In trying to keep the front/side gardens looking presentable I have used a water timer for some time. Unfortunately my original timer (from Galcon, one of their bluetooth models) hasn't aged well and is no longer available. It also was showing its age due to the lack of wireless connectivity, which in turn means a lack of alerts when a hose connector breaks and water is leaking (I know first hand this isn't a fun situation). After seeing many water timers available on the usual shopping sites I decided to take the plunge and purchase some of the LinkTap G2-S water timers, in the hope that it would solve a few of my current issues (and make things easier in the future).
For a timer device to work you need a central hub (similar to that of Hive/Nest) that acts as the gateway to the internet. It's a small device overall and one of the things I am impressed with so far is that it uses a single TCP port for its communication (looking at you Ring...). While I haven't tested the range of the central controller to any large extent, my timer devices show at over 90% signal which is impressive given the multiple walls it needs to travel through. Multiple timer devices are supported (I think 15 in total?), so there is plenty of room for expandability. A nice touch is that each timer uses AA batteries which makes them simple to replace (or hard-wire if desired). As for battery life, that is subjective based on usage and signal strength, so time will tell.
Each timer comes with a range of fitments to allow it to connect to different size taps. While the UK has a standard size for the most part it is nice to see both flexibility and the removal of hunting for the right size connector. The fitments are plastic, which while not as durable as metal do feel quite sturdy and not likely to break. The usual rubber seals are present and from testing appear to do a very good job (something my Galcon device wasn't good at, even after changing the rubber washer). What immediately stands out with the devices is that they are quite large, and getting four of them next to each other proves difficult using a commonplace adapter. This is something I still need to sort at a later date, and I suspect some reinforcement will be needed for the tap for it to handle the additional weight over time.
As the devices are wirelessly connected an app is used to control them (unless you use the manual on/off button on each device). Looking at the version history for it, its gone through a few iterations and has improved over time (always good). That said, the UI does look a little developer-orientated and not as user-friendly as it could be. I will admit its taken me a few attempts to get to grips with the app, including an email to the developers (who in fairness were very quick to respond and were helpful). There are plenty of different modes available for each device, and the different alerts based on things like too much/too little water, and even if a device falls and impacts the ground, is very impressive. For anyone looking at using these I highly recommend going through the user menu at least twice, as its easy to miss functionality. There are still a few things from a UI perspective that will hopefully improve over time, but from a functionality perspective the control is there and it works every time. One of the things I really do appreciate now that I have it is the ability to activate watering on a specific feed while stood next to the drip-feeds (to see which ones are clogged), instead of having to run back to the garden for a bluetooth connection.
As it stands (at time of writing) I have three of the timers working well and keeping the trees/plants watered automatically. A fourth timer will be added at a later date to cover the new plant bed where I will be growing food (more on that later). All being well I will be using these devices for some time :-)