Problems with Rainbird ESP RZX on Bores

I have installed a lot of these controllers this year and only recently had a couple of problems with them when used on bore systems.

It seems that the smaller transformer in them may not have sufficient capacity to cope with the demands of a pump start relay and a solenoid at the same time. The controller either brings up an ‘MV err’ message immediately or runs for a short time and then cuts out. Its been tricky to diagnose the exact problem but in discussion with Shaye from Rainbird it seems that the transformer may be the source of the problem.

The controllers have worked perfectly on mains water supply systems but I hesitate to use them on bores now and would go with the Hunter X Core which has a larger transformer. Its worth knowing in case you are having similar problems!


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 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.


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.


Joondalup Reticulation Controller Installation

reticulation controller

About 18 months ago I installed a Hunter X core at a property in Joondalup and in the last month or so it has stopped operating.
I went to assess it and if necessary replace it under warranty.
The panel had no display and there was no power coming from the transformer, so my guess was that the transformer had died. I was happy to change it as it had failed under the warranty period.
I turned the power off and went to remove the 240v cables from the box and got an electrical shock. Not a bad one, but enough to let me know it wasn’t something I should touch again…
I got my multimeter out and tested the power with the mains switch both on and off. It was putting out 247v in both positions.
It raises the question as to what’s going on… I have a restricted electrical license but not one that allows me to fault find in these situations so I had to leave it for another more qualified person.
It’s a reminder that electricity is dangerous stuff and even when it looks safe it may not be, so don’t take the gamble on changing your own reticulation controller unless you have a license.

Sometimes its Not the Reticulation Controller


In the last week I have had two identical problems, and what’s weird is I have never had this problem before.

In both cases solenoids weren’t coming on. There was no power to them. So the assumption is that there is a broken wire somewhere. There was power at the controller but no power at the solenoid so it was a case of tracking wires and locating the break.

Only it wasn’t a broken wire.

Instead it was a badly connected wire. The wires were joined but obviously weren’t conducting as they should have been. It seems that over time the wires have deteriorated and corroded and were no longer conducting electricity.

I had never seen that before. But for future reference I now know that just because wires are joined, they aren’t necessarily doing their job.

Worth knowing!

My Reticulation Stays On

A common problem is for one station to remain on while the system goes thru its cycle. Almost invariably this is due to the solenoid on that station being faulty and being stuck open.

It is usually not a problem with the control box.

Depending on what type of solenoid you have it is most likely going to be a faulty diaphragm. Usually it is best just to replace the entire solenoid and be sure that all will work well for a few years to come.

If you wish to try and replace the diaphragm then remove the top half of the solenoid (you may be able to screw it off if it is a ‘jar top’ or you may need a screwdriver to remove screws) locate the diaphragm – it is a piece of rubber and then take it to your local retic store and ask for a replacement.

You will pay around $15.00 for a new diaphragm. Then simply refit it as you removed it (but don’t forget the spring)

When it comes to replacing solenoids I have a range of charges:

a) If it is exposed and dug out with no complicated pipework to add to the time of the repair then the cost would be close to $120.00 inc GST for a new solenoid.

b) If the solenoid is easy to locate but requires digging up then $130.00

c) If you have no idea where the solenoids are then its $120.00 plus the cost of the time it takes to locate the solenoid in question. Generally speaking using either common sense or an electronic tracking device a solenoid can be located in around 30 minutes.

For help with any of these issues call Andrew on 0400044236 or email

Easy Retrieve Memory Function on Hunter X Core

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.

Add a Station and Irritrol Raindial


I’ve been using ‘Add a stations’ for a while now as they are great for turning one power wire into two and solving the problem of having to run a new cable.

This week I arrived at a job in Ocean Reef where a 5 year old device appeared to have failed. One station would run via the ‘Add a Station’, but not the other. A couple of solenoids were also old and dodgy and in need of replacement.

So I did the job, installed the new Add a Station, ran several tests and all seemed to be ok.

Then I got a call back a few days later that the problem has come back.

I arrived and checked the Add a Station to see if it was working. There was power to the blue wire, but not the brown wire. I changed it for another new Add a Station and the result was the same.

I tested the controller which was working fine and operating the solenoids perfectly. I tested the wiring by running new cable from the controller to the solenoids and again it didn’t work.

So it was a complete mystery as to why things were failing

It seemed like a bad batch of Add a Stations perhaps?…


Then I got home and tested the Add a Stations on a brand new Hunter X Core and both worked perfectly. So the only conclusion is that the controller is failing to operate as intended. It was an Irritrol Raindial and functioning fine in every other way. I spoke with Holman and it seems they have problems with the Orbit controllers but not usually the Irritrol.

I haven’t tested the system with a new controller yet as the client is obviously reluctant to spend more money, but it seems this may be the only solution…

So there you have it… If you too are going nuts trying to figure it out then maybe this is the answer. That said I can’t explain why…



Faulty Hunter X Core

I’ve had this happen once before.

The controller sends current through the terminals even in the off position. On a previous job I installed 3 Hunter controllers on a unit complex in Balga only to discover all 3 were constantly sending current through the terminals meaning valves were staying open.

After numerous attempts at re-wiring and trying to locate the problem in the solenoids I ended up changing the controllers out and all was well again.

This one was from a job I did yesterday. Onsite various terminals would send power at odd times and after half an hour of fiddling I decided it was quicker to change the box over than to persist with seeking a solution.

I don’t get many faulty X Cores, but this one is going back…