So in my typical style, I’ve had this Eve Aqua (People call it V3.0 but it’s simply called “eve aqua” on the packaging and on websites) for a little while now, as I really do like to get to know a product before working on a review of it. (actual use, as is evident by the first photograph, below!) I’ve reviewed ‘smart connected watering solutions‘ before now, so I had a couple of ‘gotchas’ to look out for, one was connectivity (of the network variety) and the other was connectivity (of the garden hose variety)
I use a dripper system in my garden at the moment, it all stems from one tap, snakes around my backyard, waters my tomatoes and carries on to water my espalier Lime tree along with my chillies, and herbs. The system also heads in the other direction down the side of my house where I’ve just planted native violet as a ground cover around some bluestone pavers, I’ll add this is the second batch of the violets as the first kinda died – I didn’t water them frequently and paid the proverbial price as a result. I also have a lovely star jasmine growing along the fence that needs watering. The run all up is around 25 meters with multiple drip and spray nipples along the way.
As with the last connected watering tap, I have a splitter attached, but I’ve opted to connect EVE directly to my mains water tap, then the splitter below eve one side out to my watering system, the other to a general hose, I can turn those on and off independently. For the majority of the time I leave the watering system active and the hose off, as I only really need to use it when I have to rinse off a dog, child or bicycle (or all three!) Tip: Make sure you use a good teflon tape when you screw your Eve to your mains outlet and again when you attach a hose.. well, when you attach a hose to anything – it works wonders for those annoying drips you can get!
The EVE Aqua is an Apple Homekit compatible device and also, in this latest version, supports Thread – Thread is a wireless communication protocol designed for smart home devices that offers advantages like improved reliability, security, and power efficiency. I’ve got to admit, while I’m totally fine working with regular wifi networks, ‘Thread technology’ was new to me and at first I thought “Oh no… this might be a bit tricky!” Installation was very simple! The Aqua supports bluetooth, so you download and install the app on your iPhone or iPad, and after putting the included AA batteries into the device, you turn it on via the large front button. Scanning the code included on the small instruction sheet (Don’t lose this) adds it to your app as a device.
If Aqua is your first ‘smart’ device, you can absolutely use it stand alone, connecting with your iPhone or iPad via the Eve or Home app, you can do simple things like turning the controller on or off, setting the default time it runs for or setting up and sending schedules directly to the device where they’re stored and actioned in-line with the schedule you’ve set directly on the EVE Aqua with no intervention required.
The things I mention above that you can do from the app need to be done locally, close enough that your phone can communicate directly with Aqua, you can also add (or use your existing) Thread border router, like an Apple Homepod, Homepod Mini or Apple TV 4K version, which will essentially bridge the gap between your Eve Aqua and the internet, allowing you to turn your watering off and on from outside your home (like, while you’re on holidays and suddenly its a week of wet weather at home – you can turn it off remotely) you can also… (it was literally at this point that I decided to find and purchase a second hand Homepod for my pending trip away to my parents house some 2000km away!) ….you can also use Apple Home to work out smart schedules like “If it’s going to rain, pause my schedule” – It really turns your Eve Aqua into a semi-autonomous watering system. I say semi as gardens water requirements change throughout the growth cycle depending on what you’re growing, but changes to the schedule are very easily implemented via the EVE app or through Apple Home.
So, Christmas came and went, and I guess you could say this is WELL OVERDUE now, but in my previous paragraph, I mentioned you could do extra things if you incorporated a ‘Thread Border Router’ – In my case the Apple Homepod Mini that I popped onto Marketplace and purchased just before heading off for Christmas! What adding the Homepod to my watering setup enabled me to do was, as well as knowing the temperature and humidity in my bedroom, was to manage my schedules from wherever I was (with an internet connection) and while it wasn’t fool-proof (My Homepod decided it didn’t like my home network while we were away, and so the EVE reverted to the schedule I’d setup for it, which was mostly just fine)
In summary, Eve Aqua is a simple to use smart tap controller that, if you’re looking for such a device, I would highly recommend should be on your shopping list to check out.