How To Install The Baseline WaterTec S100 Soil Moisture Sensor

According the the EPA as much as fifty percent
of the water we use outdoors is wasted through inefficient irrigation method and systems.
One way to easily reduce this water waste is by adding a soil moisture sensor to an
irrigation control. The WaterTec S100 soil moisture sensor from Baseline can help eliminate
unneeded irrigation cycles. It does this by interrupting the signal between the irrigation
controller and the valve if the soil is already hydrated as a result of a previous irrigation
cycle or from recent rain fall. It’s also compatible with just about any irrigation
controller. The first thing you need to decide when adding a soil moisture sensor is where
to place it in your landscape. Choose a zone in your system that requires the most frequent
irrigation. Within that zone, place a sensor in an area that receives average to slightly
less than average water from the irrigation system. A spot midway between two sprinkler
heads is usually ideal. The sensor will eventually be connected to
the valve that feeds a selected zone and the control unit will be installed next to the
irrigation controller. Be aware that the distance from the sensor to the control unit can not
exceed 500 feet. This includes the length of the wires running from the valve to the
irrigation controller. Once you’ve determined where you will bury the sensor it’s a good
idea to make a note of the location in case you need to find it in the future. At this
point you can dig a hole for the sensor as well as a small channel for the communication
wires that leads back to the valve. The hole for the sensor should be deep enough to bury
it on it’s long edge with the top two to three inches below the soil surface. The channel
for the communication wires should also be deep enough to avoid any damage from future
aeration. Before you bury the sensor run it’s wires
back to the valve that feeds the zone where the sensor is located. Determine which of
the valve wires is hot and which is common. Then slice in the appropriate sensor wire
to each connection. The white wire should be attached to the common connection and the
red should be connected to the hot wire that controls the valve. Secure both sides with
standard wire nut until you have completed testing the unit. Later they will be replaced
with waterproof wire connectors. Now, mount the S100 control unit next to you controller.
Be aware that the unit is water resistant but not waterproof. If your mounting it outdoors
make sure it’s protected from direct contact with water.
To begin wiring the S100 control unit to your irrigation controller disconnect the wire
currently connected to the common terminal on the controller. Connect that wire to the
white wire coming from the S100 harness. Then connect the black wire from the S100 to the
common terminal on the irrigation controller. Next, locate the terminal for the valve wire
for the sensor zone, disconnect the wire, and then connect it to the red wire from the
S100. To complete the circuit connect the green wire from the S100 to the same valve
terminal. In order to provide power to the control unit connect the orange wire from
the S100 to an available 24V terminal on the irrigation controller. Touch the end of the
orange wire to each of the available terminals while observing the S100 control unit for
an indication light. Attach the orange wire to the terminal that triggers the light.
Finally, if you have irrigation zones that you do not want to be effected by the sensor
you do have the option to bypass two of them. Connect either the blue or brown wire from
the S100 harness to any valve terminal that you would like to bypass. Be sure not to remove
the existing valve wire when you do this. Once everything is connected you can run a
communication test between the controller and the sensor. To do this press and hold
the plus, minus, and read set buttons simultaneously for three seconds then release. The communication
test will take about two minutes as it triggers the sensor to take one hundred readings. When
the test is complete the display will show the number of errors received. A reading of
000 means there were no errors. If you do receive an error verify that all of your connections
are correct and test again. Refer to the manufacturers manual for details if you continue to see
errors. After completing a successful test finish
the installation by burying the sensor. Make sure that it is not tilted at an angle. This
can lead to incorrect readings due to water pooling on the surface of the sensor. Also
make sure that you have good soil and sensory contact by packing the soil down tightly around
it. Air pockets, rocks, or gravel resting against the sensor can negatively effect readings.
Now bury the communication wires and reconnect them to the valve using waterproof connectors.
Finally, saturate the soil around the sensor with a garden hose or a bucket of water. This
will allow the soil to settle. It will also provide the hydration required for the calibration
process which is covered in a separate video. If you would like to learn more about the
variety of sensors that can help you better manage the irrigation of your landscape contact
your nearest Ewing branch or visit us online at

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