For people with Hunter X Core Controllers this is one of the most common issues and it arises because the controller is incorrectly programmed.
What happens is the system comes on at 5.00am (or whenever you have set it for) runs thru the whole cycle and then does it again… and again… and again…
The problem is more than one identical start time being set.
By that I mean that start time 1 is 5.00am, start time 2 is 5.00am and then start time 3 is 5.00am. For some reason this confuses the machine and causes it behave in this way.
The reality is you only need one start time to run a program, so if you have this issue then ensure you only have one time set.
A few years back I found myself wondering why no one had devised an app for controlling irrigation and started investigating how to develop something like that myself.
But as time went on I discovered others were already in the race and were likely going to be ahead of me. I decided to leave it and wait to see what developed.
Well here’s one solution that has arrived on the market recently. Its called Hydrawise and offers remote control and programming of your system via a computer or smartphone.
Compared to regular controllers they are not cheap, but they do offer that extra functionality of remote programming. The website suggests the entry level home controller is $395.00 and then there are some options you can add to provide more information about your watering.
At this stage it is about double the cost of a regular X Core, so you’d really have to like those extra features to make it viable. While I like the idea I am yet to be convinced it is value for money.
Here is a video of someone who is pretty happy with the product.
My hope would be that someone would develop an ‘add on’ module for a controller that could be operated via smartphone that would cost approx $50.00 + set up. If this were the case then I think the take up would be high, but right now I think we are still in the innovation stage and costs are quite high.
So you set your controller running and everything looks right on the digital panel, but there is no water?…
What’s going on?…
Well if you are running your retic off the mains then its most likely that there is a problem with your master solenoid. If it isn’t working then you won’t get any water to the different stations.
You can test if this is the issue by locating it, turning it on manually (usually you need to turn the coil a quarter turn anti-clockwise) and then running the system as usual. If everything works with the master valve open then you have found your problem.
If not then the problem may well be the controller itself.
If you have a Holman 4/6/9 controller and the display looks ok, but it doesn’t seem to be working then the first thing to check out is whether the rain sensor display says ‘rain sensor wet’ or ‘rain sensor dry’.
If it displays a ‘wet’ message then it means that there is no 24v power going to the controller and therefore no power to operate solenoids.
There are a few things that could cause this:
1) check your RCDs in your meter box as if one of these has tripped then you won’t have power to the box.
2) check your fuse. Most likely a fault will have blown the fuse.
3) It may be that the transformer that converts 240V to 24V has died. Not much you can do here but replace the unit.
But before you call someone out do the ‘wet/dry’ check first!
Any time lay lawn we will set your retic control box for you, but after that its up to you to make sure it is actually working.
Different controllers respond differently to power outages and occasionally controllers can ‘die’, leaving you with no water. A recent turf installation we did in Brighton came close to tragedy.
The house was uninhabited and the person responsible for it lived in the country. After laying the turf we set the control box and left, only to discover two weeks later that the control box had faulted and the lawn hadn’t been watered as needed. It was close to dead and was going to need some intense watering to bring it back to life.
At last inspection it seemed that the lawn had a chance of making it, which is very fortunate. A dead lawn doesn’t just cost money to replace. It costs to remove and tip, so in the end the exercise costs even more than double.
So please please please – check that your lawn is getting watered as it should be. And if its not then call us straight away so we can help you sort it out!
If you have set your retic to come on automatically but find that it doesn’t switch off then chances are you have set it incorrectly.
The most common cause of this issue is setting an identical start time for each station.
When you set your retic you generally only need one start time to get it rolling. Let’s assume that is 6.00am. Set start no 1 to 6.00 am and do not set any more start times!
What I have seen people do is set several start times (all 6.00am) and this seems to confuse the old retic box… If you have 3 stations or 10 stations you only need one start time, so if you are having this problem first check and see if you have set a number of start times all for the same time.
If you have a Hunter X Core Controller and it doesn’t come on as it should when operating manually the you could have a dodgy switch issue.
Normally to run an individual station you turn the dial anti-clockwise to the ‘run single station’ indicator, then select the station an return the dial to auto-run.
If it doesn’t come on (and you will know its on by the presence of a little sprinkler symbol) then you may need to jiggle the switch a bit and see if you can get it to fire up.
Usually if this is a problem then the dial will not move between the various modes easily. Unfortunately the only solution is to get anew control box as the dial and switches are a complete unit
I managed to get a hold of one of these babies for home the other day. On a quarter acre block it’s a bit of a pain running back and forth to test the stations so a remote comes in handy – and its even better when you need to change a nozzle.
Now its no longer a case of unscrew, flush, test while running back to the control box each time. Now you can operate the controller while standing next to the sprinkler. Much easier!
The remote allows you to operate your stations for a run time that you choose. Its really simple to install and use.
For some reason my first attempt at installation resulted in some bizarre error messages and strange behaviour by the system. The controller worked fine without the remote attached, however when I wired it up I discovered that 3 stations were coming on at once. There was power (23v) coming from pump, the actual terminal in use and two others.
It was a mysterious problem and I thought the controller was at fault, but I disconnected the remote wires and reconnected… and then all worked fine. I’m not sure what the issue was but its sorted now.
This is the control box you would use if you have no access to mains power. It is totally battery operated and does not require a 240v supply.
I came across one of these in Butler this week and only realised when we arrived that it was a hybrid. The trick here is that none of your regular 24v solenoids will work with it, so because we were laying retic and turf that day it meant a frantic search to locate some DC latching solenoids.
In the end Total Eden in Balcatta had 3 we needed so it was long drive there and back to make it work. I’m not sure why anyone would use one of these in Suburbia where power is not an issue. The other thing to remember with these controllers is that the solenoids are expensive. You will pay $80.00 for each solenoid rather than the regular $30.00 so it adds to the cost of the job.
I believe you can use regular Hunter valves and simply change the coil to DC latching, but I haven’t tested that method.
Next time I’ll be making a note of whether the controller is AC or DC!
One of the most common service calls I do is to respond to the ‘fuse’ message on the Irritrol Kwikdial controllers.
The fuse message can be a frustrating one because it isn’t always clear if its the solenoid coil that is giving the problem, or if its the controller itself. And the the error can also be intermittent making it even harder to trace.
Obviously the place to begin is with the faulty solenoid coil as this is the cheaper of the two solutions. If replacing the coil (once you have determined which solenoid is sending the fault) removes the message then all good.
If not then chances are its the controller itself that is in the death throes.
Just last week I encountered one of these in Butler where the controller displayed ‘fuse’ intermittently. It failed often enough on station 1 for me to deduce that it was the coil that was at fault. I located it and replaced it and after 7 or 8 tests there were no problems.
However this week I had a call saying it was ‘doing it again’. If a brand new coil is giving the same result then we have either been extremely unlucky and hit a bad coil or the control box itself is faulty. I have replaced a few faulty control boxes showing this message with a good result.
So there you have it… there are two possibilities and while usually its the coil it might also be your controller.