How to Use an Add a Station

If you ever find yourself in a situation where one of the wires to your solenoids has broken and you either can’t be bothered or are unable to find the break then ‘add a station’ is your friend!

By using this device you can make one power wire serve two solenoids, meaning you can either add a solenoid in a space where there is no access for new wires, or you can keep a solenoid operational by using the add a station on the functioning wire.

It’s saved a lot of people over the years and is one of the most useful retic devices I have come across.

After the Bobcat

I often get called to go in and fix the retic after the bobcat has been thru and done his work.

Today I was in Butler and the bobcat had smashed thru the main line, broken the wiring as well as ripping up most of the pipe down one side of the rear. It didn’t help that the area was full of roots and that the client wasn’t completely sure on where he wanted things to go… Add to that a 3 hour deadline and intermittent rain and it was potentially a difficult day.

But we got the main line repaired and wires reconnected. Then we worked together on the sprinklers to the rear and by 10.50am we were done.

It’s impossible to quote a job like this as you simply can’t estimate a cost when you don’t know how much damage is done. Fortunately it wasn’t too bad today and with two of us going hard we managed to get it ready for turf in a couple of days time.

Everything is fixable! It just takes time and patience as you track down the breaks and leaks.

Should I Buy a Hydrawise Controller for My Retic?

I’d been using a very old Hydrawise controller for around 6 years when it suddenly decided to stop connecting to my wifi.

It was one of the original indoor models and it did the job fine, but when Hunter bought Hydrawise they did some work speccing up the controller to make it more user and contractor friendly.

By comparison with the old controller the new controllers have:

1. A designated master valve terminal

2. Larger and more accessible terminals making installing easier.

3. A sturdier outdoor casing.

4. An easier to read display

5. A stronger wifi connection.

All of these are significant improvements on the original model and as a result when I had the choice of any controller I chose to stay with the Hydrawise.

The app works really well and once installed the controller itself is pretty much set and forget.

3 Things to Do on September 1

1. Make sure you can see the digital display on your controller. Winter is when most controllers die so this is always the first check. If it’s dead then give me a call!

2. Run a system test of each station and check that each sprinkler is popping up and that each nozzle is spraying as it should. If there are obvious leaks then it will need fixing sooner than later. Just a blocked nozzle or two you don’t need to worry about until it gets hot.

3. Check the settings on the controller and adjust the run times for spring weather. You can do this using the ‘seasonal adjust’ function on your controller.

What Does the Fuse Message on an Irritrol Kwikdial Controller Mean?

Ok – possibly the single most common issue I hit each year is this problem.

First up – there is no fuse and no battery in the controller! Silly I know – to have a ‘fuse’ message and a battery symbol at the same time.

The average DIY would look for a dodgy fuse or a faulty battery.

What the message actually means is that there is either a fault in the controller or a fault in a solenoid.

The way to determine the issue is simply to remove wires and keep resetting the controller and testing it. If it operates perfect with one of the wires out then it’s more than likely a solenoid coil sending a ‘fault’ message.

However if the controller display is flickering or if the fuse message only appears intermittently then chances are very high that the box itself is at fault and will need replacing.

If You Look Hard Enough

Yesterday I went to try and sort out why the retic pipe kept bursting on a bore in Ridgewood.

Usually there is an obvious answer. The first step was a new controller and then a check that the solenoids were all opening as they should have been.

All good there.

I dug a hole and found two 25mm pipes going to the rear yard – but with no water coming out of the sprinklers.

I drilled small holes at various points along the pipes and water cane out. Hmmm… water is definitely getting thru, is there a blockage somewhere? Has someone capped off the line and not told me?

The pipes were under pavers so it wasn’t easy to test them. Eventually after 90 minutes of trying to locate the problem I lifted a slab right at the end of the run to the back and discovered that each pipe had a filter attached and the filters were completely blocked.

I have never seen filters at that place in a pipe before but once I removed them water flowed freely.

Moral of the story = for every problem there is a solution if you look hard enough (and long enough)

If you have a tricky problem then give me a call. I reckon I can fix it 🙂

Spring Reticulation Servicing

As well as specialising in control boxes we also do general service work. Its that time of year when you can turn your sprinklers back on.

Chances are that when you do you will find a few issues and that’s when you can make multiple trips to Bunnings and try to find the right parts you need – or – you can call us and we will fix any problem on the post often within an hour or so. We can give you a ballpark price before starting work, or we may choose to send a detailed written quote if it is a large job.

We carry a full supply of virtually every kind of part you can imagine and on the off chance yours is an unusual job we are usually only a few minutes from a retic store.

So for fast, hassle free service at fair prices give us a call. All of our work has a 12 mth warranty and in the event of something not working as it should we promise to come back and make it right.

Call Andrew on 0400044236

The Irritrol Kwikdial Fuse Message

Its that time of year when I get a multitude of calls asking about the fuse message on Irritrol Kiwkdial controllers.

So firstly – if you have spent time looking for the ‘fuse’ then you will be frustrated because there isn’t one.. And the battery symbol with the line thru it doesn’t mean that the battery is dead, because there isn’t a battery either…

Ok – so whoever designed these wasn’t thinking ease of use!

What does the fuse message mean?

a) You have a solenoid coil that is faulty and causing the controller to fail.

b) The controller has a problem and needs replacing.

Usually I can tell by looking at the controller which is the most likely scenario. If your controller is old, outdoors and looking like its been exposed to rain then chances are it will need replacing. If the error is intermittent then its almost certainly the controller and if the screen is flickering just a little then that is another clue that the controller is about to die.

If your controller is in good condition, maybe inside a garage and the display is stable then it may be that one of the solenoids is the problem. We can determine that by removing solenoid wires and testing to see if it fails with various solenoids disconnected.

As a guide, a solenoid is usually around $150-250 to locate and replace while a controller is around $385.00 to replace.

 

 

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!

 

Its Spring!

Its Spring!

And that means that your reticulation can be switched back on. We have had a few warmer days lately and there are plenty more to come.

While you don’t need to turn your retic on right away, be sure to check your retic controller now so that its good to go when the hot weather arrives.

And if you have a problem then call me and I will get there to help you out