Developing a Garden Irrigation System

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"Combining the benefits of the CompactRIO FPGAs and processor we developed a rugged, permanent control and monitoring system that performs real-time control of garden irrigation with corrections from weather stations for evapotranspiration."

- Ashot Minasyan, Bitlis-MEN LLC

The Challenge:
Creating a central control system for irrigation areas, adding credibility to the system by monitoring and detecting the majority of possible electrical problems in the pumps and valves, and helping plan maintenance through a database of reports that minimize the shutdown time and make the right decisions.

The Solution:
To meet the customer’s requirements, we created the automated garden irrigation SCADA system with valve and pump station monitoring, control, protection and power analysis functionality; advanced scheduling functionality with rules and exceptions; multilayer geographic information system (GIS) integration; weather station integration, and evapotranspiration calculation functionality with automatic irrigation adjustment.

Author(s):
Ashot Minasyan - Find this author in the NI Developer Community

Bitlis-MEN LLC, an NI Silver Alliance Partner, offers safe and simple engineering solutions for automating customer systems. We can provide customers with ease of operation and they can see and manage their businesses anytime and anywhere—from home, office, or even while traveling. Our experience, competence, and the innovations and advanced technologies we use help us meet the needs of our clients all over the world. We can also provide a partial automation of the system, namely the automation of the assemblies and units.

Solution

Our system includes a main communication server, operator workstation, weather station, an advanced remote terminal unit (RTU) named cRIO-100, and a RTU named sbRIO-200. Our main communication server features a real-time and historical database and communication gateway. The operator workstation includes SCADA monitoring and control, basic and advanced power quality monitoring, and configuration of settings. The SCADA system connects to the weather station that is based on the Single-Board RIO. It calculates all the required parameters including the ET0 (Evapotranspiration) and the controlling subRTUs. The sbRIO-200s act as the subRTUs and monitor and control the irrigation valves and pumping stations. The system implements machine condition monitoring for the pumps. The system has flexible scheduling and smart error handling functionality.

We designed the network between the software (control room) and the RTU (cRIO-200) in the sites to be transparent Ethernet IP TCP/IP VPN communication. The network is highly secure against hackers, and the architecture allows a good quality of communication with minimal interruptions. We installed the components of the control center in a panel (rack mounting cabinet), including the computer, the server, and the UPS (Uninterruptible power supply).

The RTU cRIO-100 schedules the irrigation of 32 valves, detects  electrical faults (32 DO and 32 AI) and monitors the quality of the pump power). It also monitors the pump control power faults and all the signals that should be read within the program description attached. This unit also saves the schedule of operation on its nonvolatile memory and communicates with the control server to send the status of the valves and the faults and receive commands and the schedule of operation.

The subRTU sbRIO-200 schedules the irrigation of 32 valves and detects its electrical faults. It also communicates with the control server to send the status of the valves and the faults and receive commands and the schedule of operation.

System components communicate to each other through VPN using 3G/GPRS modems. The system contains 10 sites (two cRIO-100 and eight sbRIO-200) and one weather station. For the system expansion, there must be 15 sites (13 sbRIO-200 and two weather stations).

Software Specifications
We used LabVIEW software to create an easily reconfigurable software application with these specifications:

  • Link with the Google maps and GPS position
  • Irrigation schedule, pumps, and channels for valves
  • Live display of all the site inputs:
    • Channel status
    • Operating and monitoring settings
    • Total volume of pumped water
    • Power quality monitoring of the pump, including:
       Voltage three phases
       Current three phases
       Power factor
       Total harmonic distortion
       Alarms for control panels
       Backwash filter
  • Store data in a database
  • Monitor the following events: Voltage dips, swells and interruptions (IEC 6100), Unbalance, Flicker detection (EN50160
  • Report of the working hours of each pump with the ability to record the start of operation date/time, the total hours of each full operation, the stop of operation date/time, the maintenance date/time; plus the ability for the operator to add the reason and consequence of each and for the operation information to be stored in the database on nonvolatile memory
  • Generating monthly or yearly reports upon request and as soon as any urgent fault occurs that causes the irrigation system to stop working correctly, in addition to the ability to automatically send the reports by email
  • Ability to detect and identify electrically the erroneous valves

System Features and Benefits

  • The panel is strictly protected from dust, water, and has a lock with a key.
  • The system does not interfere with the systems of the other sites.
  • The system is connected to multiple weather stations.
  • The weather station monitors six parameters every five seconds for 24 hours, calculates ET0 factor, and controls the irrigation time.
  • The system automatically controls and monitors the problems of the channels for the main line and the sprinklers.
  • The system reads from the flow sensors with pulse output. The alarm is enabled for flow limit, overpressure, and other parameters from the pump control panel. If there is an alarm, the pump is stopped.

Conclusion

Combining the benefits of the CompactRIO FPGAs and processor we developed a rugged, permanent control and monitoring system that performs real-time control of garden irrigation with corrections from weather stations for evapotranspiration. We successfully installed the garden irrigation system in the gardens of Dammam, Saudi Arabia.

Author Information:
Ashot Minasyan
Find this author in the NI Developer Community

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