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!

 

I am Getting a Fuse Message on my Irritirol Kwikdial Reticulation Controller

If I had a dollar for every time I hear this…

And 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 at the time of writing this post (March 2018) a solenoid is usually around $150-250 to locate and replace while a controller is around $385.00 to replace.

 

 

Rainbird ESP-RZX

The ESP-RZX Controller provides zone based set up that is easier to understand by untrained users. We supply and fi, 6 and 8 zone models at $385.00 inc GST and $415.00 inc GST respectively.

These controllers are easy to use, have a 3 year warranty and no dials to get sticky or break off. The large LCD display shows all of the programming for each zone at the same time. Simple graphic based user interface is easy to explain and presents every controller feature at your fingertips.

If you are seeking a simple to use and top quality controller then I can recommend this one to you. More info from Rainbird is here.

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

Irritrol Kwikdial Reset

If you’ve got one of these then you’d probably know that when the power goes off it resets to start at 5.00am every day of the week for 10 mins/station.

Not very helpful at all…

So if you’re taking off on extended holidays and want to be wise with water then this may not be the controller you choose. A controller with a battery back up that only retains the times set is what you are really after.

We recommend the Hunter X Core as the best value and quality

Hunter X Core Irrigation Controller Repairs

People often ask me if they can have a controller repaired and almost without exception the answer is no – if they are faulty then they are a throwaway.

Its not that its impossible, but once you have paid for a call out to remove the controller ($75+ GST) and paid a technician to fault find (around $150) and then paid for it to be reinstalled ($75+GST) you’re up to $300.00 and there is no warranty. With a new controller around $385 it just doesn’t make sense. (Sadly because I’d rather recycle than create more junk.)

Recently someone asked about repairs to a Hunter X Core and then did their own tear down to see if they could solve the ‘sticky switch’ problem.

This is the Youtube video they made of their experience. It shows that if you can buy a switch from Hunter then the process is possible, but having disassembled a box myself previously out of curiosity I can tell you it is fiddly and easy to damage stuff.

Reticulation Controller Supply and Installation in Mindarie

If your retic controller is dead, giving you trouble or just difficult to operate then give me a call!

I am based in Yanchep but service the northern suburbs. I carry a range of boxes onboard at all times but generally recommend the Hunter X Core for reliability, ease of use and value for money.

The Hunter has a two year warranty, a back up battery that will last 5-7 years and is remote control enabled (purchased separately).

It is also easy to use and comes with a lockable casing.

Prices as at March 2017 are $375 for a 4 station controller, $385.00 for a 6 station and $415 for an 8 station. These prices include GST and I am a licensed electrician so you can rest assured the job will be done safely and competently.

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!

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.