Sprinklers and power lines

R.W. Wall
2001 IEEE Computer Applications in Power  
Water and electricity can be a deadly mixture. The conventional role of electrical power in agricultural irrigation is to power pumps for lifting and pressurizing the water supply. Mechanized irrigation systems such as center pivots also use power for mobility. This article describes how existing power lines are being used to reduce implementation and operating costs for automating existing agricultural irrigation controls. The system uses low-cost low-power power line carrier to take advantage
more » ... of preexisting power lines and minimize the retrofitting effort needed for distributed networked control. It also takes advantage of the fact that there is a good match between the speed response for irrigation and the bandwidth available for low cost power line communications. The purpose of this article is to describe one application of this technology and discuss design and operational experiences to allow readers to extrapolate this approach to other areas of automation through distributed control. In the world of distributed automation, two things are always required: power and communications. Preexisting power lines have long been looked upon as a potential media for communications. Electric utilities have a long history of using transmission line for voice, data and relay communications. As the availability of utility owned microwave and fiber optic communications increases, power line carrier moves down the list of preferred communications methods. As industrial and commercial customers move toward distributed control for process automation or environmental controls, the wires presently used for electrical power are inviting as a resource for communications. History of UI Precision Irrigation: Precision Agriculture is the practice of spatially distributing production inputs to improve yield potential. Instead of treating a tract of land with uniform applications of chemicals and water, the fields are divided into management zones. These zones are characterized by the elements of the land that affect crop growth, soil type, slope, water holding capability, etc. Then, each zone is farmed according to the needs of that particular cell. Harvesters equipped with yield monitoring sensors and position locating equipment help access the success of the production practices. Implementing precision agriculture for farm management requires improved sensing and control beyond that commonly used today. The focus of our research has been the data acquisition and control needed for automating spatially variable irrigation using both center pivot and linear move systems. Center pivot irrigations systems use an aerial water pipe suspended between mobile Aframe towers. Sprinklers are spaced and sized for flow rate along the pipe for uniform
doi:10.1109/67.917582 fatcat:lodmnriusfgnhb5mfbnnwvngp4