Rated 2.5 out of 5 by 4
Rated 3.0 out of 5.0 by nak1017 It's *ALMOST* Angry Birds for Gardening (almost...)
I should probably explain that...
The aiming strategy of the device is very similar to a three dimensional version of Angry Birds (or Scorched Earth for us Gen-Xer's), where you need to get the correct angle and declination in order to create the perfect arc to high your target (plants in this case); and in that, the Droplet works fairly well. The controls can be touchy, and it takes a surprisingly long time to rotate the head regardless of the angle change, but those are more annoyances than real problems. The real problem comes in what separates Angry Birds from the Droplet, and that is the ability to control Power; or in this case, Water Pressure.
There are only 2 inputs available for the Droplet, angle and declination, not pressure.
After watching the demo video put out by Droplet and comparing it to my own experience, it's clear that my water pressure was much too high and that any fine control of the water stream would be impossible without a regulator. So, I bought a 40-50psi garden hose regulator and borrowed a pressure gauge from a friend. Turns out my garden hose was putting out a whopping 94psi, which is very high, but the regulator got it down to a much more manageable 51psi; so I tried the setup again and found that 51psi is still too much for any real fine control. That's when I appealed to Droplet for help, and got a very quick response saying that people have been fixing the problem using on/off valves turned half way, so I tried that and 'voila!', it started to look like the demo video...
But, here's the problem; while the valve cuts the pressure enough to make coherent stream, it also reduces the range quite a bit. The result is the on the (admittedly poorly shot) video I uploaded with this review comparing how the valve affects pressure. I couldn't get the Droplet to shot more than 20ft accurately with the valve turned half way, thus reducing their promised 2,700sq-ft area to a much tighter 1,200sq-ft area. What's more, the closer the Droplet got to Top-Dead-Center, the higher the arc and the more the stream would break down on it's return to earth. At about 7 degrees or so, the stream was breaking down badly enough as to actually start having water land on the Droplet itself. While the unit seems rather weather resistant, it's somewhat sloppy and really doesn't precisely water anything around it.
Is it worth $300 in it's current form? No. At least not in it's current form. It needs work and can't live up to what it promises.
So why the 3 stars? Because despite all the tinkering, fixes, headache and failure, the Droplet can still water plants on a hill like demo video (with some work). What's more, the company seems to stand behind their product, and might even be able to offer a remedy for the pressure woes in the near future. I want to call the Droplet a good start...
*For reference, the Rosemary plant is 17ft 10in (or almost 5.5 meters) away from the Droplet, and the center of that cluster of pots is 13ft 1in (or 4 meters) away from the Droplet. It should also be noted that Droplet measures their declination from Top-Dead-Center, so zero degrees is straight up and 90 degrees is flat.*
***FYI, if you work for droplet and are reading this: servo-controlled on/off valve and 40psi pressure regulator. I know you guys played Scorched Earth, or at least one of the Worms games; we need to be able to adjust the power and it'd work great.***
August 22, 2014
Rated 1.0 out of 5.0 by billcon Not for me
Absolutely no instructions. Just a web site to sign on. After trying everything I could think of, I couldn’t get it to work. And I’m pretty tech savvy. The only assistance was to sign up for video chat at later date. Which was canceled with no explanation. You know how the ads keep mentioning watering your lawn. It appears, from what I could figure out, is not for lawns. Just plants. I returned it. If they spent more time with product rollout and not so much time with hype and over promise, they might have something. Or maybe not.
August 17, 2014
Rated 2.0 out of 5.0 by Smartbush Great idea...
This sprinkler would be AMAZING if they would add a feature that could control water pressure. Since you have the same pressure the whole time the sprinkler is on, all you can really do it shoot it straight up in the air to water a spot that is somewhat close to the sprinkler head. If you only want to water at great distances, this might work for you, but in an average suburb yard, it is hard to water every spot.
The online setup was also a little difficult. The lawn feature which should evenly water a large area is difficult to set up due to the mapping technique this company uses.
I have tried using the Accurain robotic sprinkler system, and it works great, and does control water pressure... I just figured with a bigger company backing this system up, it would be a longer lasting unit. I would not buy this smart droplet until the company works some of these issues out, it is just too frustrating.
February 25, 2015
Rated 4.0 out of 5.0 by CharlieS Robot on target with limitations.
I love the robotic targeting concept for saving water and the Droplet usually does well at putting water where you want it. I do not recommend watering with the Droplet unless the air in the target area is very calm. Water pressure variations also affects targeting. It is not the perfect solution, but it is the best I've seen in this price range or that is currently selling at any price range. Direction and elevation are the only control you have for targeting, so nearby targets require directing the stream vertically, any wind here takes the stream wherever it wants to go. Repeatability of targeting is very good unless you move the Droplet, the wind is blowing or water pressure fluctuates. Best results depend on repeatable placement or pemanent installation. AC power is required. The Droplet is very quiet compared to my other sprinklers, which is really nice if you need to water early morning when the wind is calm. The ability to spray almost +/-90 degrees of elevation from horizontal would be awsome. The water stream may not be good for delicate flower pedals or electrical outlets so be careful how you target.
The software is not as good as it can be, but they are making improvements. The area coverage option does not currently work which is required for lawns and sectional watering (unless they added it last night).The nice thing about Droplet software is that it is all on the portal, so there is nothing to upgrade. The bad thing about operating out of a portal is you do not water if the internet goes away or the portal goes down.
This is a new product and they are working to get everything dialed in. They shipped my Droplet before they had the operators manuals. Now they have the manual on the help page which you need to log in to access. There are/were incompatability issues with IE8 but Chrome works fine. There may be some issues with Vista as well.
I'm happy with my Droplet (I do not have any lawn) the targeting would have been much less involved with the sectional coverage software working and my arm got really tired dialing in the targets with my little Viao XP laptop (I set up a seperate network for the Droplet). I put my Droplet on the roof and it covers half my property. I'm thinking about getting another for the other half of my property.
September 8, 2014