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silvercvic
10-27-2006, 05:04 PM
What brand/model of controller is used and recommended?

silvercvic
10-27-2006, 05:48 PM
Rainbird?
Hunter?
Toro?
Irritol?
Seems like Hunter has the cheapest, but there are just so many series to choose from and I would like one that is reliable

Wet_Boots
10-27-2006, 07:26 PM
How many zones? Hunter SRC series was the beginning of their modern line, and has the advantage of working with their transmitter/receiver, if you are gadget-inclined.

Bigred350
10-27-2006, 08:22 PM
The Rain Bird ESP is the easiest timer to operate a monkey could do it.

Its called the "ESP" for extra simple programing.

You can get it in any number of zones.

We use them on every system.

Dirty Water
10-27-2006, 10:04 PM
The Rainbird ESP Modular is our standard residential timer as well.

Excellent unit, comes with 4 station ability, and can be upgraded to 13.

silvercvic
10-28-2006, 02:36 AM
Are the rainbird ESP pretty automated, any cool features to it?

gusbuster
10-28-2006, 04:02 AM
As far as I am concerned, all pro grade brands are good. What one installer prefers, another thinks it's a piece of crap.

So what I would be looking at,

What is carried by your local supplier.
Ease of getting spare parts
Easy access to tech support whether it be from your local vendor or on-line tech support.

Me personally, I would stay away from anything that has to do with the Toro company. (irritrol, RainDail ect....) Toro is the Microsoft regarding the if you can't beat them, just buy them mantra.

Me, on basic installs, I use the pro-c for because of reliability and ease of programming. In my hotter climate areas, I will try to sell a s.m.a.r.t. timer such as the weathermatic smartline system. Also, i will be looking into Hunter's version.

Ed G
10-28-2006, 07:16 AM
I'm a DIY'er and home owner who just put in a new irrigation sytem.

I went with a Rainbird ESP-4MI controller. I highly recomend it. (my previous contoller was an irritabletrol)

The Rainbird has many hidden features, but the one I love the best is the "test all zones" function - the controller will run each zone sequentially for a pre-set time.

This means you can be in your back yard and each zone will come on, run and shut down giving you ample time to inspect each sprinkler head without you having to go back and forth to the controller (or turn on at valve).

As others have mentioned, the ESP IS extremely user friendly, easy to mount and wire, has capability to expand to 13 zones, easy to wire rain gauge and an optional remote control is available.

I got my ESP with two modules thru Marsanturf.com for $106.

JB926
10-28-2006, 04:11 PM
Irritrol Total Control commercial/upgrade
Irritrol Rain Dial Plus standard residental
Toro 412 small low cost system

Dirty Water
10-28-2006, 04:44 PM
Irritrol Total Control commercial/upgrade
Irritrol Rain Dial Plus standard residental
Toro 412 small low cost system

I like the Irritrol RainDial, my only complaint is that a lot of people get confused between setting the program and manually running the zone. Since the majority of our clients are elderly, we switched to the ESP. We still have some commercial sites running Total Controls, but we have switched to the ESP-LX for most of our new ones.

The Toro 212 (You did mean 212 right? ) is hard to use and inferior to both the Pro-C and ESP-Modular in my opinion.

Wet_Boots
10-28-2006, 04:56 PM
Some of the Toro consumer stuff is hard to work, if I don't have a manual in front of me. Any controller without complete manual operation instructions inside the cover deserves a knock, sez me. :hammerhead:

Hank Reardon
10-28-2006, 05:58 PM
Commercial grade only:

Irritrol Total Control (6-24 zones)
Toro Custom Command (24-48 zones)

and for the big stuff with complete felxibility/integration...

RainMaster Evolution (36-48 zones)

Wet_Boots
10-28-2006, 06:43 PM
I don't think the homeowner has to max out on his controller purchase. Just find the desired features on a controller that will get good local support. (over-the-counter exchange)

Dirty Water
10-28-2006, 07:14 PM
Commercial grade only:

Irritrol Total Control (6-24 zones)
Toro Custom Command (24-48 zones)

and for the big stuff with complete felxibility/integration...

RainMaster Evolution (36-48 zones)

No love for the Rainbird ESP-MC? (8 to 40 zones).

We only have one site that needed a 40 zone timer (Most of our really large sites have multiple timers and sub looped mains, makes the wiring more manageable.)

However, its an excellent unit.

http://www.rainbird.com/images/products/turf/controllers/ESP-36MC_sm.jpg

Midlo Snow Maker
10-28-2006, 07:16 PM
total control
custom cammand same thing
i am not a rainbird guy but the esp is real good
i miss the old toro visions though most all my customers loved them, so easy

worst ones
toro XF416
first toro greenskeeper
sterling

Midlo Snow Maker
10-28-2006, 07:18 PM
No love for the Rainbird ESP-MC? (8 to 40 zones).

We only have one site that needed a 40 zone timer (Most of our really large sites have multiple timers and sub looped mains, makes the wiring more manageable.)

However, its an excellent unit.

http://www.rainbird.com/images/products/turf/controllers/ESP-36MC_sm.jpg
i have come across a few 24 stations where the buttons won't do sh*t, damn shame to have to replace one because one button won't work

Dirty Water
10-28-2006, 07:29 PM
i have come across a few 24 stations where the buttons won't do sh*t, damn shame to have to replace one because one button won't work

I havent seen that. However, I'm pretty sure you can replace the faceplate and not the entire unit.

If you only need 24 stations, why not save $500 and get a ESP-LX24?

Hank Reardon
10-28-2006, 07:35 PM
No love for the Rainbird ESP-MC? (8 to 40 zones).

We only have one site that needed a 40 zone timer (Most of our really large sites have multiple timers and sub looped mains, makes the wiring more manageable.)

However, its an excellent unit.

http://www.rainbird.com/images/products/turf/controllers/ESP-36MC_sm.jpg

We've never installed the RB ESP-MC. Now, for standardization, we only put in the Total Control on smaller properties. Easy to train employees.

We have five accounts with the RainMasters (two of them have 2 units); four are residential and the fifth is a condo development.

Midlo Snow Maker
10-28-2006, 07:48 PM
I havent seen that. However, I'm pretty sure you can replace the faceplate and not the entire unit.

If you only need 24 stations, why not save $500 and get a ESP-LX24?
yea we just change the panel when we can, if i gotta rip the whole thing out a total control is going back in

Hank Reardon
10-28-2006, 07:52 PM
That's another beauty about the Total Control. If I have a property I don't get to often, I can have my lawn maintence crew bring the module back to modify the programs.

jerryrwm
10-29-2006, 12:42 PM
What brand/model of controller is used and recommended?

It's like buying a truck. When you ask what is the best, you get Chevy, Ford, Dodge, Toyota, GMC, etc. etc.

Everyone of them is correct, for their situation. Same with controllers. Whhen you asked the question, I knew Jon would back the ESP line, and Hank would follow the Total Control. Why? Because that is what they have used and will continue to use because those controllers have given them the performance, reliability, and ease of use that they are comfortable with. When you find something that works you tend to stick with it and defend it above all others. That is what we all do in this business.

Ask some of your associates, neighbors, friends, what kind of controller they have and what they like and dislike about them. Then narrow it down that way. Stay away from the junk they have in the Big Box stores and research the models that have been mentioned. Then you can make an educated guess along with the information you have been given here.

silvercvic
10-29-2006, 08:39 PM
Thanks for the info, I will probably go with the Rainbird ESP-4Mi, since it got 4 base stations by default, I am planning on going to install a 4 zone system, so that should be sufficient + surge protection, and it looks like its got a nice interface

MOlawnman
10-30-2006, 12:21 AM
We used to only install Rain-bird controllers, but have changed to Hunter Pro-C controllers this year. It's not that i don't like the RB modular because it is an excellent controller, but I like the ability to connect a remote that the Pro-C offers. Either way you can't go wrong with either one.

silvercvic
10-30-2006, 12:53 AM
We used to only install Rain-bird controllers, but have changed to Hunter Pro-C controllers this year. It's not that i don't like the RB modular because it is an excellent controller, but I like the ability to connect a remote that the Pro-C offers. Either way you can't go wrong with either one.

I believe the Rainbird ESP-4Mi is remote control ready

Wet_Boots
10-30-2006, 09:34 AM
But Rainbird has discontinued the remote transmitter/receiver set, so you'd buy the timer for other features.

h20 guy
10-30-2006, 12:39 PM
Install for the most part Hunter SRC controllers on all new installs, simple to instruct homeowner on how to operate without confusing the heck out of them[which reduces call backs on timer related questions], has enough "Bells & Whistles" to accomdate most any residental install, also capable of remote access, although i have never used the feature. Winterize many systems with RainBird ESP, good controller, only downfall in my opinion is the very small L.E.D. numbers, with the Hunter SRC numbers are very large and bold. JMHO