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HOMEVISION RAIN SENSOR
This article describes how to interface the HomeVision Rain Sensor to the HomeVision controller.
SENSOR MOUNTING LOCATION
The rain sensor must be mounted outside and located so rain can fall on it. It you put it near a wall
and the wind is blowing away from the wall, it may not get wet. Here are some possible locations:
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The roof (perhaps near an antenna or on top of a rain gutter)
On the top of a screen enclosure
By the pool (but where it won’t get splashed on)
On or near a satellite dish
The top of an outdoor air conditioning unit
The mailbox
A light post
The top of a fence
A flagpole
At the bottom of a rain gutter downspout
CONNECTING TO HOMEVISION
You can connect the sensor directly to a digital input, or through an X-10 Powerflash module. A
direct connection is the most reliable method and is recommended where practical.
Direct Connection
Run two wires from the sensor to where HomeVision is located. Connect them to HomeVision Port
C and configure Port C as an input. The connections are as follows:
1) Connect one wire to the desired input (terminal block inputs C-1 through C-8).
2) Connect the other wire to ground (terminal block C-10).
To Port C input
To Port C ground
Sensor
When the sensor is dry, it will be electrically “open”. This causes the input port to stay high (its
normal state). When the sensor gets wet, it’s resistance decreases and the input port will go low
(to ground).
Note that this sensor will usually not work properly on HomeVision Port B. Port B requires that an
input be shorted to ground through less than 500 ohms resistance in order to read the input as low.
This sensor’s resistance may only go as low as 10,000 ohms even when soaked in water.
Therefore, the input will always be read as high even when wet. Port C is a much more sensitive
input and will go low even when the sensor’s resistance only drops to 100,000 ohms.
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Through a Powerflash Module
The X-10 Powerflash module sends X-10 signals when the input to it closes. By connecting the
sensor to in, you can avoid having to run wires to HomeVision. However, the X-10 signals may
interfere with other X-10 signals. The connection process is as follows:
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Use two wires to connect the sensor to the Powerflash module.
Set the Powerflash module to the desired house code and unit code.
Set the Powerflash module "Mode" switch to "1".
Set the Powerflash module "Input" switch to "B".
Note that the Powerflash module is not as sensitive as HomeVision Port C. If the sensor is only
slightly wet, the Powerflash module may not trip where Port C would.
PROGRAMMING
NOTE: This example assumes the sensor is connected directly to an input port, not through a
Powerflash module. If you're using a Powerflash module, then you would use the X-10 ON
and OFF signals as inputs instead of the input ports.
There are several ways to use the sensor in your schedule. The most obvious is to check the input
port with an If-Then statement whenever you need to know if it’s raining. Another method is to use a
flag to store the current state and set or clear it every time the input port changes. However, both of
these methods have the drawback that the sensor may switch back and forth frequently if it’s only
slightly wet.
A better way is to use a flag to hold the current state, but only change the flag after the input port
has changed for a certain period of time. For example, you might change the state only if the input
remains steady for one minute. Here’s an example of how to accomplish this.
1) Create a flag named “It’s Raining”.
2) Create a timer named “Timing Rain Sensor”.
3) In the “Low Actions” for the sensor input (which are performed whenever the port goes low
(it stops raining)), enter:
Wait 1 minute with timer “Timing Rain Sensor”, Then:
Set flag “It’s Raining”
End wait
4) In the “High Actions” for the sensor input (which are performed whenever the port goes
high), enter:
Wait 1 minute with timer “Timing Rain Sensor”, Then:
Clear flag “It’s Raining”
End wait
5) Whenever you need to know if it’s raining, check the state of the “It’s Raining” flag. SET
means it’s raining, CLEAR means it’s not.
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Here’s how this works:
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Assume it’s not raining and the flag is CLEAR. When the rain starts, the port goes low, the
low actions are performed, and the wait timer starts running. After one minute, the timer
goes off and the flag is SET, indicating it’s raining. When the rain stops and the sensor
dries out, the port goes high. One minute later, the wait timer times out and the flag is
changed to CLEAR. Thus, the flag indicates whether or not it’s raining, but with a one
minute delay.
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Now let’s assume again that it’s not raining and the flag is CLEAR. The port then goes low,
but only for a few seconds. When it first goes low, the wait timer starts running, waiting to
set the flag. Before the timer expires, the input goes back high and the high actions are
performed. Since the same timer is used for both sets of actions, this effectively cancels
the first wait timer, then restarts it waiting to clear the flag. Thus, the flag will never be set
by the low actions (since it’s wait timer was cancelled). After one minute, the second wait
timer expires and clears the flag. Of course, the flag was already clear, so this has no real
effect. With this schedule, changes in sensor state of less than one minute are effectively
ignored.
If it’s not clear why the wait timer works this way, carefully read the timer chapter of the
HomeVision user’s manual.
CONCLUSION
You can use the HomeVision rain sensor to know when it’s raining, adjust the sprinker watering
schedule, and close automated windows or skylights. With some creative programming you can
even have HomeVision track how long it rains each day, week, or month and display the information
on your TV!
The sensor can also be used as a water detector in a variety of situations, such as:
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Under a hot water heater to detect a leak.
In a basement to dectect flooding.
Under a washing maching to detect a leak or a broken hose.
Anyplace else water may leak.
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