I have a little garden at my home and I’m doing my best to grow a few herbs. When the house was built over a decade ago, a controller was installed for managing the sprinkler system in the garden. It worked, though I didn’t have the faintest idea how to make adjustments. Then something bumped into the plug brick and broke the plastic. Just plugging it into the wall was now a serious problem. I’ll tell you about how I replaced it and that will include a link to Amazon where I can earn a small commission. Yes, I paid for it and nothing was provided for free.
My system only has two zones so I didn’t really need anything complex. Unfortunately the controllers that only handle two zones are incredibly basic. So to find the best controller, I had to look for something with more zones (or stations). Since I would be replacing my older model, I wondered if a new one might be easy to setup. At that point it came down to choosing between the least expensive option or one that did a lot more at a higher cost.
After a lot of back and forth, I went with the Orbit 57946 B-hyve Smart Indoor/Outdoor 6-Station WiFi Sprinkler System Controller, Compatible with Alexa. When I got the controller, it took about ten minutes to install it. Then it was time for some configuration. There is a partner app, B-hyve, that works on both Android and iOS. I got it installed on my phone and connected the controller to my WiFi network. Piece of cake.
Next up was programming the two zones to water at the times and durations I desired. Of course I didn’t read the manual. That slowed me down a little bit as I figured out the app. But I soon had the two zones programmed to water my garden twice a day. Another feature of the app is monitoring the weather and not running when you have rain. I tried the rain feature, but soon disabled it as the nearest monitoring station was over a thousand miles away (I only found monitoring stations in Kansas and Oklahoma). After some address adjustments, the only available stations were in Utah. Sure seems like there is a glitch in that part of the app. Oh well, I turned off the weather-related restrictions.
Is this controller overkill for my needs? Probably. But it is easy to set up and it waters on schedule. Heck, the app even tells me when it watered. I could control it via Alexa if I so desired, but using the app is perfect. Everything is set up and now I’ll just forget it and wait for my garden to grow.
Foster D. Coburn III is author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences. His first Web site was built in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013.