Triggering Water Valves by Timecode for Permanent Installation

Hello TouchDesigner community,

I’m currently working on a permanent installation project where I need to trigger water valves based on timecode. I’m wondering if anyone has experience with implementing such a system in TouchDesigner and could provide some guidance.

I’ve come across Arduino tutorials on YouTube, but I’m concerned about the long-term viability of using Arduino for a permanent installation. If anyone has successfully integrated timecode-triggered water valves with TouchDesigner and can share their insights on the hardware setup or alternative solutions, I would greatly appreciate it.

Thank you in advance for any assistance or recommendations!

Best regards,

Funny, but I actually did this a while ago. It was not a permanent installation but should work just fine.
I found 12V Electric valves and simply connected them to my 12V Dimmer aka Led DMX Decoder and controlled them this way. But there are also DMX Relay Board which should also work just fine.

1 Like

Although I have not tackled this specific challenge, I have used Arduino’s many times on permanent and semi-permanent installations that either read sensors, output to devices (like triggering lights, motors etc.) or both.

I think what route you choose will depend totally on your requirements - longevity, number of water valves, environment etc.

I can say I do prefer using a common microcontroller because if you need to update the programming on-site, or if something goes wrong down the track it’s much easier the refamiliarise yourself with an Arduino than a more custom setup. And from my experience, as long as you get a brand-name Arduino they should last and be quite reliable.

Hope this helps!

1 Like

That’s fascinating! I hadn’t considered using a DMX Decoder with electric valves for this application. So, if I understand correctly, all you needed was a 12V DMX Decoder, connected to the 12V Electric valves, and you were able to control them effectively? Did you encounter any challenges or specific considerations in your setup that you think are important for a permanent installation? Thanks for sharing!

Thank you for sharing your perspective! It’s insightful to hear about your positive experiences with Arduino in permanent installations. Your point about the ease of updating programming on-site and the reliability of brand-name Arduinos is valuable.

Considering your input, I’m curious if you have any specific Arduino models or components in mind that you’ve found particularly reliable for similar applications?

I appreciate your help and insights!

If I’m not requiring too many inputs/outputs I just stick with the Arduino branded models, especially the standard Uno: Arduino Uno Rev3 — Arduino Official Store

And then if we need to solder the connections for more permanent installations we might use the Uno from above and then deliver it with a Nano: Nano Family — Arduino Official Store

We sometimes need wired network and we use PoE switches so in that case we have had good success with DFRobot W5500 which is just programmed as an Arduino Leonardo: W5500 Ethernet with POE IoT Board (Arduino Compatible) - DFRobot

Hope this helps!

1 Like

Correct. ArtNet DMX Node → Relay/Decoder → Walve.

This was a simple Installation running for one day and we had no issues, but I could Imagine that a relaybox might be better suited then the 12V Decoder as you will only do on an off. (Maybe you can even control the flow via the decoder. Would need to test actually as we went with simple On/Off).
Regarding the walves there are some key points to kepp in mind:
Possible Pressure, Possible Flow and maybe maximum onTime as they will produce heat. But with water flowing it might not even be a real problem. Also, using water and elextricity always opens holes for a small desaster, so make sure everything is proper isolated etc.

In general a simple testsetup will run you maybe around 100-150 bucks (if you already have a DMX Node) more or less ready to run.
I would probably just fetch the components and build a simple testsetup with 4 walves and let them run for a week or something testing out times, potential degregation, heat etc.

1 Like

It sounds like you have a well-thought-out setup for your projects!
I haven’t delved deeply into Arduino experimentation yet, but it’s a field I’m eager to explore further.

Recently, I tested the DMX solution, and it appears to be functioning well. Given its simplicity, I’m inclined to stick with this method for now.

However, for more intricate installations, I’ll definitely look into Arduino for Shure.

Thank you for your assistance!

After several days of testing, I’ve settled on a setup I’m satisfied with: the Enttec Pro USB and DMX h1 Decoders. With this configuration, I can control both solenoid valves and modulating valves ranging from 0-10v.

I truly appreciate the plumbing advice you provided, as it’s an area I had little knowledge about. Now, the plan is to move forward by creating a prototype, as you suggested, and running it for a few days. I’ll enlist the help of a plumber to assist with this task.

I just wanted to express my gratitude for your solution and guidance throughout this process. Thank you!

Great to hear! There’s always a different solution to the same problem, and if your solution works well then that’s the main thing!

1 Like