FAQ

Summary

So hopefully you're lurking in the FAQ section just to see what people are wanting to know and how well we know our stuff. Maybe you're here because you've misplaced your manual, worn it out or had it eaten by the dog. Whatever the case, we hope you find all the information that you are looking for and that it gets you out of your bind.

If you click on one of the questions the answer will appear at the top of the page to the left. You might have to scroll back to the top of the page to see the answer.

If you have cruised through the categories on the right and what you want to know just isn't there or is too hard to find, please send us an email mea@mea.com.au. We'll make sure that you get a quick answer and we'll even add your question to the FAQ section to help others in the future. If it's too tricky to explain your question in an email or you need an answer NOW, definitely give us a call and we'll help you out.

Can I extend my sensor cable and how far?

Yes, the sensor cables can be extended to up to 100m in length without signal problems.

There are a few issues that you should consider before extending to very long cables:

  1. Secondary lightning strikes – a long horizontal cable can act as an aerial during lightning activity. Even though the GDot has some in-built protection it may still fry the electronics.
  2. Animals like eating cables.
  3. Machinery also likes eating cables.
  4. 100m is a long distance to be checking for damage to the cable.

MEA recommend that you bury or enclose long cable in some conduit or poly-pipe to provide it with some physical protection.

How do I plug the sensor into the GDot?

The GDot will work whichever way the plug is clicked into it but it is best to connect the plug with the ‘latch’ to the back of the GDot (into the semi-circular hole) to give you a firmer lock and reduce the chance of the plug falling out.

Can I extend the sensor cable myself?

All you have to do is cut the sensor cable between the sensor and the connecting plug and splice in the required length of two-core flex (bedside light electrical cable is suitable). Use 3M Scotchloks to create easy waterproof junctions. The cables are not polarised so it doesn't matter which way around you connect them.

How do I mount my GDot?

The GDot can be mounted in a number of ways. Attach it to:

  • A pipe - it simply drops over the top and the cable runs down the middle.  The pipe should have an outside diameter or 33mm (1" NB waterpipe).
  • A stake – use the self-tapping screws provided with the GDot. Space them 165 – 170mm apart.
  • A cordon wire – use the two parallel fixing holes (45mm apart) at the top of the GDot

At what height should I mount the GDot?

We usually recommend that the GDot display be fixed 1m to 2m above ground level. This is a good height for viewing it but it really is up to you and may depend on your crop. In vegetables, for example, the GDot would need to be lower to allow spray equipment to pass overhead.

How long will the sensor last?

The lifetime of the gypsum block sensor is anywhere between two and ten years. It all depends on the acidity and salinity of your soil and also how often the sensor wets up and dries out.

How long will the batteries last?

Short answer: two years or more.

Is the GDot UV-stable (ultraviolet-stable) in high sunlight?

The GDot is made of rugged polycarbonate plastic that is UV and chemically stable. The polycarbonate will not discolour in ordinary sunlight.

However, MEA cannot guarantee the enclosure against agricultural sprays; it is the user’s responsibility to protect the GDot against spray residues that might damage or distort the plastic.

Will the GDot display be affected by rainfall or high humidity?

No, the GDot has been designed with three levels of protection against internal condensation that would fog the display on cold dewy mornings.

  1. The base of the GDot display is sealed against the cover by an O-ring.
  2. The GDot contains a two gram silica gel sachet to absorb moisture.
  3. The GDot is vented to atmosphere through a hydrophobic micropore vent.

Can I remove the sensor from the ground to shift it to another part of my property?

Yes, the sensor can be removed from the ground and be reused elsewhere. However, the sensor is not designed to be pulled out of the soil by its electrical cable; doing so will damage the sensor. 

To get the sensor out you will need to dig down along the cable while being careful not to nick or cut the wires. Gently dig around the sensor and lift it out by the green plastic. Do not touch the rest of the sensor as grease from your fingers will affect future readings. 

You may find that it is quicker and simpler to buy and bury a new sensor!

I watered and the GDot did not respond? What’s happening?

If your dots are all black and stay black after watering, check for a broken cable or loose connection to the body of the GDot.

If all the wiring is okay, it could simply be that the soil where the sensor is located is not wet. Grab a spade or auger, dig down near the sensor and have a look at the soil. It’s possible that the water did not penetrate to the depth of the sensor, or has run off laterally. Perhaps the local dripper or sprinkler is broken or blocked.

Test the sensor input is working (see next FAQ).

If the wires are fine, the soil is wet and the sensor input is ok, send the GDot back to MEA!

Can I test that the sensor input to the GDot is working?

There are a number of simple tests that you can make to ensure that your GDot is correctly measuring the sensor. Remember with each of these tests that the GDot only updates the display once per minute: So be patient!

  1. Disconnect the sensor from the GDot: the display should change to all black. This simulates a dry sensor.
  2. Disconnect the sensor and connect a piece of wire or metal (such as a screwdriver) between the two GDot terminals (pins) in the base of the GDot. This simulates a wet sensor and all the dots should turn to yellow.
  3. Wet up your sensor in clean water and allow it to ‘air-dry’ by hanging it in the open air. The dots should change slowly from all yellow to all black over a day or so.

Why are the dots floppy and weak and show the wrong thing?

If your dots are flopping like drunks against a lamppost it’s time to change the batteries. 

Sometimes moisture or weak magnetic fields can cause one or more dots to stick halfway around between yellow and black or perhaps to stay put. A sharp tap on the top of the GDot will often get them to move into the correct position.

In high temperature / high humidity environments - such as greenhouses - consider fitting your GDot with Lithium batteries. Lithium batteries are able to provide more energy to flip the dots than alkaline batteries.

Also check the state of your desiccant sachet when changing batteries. If it is pink the sachet has absorbed all the moisture it can. Replace the sachet with a dry one. Dessiccant sachets can be dried by placing them in a warm oven until the colour has changed to blue again.

What is this alternating black and yellow dot pattern?

The batteries are running low! Time to change them!

In high temperature / high humidity environments - such as greenhouses - consider fitting your GDot with Lithium batteries. Lithium batteries are able to provide more energy to flip the dots than alkaline batteries.

How do I change the batteries?

You will need two new high quality 1.5V AA alkaline batteries (the battery type depends upon where you are in the world, but are also known by the following names: LR6, AM3 or Mignon).

In high temperature / high humidity environments - such as greenhouses - consider fitting your GDot with Lithium batteries. Lithium batteries are able to provide more energy to flip the dots than alkaline batteries.

Remove the GDot from the sensor. Grab a small Philips head screwdriver and remove the 2 screws that connect the red base to the clear lid. Slide off the lid and the black plastic inlay. 

Remove the batteries, WAIT FIVE MINUTES before replacing the batteries to allow the internal capacitance to discharge. When the batteries are replaced successfully, the GDot will respond by all of the dots flipping to yellow up then down and then makes a measurement.

Make sure the silica gel sachet is relocated safely inside the base of the GDot so that it does not get in the way of the flipping dots.

Place the black inlay onto the red base and replace the clear cover, making sure the black inlay is not protruding. Tighten, but don’t over-tighten, the two screws. Check that the O-ring seal is properly seated.

The GDot will run in a special ‘test mode’ for the next 20 minutes. During this time, you can check the measurement function of your GDot, as it is checking at a 1-second rate rather than the normal 1 minute rate.

Please dispose of the old batteries thoughtfully.

Can I recharge the batteries?

No, alkaline batteries cannot be recharged. Do not use other chargeable batteries such as nickel cadmium batteries; their terminal voltage and discharge characteristics are inferior to alkaline batteries.

Do I need to wait after the batteries are removed?

Yes, wait at least five minutes after removing the old batteries to allow the GDot to clear the internal ‘low battery’ state. To do this, it needs a little time to remove all remnant charge on its internal circuits.

Do I need to grease the O-ring?

No. There are no moving surfaces involved, and any grease will attract dust, so we do not recommend its use.

Does the GDot ever need recalibration?

No. The calibration remains valid for the life of the GDot.

And because the sensors used with the GDot are field-interchangeable, there is no need to recalibrate the GDot if the sensor is replaced. You just plug it together and go.

The top Dot (0 - 10 kPa) will not flip to yellow, even though the soil is saturated.

This can sometimes occur when the GDot is exposed to very wet soil over a prolonged period.  The situation has occurred mainly in Queensland where growers have had very heavy rain over extended periods of time.  It can also occur if the grower keeps the sensor continually in the very wet range.  We have confirmed this during our own scientific testing.

Depending on how you are using the GDot you can either ignore the top dot or you can contact your local reseller and obtain a new Watermark GBLite sensor for the discounted price of $60 + GST.

How do I remove my EnviroPro Probe?

1. Sleeve the jaws on some multi-grips with thick-wall heatshrink, or wrap them in enough duct tape to prevent damage to the probe body.

2. Excavate the probe down to 50mm or so, clearing enough room around it to use the multi-grips.

3. Grip the probe firmly just below the top of the probe and twist it back-and-forth until it moves freely (don’t stress the cable).

4. Continue twisting and pull up until the probe is worked clear of the hole.

What is Plexus?

Plexus is a radio-linked soil-moisture monitoring system that consists of

  1. Soil moisture sensors, attached to…
  2. Field Stations that read the sensors, stores the data and transmits it to…
  3. A Hub that collects the data from all of the Field Stations in the network, stores the data and sends it to…
  4. Green Brain, a web application that you view through an Internet browser.

What type of soil moisture readings can Plexus take?

Sensors are available for Plexus that will return soil moisture readings as tension measurement (as kiloPascals), or as volumetric measurements (as a percentage).

I’m interested in more than just soil moisture. Can Plexus make other kinds of measurements?

EnviroPro Field Stations can also measure soil temperature and even EC (with the right probe).

A GBT Field Station can have:

  • Up to four dedicated temperature sensors (for measuring soil or air temperature) connected to it, or
  • Four soil moisture tension sensors, or
  • Any mixture of soil moisture tension or temperature sensors up to a maximum of four sensors in total.

Will Plexus be able to make yet other kinds of measurements in the future?

Yes. We are continually working to expand the possibilities of Plexus. Check back with our website every now and then to see what new things Plexus can do, or contact us directly using the Contact form on our website.

Can I have news about Plexus delivered to me?

Yes. Subscribe to our electronic Logbook. The Logbook is published every two months. It contains not only news about Plexus, but the wide range of other things MEA is doing, often along with musings about life in business from our Engineering Director, Dr Andrew Skinner. It’s a cracking good read, even if we do say so ourselves.

Do Plexus Field Stations need direct contact with the Plexus Hub for their information to be passed to it?

No. Data can be sent directly to the Hub or via neighbouring Field Stations, who pass (or ‘hop’) the information down the line. Field Stations can communicate with each other as well as the Hub. This is called 'mesh networking'.

 

Possible data transmission paths

The diagram above shows a number of possible paths for the Field Station at bottom right to pass its data to the Hub.

How many ‘hops’ can the Field Station furthest from the Hub make?

The data can ‘hop’ a maximum of five times from any one Field Station. That is to say, a particular Field Station can pass its data to a maximum of four other Field Stations in the data’s journey to the Hub.

This doesn’t mean that a network is limited to just five Field Stations. The largest Plexus network to date (as at July 2014) has successfully employed eighty Field Stations. The theoretical maximum is more than twice that again.

What happens if a Field Station stops being able to ‘see’ the Hub or its neighbouring Field Stations?

It will continue to operate normally for six hours. It will continue reading the sensors connected to it, storing the data and attempting to transmit its data to the Hub or nearest Field Station.

After six hours the Field Station will enter 'search' mode for two hours. It will attempt to reconnect to the network continuously while continuing to read the sensors connected to it and storing the data.

After two hours of 'searching' the Field station will then go to ‘sleep’ for four hours. It will continue reading the sensors connected to it and storing the data, but will not attempt to connect to the Hub or other Field Stations.

After four hours of ‘sleep’ the Field Station will again enter ‘search mode’ for two hours. The ‘search’ then ‘sleep’ pattern will continue until the Field Station is able to connect to the network again.

The Field Station might be able to reconnect to the network by itself, or it might require the landholder or MEA to go to site to intervene.

How far can a Plexus Field Station transmit?

In flat country with no vegetation or buildings in the way, a Field Station should be able to connect to another Plexus unit (Field Station or Hub) up to a kilometre away. As a general rule, the closer Field Stations are to each other and the Hub, the more reliable the network.

If the data can ‘hop’ up to five times, and the maximum transmission distance (under ideal conditions) is one kilometre, does that mean I can put all my Field Stations in a direct line five kilometres long?

You could, but it would be a bad idea. If one of the Field Stations between the furthest one and the Hub stops operating, those further away will be unable to get their data back to the Hub. This is because the resulting gap will exceed the maximum reliable transmission distance and there are no alternate paths to transmit through.

Linear Network Problem

In the illustration above, the red Field Station has stopped working. The two Field Stations to the right of the failed Field Station are not able to get their data back to the Hub because the next working Field Station is too far away.

It is much better to arrange the Field Stations in a ‘mesh’ as per the diagram below.

Plexus mesh networking diagram

In this diagram the Hub is at the centre of the network with the Field Stations arranged around it. The dashed lines represent possible transmission paths for the data.

If one of the Field Stations in the network stops working, what happens to the other Field Stations that were using it to pass their data to the Hub?

If the Field Stations are arranged in a ‘mesh’ (see diagram below), then the working Field Stations will find a new path back to the Hub (as long as one exists). In other words, the network is self-healing.

Plexus mesh networking diagram

In this diagram the Hub is at the centre of the network with the Field Stations arranged around it. The dashed lines represent possible transmission paths for the data.

Can ‘repeaters’ be used in a Plexus network?

Yes. In hilly or heavily vegetated terrain, or where the furthest measuring point is too far from the Hub or other Field Stations, repeaters can be employed. A repeater is simply another Field Station that does not have sensors connected to it. For the purpose of passing data through the network, it will operate the same as every other Field Station.

Do the batteries in the Hub or Field Station ever need replacing?

Yes. The lithium-ion batteries in the Hub and Field Stations should provide from five to eight years of service, but they will eventually need to be replaced. You will need to return your Plexus unit to MEA to have the battery replaced.

Can I change a battery myself?

No. The battery is soldered to the circuit board inside the unit. You will need to return your Plexus unit to MEA to have the battery replaced.

How do I make sense of the Plexus battery graphs?

Plexus batteries will charge up to around 4.2 Volts. Charging then stops and does not start again until the battery has declined to below 4.0 Volts.

A battery might not charge for several days even under optimal charging conditions until the battery voltage falls below 4.0 Volts.

A battery can fall well below 4.0V overnight or under overcast conditions and not resume charging until there is enough sun.

Note that the suggested threshold voltages are approximate due to manufacturing and operational tolerances in the solar panels and the charging circuitry (although the variation should only be in the order of 0.2 volts or less).

Temperature also affects charging. The performance of the solar panel declines under elevated temperatures. Charging will cease when the temperature of the panel reaches 60°C.

The charging behaviour of the Hub and the Field Stations is different. The Hub uses more power than Field Stations, so it has a 2.8W solar panel. A Hub will typically charge as soon as enough sun is available and be charged in one to three hours. It is possible for a Hub battery to fall from 4.2V to 4.0V or less in a single day and not resume charging until the next morning. In some cases the Hub will accept charge twice in one day. In very overcast conditions it can take a coule of days to achieve full charge.

The Field Stations have a 0.4W solar panel and will charge much more slowly than a Hub. It can take several days or a week for a Field Station battery to reach full charge. It can take a Field Station battery a few days for the voltage to fall low enough for charging to resume.

A Field Station that has been unable to connect to the network will use power more rapidly while it attempts to find its way back.

How do I view data from a Plexus network?

Data from Plexus is viewed in the web application Green Brain. Green Brain is viewable in a web browser, on your Internet-connected computer or smart device. Every Plexus customer has their own Green Brain account. If you have more than one Plexus system they will all be viewed under the same account. The account is created for you when your Plexus system is installed.

If you would like to see what Green Brain is all about, visit www.greenbrain.net.au, login with the username demo@mea.com.au and use the password demo. Feel free to explore the way the site works. Turn individual sensor traces on and off, reset the calendar period and so on.

 

Green Brain Demonstration Site

 

Will Plexus work in tree crops?

Yes. Tall-crop mounting solutions allow Plexus to see over the canopy of most crops.

My Field Station has stopped reporting to the Hub. What should I check?

Check the following things:

  • Look at the logged battery levels for the past month or so. Has the charging pattern changed? If so, then the panel might be dirty or obscured. Clean the plastic cover over the solar panel with a clean cloth moistened with water (don’t use anything that could scratch the plastic!), or remove the obstruction.
  • Is the Field Station still upright and in one piece? Sometimes things get knocked over, or someone forgets to right a tilt-down mast.
  • Is the solar panel still facing the sun? The mount could have loosened and allowed the Field Station to rotate away from the sun.
  • Check for any other damage to the system. ‘Harvested’ sensor cables can sometimes cause a flat battery.

My Field Station battery voltage is declining. What could be the cause of this?

This could be part of the normal charge/discharge cycle for Plexus batteries (please see the question above, “How do I make sense of the Plexus battery graphs?").

You should only be concerned if the battery voltage has fallen below 3.9 Volts without recharging. If that is the case, the most likely causes are:

  • The solar panel is dirty or obscured. Clean the plastic cover over the solar panel with a clean cloth moistened with water (don’t use anything that could scratch the plastic!), or remove the obstruction.
  • The solar panel is no longer facing the sun. The mount might have come loose and allowed the Plexus unit to rotate away from the sun, or it might have been knocked over by machinery or animals.
  • Damage to the sensor wiring can sometimes result in battery drain. Check any exposed wiring for damage.

My Plexus Field Station or Hub battery has not charged for a couple of days even though it has been sunny. Why?

Please see the question above, “How do I make sense of the Plexus battery graphs?"

How do I connect an EnviroPro Probe to my Plexus Field Station?

Each Plexus Field Station has two grey cables to connect sensors to. We recomment using Scotchloks to create a water-proof join between a wire from the sensor  and its corresponding wire from the Plexus cable. The EnviroPro requires 3 connections shown in the table below:

EnviroPro wiring diagram 

How do I connect Gypsum Blocks to my Plexus Field Station?

Each Plexus Field Station has two grey cables to connect sensors to. We recomment using Scotchloks to create a water-proof join between a wire from the sensor  and its corresponding wire from the Plexus cable. Up to four Gypsum Blocks can be connected to a Field Station, use the table below to determine wiring requirements:

Gypsum Block Wiring Diagram 

 

 

 

 

 

You will need two Scotchloks for each Gypsum Block. It does not matter which of the two wires from the Gypsum Block are connected to the pair of wires from the Plexus Field Station (Red and Blue OR Green and Yellow). See the diagram below as a guide: 

Scotchlok Red and Blue wires to Gypsum Block 1 

How do I connect Aquacheck Probes to my Plexus Field Station?

Each Plexus Field Station has two grey cables to connect sensors to. We recomment using Scotchloks to create a water-proof join between a wire from the sensor  and its corresponding wire from the Plexus cable. The Aquacheck requires 3 connections shown in the table below:

Aquacheck Wiring Diagram

How do I connect Temperature Sensors to my Plexus Field Station?

Each Plexus Field Station has two grey cables to connect sensors to. We recomment using Scotchloks to create a water-proof join between a wire from the sensor  and its corresponding wire from the Plexus cable. Up to four Temperature Probes (Air and/or soil temperature) can be connected to a Field Station, use the table below to determine wiring requirements:

Temperature Sensor Wiring Diagram

 

 

 

 

 

 

You will need two Scotchloks for each Temperature Sensor. It does not matter which of the two wires from the Temperature Sensor are connected to the pair of wires from the Plexus Field Station (Red and Blue OR Green and Yellow). See the diagram below as a guide:

Temp sensor wiring diagram

When should I refill my Tensiometer?

You should refill the tensiometer, if your soil is still moist (below 85 kPa) but the reaction time is getting rather long in comparison to the freshly filled Tensiometer. This can be noticed if the signal graph has less sharp peaks but soft turns.

You should also refill your tensiometer after the first rainfall after a dry period, but only when the rainfall was sufficient enough to wet the soil to less than 85 kPa.

If the soil is still dry, refilling a Tensiometer is pointless, as the water would be drawn off into the soil right away

Why is my T5 Tensiometer not reacting very quickly?

A T5 Tensiometer should react in seconds. If it does not, one of the following maybe the cause:

1) Air trapped either inside the sensor body or in the pores of the ceramic. What to do: With a vacuum pump or lockable syringe, degas both the sensor body and shaft over night.

2) Clay particles blocking the pores of the ceramic cup. What to do: Fill the cup with water and apply an overpressure of approx. 1 bar to the inside. With wet sandpaper, grain size 120, or a wet corundum grinder, abrade the ceramic surface just a little.

3) The cup is clogged by microorganism. What to do: Fill the cup with REHALON and rinse the ceramic with an overpressure of 1 bar.

4) The cup is clogged by algae growth. What to do: Fill the cup with REHALON and rinse the ceramic with an overpressure of 1 bar.

How do I make degased water?

Degased water means that any dissolved air in the water is removed.

To do this, half fill a syringe with distilled water. Block the end of the syringe with your thumb, and completely draw it up. This creates a negative pressure inside the syringe and the dissolved gas accumulates in bubbles. Turn, tip and flick the syringe to create one big air bubble. Point the syringe upwards and press out the bubble. Repeat this procedure once or twice, and then use the syringe for refilling the Tensiometers.

Should I use suction cups or suction plates?

For extracting soil water for chemical analysis pore water samplers with cup are used (qualitative analysis). Cups are easier to install than plates. 
 
For determining the hydrologic loading of water and of substances porous plates are suitable. Plates are enclosed by a cylinder to prevent water running past the plate (if the vacuum is too low) or to prevent excess water being drawn in (if the vacuum is too large). 
On lysimeter sites the cylinder reach up to the soil surface. In contrary, leachate samplers are installed below the soil water shed. 
 
For pore water samplers a bubble point of 100 kPa (= 1000 hPa) is standard. For leachate samplers a bubble point of 10 kPa (= 100 hPa) is sufficient.

How many samplers in a system?

The number of suction cups that you can connect to one vacuum unit is theoretically unlimited. However, in practise, we would recommend that you keep the number of samplers to 10 or less. Why? Mainly to make your life easier. One leak anywhere in the system, be it a broken cup or faulty connection will stop the complete vacuum system from working and you will then have to find that leak! Also, if at one point the soil is drier than the cup‘s bubble point, the complete system stops working and again you will need to check each sampler to identify the problem.

Smaller systems are much easier to handle!

Which porous tip material should be used for which substances?

Each pore water sampler tip material has different compatibilities for different substances that may exist in your pore water. It is important to select the tip material that will work best with your particular soil water. For example, if you have high levels of Aluminium in your soil you would be best not to use a ceramic tip. If you had heavy metals, you would need a Polyethylene/Nylon tip.

A table containing the compatibility of tip materials with various common substances can be found here.

If the chemical compound you want to know about is not found in the table, let us know and we’ll get in touch with UMS.

How do I transfer my Magpie data and scheme to a new computer?

So, you have a new computer, have successfully installed Magpie and now want to transfer your data and the scheme (the files which tell Magpie all the important information about your MEA system and the sensors attached to it) to the new computer.

We've prepared a handy guide to help you do this quickly and easily. Please click here for enlightenment!

How do I change the default password?

Your password is an Account setting. Open your account by clicking on the Account icon at the top of the window.

The first section allows you to change your password by entering your current password, followed by your new password.

Green Brain Account Settings Password

You need to repeat your new password to confirm it. Save the new password by selecting the Save Changes button at the bottom of the window.

Green Brain Save Changes

How do I open a site to see my data?

There are two ways to open a site (Hub or Field Station):

1)       Select the site from the list on the left; or

Green Brain Site List

2)       Select the site from the property map. If you hover over the site its name will appear.

Green Brain Site Map

What do the icons on the site map represent?

The icons represent the Hub and the Field Stations.

The circular icon represents the Hub. A green icon indicates that there are no problems with the Hub.

Green Brain Hub Icon

A red Hub icon indicates that there is a problem with the Hub.

Green Brain Hub Faulted

The 'teardrop' icons represent the Field Stations. A green Field Station icon indicates that there are no problems with the Field Station.

Green Brain Field Station Icon

A red Field Station icon indicates that there is a problem with the Field Station.

Green Brain Field Station Faulted

How do I change between probes when looking at a graph?

If a Field Station has two probes connected to it, use the tabs either side of the probe currently in view to see the next probe, or the battery levels for the Field Station.

How do I change between measurement types?

If the sensors attached to the Field Station return more than one measurement type, use the tabs either side of the measurement type currently in view to see the next.

Green Brain Switch Between Measurement Types

How do I turn individual graph traces on and off?

Click on the boxes below the graph to turn individual traces on or off.

Green Brain Turn Individual Graph Traces On or Off

How do I make, edit or delete comments?

Click on the ‘add’ symbol Add Icon to the left of the TIME / COMMENT fields below the graph.

Green Brain Add Comments 01

By default, the current date and time values will be shown. To change these to an earlier date or time, highlight the text and type the new values, using the DD/MM/YY date and HH:MM time formats.

Then type your comment in the field below.

Green Brain Add Comments 02

To save your comment, click on the ‘tick’ symbol Green Brain Save Icon

To delete your comment and close the comment dialog, click on the ‘delete’ symbol Green Brain Delete Icon

To review, edit or delete your comment, click on the ‘arrow’ symbol to the right of the comment Green Brain Arrow Icon

To edit a comment, click on the ‘edit’ symbol Green Brain Edit Icon

How do I change the time settings?

Click on the Time Settings icon from the toolbar Green Brain Time Settings Icon

Select the period of data you would like displayed. Your choices are 2D (two days), 1W (one week), 2W (two weeks), 1M (one month), 3M (three months) and 6M (six months).

Green Brain Time Settings Dialog

By default the Start Date will be the period selected from the current day backwards. Eg, if today’s date is the 15th and you select a period of 2W, the Start Date will be the 1st.

You can change the start date by typing your preferred start date in the Start Date field using the format DD/MM/YYYY.

Click on Save to save the changes.

How do I set full and refill values?

Click on the Level Range icon on the toolbar Green Brain Level Range Icon

Green Brain Level Range Dialog

Type your desired full value into the Full Value field.

Type your desired refill value into the Refill Value field.

Click on Save to save the changes.

Full and Refill markers will now appear on the graph as horizontal lines.

How do I change graph settings?

Click on the Graph Settings icon on the toolbar Green Brain Graph Settings Icon

Green Brain Graph Settings Dialog

Invert Y Axis

To invert the graph axis, select the ‘tick’ icon (the currently mode is white). You might want to do this if your sensors measure soil moisture tension, so that as the pressure drops the graph lines will move upward indicating a higher level of soil moisture.

Scale Y Axis

To scale the Y-axis, select the ‘tick’ icon (the current mode is white).  This will spread the graph traces out to cover the whole of the vertical axis. You might want to do this to get more separation between the traces.

Display Mode

You can choose from individual, average and stacked modes.

Individual shows all traces correctly against the values on the Y-axis.

Average shows all traces averaged and represented as a single trace.

Stacked separates all of the traces and shows them stacked one above the other in depth order. Use this mode to see trends at different measurement depths without values on the Y-axis.

How do I show rainfall on the graph?

Click on the Rainfall icon on the toolbar Green Brain Rainfall Icon

Green Brain Rainfall Dialog

Add Value

Type the amount of rainfall in millimetres in this field.

Enter the date using the format DD/MM/YY.

Select Save to save the changes.

View Data

You can choose to show or hide rainfall data (the current mode is white).

View Values

You can choose to show or hide the amount of rain in millimetres that appears at the top of the rainfall bar (the current mode is white).

How do I show irrigation on the graph?

Click on the irrigation icon on the toolbar Green Brain Irrigation Icon

Green Brain Irrigation Dialog

Add Value

Type the amount of irrigation in this field. The irrigation will be scaled on the right axis in millimetres. The units cannot be changed. If you irrigate in hours, enter the number of hours and simply make a mental note that the value is hours, not millimetres.

Enter the date using the format DD/MM/YY.

Select Save to save the changes.

View Data

You can choose to show or hide irrigation data (the current mode is white).

View Values

You can choose to show or hide the amount of irrigation that appears at the top of the irrigation bar (the current mode is white).

How do I export data?

Data is exported from the Tools menu.  Open the tools menu by clicking on the tools icon on the toolbar Green Brain Tools Icon

Green Brain Tools Dialog

Select Export Data.

Green Brain Export Data Dialog 01

An export data dialog will open. Data will be exported as a CSV (comma separated variable) file. This type of file is able to be opened in Microsoft Excel and other spreadsheet applications that support CSV files.

From the dialog you can choose to open the CSV file with your chosen application right away (which automatically downloads the file and opens it), or save the file to your downloads folder (without opening it).

How can I rename or move Field Station icons?

In November 2015, Green Brain was updated to allow users to rename their systems and their sites. Move icons around, and change the order of sites in their Green Brain account. 

To access these features, you may need to remove any old cached versions of Green Brain that you have. Some ways of doing this are outlined:

  • Press F5 on a computer while in Green Brain
  • Go to ‘Settings’ > App Info > Internet Browser > Clear Cache on a Google Smartphone
  • Settings > Safari > Clear History and Website Data on an iPhone

The “Manage” button or spanner icon appears at the top of the page in the black bar, and this allows you to edit your system details.

Location of Manage Button in Green Brain

 

This opens up a world of flexibility in terms of changing your system. You can change the system name at the top of the page or drag icons around on the map to reposition your Hub or Field Stations.

 

How to rename your Plexus system

 

You can manually enter new Field Station names, and the GPS coordinates of each site. You can also change the order that they appear on the left hand side menu by simply dragging and dropping each bar into the order you want. 

Finally, you can use your devices existing GPS coordinates to position a Field Station. Simply click on the cross hairs icon next to "Use Device GPS".

Edit site names and gps coordinates here

 

If you would like more details information on the new Green Brain Manage feature, click here to download instructions. 

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