So what’s the difference between an ordinary solenoid valve and one with flow control?
Basically its the large ‘dial’ in the middle that you can turn to adjust the rate at which water flows thru the valve. You may choose to use one of these if you have a small station and do not want you retic operating at full capacity.
For example some people have a small veggie patch that needs some very specific watering. Rather than adding the veggies patch to the lawn station or to other garden beds they would irrigate it separately. In that instance it may be necessary to reduce the flow and use this type of valve.
Any alternative is to use an inline tap to reduce to flow.
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
Its that time of year when we need to switch our reticulation off or face a $100 fine, not to mention the needless waste of water.
Occasionally I get people asking me ‘how do I turn my retic off?’
Sometimes its easy and obvious. Other times it can be confusing. Most control boxes have a function you turn the dial to that is simple labelled ‘turn off’ or similar. All you need to do is turn the dial here and leave it.
If you are unsure then unplug the control box or just give me a call and I will try and talk you thru it on the phone.
The first time I did some DIY retic I tried to install my kerbside sprinklers by digging along the line of the kerb.
After 10 minutes I had all but given up. You see the soil along the kerb is actually roadbase. It is hard and rocky and not easy digging. If you want to install sprinklers along the kerb then dig a trench one metre away from the kerb and parallel to it and then ‘t’ off to the point where you need sprinklers. You will still need to do some hard digging but it will save you a lot of effort and you will do the job right.
The other tip with kerbside sprinklers is to make sure they are well below kerb height – because they will get driven over. If you’re lucky they won’t get damaged, but if they are even sticking up a little bit then expect to replace them regularly.
I get calls from one client a few times each summer to replace the same sprinkler. Personally I reckon it would be easier just to sink the sprinkler a bit lower…
I regularly get calls from all over the city – often south of the river.
As a rule we will not work south of the river as it gets too difficult to honour our warranties when a job is too far away. Recently I have returned to several jobs where the problem was apparently my worksmanship, but in reality it has been user error or another issue altogether. When its a local job I’m happy to come back and make sure all is well, but that becomes problematic and costly with greater distance.
At Brighton Retic and Turf we take our warranties seriously and know that service once the job is completed is as important as doing a good job the first time round. For that reason we prefer to work in the far northern suburbs of Perth, but we will work as far south as Trigg/Scarborough.
We offer some general guidelines on our home page here, but the truth is it can vary considerably depending on the type of soil we need to dig in, the ease of accessibility and the simplicty or otherwise of the job. A new house is fairly easy to give an estimate for and we suggest that typical costs to expect are:
- Retic cut in by licensed plumber $180.00 + GST
- Hardwiring of controller $160.00 + GST
- Wireless rain sensor (only compulsory if you wish to get a lawn watering exemption) $150.00 + GST
- Electronic Controller $200.00-$400.00 + GST (depending on what is chosen)
- Installation / pipes / sprinklers etc see below
To give you an idea of what to expect a very rough ball park figure for a 4 x 2 home on a 600m block with 5 or 6 stations is usually around $2600.00 + GST including plumber and sparkie. These prices do vary with the seasons so if you ‘need it done now’ over summer chances are that with any retic business you will pay a premium. If you can wait until winter then you will probably save 10-20%.
A front install on this kind of home would be around $1500.00 + GST and a rear install usually around $1100.00 + GST.
If your home is established and we need to dig through grass, tree roots and flower beds then we will charge extra for that, but a straightforward installation is usually in the ballpark of the prices above.
But the best way to go is to get in touch and we can then meet up onsite, walk thru the plans and get a clear picture from there.
Shared bores are a great idea in that only one whole gets drilled and can serve two or three properties. But shared bores can also raise some interesting challenges – and can be similar to the dreaded ‘neighbourhood fence’.
The question of who is responsible when it breaks down can be tricky. The question of what happens if my neighbour can’t afford his share of the repairs is also a grey area.
This week I have encountered two problems with shared bores and the solutions are interesting and worth knowing.
On Friday a friend rang and told me that his sprinklers kept coming on even though it wasn’t his watering days. He is on a shared bore and the obvious solution is that he has a solenoid stuck open. So everyone on the 3 properties is then inconvenienced until he fixes his solenoid. That sounded like the solution but then it got weird…
He went home to replace the solenoid yesterday but after turning the pump on to test the system he couldn’t stop the water flow. He unplugged his control box and still the water kept flowing. Eventually he had to go next door to his neighbour’s place and turn the pump off at the mains to stop the water. When he turned it back on the same problem occurred. A chat with an electrician suggests this is a faulty relay switch on his line and that when activated it is unable to shut down.
Thankfully he was able to access the main switch otherwise it would have been a lot of water down the drain.
He is getting the relay switch looked at this week so we will see what develops
You can use the good ole hacksaw, but there is a better way.
The hacksaw leaves burred edges and can be unwieldy, but a good set of PVC cutters will slice thru PVC and black poly easily and give a clean cut every time.
They last for ages and you can pick up a pair at any retic shop. Most cutters suit up to 25ml pipe, but you can get some that will do up to 40ml pipe also.
Reticulation wiring that leaves the control box is not dangerous.
As a general rule if you feel anything when you touch the wires it will be a light buzzing in your finger tips. That’s because its low voltage – around 24v and it isn’t enough to hurt you.
The Control box has an inbuilt transformer that reduces the current from 240v so that any wires beyond the controller are safe.
NOTE: DO NOT TOUCH THE 240V WIRES INSIDE THE CONTROL BOX!
That’s also why wires usually aren’t laid in conduit. Most installers will tape the wire to the underside of the main reticulation pipe to protect it, but apart from that it sits free in the ground.
If you happen to chop thru some wires then you can simply rejoin them with insulation tape and all should work again. For some people wiring just isn’t their thing at all and its easier to call someone. If that’s the case then we’d be happy to hear from you.
Sometimes you find yourself working on a job where the original installer decided to save money by simply using the same colour wire all around. Its ‘black’ wire to the master, the stations and the common rather than the multi-core version pictured above.
What happens though if your dog rips up all the rear solenoids and you are simply left with 4 black wires poking out of the ground? How do you work out which one is common and which ones are power?
Option A is trial and error and with just 4 wires the permutations aren’t too bad to have a chance of getting it right. But a smarter option is this:
a) Get a mate to help.
b) Run a new strand of wire directly from the contoller common terminal to the rear where the broken wires are. It might mean you need 30 m of wire.
c) Connect the new common wire to the common probe on your multimeter which you have turned on to <200V.
d) Have your friend stand at the control box and turn on each station in turn. Connect the positive probe from your multimeter to the other wires in turn. When you get 25 V or thereabouts then you know it is a power wire.
e) The one wire that produces no response is then the common.