Sprinkler Project

We are planning to put some sprinklers in, and I wanted to try to use my computer as the controller rather than buy one.  But, I need some help.  Please comment if you have any expertise in this area or any tips.

This article is very similar to what I want to do:

Acacia Projects — Sprinkler Controller

First of all, I am not exactly sure how the “24 VAC Plug Pack” comes into play.  I am assuming that the valve needs more power than what the card produces, and the plug pack gives it that boost, but where do you purchase one?  I am assuming that you need one for each station.

I think I found where they were talking about buying the board from: Elexol.com

One of the problems that I might have is that my computer is on the opposite side of the house from where I might want to place the valves.  I thought about using Ethernet to get the signal closer to the valves and place the card nearer to the valves.  This product looked helpful:

Ether I/O 24R

I found a couple of other examples, but they didn’t have quite enough detail for me:

Embedded Linux Router Hacked for Sprinkler Controller

This link does seem to have more detail:

Sprinkler control with embedded…

They mention using the USB Bit Whacker board.  I think I found where I could buy it: SparkFun Electronics.

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