A prototype of a real-time closed loop automatic control system has been successfully developed to suit trickle irrigation systems management. The control system was designed to manage the irrigation system based on collecting data through soil moisture sensors located at three different locations acting each third of the lateral to put the effect of emitters’ flow rate variation along laterals on soil moisture content distribution in consideration. Soil moisture content which will be used to start and stop the irrigation process will be based on the average of three sensors’ readings. Required inputs to manage the irrigation system were soil field capacity (FC), permanent wilting point (WP), and percentage of moisture allowed depletion (MAD). Irrigation process will begin when the soil moisture content equals the desired percentage of available water and it will stop after reaching soil field capacity. The system was provided with ability to check some defects that are related to the irrigation system like clogging, poor uniformity, and water pumping failure. Laboratory assessment showed that the control system has applied the design considerations and is expected to save irrigation time if implemented with low or poor uniformity trickle irrigation networks when compared to high uniformity networks. The study recommended evaluating the effect of this control system implementation in field especially with trickle irrigation networks which show poor uniformity to use the potentials of the control system to predict emitter clogging, and poor uniformity which are mostly appear in such irrigation systems.
Key words: Automatic control, closed loop, flow rate variation, modern irrigation systems, real time.
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