Here’s an Idea…

Posted on 7th November 2015 in Ideas, Never Seen That One Before


Remember those old holiday shacks with grass driveways that always showed the furrows where the car had been driven into the asbestos shed at the back of the property?

Well maybe grass driveways are on the return.

This story in the news today is about a local Perth bloke who installed a special grass driveway using ‘Grass-Cel technology and now the council don’t believe it conforms to their specs…


‘Grass-Cel’ turf pavers are made of porous recycled plastic overlaid with soil and seeded with grass. They take the brunt of a car while allowing grass to grow undamaged.

I guess its not everyone’s cup of tea, but it does allow for a much greener street. The down side is obviously more water usage. It looks easy to install and would certainly be a viable alternative to concrete. Its around $35.00/m just to supply and then there would be installation and the lawn & soil on top. Not cheap, but definitely an alternative to concrete or paving.

Its not a new idea with the company having been around for 30 years or so, but its an idea if you love grass and hate concrete or paving…

Here’s a video of it all getting laid:


Shared Bores and Strange Problems in Yanchep

Posted on 27th September 2015 in bore, What's Going on There?


This week I had an early morning phone call from a regular client who lives at the top of our street.


‘Andrew – my retic is on and it won’t go off. I’ve turned the controller off but it keeps running…’


If this were a system running off the mains then we would naturally presume a faulty master and station solenoid but this was a bore. I told him to turn the bore off at the mains and that stopped the flow.


Assuming it was the electrical contactor failing I told him to get the electrician out to check it out and replace it.


So the electrician attended and couldn’t see a problem, apart from the faulty station solenoid.


So the client rang again and we discussed it some more.


It didn’t make sense. It had to be an intermittent problem. Then 3 days later he called again to say it had happened again.


Odd… I told him to get the sparky back because pumps don’t just come on of their own accord


The electrician went back and could find no fault with the contactor. Really?…


I was at home having a coffee so I headed up the street to see if we could resolve this somehow.


Sure enough it all worked perfectly, except for the faulty solenoid. I was hesitant to fix the solenoid until we had resolved the intermittent pump issue otherwise we would risk the pump coming on with nowhere for the water to go and possibly burn it out.


It was a puzzle… and it was also a shared bore…


So I guessed that perhaps the other person’s contactor had failed. Now we were getting warm. The contactor was fine, but then it dawned on me to check the settings on their controller.


Sure enough the times my client had noticed his retic running when it shouldn’t have corresponded to the times that the neighbour’s retic was running.


Problem solved and now we just need to replace a solenoid.

Shared bores can present some unusual issues so give us a call if you get stuck and need to troubleshoot

Easy Retrieve Memory on Hunter X Core

Posted on 21st September 2015 in Controllers

Xcore controller

Another good reason to choose the Hunter X Core Controller is the ‘easy retrieve’ memory function, which means I can come and set your controller, you can fiddle with it, make adjustments and then discover all has got weird, before implementing the memory retrieve procedure below and taking it back to where you want it.

To save a program into memory:

  1. With the dial in the RUN position, press and hold the    and     buttons for 5 seconds. You will see three segments    on the left of display.
  2. Release the    and    buttons.
  3. The display will scroll three segments    from left to right across the display indicating the program is being saved into memory.
  4. The display will show “doNE”, and then revert to time of day display.
  5. The Program is saved in memory.

To retrieve a program from memory

  1. With the dial in the RUN position, press and hold the    and    buttons for 5 seconds. You will see three segments    on the right of display.
  2. Release the    and    buttons.
  3. The display will scroll three segments    from right to left across the display indicating the program is being retrieved from memory.
  4. The display will show “doNE”, and then revert to time of day display.
  5. The Saved Program is retrieved from memory.

Alkimos Turf and Irrigation Part 1

Posted on 25th March 2015 in General

I didn’t realise there were large half acre blocks in Alkimos, but last week we did part 1 of a retic and turf install. 100m of kikuyu and retic hooked up the mains, but to be converted shortly to the new bore and then another 600m of turf laid


New Hydrawise Controller

Posted on 5th October 2014 in Controllers

xHWC-006withiPhone.jpg.pagespeed.ic.pjrH2PSjlM (1)

A little while back I reviewed the first model of the Hydrawise controller, an innovative new device that allows you to control your irrigation from desktop, android or iPhone app.

The first offering was functional but not that pretty and fairly expensive. The team at Hydrawise have now released a couple of new models, done work on both design and price and the result is great.

I was sent a 12 station model to test and review (so that’s my disclosure) and yesterday I managed to get it up and running. I installed it a few days ago in my garage, but the wifi reception was poor and it kept fading in and out so the easiest option seemed to be that of running some more cable and installing it closer to the house rather than boosting the signal.

The new design (pictured above) is a lot nicer looking than the original and the functionality is excellent. They come in 2 models: a 6 station and a 12 station, however in both cases one station needs to be allocated to a ‘master valve’ or ‘pump start’ meaning they are really a 5 or 11 station if you are running a master valve (and if you aren’t then you should be).

The base model is not waterproof although you can purchase a purpose built box to house the controller. I chose to mount mine in a dry area, although another option I was playing with, before it got messy, was that of stripping the guts out of an old X Core and using it as a box. (It will just fit but needs to mounted sideways.)

The new controllers retail at $279.00 for 6 station and $379.00 for the 12 station. They come with a plug in transformer so you need to have a powerpoint somewhere to plug into. That makes the DIY option a lot easier but it adds the expense of an outdoor powerpoint for those who currently use controllers with built in transformers and have them hardwired (probably 80-90% of homes in WA)

Installing it was simple, although I’m not a fan of the tiny terminal blocks as they are harder to locate cable in. The touch screen is clear and fairly intuitive and there is a setup wizard for locating and connecting to wifi. (You can also connect via a cable.) That was simple and we were up and running quickly.


When it came to programming the controller I found myself on a bit of a learning curve as the methods used for programming your Holman/Hunter etc don’t apply. It wasn’t difficult, but it took a little playing around to get the hang of it. It is able to be configured to specific watering days, start times and run times.  I also failed to activate the Master valve initially so that had me scratching my head for a bit as to why nothing would come on.

The programming is done under the ‘zones and schedules’ tab and once you personalise the settings it all comes together quickly and easily.  There are a number of options you can add including a flow meter and an ‘enthusiast plan’ for those seeking more info about weather conditions.

Had I not managed to put a spade through my common wire I would have been up and running a lot quicker, but an hour of messing around and trouble shooting slowed me down.

The stuff I liked about it:

Remote access – that’s a biggie these days and to be able to control your sprinklers from anywhere is worth a lot. Its great not to have to even jog down to the shed to turn the system on or reprogram it.

Simple Configuration – once you get used to the way the system is set up it makes good sense and is easy to use.

No need for battery or rain sensor – with your data stored in the cloud a battery back up isn’t needed and with the controller programmed to relate to local weather stations a rain sensor is no longer required.

Contractor options – For those who feel any kind of reticulation programming is beyond them there is the ability for a reticulation contractor to login to their system and program it for them. It can add to the diversity of a business and help people who don’t find this stuff easy.

Some areas for consideration

Watering Days – a specific ‘watering days’ option for WA would be valuable. In WA we can water for 2 days/week off main supply or 3 days off a bore. For a programmer it wouldn’t take much to factor this into a system and it would ‘auto-select’ the right days for people.

A Built in Transformer Model – Here in WA again… 90% of controllers are hardwired meaning there is no powerpoint to plug into, but rather just electrical cable which is used to connect to the controller’s transformer. I know that if I were to be installing these regularly in place of other controllers I would need to factor in the cost of an outdoor powerpoint and an electrician to fit it. Add about $175.00 to the cost. If you’re going to go with a built in transformer then it makes sense to add a waterproof housing that fits with the look of the unit. Update – These are coming soon.

3G? – I guess wifi is like clean water today, but a 3G backup could be another option if the wifi is poor/unavailable.

Up until yesterday I was using a Hunter X Core with a Roam remote control to service our own home, but now that I’ve taken it off I doubt I will be putting it back up again. The features offered by the Hydrawise make the Hunter obsolete, but the challenge for Hydrawise will be to convince people that their product is worth spending the extra $$ on.

For most early adopters there is a price tag attached to being first in line and some will be prepared to pay for this. But early adopters are a small percentage of the population. To pick up the mainstream I would imagine further work on price would be needed, but I imagine this will be possible if volume can increase.

As a retic controller installer I like what I see and I’d be keen to use the product, but the trade price on Hydrawise makes it prohibitive for us to make a profit on. So again the $$ come into play.

Hydrawise is in the market with a great product that will certainly be attractive to many, and WA is a big market, but finding those who are willing to part with the extra $$ to gain the new features will be the challenge.

Our prices on Hydrawise supplied and fitted:

6 Station – $500 inc GST plus the cost of an outdoor powerpoint / case if needed.

12 Station – $600 inc GST plus the cost of an outdoor powerpoint / case if needed



Reticulation Over Christmas

Posted on 2nd December 2013 in General, Repairs


At Brighton retic we are taking a break from Dec 25 through to Jan 7th.

Enjoy the holiday season as we celebrate the birth of Christ.

Reticulation Servicing in Yanchep

Posted on 14th August 2013 in Repairs

A couple of years back Brighton Reticulation moved from Butler to Yanchep and now we are available to all residents for spring servicing and general repairs.

If you have just bought a house and need a rear yard turf and retic package then we can help you there too.

We can offer excellent service, good prices and friendly staff who will take care of your needs.

Call Andrew on 0400044236 to book a service

Flow Control Solenoid Valves

Posted on 11th June 2013 in Products, solenoids

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.

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

Forgotten to Put Conduit Under Your Driveway?

Posted on 3rd September 2012 in Installations, Never Seen That One Before

It does happen occasionally…

I am currently trying to help some people find a way to get pipe under an 8 m wide driveway with access from one side only.  It is proving difficult.

With access from both sides you can clear a path, but meet in the middle but with access from just one side it is much more difficult.

I have managed to plunk 5m in, but after that it just gets stuck and with poor water pressure we are struggling to keep the pipe moving. Plunking is normally pretty straight forward but it helps if you have good water pressure and can come at the driveway from both sides.

I explored some options today, one of which was the ‘bullet-mole‘, a piece of steel you smack thru with a sledgehammer. It looks like a great option, but unfortunately it can only go 6m and I need one that can do 8… but it does look like a great option for people who have narrower driveways and are needing to get thru.

The other option seems to be compressed air. I haven’t done this before so I’m reluctant to try it unless I am sure it will work, but it seems this may be where we land up.