Usually late September to early october is the busy season for those of us in reticulation.
The watering bans are lifted, the warmer weather hits and people venture outside to discover their sprinklers don’t work, or their control box display has gone blank.
We have had an unusually long winter this year so the ‘switch on’ hasn’t happened for most until just this last fortnight – which has meant that we have all been flat out with a deluge of calls.
If you have landed on this page because you are in that boat then please give us a call, but be aware we won’t be able to get there tomorrow!
If you live in Western Australia then June 1st is the day when all sprinklers get switched off for the next 3 months. Simply turn the dial on your controller to ‘off’ and come back in September to turn it on again. Between now and then there should be enough rain to see you through and keep your lawn and garden healthy.
This restriction doesn’t apply to new lawns which can still receive a watering exemption while they are being established.
If you aren’t sure what to do just give me a call and I’ll help you out – no cost
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!
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.
I went to a job today where the client told me that they were on a shared bore and that only one of their stations would come on. The pump would come on when the rear lawn was running but not on the other 3 stations… strange…
What was going on?
When I got there I also discovered that he had installed a new control box and wired it up himself. I assumed all this was done correctly, but after half an hour of testing various things it dawned on me that what he had done was wire the master/pump wire incorrectly.
He had mistakenly put the pump wire in station 4 and station 4 wire in the pump terminal thus meaning only one station would work. Once we reversed the wires everything worked as it should have.
The learning here is:
- always get the wires back in the right place
- if in doubt make sure you get the pump/MV and common correct. The rest is easy.
And if you ever re-wire your own control box and have just one station come on then consider that you have got the MV/pump wire in the wrong terminal.
Its easy to do!
If you have an X Core controller that seems to be playing up then the most likely cause is that it needs resetting.
This can be done easily.
1. Press and hold the ‘PROG’ button.
2. While holding the ‘PROG’ button press the RESET button for 3 seconds, then release the RESET button while continuing to hold the ‘PROG’ button.
3. Continue holding ‘PROG’ button until time is displayed (this takes about 8 seconds)
If your control box is in an awkward spot or if you have a bigger property then testing the retic can be a real pain in the proverbial.
Running back and forward to the box to test, flush re-test takes time and the solution is a simple remote control that will save you that annoyance.
Finally, you don’t need to walk back to the controller to stop and start a manual watering cycle.
The ROAM Remote lets you do just that: Roam wire-free for simple remote operation. The mid-range solution for residential and commercial applications, the ROAM will operate up to a 300 metre range.
For use with Hunter controllers SRC, XC, X-CORE, PRO-C, ICC, I-CORE & ACC, the ROAM offers features other remotes cannot, at a price we all like. With a large LCD and simple push button operation, this remote is tough enough for anything with its sturdy ABS construction, but small enough to fit in your pocket.
The short answer is probably ‘yes’. You can repair anything if you want to, but it isn’t good economics.
The last time I checked the cost of repairing a control panel for a retic box it was around $150.00 at an electronics specialist. Then there is the removal and replacement – allow another $150.00 and you are already close to replacement cost, but with no warranty.
So in short – like most things these days a retic control box is a disposable item, so my advice is to get one with a decent warranty.