Perth’s Retic Controller Specialist

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Have you lost the display on your control box? Have your sprinklers stopped coming on? Or is your controller just old and difficult to operate?

We can help you. New controllers start at $375.00 inc GST fully installed by a licensed electrician

Call 0400044236 or email here to make an appointment for Andrew to come and replace your old controller with one that works well. Or you can search through the archives of information on this site to try and find a solution for yourself.

Converting From Community Bore to Mains in ‘The Green’, Butler

If you live in The Green Estate in Butler then you will probably have experienced the frustration most people do at not being able to control your own reticulation.

You can only run tests at short times on a Saturday morning and no one can service your retic except for the designated company who charge an arm and a leg.

This week I did my first conversion job in that area. I’m surprised I haven’t done more as I know the frustration people feel. This one was a direct change over which involved:

  • a cut in by a plumber
  • a new controller to replace the existing ‘locked’ version
  • re-routing pipe and wiring to suit

Its all done now and working perfectly.

You can also have the option of running the two systems side by side with manual valves to switch from one to the other, so that if your bore goes down (as has happened) then you simply switch to mains and keep watering your lawn. Or if you wish to give your lawn more water than the 20 minutes you get from the bore then you can DIY and ensure your lawn stays green.

The run times for MP rotators can be seen below and generally speaking you need to allow close to an hour to apply 10mls of water rather than just 20 minutes.

If you’d like a quote on either changing to mains supply water or making your retic a dual system then give me a call on 0400044236

 

Hydrawise Start Delays

I like techy gadgets and I’m usually the first one to buy new technology so the Hydrawise had some real appeal.

However the one feature that really lets it down is the time delay between turning a station on and it actually operating.

When you’re servicing sprinklers having to wait for one minute just for the water to come on means time wasted and a half hour job can become an hour. Hydrawise has sold out to Hunter now, so here’s hoping Hunter can do something to make the controller operate more efficiently.

Aside from this one problem its a good controller.

 

Why You Should Always Check on a New Lawn Daily

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When a lawn is freshly laid it requires heaps of water.

When we finish a turf job we always set your retic controller for you, but occasionally things go wrong.

One client who lived in Margaret River had the retic controller die while they were away and the lawn almost died completely. I dropped in to check on the lawn the day before the controller failed, and all looked good, but a week later it was almost completely dead.

More recently I laid 200m of Empire Zoyzia (see the pic above) for clients who lived 40 minutes drive away. We laid it on the Thursday then I dropped past on the Sunday to do a quick check on it and it was dry as a bone.

On Friday the fencing crew had been in and turned the retic off as they were getting wet. But they forgot to turn it back on.

By Sunday it was dry and looked like this. Another two days of summer heat and it might have been irretrievable

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Fortunately we caught it then and increased the watering times. We’ve also had some unseasonably cool weather which has helped and now 3 weeks later, it looks like this:

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The moral of the story?

If you don’t live in the house be sure to have someone check on a new lawn daily to make sure nothing goes wrong. A dead lawn is a disaster as it means removal, tipping and then doing the same job all over again!

Hydrawise Wireless Signal Weak

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I’ve installed a few hydrawise controllers now and with one exception have found the biggest challenge to be that the controller struggles to pick up the wifi signal unless it is very close to the router.

On all other occasions the client has either had to install a wireless signal booster or move the controller closer to the router.

I have let the parent company know of the issue as it makes it problematic when doing the installation. No one wants to install a controller and then discover that it needs more hardware to operate properly.

Hopefully this issue can be remedied asap as it makes the Hydrawise a less viable option in the meantime.

 

The Fuse Message on Irritrol Controllers

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Every summer one of the most common requests we get is to fix the ‘fuse message’ on Irritrol Kiwkdial controllers.

The message flashes and shows a battery symbol (even though the device has no battery) and it will not operate the retic.

The short answer to what is happening is one of two things:

a) The controller is on the way out. If it does this intermittently and if the display is shaking then count on it being the controller.

b) There is a problem with a solenoid and it is sending a message back to the controller telling it that the coil on the solenoid needs replacing.

We can diagnose within 5 minutes and have you up and running again quickly.

 

What Causes Irrigation Controllers to Fail?

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So you went to check out your control box and it has no digital display?

That’s a fair sign its dead… or maybe you haven’t switched it on at the plug if its plugged in…

Assuming its not a faulty RCD and that there is power to the controller, the most common reasons for failure are:

  • Exposure to weather – sun and rain will weather the digital panel and void any warranties. The panels on most controllers are not UV stabilised so they will change colour if the door is left open and exposed to the elements. The one in the image above shows some discoloration.
  • Power surge – an electrical surge can damage your controller, but we would only know if this had happened by removing the panel and checking for any evidence of it on the circuit board. This can be claimed under home insurance.
  • Old age – everything dies eventually. I generally tell people that if you get 5-10 years out of any appliance then you have done well.

If you walk out to find no display on your controller be sure to call us and we will get there quickly to sort it out.

Can a Retic Controller Be Repaired?

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 and make sure you keep the door closed and out of the weather.

When One Irrigation Station Doesn’t Work – But Everything is New

Xcore controller

This week I installed a new reticulation system for a client in Duncraig, but after wiring it all up I discovered that station 1 didn’t come on.

I checked my wiring and it was intact. I checked the solenoids functioning and it was fine. Eventually I went back to the controller and checked that there was power in the station 1 terminal and this was the problem. A brand new controller but it was faulty.

Sometimes you can disconnect the 24v cables, let it sit for half an hour and it comes right – just like restarting your computer. But after two attempts at this I decided that it wasn’t going to play nice and I swapped it for another which worked fine.

The X Core is a very reliable box which is why I keep on using them, but every piece of electrical technology has its issues from time to time. Its just good to know what to look for.

 

The Value of an Expert

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In my younger years I did a lot of running, so much so that by my early 30’s I had bad tendonitis in my ililo-tibial band and over the last 20 years it has gradually worsened to the point where I currently can’t run any distance at all. Even walking hurts and that aint good…

Today I went to get a new pair of running shoes to ‘try again’, but rather than just going to Jim Kidd’s and picking up a semi decent pair of generic running shoes I drove into Hay St to The Running Centre, on the advice of my physiotherapist to ‘get fitted’ for a pair of shoes that suit my running gait and will help with my particular problem.

So the woman in the store asked about my tendonitis, measured my foot for size and then got me running on the treadmill and took video of my running form to analyse it. I remember doing biomechanics at Uni when I did my Phys Ed degree, but that was a long time ago. Now someone was putting that biomechanical knowledge to practical use helping me choose a pair of shoes.

She showed me the video, explained what was happening – showed me my foot strike and the leg lean that was a problem. I couldn’t see it quite as clearly as she could… but I believed her. Then as I was on the treadmill a resident physio walked past and said he could ‘hear’ the problem as I strode.

‘Can you hear that?’ he said as I jogged.

Nope – I couldn’t hear it.

The solution was a pair of shoes that would compensate for the lean and ease the pain on the knee. And there were two options. I tried them both and decided on the Asics GT3000 for $235.00. Around $100 more than I usually spend and probably a bit more than standard retail.

But I bought these shoes off these people because they were regarded as the experts in their field. I’ve had a fair go at getting myself back into running and failed dismally. So today I was prepared to pay a bit extra for their expert knowledge and for a product that is regarded as superior to what I have had before.

Its a lesson I’ve taken a while to learn as I like to get a bargain, but reality is that you generally get what you pay for.

We hope that as experts in retic controllers we can locate and fix your problem faster than you or a general handyman because we know what to look for and listen for. We know the nuances of different systems and the tell tale signs of various problems.

My guess is that buying these shoes might be a little bit more of a hit on the wallet than I am used to, but I’m sure that will be more than compensated for with reduced physio fees and best of all I may actually get to run that half marathon one day in the future.

We believe we give excellent value for money in our service and that in the long run you will probably even save money by using expert knowledge and quality products.

Its Winter – Retic OFF

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As of June 1st all reticulation needs to be shut off or you will risk a fine from the Water Corp.

You can still get a watering exemption for new lawn and you can still handwater, but all systems need to be turned off from now until September 1st.

If you aren’t sure what to do on your controller then give me a call and I will try to help you over the phone at no cost.