The Hottest Summer on Record

Posted on 11th March 2013 in General

Its been a busy summer and a hot one too – in fact the hottest one Perth has ever known which would explain why by this time of year we are a little weary!

If you are considering installing some turf then now is a fantastic time to do it, but I’d move quick before winter hits and we enter the season where lawn goes dormant.

We are still busy but have definitely noticed the slow down with the cooling weather.

Look forward to hearing from you

Why Are My Sprinklers Just Dribbling?

Posted on 18th January 2013 in solenoids, What's Going on There?

wiring a solenoid perth reticulation

I went to look at a job this week where the sprinklers were working, but barely so.

Each station would dribble a small amount of water, but there was nowhere near enough to run the system. What was going on?…

I guess the logical cause had to be the master solenoid being stuck and thereby reducing pressure all round. However I have changed these over before only to see no change in the performance so I was cautious, even moreso because the master was buried 600ml deep, encased in bricks and covered in rocks and rubble. Not fun to get to!

The first check is always to make sure the water meter is fully on and operating properly – which it was. Then to begin digging…

When I finally uncovered the MV I discovered it was a jar top Richdel, and that was encouraging because often you can just screw the stop off, replace the guts and be done.

So I unscrewed the top section and removed it. The diaphragm was stuck to the lower section of the solenoid body and as I peeled it away the centre spindle came with it.

That hasn’t happened before and I didn’t like where this was going…

My hunch was that the diaphragm was no longer opening sufficiently to let water thru and with the spindle now removed it was never going to work properly.

I screwed it all back together with a new diaphragm to see what would happen. Nothing changed.

So I cut the main pipe just after the MV to see what kind of water flow was coming thru. It was lousy, obviously restricted, so the only option was to dig it all up and replace it. A little while later a new master valve proved to be the answer and one very happy homeowner had his sprinklers operating again.

Most retic is a logical process of elimination, as well as the occasional bit of trial and error!

My Retic Won’t Stop – What Causes That?

Posted on 12th January 2013 in Controllers

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.

My Hunter X Core Controller Won’t Work on Manual

Posted on 12th January 2013 in Controllers, Never Seen That One Before

 

x core

 

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

A Garden Grows

Posted on 4th November 2012 in General, Ideas, Installations, Just For Fun, Local Knowledge

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.

X Core Hybrid Controllers

Posted on 2nd November 2012 in Controllers, Installing, Never Seen That One Before, Products

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!

 

Fuse Messages on Irritrol Kiwdial Controllers

Posted on 2nd November 2012 in Controllers, Repairs, What's Going on There?

 

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.

 

 

What’s in Your Bore Water?

Posted on 10th October 2012 in bore

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 Days Are More Enjoyable Than Others

Posted on 6th October 2012 in Installations, Local Knowledge

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.

Converting From Mains Retic to a Bore?

Posted on 28th September 2012 in bore, In My Own Backyard

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.