Why 8 Sensors on the WaterFeature8?

If I'm being honest, nobody ever asks me why we settled on 8 sensors of continuous water monitoring, but there is a good reason for it.

But first humor me a moment.

Recall the scene from There's Something About Mary, the classic Farrelly brothers movie from the 90s, where Ben Stiller's character Ted picks up a hitch hiker on his way to see Mary.


The hitch hiker, played by Harland Williams, has a genius idea ... start a company selling a 7-minute abs exercise videos. The master plan is to place the 7-minute abs video on the shelf right next to competition's 8-minute abs video. I mean, who wouldn't want the same results in less time, right?

"7’s the key number here. Think about it. 7-Elevens. 7 dwarves. 7, man, that’s the number. 7 chipmunks twirlin’ on a branch, eatin’ lots of sunflowers on my uncle’s ranch. You know that old children’s tale from the sea. It’s like you’re dreamin’ about Gorgonzola cheese when it’s clearly Brie time, baby. Step into my office."

Obviously that scene ends with the hitch hiker being a murderer (I promise you, I'm not), but every time I think about 8 channels of water quality monitoring it cracks me up.

Obligatory 8-channels-of-water-monitoring from the early days of ITS:

So why did we settle on 8 channels? The answer is right in front of you. See that rectangular yellow circuit in the bottom right corner of the Gen1 WF8 in the image above? That circuit is an 8-port Serial Expander made by Atlas Scientific. The Gen1 and Gen2 WaterFeature8 used that circuit to poll from channel to channel in the early hardware designs.

We don't use the Atlas Scientific serial expander anymore, but the 8-channel configuration stuck with us.

Not 7 water quality sensors ... 8, man, that's the number. Step into my office.

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