Its always nice when you get a chance to see how a garden you have worked in has developed and grown. I did some work for D & D from Quinns Rocks around 18 months ago and then went back this week to help them with the front yard.
This is how the back looks 18 months later.
The turf is Empire Zoyzia and there is an assortment of some beautiful plants in there too.
Like all turfs the Zoyzia goes dormant over winter, but it is just starting to come back nicely 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.
Check this out!
Today we did a job on an old bore in Yokine. It involved removing the elbow from the top of the bore and as I inspected it this is what I saw.
The mineral deposits from the water have formed a crusty inner skin that looks a bit like coconut inside the pipe. Obviously this has happened over a number of years, but its good to see what can form from bore water.
It is about 5ml thick all round
Some jobs are more fun than others!
The location of this one made it a very enjoyable one, as well as some very generous people who brought us chocolate, drinks and ice cream throughout the day.
It turned out to be a much longer, trickier job than we first imagined, but the result was a good one. Some fresh Sir Walter Buffalo laid and the sprinklers working well.
Easy to do!
If you have recently moved and are wondering if this is a worthwhile option then my tip is to do it straight away. After 5 years in our last home we began debating the merits of a bore, but knowing we may not stay much longer than another year or two we decided against it.
But when we moved to Yanchep, to a home with no retic it was the first thing on the agenda. And there have been no regrets.
With a bore you get:
- ‘free’ water in the sense that it is not part of your regular watering bill
- 3 watering days instead of two
- a significant capital investment in your home. With water prices rising and 50% of our water being thrown on the lawn and gardens to have a bore is a very smart move.
It does certainly cost you more upfront, but if you are on a decent sized block (say 550sqm +) and intend to stay there for 4-5 years then chances are you will easily recover your costs and finish up with a fantastic looking lawn and garden to boot.
To covert from mains to a bore is a simple process of
a) running the main line from the bore to the existing solenoids
b) wiring the MV/pump to the bore pump rather than the master valve
c) cutting and capping the master valve pipe (or just isolating the retic at the check valve)
d) making sure your system can handle the extra water flow and pressure a bore produces. You may need to join two stations together.
If you would like to change to a bore or if you would like a quote on having a bore installed then give us a call and we can get things moving for you.
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!
I have one customer whose home I have been to twice now to try and resolve a ‘fuse’ issue with his Irritrol controller.
When a kwikdial shows a ‘fuse’ message it generally means either box is playing up or one of the coils is playing up. When it does it intermittently then its hard to know which is the source of the problem – coil or controller.
Today I went back again and we decided to try option A which was to replace all coils on the master and 2 station valves. This was the cheapest option and it looks like it may have worked.
If this doesn’t work then the next option will be to replace the control box.
Let’s home he has a win here.
I drove past a school on the weekend that was painted blue, but had large red arcs around the paintwork – the result of sprinklers running off a bore.
If you have a bore and you are worried about staining then the answer is to try and design a garden and lawn that can minimise the results of bore water on them.
Some simple suggestions:
- Use either miniscape dripline or adjustable staked drippers in garden beds rather than sprays. Both of these methods target the plants and drop water in the areas needed rather than risking overspray.
- Have gardens close to the house and lawn further away, thus minimising the risk of water on walls.
- Use MP Rotator nozzles rather than regular Toro. They will spray bigger droplets and get blown around less.
A little planning can allow you to have all the benefits of a bore without any of the nasties.
Of course there are some suburbs where bore staining is worse than others. If you live in Greenwood then you are in for a heap of colour on your walls, whereas where we are in Yanchep there is minimal staining. If you aren’t sure what to expect then just look around you at other houses with bores and see what they look like.
Personally I prefer to use the Richdel as they are more common around Perth and easily interchangeable, but in this clip Hunter show you the rigorous process their valves go thru before making it to you.