprinkler_pump_sw_off
        pump_on_switch_id: sprinkler_pump_sw_on
        run_duration: 900s
        valve_off_switch_id: lawn_sprinkler_valve_sw0_off
        valve_on_switch_id: lawn_sprinkler_valve_sw0_on
      - valve_switch: "Side Lawn"
        enable_switch: "Enable Side Lawn"
        pump_off_switch_id: sprinkler_pump_sw_off
        pump_on_switch_id: sprinkler_pump_sw_on
        run_duration: 900s
        valve_off_switch_id: lawn_sprinkler_valve_sw1_off
        valve_on_switch_id: lawn_sprinkler_valve_sw1_on
      - valve_switch: "Back Lawn"
        enable_switch: "Enable Back Lawn"
        pump_off_switch_id: sprinkler_pump_sw_off
        pump_on_switch_id: sprinkler_pump_sw_on
        run_duration: 900s
        valve_off_switch_id: lawn_sprinkler_valve_sw2_off
        valve_on_switch_id: lawn_sprinkler_valve_sw2_on

switch:
  - platform: gpio
    id: sprinkler_pump_sw_off
    pin: 14
  - platform: gpio
    id: sprinkler_pump_sw_on
    pin: 15
  - platform: gpio
    id: lawn_sprinkler_valve_sw0_off
    pin: 0
  - platform: gpio
    id: lawn_sprinkler_valve_sw0_on
    pin: 2
  - platform: gpio
    id: lawn_sprinkler_valve_sw1_off
    pin: 4
  - platform: gpio
    id: lawn_sprinkler_valve_sw1_on
    pin: 5
  - platform: gpio
    id: lawn_sprinkler_valve_sw2_off
    pin: 12
  - platform: gpio
    id: lawn_sprinkler_valve_sw2_on
    pin: 13

Dual Controller, Five Valves, Two Pumps

This example illustrates a complete and more complex dual-controller system with a total of five valves (three on the first controller and two on the second controller) and two pumps/upstream valves, each of which are shared between the two controllers:

esphome:
    name: esp-sprinkler-controller
    platform: ESP32
    board: featheresp32

wifi:
    ssid: "wifi_ssid"
    password: "wifi_password"

logger:

sprinkler:
  - id: lawn_sprinkler_ctrlr
    main_switch: "Lawn Sprinklers"
    auto_advance_switch: "Lawn Sprinklers Auto Advance"
    reverse_switch: "Lawn Sprinklers Reverse"
    valve_overlap: 5s
    valves:
      - valve_switch: "Front Lawn"
        enable_switch: "Enable Front Lawn"
        pump_switch_id: sprinkler_pump_sw0
        run_duration: 900s
        valve_switch_id: lawn_sprinkler_valve_sw0
      - valve_switch: "Side Lawn"
        enable_switch: "Enable Side Lawn"
        pump_switch_id: sprinkler_pump_sw0
        run_duration: 900s
        valve_switch_id: lawn_sprinkler_valve_sw1
      - valve_switch: "Back Lawn"
        enable_switch: "Enable Back Lawn"
        pump_switch_id: sprinkler_pump_sw1
        run_duration: 900s
        valve_switch_id: lawn_sprinkler_valve_sw2
  - id: garden_sprinkler_ctrlr
    main_switch: "Garden Sprinklers"
    auto_advance_switch: "Garden Sprinklers Auto Advance"
    reverse_switch: "Garden Sprinklers Reverse"
    valve_open_delay: 5s
    valves:
      - valve_switch: "Front Garden"
        enable_switch: "Enable Front Garden"
        pump_switch_id: sprinkler_pump_sw0
        run_duration: 900s
        valve_switch_id: garden_sprinkler_valve_sw0
      - valve_switch: "Back Garden"
        enable_switch: "Enable Back Garden"
        pump_switch_id: sprinkler_pump_sw1
        run_duration: 900s
        valve_switch_id: garden_sprinkler_valve_sw1

switch:
  - platform: gpio
    id: sprinkler_pump_sw0
    pin: 12
  - platform: gpio
    id: sprinkler_pump_sw1
    pin: 13
  - platform: gpio
    id: lawn_sprinkler_valve_sw0
    pin: 0
  - platform: gpio
    id: lawn_sprinkler_valve_sw1
    pin: 2
  - platform: gpio
    id: lawn_sprinkler_valve_sw2
    pin: 4
  - platform: gpio
    id: garden_sprinkler_valve_sw0
    pin: 14
  - platform: gpio
    id: garden_sprinkler_valve_sw1
    pin: 15

Note

In this final complete configuration example, pump control is split among the two sprinkler controller instances. This will behave as expected; multiple instances of the controller will communicate to ensure any given pump is activated and deactivated only as necessary, even when the controllers are operating simultaneously.

Extending the Sprinkler Controller’s Switches

It is worth noting that each of the various switches in the sprinkler controller’s configuration are standard ESPHome switch components. Their configuration may be extended in a manner similar to the following example:

# Extended switch configuration for 'main_switch'
sprinkler:
  - id: sprinkler_ctrlr
    main_switch:
      name: "Lawn Sprinklers"
      id: sprinkler_ctrlr_main_switch_id
      on_turn_on:
        light.turn_on: my_light
    ...

This arrangement is possible for any other switch within the sprinkler controller’s configuration block, with the exception of pump_off_switch_id, pump_on_switch_id, pump_switch_id, valve_off_switch_id, valve_on_switch_id and valve_switch_id (because these are the IDs of other switch components already defined elsewhere in your configuration). In addition, specifying each switch ID enables the ability to refer to any of the sprinkler controller’s switches from elsewhere in your configuration. Here’s another brief example:

# Template switch as a secondary main switch
switch:
  - platform: template
    id: my_switch
    name: "My Special Sprinkler Switch"
    on_turn_off:
      - switch.turn_off: sprinkler_ctrlr_main_switch_id
      - light.turn_off: sprinkler_indicator_light
    on_turn_on:
      - switch.turn_on: sprinkler_ctrlr_main_switch_id
      - light.turn_on: sprinkler_indicator_light
    ...

While the above example simply illustrates creating a secondary “main” switch, this approach could be extended to take advantage of other devices such as a moisture sensor – when the moisture level is too low (look for on_value or on_value_range), the sprinkler controller (or a specific valve) could be activated by calling one of the controller’s start-up actions, such as sprinkler.start_full_cycle, sprinkler.start_from_queue, sprinkler.start_single_valve, or sprinkler.resume_or_start_full_cycle.

The Sprinkler Controller Queue

The queuing mechanism is an unusual feature for a sprinkler controller; it becomes useful as a result of the extreme flexibility of both ESPHome and Home Assistant. Given the extensive ecosystem of devices available today, the sprinkler controller’s queuing mechanism provides an advanced feature aimed at allowing even more advanced automation.

In general, it comes down to flexibility: the more traditional “run full cycle” and “run single valve” functionality is intended for use by humans (via the front end or physical control interface) while the queuing mechanism is aimed at supporting automation.

Here’s a practical example:

Consider a home with a yard divided into a number of sprinkler zones – perhaps it even includes a garden or two (flowers and vegetables, of course!). An array of soil moisture sensors could be deployed throughout the various zones and gardens and when a given sensor falls below some defined threshold, that sensor’s zone is entered into the sprinkler controller’s queue.

Then, each morning at some specific hour, Home Assistant (or even the ESP device itself!) calls the sprinkler controller’s sprinkler.start_from_queue action, causing the controller to iterate only through queued zones. Because the run duration may be specified as a part of the queue request, this could be extended to compute a specific run duration for each zone depending on the specific moisture level of the soil on any given day. The possibilities are endless and are only limited by your creativity!

It is important to note that, if both the auto-advance and queue switches are turned on/enabled, queued valves take precedence over valves that would run as a part of a full cycle of the system. In other words, if the queue is enabled and a valve is entered into the queue while a full cycle is active, at the next valve transition, the queue entry will be picked up before the next valve that would run as a part of the full cycle. At present, this behavior cannot be changed. It should also be noted that the queue has a hard-coded limit of 100 entries to limit memory use.

Additional Tricks

Beyond what is shown in the configuration examples above, other ESPHome elements may be called into play to help build out an extensive interface for the controller in the front end (Home Assistant). For example, the number component may be used to set valve run durations or the controller’s multiplier value:

# Example configuration to set multiplier via number
number:
  - platform: template
    id: sprinkler_ctrlr_multiplier
    name: "Sprinkler Controller Multiplier"
    min_value: 0.1
    max_value: 10.0
    step: 0.1
    lambda: "return id(lawn_sprinkler_ctrlr).multiplier();"
    set_action:
      - sprinkler.set_multiplier:
          id: lawn_sprinkler_ctrlr
          multiplier: !lambda 'return x;'

Expose Sprinkler Controller Actions via user-API

This configuration snippet illustrates how user-defined ESPHome API services may be used to expose various sprinkler controller actions to the front end. This could be useful to change settings and/or trigger sprinkler controller actions using automations.

api:
  services:
    - service: set_multiplier
      variables:
        multiplier: float
      then:
        - sprinkler.set_multiplier:
            id: lawn_sprinkler_ctrlr
            multiplier: !lambda 'return multiplier;'
    - service: start_full_cycle
      then:
        - sprinkler.start_full_cycle: lawn_sprinkler_ctrlr
    - service: start_single_valve
      variables:
        valve: int
      then:
        - sprinkler.start_single_valve:
            id: lawn_sprinkler_ctrlr
            valve_number: !lambda 'return valve;'
    - service: next_valve
      then:
        - sprinkler.next_valve: lawn_sprinkler_ctrlr
    - service: previous_valve
      then:
        - sprinkler.previous_valve: lawn_sprinkler_ctrlr
    - service: shutdown
      then:
        - sprinkler.shutdown: lawn_sprinkler_ctrlr

See Also