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Leilah's Mom's Remote Control Barking Correction System

How to enforce our "enough" or "shush"command without having to go out into the yard all the time to enforce it using a Super Soaker squirt rifle.  My mother and I are sick and tired of getting up to go back up our commands for our dogs to quit barking all the time.  I do not want them to stop barking altogether,  just when we ask them to.

Teach them a new "shush" command that can be used from a distance. Back it up by being able to spray them without getting up.

*Warning - might not be effective on water loving dogs*

The Leilah's Mom's Remote Control Barking Correction System uses over the counter parts all bought at Home Depot.  Can be used with a remote control that plugs into a handy electrical outlet (wired) or wireless control, or both.  This cannot be patented, since there are many, many remote control irrigation systems already out there, and it's built with off the shelf, ready made parts..  It's nothing new.

Description and Use:

System consists of a floodlight, and a single Rain Bird automated sprinkler, both on a small remote control system.  The remote controller is similiar to one used for a television. I use button 1 for the floodlight, and 2 for the sprinkler. It is "site specific" and layout might be very different at each location, and more sprinkler heads can probably be added.

Floodlight serves as the "shush" command.  The dogs do know the verbal command already, but choose to ignore it until I get up to back it up.   Now first the dogs must be taught the new "shush" command.  I give them the verbal command when turning it on with the remote control, and the dogs begin to associate the light and the click of the remote control relay with the verbal command.  The verbal command can be eventually changed to the floodlight command this way. There is about a 2 second delay from the time I hit the remote control button until the light is on.  Because of this, while training them,  you might want to hit the light button first, just before giving the command.  Either way though, the dogs will eventually associate the light and the remote control relay click (if it's within earshot) with the verbal command "shush".

When the dogs ignore the "shush" command, either verbal command, or AFTER they've learned the floodlight command alone,  then the sprinkler is turned on to enforce the command. There is also about a 2 second delay when I press this button. If I am awake enough, I do praise them if they obey the command.

The system is NOT permanently installed, and therefore no permit is usually required.  Please read all the information before actually building it.

Warning and Disclaimer:
Use this design at your own risk!   I (Leilah's Mom) will not be responsible for any damages or injuries that occur as a result of building or using this system. As far as I can tell, it should be a safe system, but I'm NO engineer.  Though the ampere draws are fairly low, and I STRONGLY suggest connecting all powered items, especially the Sprinkler Valve,  to a power strip with a circuit breaker built in.   Can't be too safe. If you do need to extend wiring, be aware that lamp cord is probably an impedance mismatch to the rest of the wiring, and will probably cause slighly more current draw.  Be always on the lookout for any heating wires or parts.

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Parts, Costs, and Tools

These are the parts and costs for my original system, you may substitute whatever you think is necessary or cheaper.  It cost me about $150 and 3 hours on a Sunday afternoon to build it - most of that time was used trying to adjust the sprinkler.  Now, it does look intimidating maybe, but it's all pretty basic insert tab A into slot B kind of stuff.  This is not the optimal design, I'm sure, but it works. The prices are off my receipt at Home Depot.  Don't forget to add tax!

Part Specifics and Comments Cost
Sprinkler head Rain Bird Deluxe Impact Sprinkler model 25PJDA-C
Note: I later changed to a plastic Rain Bird head, don't have the model info. It is lighter weight, and worked better with my low water pressure. 
Sprinkler Spike to hold sprinkler head and make system portable. Should come with cap for unused opening. 2.96
50' Garden Hose won't get moved a lot, hopefully not used a lot,  so cheap is ok 6.97
2 Female Hose Ends might want to get a third to make any left over hose usable, then would also need a male end too 2 @ 1.97 ea
Sprinkler Valve Orbit  WaterMaster 3/4" Automatic Anti-Siphon Valve model 57223  9.67
 Adapter (Coupling) to convert valve threads to hose threads - they are spaced differently 2 @ 1.22 ea
Teflon Tape used to seal plumbing connections .97 (on sale)
"Splitter" On receipt it's called a Tap Adapter. Used so you won't lose use of the faucet for other things. Faucet and side of splitter used for system must be always left ON.  1.95
Stiff wire Used to attach  the Sprinkler Valve to a handy cold water pipe, had it laying around. Sprinkler valve will not stand up by itself, it must be mounted somehow.  free
  Sub Total,  Plumbing  44.78
Electrical all electrical compoments are indoors except some wires
Transformer Orbit Water Master Replacement Indoor Transformer model 57040, 120VAC in, 24VAC out 12.33
Lamp Cord used to extend transformer wires to outside. Had it laying around, but could buy a lamp extension cord and cut off the ends, or lamp cord by the foot if necessary. Use the heavier stuff, not the super lightweight stuff.  NOTE: A friend of mine in the sprinkler biz tells me there's specific wire for sprinklers, available at most hardware stores, and it holds up much better. It would be a very good idea to use that instead. free
Silicone Filled Wire Nuts Lost the packaging, so don't have brand name. Easy water proof wire splicing, marked for outdoor waterproof use.  They were the smaller, grey ones, the smallest of the 3 sizes available. 3.45 pkg
Power Strip SL Warner Multiple Outlet Strip model PS6ZS  - 6 outlets with push button circuit breaker - circuit breaker a must in case water gets into electrical system. 3.97
Floodlight Yardline Outdoor Stake Light, 150W with 6ft cord, cat no A-2380-006-GN
Cheap floodlight, all plastic
Floodlight Bulb Phillips Halogen 90W 1par38 (4 3/4" diam) flood bulb.  4.97 (on sale)
Appliance Module X-10 Powerhouse AM486  2@ 11.99 ea
Remote Control - wire X-10 Powerhouse Mini Controller model MC460 11.99
Remote Controle - wireless X-10 Powerhouse Wireless Controller model RC5000 32.50
Zip Ties To hold things together - had them laying around Free
. Sub Total, Electrical  98.09
Grand Total  142.87
(Just remember that a good bark prevention zap collar can be $100, and this can handle multiple dogs)

Box Knife to cut hose and tape (ok, you can use scissors for the tape if you want)
Slot Screwdriver
Wire Strippers/Cutters

Be ready to get possibly get wet too

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Plumbing Assembly


Location, Location, Location.....

Scope out where you are planning on putting this contraption.  Where would be the best place for the sprinkler to be?  Consider the coverage, where do your dogs act up?  The sprinkler can be adjusted for distance, and how far it rotates. Where is the faucet?  Where are you going to put the electrical components on the power strip (a shed, garage, laundry room)?  The wires for the Sprinkler Valve and Floodlight have to go from outside to inside. Where is the Sprinkler Valve going to go?  Putting it as close as possible to the sprinkler is good, so water doesn't have to travel as far and sprinkler will come on quicker..  How are you going to get the wires and hoses from here to there without annoying anyone, or creating something to trip over? This is going the probably going to be the hardest part!

Put together the plumbing.......

Close both sides of the splitter .  If you look inside it, you might be able to tell when it's closed and when it's not - on the one I have, both little knobs are turned towards each other.   Screw it onto faucet, make sure the washer is in place.   Turn on faucet to see if it leaks.  If it leaks from the splitter, then it might not be tightened down. Also check the washer, and if necessary, you can back it up with a wrap or two of teflon tape around the male connector. Stretch it as you wrap it.  Did the teflon tape bunch up when you screwed it back together?  Undo it and wrap the tape going in the other direction.

Run hose between splitter and where Sprinkler Valve will be. Use the female end of the hose at the splitter.  Make sure there's a washer where it hooks up to the splitter.  Don't make a tight run, you don't want the hose pulling on the parts.  Cut the hose using the box knife at the correct length,  and install the Female Hose End.  Put the screw collar on the hose FIRST, insert the fitting into the hose, shift the screw collar up to the fitting (be sure it's still over the hose) and tighten down.

Screw  the Sprinkler head onto the spike.  If there is only one sprinkler in your system, be sure the unused outlet on the spike has the cap in place (here's where you would link more sprinklers into the system if necessary).  Be sure it's facing in the right direction (or you could spray yourself  when you turn it on the first time) .  Read the instructions to set the arc of the spray.

Hook up the remaining hose, male end to the spike, and run it over to where the Sprinkler Valve will be.  Be sure that there's not too much tension, and no one will trip over it.  Install the other Female Hose End, be sure there's a washer there.

Take the sprinkler/hose thread adapter, and check out which side screws easily into the Sprinkler Valve.  There won't be a washer there. Wrap a couple of winds of teflon tape around the adapter, and stretch it while you wrap it.  Screw the adapter snugly into the Sprinkler Valve.  Did the teflon tape bunch up?  Undo it and wrap the tape going in the other direction.   Do this for both openings on the Sprinkler Valve.

Take a good look at the Sprinkler Valve, you'll see arrows on it showing the direction of water flow.  (See above diagram).  Hook up the Valve to the hoses in the proper direction.  Mount the Valve as best you can, wiring it to nails in a wall or fence might do the trick.  Attach the Flow Valve handle, just slip it on.

All your connections good and tight?  All the faucets and the splitter is closed and off?  Time to see if it works.....

Testing the Plumbing

Turn on the faucet with the splitter completely closed. Any leaks?  If so, turn everything off, and check the connections.  Are the washers there? You could add some teflon tape if necessary.  Can the faucet handle it?  I sure hope so.  If you followed the directions, then you've already checked this.  If it's leaking around the faucet handle, then I have no idea what to do except to use another faucet.

Open the side of the splitter where the system is connected.  Drips?  Hope not. If so, shut off the splitter, check the washers and add teflon tape if necessary.

Now water is running up to the electrical valve in the Sprinkler Valve.  Is there any dripping at the Sprinkler Valve?  If so, shut off the system at the faucet, then push the manual switch to relieve some of the pressure and help get water out of the system.  The sprinkler mght  come on for a moment.  Double check the connections and washer on the hose, make sure they're snug, and add even more teflon tape if necessary.

Now, with the faucet open, push the manual switch.  The sprinkler should start operating. Check for drips at the Sprinkler Valve, and if it's dripping, double chec the connections and washer on the hose, and add more teflon tape if necessary.  Adjust the flow with the flow control  on the Sprinkler Valve, and adjust the sprinkler to cover the area.

On the my Original System, I didn't get the Rain Bird sprinkler cycling back and forth correctly.  Turns out that when I shut it off, it does return to the starting point. Until I figure it out, I can't leave it on too long, or it just stays at the end of it's arc.   It's probably a water pressure problem.  So, in the meantime, I would just have to shut it off, then turn it back on if the dogs needed a second correction (but they haven't yet!).

Is it working as you want it to with the manual switch?  Cool!  Onto the electrical hookup....

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Electrical Assembly

Electrical Assembly

Ok, it looks pretty "Micky Mouse". It is. But, it works.

There is actually a lot of leeway possible in this design, but the above diagram is how I built my Original System.  The whole thing only takes one electrical outlet this way.

The Remote Control system is based on the X-10 Powerhouse remote control electrical outlets..  They use the house 120V AC current as a carrier for the signals.  The Wireless unit uses a module plugged into an outlet, and converts the signal from the wireless remote into the signal that rides on the house voltage.  The Appliance Modules (the Lamp modules don't handle as much current) pick up that signal according to thier setting, and switch on or off the power at the outlet.  You can use either the wire Remote Control that plugs into any wall outlet, or the wireless, or both.  Read the instructions that come with the modules and controls to set the buttons.   I personally  have set the flood lamp on button 1, and the sprinkler on button 2.  Since the wireless control doesn't work from the far end of the house, I have the wired remote there for my mom to use.

Set up the Flood light
As far as I can tell, The X-10 Appliance Module is for indoor use only.  So, you have to set up the lamp so you can plug it in indoors.  The lamp on the parts list is a cheapie that can be set up with either a stake or a small flat support that could be installed on a fence or wall.   Since the X-10 system can run off any outlet, this does not have to plug into the power strip.  Put the floodlight where the dogs can see it come on while they're barking. This is going to be their new "shush" command. If they can hear the X-10 Appliance module too (it clicks with a relay inside it), so much the better.  Plug the floodlight into the X-10 Appliance module, and plug into an indoor outlet.  (I have mine set up indoors in a window, facing where the dogs bark.)  Did you remember to set the button setting for that module?

Wire the Sprinkler Valve
The transformer must be indoors.  With the power strip unplugged, plug it into the X-10 Appliance module, and plug that into the power strip.  Be sure to check the button settings (see the instructions).  If the wires are long enough to reach outside to the Sprinkler Valve wires, you won't need the lamp cord to extend it. If you do need the lamp cord, DO NOT splice several lengths together, get enough so that you only need ONE piece.  Too many splices can cause problems.  The lamp cord will split apart if you make a nick down the middle groove.  Pull it apart about 2 inches, and strip the last 1/2".  Read the directions on the silicone wire nuts.  What they dont tell you is the stuff inside is kind of liquid, and if you are not careful, you will pull your splice right apart (but you can stuff the wire back in if you do). So, wait until last to do those splices. I don't know if it ever solidifies, but it probably does.

Read the directions that come with the Sprinkler Valve. It doesn't matter which wire is attached to which wire, the polarity doesn't matter.

Plug in the remotes, either the wired or wireless module. They do not need to be in the power strip, any outlet will do. Pull out the antenna if using the wireless remote.

Plug in the power strip.

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Testing the System

With any luck, the system will work on the first try. Press button 1 on, does the light come on?  Can you turn it off?  How about button 2?  Does the sprinkler come on? Can you turn it off?  There might be about a 2 second delay.  You will have to take this into account when using it on your dogs too.  If nothing happens at all, go back and check that everything's plugged into working outlets, and that all the connections are secure.  Is a circuit breaker tripped, either on the power strip or in the circuit breaker box?  You already know the plumbing is ok, right, because you already tested it?  You can use any old lamp to check if the outlets are live. If all the outlets are working, including the outlets in the power strip, then the problem is in the modules, or the wiring you installed.  Go back and check that all is ok, reread the instructions if necessary that came with everything.

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Customizing and VariationsThis system is actually pretty flexible.  You don't have to use the same kind of sprinkler for instance.  Look around at the hardware store, maybe there's something that will work better. If you only have a small area to control (like a single gate area), you might be able to use a stationary  sprinkler.  Got animals and people cutting across your property?  Try using a motion detector or electric eye to trip the sprinkler instead of the remote control.  You could hook up something that makes a loud noise instead of a sprinkler maybe if you have water loving dogs.  If you have some basic electrical knowledge, you can do a lot of tricks with this.

Good luck!

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