Spring is almost upon us and its time to get your reticulation system back in order.
Don’t wait until the first hot day and then turn it back on only to discover its not up to the job. Call us and we will make sure everything from control box to nozzles are working perfectly!
My son discovered this video on Youtube today and is pretty keen to make one… Luckily we have all the parts we need in the back of the Cruiser!
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!
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.
If you aren’t sure of how long your sprinklers are supposed to be on for then here is a graphic from the Water Authority with some approximate times.
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!
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.
Not sure how to set your control box and lost the manual?
Then just check this page and you may well find your box listed and them manual that is required.
Every now and then you hit puzzling jobs. Today was one of those.
Yesterday I tested the retic, set the control and box and left with everything working well. Then just as I had got home the phone rang and it was the person who I had just worked for.
Their retic no longer worked…
What had happened in the 2 hours in between?…
Well… a bobcat had come thu and made a mess of one solenoid, but now the station that did work no longer worked. Strange…
I got there today to test things. The most obvious check is to test for power at the solenoids. I did that and we had it, then we didn’t, then we did again… and so on.
I suspected a broken wire because the only solenoid that would work was the master. However it too stopped working… So we went to the control box and tested each terminal for power. One registered voltage and the others were dead.
After looking everywhere for the obvious broken wire (a bobcat had been thru so anything could have happened) we ended up coming back to testing the control box and discovering that it was the issue. We replaced the control nox and everything worked.
Bizarre… nothing very logical about it, but by a process of deduction we got there. So if you have similar problems it may be your control box.
Before I got into retic I used to get my wife to do this… so if you find it difficult then know you’re not alone!
These days I can set most controllers quickly and easily so its a case of having a minimum charge. For local suburbs (anywhere north of Hester Ave) I charge $35.00, but for other areas it is a minimum fee of $65 + GST.