OpenSprinklerBee has Atmel under the hood



The OpenSprinklerBee (OSBee) is an open-source Atmel-based sprinkler timer (prototype) designed to work with battery-operated valves.

Recently debuted by RaysHobby, the platform is powered by an ATmega328 microcontroller (MCU) paired with a nRF24L01 2.4G RF transceiver.

Additional key components include two AA batteries (boosted to 3.3V), SMT buzzer, push-button, 16KB EEPROM, PWM-driven boost converter, H-bridge (to drive sprinkler solenoid), soil moisture sensor and a Serpac 121 enclosure with water-proof perimeter seal.

“The name ‘Bee’ comes from the abbreviation Battery-Enabled Extension. It’s coincidence that it sounded more like XBee. It may very well have an XBee slot in the end, but the name was not intended to imply XBee,” Ray of RaysHobby.net explained in a blog post.

“Also, ‘Bee’ reminds me of the garden, and gardens need to be watered, so, there is the connection. Different from the classic OpenSprinkler, OSBee now comes with a water-proof enclosure, which means it can be left outdoors, such as in a garden, and will do its work diligently, like a Bee.”

Although the OSBee itself is still in the prototype stage, Ray recently debut the OSBee Arduino Shield (V 1.0), which is currently available for purchase.

So, how does the OpenSprinkler Bee (OSBee) differ from other OpenSprinkler products?

“The main difference is that OSBee is designed to work with battery-operated sprinkler Tvalves. These valves internally use a latching solenoid, which only draws power when you open or close the valve, and does not draw power if it remains in the same state. So it’s very efficient and suitable for battery-operated controllers,” said Ray.

“The other OpenSprinkler products, such as OpenSprinkler 2.1s, DIY 2.1u, OSPi 1.4, OSBo 1.0, are all designed for 24V AC sprinkler valves, which operate on 24V AC and require a power adapter / transformer.”

While the OSBee shield itself is not equipped with built-in wireless modules, Makers and devs can stack it with other Arduino shields, such as RF, WiFi, Ethernet shields, to provide web connectivity. Indeed, the OSBee Arduino library offers at least one example of using the Arduino Ethernet shield with OSBee shield to create a web interface for sprinkler control.

Interested in learning more? You can check out OSBee here and the OSBee Arduino shield here.

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