This University of Florida site talks about the best use of a traditional controller and rain sensor to corral your sprinkler system and your water bill. The problem is a rain sensor is only an interrupter. It still depends on you programming your controller to react to changing weather.
This North Carolina site touts a program that attempts to inform you so you can do a better job of programming your controller.
“Through a cooperative effort between the NC State University Department of Crop Science and the State Climate Office of North Carolina, an internet-based decision-aide called the Turf Irrigation Management System (TIMS) has been developed and is now available to the citizens of North Carolina.”
Again, it still counts on you being the reactor to weather changes.
Populare Mechanics has an excellent article that surveys the different methods of using weather stations to program your controller. The systems that are controlled by a computer have been around for a while and are still quite expensive. This article also discusses the remote weather station that hooks up to your controller via satellite with a subscription service. The last option is the one that makes the most sense to us–an on-site weather station that programs your controller every day. They talk about one that we could recommend if it weren’t so expensive. The weather station alone consists of two modules–each costing $450! You would still have to buy the controller, install it and program it’s initial settings.
The more I read, the more excited I get about the Rainstat Controller and Weather Station. If you have questions, please call us at 254.829.3800.