Alkimos Turf and Irrigation Part 1

Posted on 25th March 2015 in General

I didn’t realise there were large half acre blocks in Alkimos, but last week we did part 1 of a retic and turf install. 100m of kikuyu and retic hooked up the mains, but to be converted shortly to the new bore and then another 600m of turf laid

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Irrigation and Turf in Carramar

Posted on 25th March 2015 in General, Sir Walter Turf

Again we used Sir Walter Buffalo here and the result was fantastic.

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Irrigation and Turf in Breakwater Estate

Posted on 25th March 2015 in Installations

 

 

 

 

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We don’t do a lot of work in Breakwater but last week we got out there and laid 320m of wintergreen after installing the reticulation the previous week.

Some Hunter PGP ultras did the job off the bore.

Irrigation and Turf in Two Rocks

Posted on 25th March 2015 in Sir Walter Turf

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It’s that time of year when people consider getting lawn laid again. The weather is cooling down and its a while before winter hits.

Here’s one we did today in Two Rocks – The ground cleared and prepped with 40ml of lawn mix, 105m of Sir Walter Buffalo and a front retic install. We love to work in Two Rocks as its just up the road and on beautiful sunny autumn days like these is even better.

MP Rotators – I’m a big Fan

Posted on 27th January 2015 in nozzles

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I first came across these 7 years ago just as I was starting up Brighton retic and over that time I’d rate them as brilliant nozzles. As well as operating efficiently on properties with low flow rates, they have proven to be highly durable.

I have often installed these on properties and returned several years later to find they are still working perfectly. Generally if an MP stops working it is simply a case of removing the nozzle and filter, cleaning the filter and then reassembling. The filter catches most of the junk and stops it affecting the nozzle.

They aren’t cheap but they do offer excellent results and longevity.

PVC Pipe Blowout

Posted on 27th January 2015 in Never Seen That One Before

blowout

This is unusual.

I was called to a job in Jindalee where the PVC pipe had simply blown out. Where you can see the hole the PVC is soft and pliable and for some reason it had blown there.

Occasionally this happens but I haven’t figured out why yet…

Old Controller?

Posted on 27th January 2015 in Controllers

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Does your controller look like this one?

Lost its display or just hard to read?

Does it come on at odd times?

Chances are if it does then it might need replacing…

Give me a call on 0400044236 for great prices on a new controller all set up and ready to go!

Reticulation Cut Ins Done Correctly

Posted on 27th January 2015 in Local Knowledge

 

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There are big fines for those who either DIY or do it wrong. Be sure to use a licensed plumber who does it right and you won’t face any penalty.

As well as needing to be a specified distance from the water meter there needs to be a dual check backflow prevention valve installed. The image above shows one installed incorrectly which we are currently in the process of rectifiying. The simple ball valve has been connected to the elbow of the water meter rather than spaces away from it.

For cut ins we recommend Andy of Orfords plumbing based in Yanchep 0416289860

Dismal Water Pressure For Reticulation?

Posted on 21st November 2014 in Never Seen That One Before

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If you find your new home has very poor water flow/pressure then you might want to take a look at your water meter and see if its been fitted with a restrictor.

This week I arrived to do a job on a local property only to discover the water flow was absolutely abysmal – around 10 litres / minute and barely enough to get two half sprays sprinklers up and running.

With turf arriving in a few hours the retic needed completing so I texted my local plumber a pic of the meter and he advised me that it was fitted with a restricting device. He kindly sent a staff member around immediately and we replaced the device with an ordinary brass elbow.

It was back to normal and the job got completed with no hitches.

I’ve only had it once before but its worth considering if you are having problems with water flow

New Hydrawise Controller

Posted on 5th October 2014 in Controllers

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A little while back I reviewed the first model of the Hydrawise controller, an innovative new device that allows you to control your irrigation from desktop, android or iPhone app.

The first offering was functional but not that pretty and fairly expensive. The team at Hydrawise have now released a couple of new models, done work on both design and price and the result is great.

I was sent a 12 station model to test and review (so that’s my disclosure) and yesterday I managed to get it up and running. I installed it a few days ago in my garage, but the wifi reception was poor and it kept fading in and out so the easiest option seemed to be that of running some more cable and installing it closer to the house rather than boosting the signal.

The new design (pictured above) is a lot nicer looking than the original and the functionality is excellent. They come in 2 models: a 6 station and a 12 station, however in both cases one station needs to be allocated to a ‘master valve’ or ‘pump start’ meaning they are really a 5 or 11 station if you are running a master valve (and if you aren’t then you should be).

The base model is not waterproof although you can purchase a purpose built box to house the controller. I chose to mount mine in a dry area, although another option I was playing with, before it got messy, was that of stripping the guts out of an old X Core and using it as a box. (It will just fit but needs to mounted sideways.)

The new controllers retail at $279.00 for 6 station and $379.00 for the 12 station. They come with a plug in transformer so you need to have a powerpoint somewhere to plug into. That makes the DIY option a lot easier but it adds the expense of an outdoor powerpoint for those who currently use controllers with built in transformers and have them hardwired (probably 80-90% of homes in WA)

Installing it was simple, although I’m not a fan of the tiny terminal blocks as they are harder to locate cable in. The touch screen is clear and fairly intuitive and there is a setup wizard for locating and connecting to wifi. (You can also connect via a cable.) That was simple and we were up and running quickly.

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When it came to programming the controller I found myself on a bit of a learning curve as the methods used for programming your Holman/Hunter etc don’t apply. It wasn’t difficult, but it took a little playing around to get the hang of it. It is able to be configured to specific watering days, start times and run times.  I also failed to activate the Master valve initially so that had me scratching my head for a bit as to why nothing would come on.

The programming is done under the ‘zones and schedules’ tab and once you personalise the settings it all comes together quickly and easily.  There are a number of options you can add including a flow meter and an ‘enthusiast plan’ for those seeking more info about weather conditions.

Had I not managed to put a spade through my common wire I would have been up and running a lot quicker, but an hour of messing around and trouble shooting slowed me down.

The stuff I liked about it:

Remote access – that’s a biggie these days and to be able to control your sprinklers from anywhere is worth a lot. Its great not to have to even jog down to the shed to turn the system on or reprogram it.

Simple Configuration – once you get used to the way the system is set up it makes good sense and is easy to use.

No need for battery or rain sensor – with your data stored in the cloud a battery back up isn’t needed and with the controller programmed to relate to local weather stations a rain sensor is no longer required.

Contractor options – For those who feel any kind of reticulation programming is beyond them there is the ability for a reticulation contractor to login to their system and program it for them. It can add to the diversity of a business and help people who don’t find this stuff easy.

Some areas for consideration

Watering Days – a specific ‘watering days’ option for WA would be valuable. In WA we can water for 2 days/week off main supply or 3 days off a bore. For a programmer it wouldn’t take much to factor this into a system and it would ‘auto-select’ the right days for people.

A Built in Transformer Model – Here in WA again… 90% of controllers are hardwired meaning there is no powerpoint to plug into, but rather just electrical cable which is used to connect to the controller’s transformer. I know that if I were to be installing these regularly in place of other controllers I would need to factor in the cost of an outdoor powerpoint and an electrician to fit it. Add about $175.00 to the cost. If you’re going to go with a built in transformer then it makes sense to add a waterproof housing that fits with the look of the unit. Update – These are coming soon.

3G? – I guess wifi is like clean water today, but a 3G backup could be another option if the wifi is poor/unavailable.

Up until yesterday I was using a Hunter X Core with a Roam remote control to service our own home, but now that I’ve taken it off I doubt I will be putting it back up again. The features offered by the Hydrawise make the Hunter obsolete, but the challenge for Hydrawise will be to convince people that their product is worth spending the extra $$ on.

For most early adopters there is a price tag attached to being first in line and some will be prepared to pay for this. But early adopters are a small percentage of the population. To pick up the mainstream I would imagine further work on price would be needed, but I imagine this will be possible if volume can increase.

As a retic controller installer I like what I see and I’d be keen to use the product, but the trade price on Hydrawise makes it prohibitive for us to make a profit on. So again the $$ come into play.

Hydrawise is in the market with a great product that will certainly be attractive to many, and WA is a big market, but finding those who are willing to part with the extra $$ to gain the new features will be the challenge.

Our prices on Hydrawise supplied and fitted:

6 Station – $500 inc GST plus the cost of an outdoor powerpoint / case if needed.

12 Station – $600 inc GST plus the cost of an outdoor powerpoint / case if needed