An irrigation and out door lighting controller for the Raspbery PI.

To use Pi-gation you need a Raspberry PI, one or more relay boards wired up to digital IO pins and some solenoid valves or lights that you want to control.


Water can be surprisingly destructive. Even a small leak can do a lot of damage.

Pi-gation is a work in progress, so there are REAL risks that it may do something wrong that could end up with a serious water flow for extended periods!!!

Having said that I've been using it for three years without issue.

If you should choose to use Pi-gation you MUST only do so at your OWN RISK.

I make no warranties that Pi-gation is fit for purpose and I guarantee you that it has LOTS OF BUGS.

So use it carefully and monitor its operation carefully until you are comfortable it is operating correctly in your environment.

During early operation you should be turning the master tap OFF when you are not physically monitoring your watering system.


Pi-gation is a web app designed to allow you to control external lighting and irrigation systems from a mobile device.

The app allows you to configure Pins on the Pi to control various devices such as Lights and Valves for an irrigation system.

In theory the app can be used to control any device attached to a Pi but it has specific interfaces that are fashioned around configuring irrigation and lighting systems.

It only takes a few minutes to get this web app up and running so give it a try :)

Contributes to this project are strongly encouraged so post your patches.

You can read the Pi-gation user manual here


download the source:

install maven sudo apt-get install maven

cd to the directory you downloaded the source code to and run:

mvn install

This generates a .war file in the targets directory ready to install.


We use and recommend that you use noobs to install an OS on your raspberry pi. The following install guide assumes that you are running raspbian (an install option from noobs).

We recommend that you use tomcat to run the irrigation control on your raspberry pi using raspbarian.

Install tomcat 8

To install using tomcat 8

If you are using a different version of tomcat then substitute '8' for your version no. in each of the below commands.

sudo apt-get install tomcat8

To provide tomcat access to gpio pins

sudo adduser tomcat8 gpio

Download the latest irrigation-XX.XX.XX.war file. Rename the war to: mv irrigation-XX.XX.XX.war irrigation.war

Create a directory for the derby db at:

mkdir -p /home/pi/irrigationDb

Set the permissions to: sudo chown tomcat8:tomcat8 /home/pi/irrigationDb

Copy the war file into the tomcat 8 webapp directory.

cp irrigation.war /var/lib/tomcat8/webapps

Start tomcat

sudo service tomcat8 start

Tail the tomcat log to check that everything starts ok.

tail -f /var/log/tomcat8/catalina.out

You now should have a operational web application. You can access the web app via:

http://<pi host name or ip>:8080/irrigation

Enable SSL

If you want to install the web app as a 'desktop' app on your mobile device you will need to enable SSL (we strongly recommend this regardless).

To enable SSL.

Install Apache

sudo apt install apache2

sudo a2enmod ssl

We use the proxy to talk to tomcat. sudo a2enmod proxy sudo a2enmod proxy_http sudo a2enmod rewrite

Start the Apache2 service

sudo service apache2 start

Enter the PI's host name in /etc/hostname

Set the ServerName in: /etc/apache2/apache2.conf

Just add the following at the end of the file replacing

ServerName <hostname>

Install Certbot and enable keys

The LetsEncrypt project provides free SSL certificates. To generate a certificate you need to install certbot.

sudo apt install certbot python-certbot-apache

Generate the keys:

Run Certbot to generate the keys and validate your sanyerver. NOTE: the above apache web server MUST be visible publicly for the doman name you use in the following certbot line as your server is used to validate that you are the owner.

Enable Port forward

If you are running your raspberry pi on your home network you will need to set up a port forward on your router to the raspberry pi. You will need to port forward both port 80 and port 443.

Copy the following into the file to /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/irrigation.conf

# This first Virtual host just forces all request to use HTTPS 
<VirtualHost *:80>any
        ServerAdmin <your email address>
        ServerName <fqdn to your pi>
        <IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
            # Redirect request to SSL port.
            RewriteEngine on
            RewriteCond %{HTTPS} off
            RewriteRule (.*) https://%{HTTP_HOST}%{REQUEST_URI}

Generate you certificates

Run certbot to generate your certificate an install it into apache.

First ensure that apache2 is running

sudo service apache2 start

Now generate and install the certificates. sudo certbot --apache -d <fqnd of pi> -m <email>


Certbot will have generated a new file for the SSL module:


Edit this file and adjust it so that

<VirtualHost *:443>
        ServerAdmin <you email address>
        ServerName <fqdn of your pi>

    # As we are using SSL you need an SSL cert. We use certbot from LetsEncrypt
    SSLCertificateFile /etc/letsencrypt/csr/0000_csr-certbot.pem
    SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/letsencrypt/keys/0000_key-certbot.pem

    # The path to your irrigation instance
    DocumentRoot /var/lib/tomcat8/webapps/irrigation
    <Directory />
        Options FollowSymLinks
        AllowOverride None
    <Directory /var/lib/tomcat8/webapps/irrigation/>
        Options Indexes FollowSymLinks MultiViews
        AllowOverride None
        Order allow,deny
        allow from all

    ErrorLog /var/log/apache2/error.log

    # Possible values include: debug, info, notice, warn, error, crit,
    # alert, emerg.
    LogLevel warn

    CustomLog /var/log/apache2/access.log combined

    ProxyRequests Off
    ProxyPreserveHost On
    ProxyPassReverse /irrigation
    ProxyPass /irrigation
    <Location />
        Order Allow,Deny
        Allow from AlL
    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteRule ^$   /irrigation/ [R]
    RewriteRule ^/$  /irrigation/ [R]

Restart Apache

`sudo service apache2 restart'

Now that your system is up and running you need to click the 'Configuration' button and define each of your End Point mappings.

An end point is a light or valve that you have wired up to a Raspberry Pi GPIO pin.

You can also test each End Point as you define it.

Install using the snap installer (recommended)

Download UbuntuCore for the Raspberry Pi from here: https://developer.ubuntu.com/core/get-started/raspberry-pi-2-3

Follow the instruction to setup a Ubuntu SSO account and install Ubuntu Core as per those instructions.

Pre-requisites Your raspberri PI must be visible to the public internet and you need to have a real host name for you pi. (i.e you need to obtain and register a domain and create an A record pointing at your PI). Once installed connect to your PI via ssh and run the following commands:

  • sudo snap install pi-gation

pi-gation is now installed. Lets now get a certificate:

  • sudo pi-gation.getcert

Your now have a certificate.

Connected to pi gation using your browser and the fqdn of your PI.

Pi-gation will run the FirstRun Wizard and ask a few setup questions. Once you have answered the questions you must restart tomcat or you PI.

  • sudo snap restart pi-gation.tomcat

Pi-gation is now running and waiting for you to configure your garden beds and lighting.


IrrigationForPi uses the following technology (if you care about such things). You don't need to know this to use or install the app.

  • Java 8
  • Tomcat 8
  • EclipseLink (JPA)
  • Derby (database).
  • Vaadin 8 framework.