Archive for the ‘Services’ Category

We have decided to sell the Water Watch direct from this website. At this time we will not set up an online store as this is the only product we will be selling in this way. Instead, you will need to contact us during business hours on the numbers on the contacts page.

This one off, never to be repeated price, during this special is $150 plus GST of 10% if applicable (Australian residents and businesses) for single units. Freight will be additional and will depend on where you wish the item to be sent to, but usually we could put it in an express post bag for around $12.50. EFT is the only way payment can be made (we email you an invoice) At manufacture the units are packed into foam lined cartons (4 units to a carton). If you get together with your friends and purchase a carton of 4, the price will be $480 plus GST of 10% if applicable. i.e. each separate Water Watch will cost you $120 plus GST

This offer is available for a short time only so don’t procrastinate !!

We look forward to hearing from you soon !

Here you will find short, no nonsense, non jargon explanations for any terms used that you may be unfamiliar with. While trying to keep this section as short as possible, we feel it is most important that the terms used are fully understood.

Analogue: This refers to an input usually (or output occasionally) that is a variable. That is such a thing as a temperature reading from a sensor would be an analogue input, because it varies over time.

Application: Applications are specific pieces of software to perform specific tasks. Probably the best known application would be Microsoft Word. SIMplicity is a combination of an application and hardware.

Bus: A name commonly given to what is usually 2 or 3 wires, running around a property, or even wireless, and which carries data. SIMbus is 3 wires, carrying power (24 volts DC + and – and one data wire. A bus with 3 wires allows you to supply low voltage power to sensors, and input and output devices, as well as accept data from them.

Comms Unit: (Communications) This device interfaces between the PC and the bus. With the Simplicity system, it plugs into a USB or serial port on one side and the 3 bus wires on the other.

Device: Anything attached to the bus. See explanations for outputs, inputs and sensors, as well as analogue and digital.

Digital: Digital refers to something that has only 2 states, either on or off. It can apply to both inputs and outputs. For instance we would use a digital output (a relay) to turn on a light or a motor.

Direct Current: Refers to current (electricity) flowing in one direction only, as opposed to AC or alternating current, which actually changes direction at about 50 times a second, depending on which country you are in.

Hard wired: Refers to anything that is permanently wired to a system. In the house high voltage system, the oven for instance would typically be hard wired. A stereo with a plug on the end would not, but the power point it plugs into, would be considered hard wired.

Input: An input can be either analogue or digital and refers to anything that puts information into the system. An analogue input is a variable such as a temperature reading, a digital input is something in one of 2 states e.g. a light switch (low voltage) might be connected to a digital input.

Module: A module is a part which can be added to the base platform. Almost any combination of modules can make up the system. To differentiate between hardware and software, we only refer to software as modules

Multidrop: Multidrop refers to the ability of a bus to have additional devices “dropped” or connected onto it. As long as each device has a different address, devices can be connected up to the limit of the system. Simpler systems are not multidrop, each device needs to be connected to the controller separately.

PCB: Printed Circuit Board. What electronic devices have all their parts mounted on.

Poll: This is what we call when each device is asked for it’s status. For a sensor it may be it’s present reading, for an output, it may be the status of a relay, is it off or on? Each device attached to the bus is “polled” or questioned at preset intervals. With Simplicity 4-6 devices are polled every second, depending on the speed selected for the bus.

Power supply: A power supply is a fancy name for a transformer. essentially this will convert 240 volts AC mains power into 24 volts DC to run the bus. We suggest a couple of 12 volt batteries connected in series to give 24 volts DC should “hang off” the system somewhere, to supply backup during mains failure.

Protocol: The “communications language” that is written to communicate with the devices on the bus.

Output: Output refers to anything that is controlled by the PC or PLC. They are usually digital such as a vent motor or a pump.

Relay: A relay is just a stepping device, to turn something bigger on or off. The relays in our Output Unit are a step up from the switches in the microprocessor heart of the unit. They are big enough to switch something like an irrigation solenoid or LED lighting, but should themselves switch a bigger relay or contractor for high voltage devices.

RF: Stands for Radio Frequency, in short wireless. We use wireless in several devices, because in those devices it is more efficient than wiring. For instance The Water Watch can be either wired or wireless, because it gives more flexibility.

RoHS: Stands for Reduction of Hazardous Substances, mainly lead in the solder used in PCB’s. The electronics industry around the world is slowly moving towards RoHS products.

Simplicity: The first 3 letters stand for Simple Interface for Managers.


After considerable thought and many refused requests Bill Calder has decided to offer a consultancy service to the industry. This consultancy is very specific and limited to the following:

Commercial growing systems only, and

Fancy Lettuce and Herb systems only

Why?: Why would you do this you ask, when everyone else offers consultancy for all crops, all systems in all locations, home and commercial?

It is precisely for this reason that Bill has taken this step. We believe that it is, lets say, extremely difficult if not impossible to be an expert on all commercial crops.

We also find it unusual that most if not all of consultancies offered are from people who are no longer active in the growing side of the industry. We are still active and growing, as is Fancyleaf, after nearly 20 years, and prospective clients can visit us at any time to see our very innovative production methods for this country’s largest supermarket chain.

After being in the industry almost from the beginning, (22 years) we have seen many people enter and quickly exit, due to a variety of reasons. Most are simply very unrealistic expectations of what they expect from the industry. Far too many people we have seen spell hydroponics  M-A-G-I-C, forgetting it is simply another way to grow a crop.

Our expertise after this long is in this crop, growing it extremely quickly and using management tools developed by ourselves, such as hydro dosing, a PC based application that will run up to 10 NFT systems, with all nutrient dosing taken care of by the application, and Simplicity growing channel, developed for this particular crop.

If you are thinking of making a substantial investment in a Commercial growing system, you should make the time to talk to one of this industry’s innovators. It will save you money and angst in the long run and could well be the difference between success and failure in the game.

With the rapid introduction of plastic packaging for individual produce items has come a problem, how to get a “best before date” onto slippery plastic sleeves or bags, which are attached to a “wicket”, and no, I don’t have any idea where that name came from.

Like most, if not all primary producers in this position we started with hand activated date coding guns, commonly and mistakenly called pricing guns. This proved to be a very tedious job with orphaned labels all over the area where the job was done and many bags with no stickers due to lack of interest from staff. We made the decision to approach professional machinery makers, who told us the bags were “too slippery” and “too hard to pick up” so we thought we would have a go at the job ourselves.

We knew the control side would be easy for us, and so it proved. Overcoming the other problems were not so easy and it has taken quite some time to get where we are today, with a machine that will do up to 500 sleeves before it needs reloading.

It is that success that allows us to offer our experience for people in a similar position. Fancy lettuce growers, or growers with similar sized bags are now taken care of with a machine they can switch on, walk away and forget, knowing it will stamp the desired number and then stop and wait to be reloaded. If it runs out of bags because of a miscalculation in loading, it will stop with one bag to go.

If you would like us to have a no obligation look at your particular size bag, to see if we can help, we would be happy to do so. We would simply require a carton of your sleeves to be sent to us for evaluation and trialling. If we cannot help you, we will tell you so and all it has cost you is a few sleeves. If we can help, we may require a few more sleeves for further testing, but will be able to give you a pretty fair estimate of the cost involved in a machine to handle your item.

We have moved away from the welded steel frames we were using for prototypes and are now constructing in an aluminium extrusion system that has been developed in Europe especially for this kind of thing. This gives us the ability to be flexible in design from client to client, it is extremely strong and competitively priced.

The system is very quick to assemble, as once design parameters have been set everything comes precut and drilled. Time is also saved as there is no need to paint the finished product. Appearance over time is also improved as there is no paint to scratch or chip, meaning you will have a machine that looks as good as the day it arrived for many years (with minimal care).

We are now also using some Italian air cylinders, which are a little expensive, but again, give us more flexibilty than previously. It also allows the machine to be accessed more easily for loading and unloading.

It is the combination of all of the above that makes us confident we can offer you a solution, so feel free to give us a try!

If you feel we may have the answer to your problem, contact us via this website or leave a comment and we can start a dialouge.