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laylow1994
01-17-2007, 08:10 PM
just wondering if anyone here is working with 2 wire systems or installing 2 wire systems... over here in tampa i am coming accross more and more of thses systems we are picking up.... i am getting pretty good with them so if anyone needs advice let me know....

txgrassguy
01-17-2007, 08:39 PM
My I accurately presume you are referring to an encoder system?
If so, I agree that these things are exceedingly easy to work with.
My experience with them comes from golf course and large commercial sites, I have as yet observed one in a residental setting.

zturncutter
01-17-2007, 09:51 PM
Can you explain these systems to me? I am not familiar with them.

txgrassguy
01-17-2007, 11:49 PM
Okay, in a nutshell, the two wire encoder system is only two wires run from a specific type controller throughout the area irrigated. The respective valves are then tied into the two wire path with a decoder to identify that valve.
Most controllers allow up to 99 decoders on one controller and you can tie in to the encoder wire path anywhere and add up to the limit the number of decoders the controller can handle.
The more common method is a common ground wire run throughout the area to be irrigated. Then each individual valve has to have a dedicated wire running from the controller to that specific valve. One of the issues with this system is to add an additional valve, you can still tie in to the common wire yet still have to run one dedicated wire from the controller to the valve.
Much more wire, and labor is necessary to install the more traditional system.
As well as the controller usually cannot handle more than 40 stations or so.
Hope this helps.

jcom
01-18-2007, 11:55 AM
Can two wires of a conventional system be used with the decoder style system to retrofit a large sytem to a new style decoder controller like the Hunter ACC?

Thanks in advance for the advice.

John

txgrassguy
01-19-2007, 11:28 AM
No, one cannot convert an existing modular controller to an encoder system while maintaining all the components of each. The two are completely different.
The same goes with the wire paths as the traditional modular irrigation systems do not have a continuous two wire path. Remember, there is only one common wire then the specific power wire to the valve.
If you were to convert and existing modular system to an encoder, you would have to run a new two wire path, change out of the valves (depending upon manufacturer) and change out the controller.
The encoder controller by Hunter is a IDS, not the ACC.

Without A Drought
01-19-2007, 12:38 PM
No, one cannot convert an existing modular controller to an encoder system while maintaining all the components of each. The two are completely different.


If i'm not mistaken, i believe i've seen a 2-wire module for the ICC. so for example the first 20 zones are a traditional multi-strand, the rest is 2-wire off the new module.

but you're still bound by the 48 zone capacity.

i'll try to find the specific module.
pg

Without A Drought
01-19-2007, 12:43 PM
This is the first thing i found. here's the link.

http://www.underhill.us/PDFs/2Wire.pdf

Without A Drought
01-19-2007, 12:44 PM
This is the first thing i found. here's the link.

txgrassguy
01-19-2007, 09:28 PM
Well, the link didn't work for me but I'll take your word for it.
Learn something new everyday.

bdb
01-20-2007, 01:15 AM
Here is the link. http://www.underhill.us/ It works quite well. There is a module for the ICC to convert it and there is also a universal module that converts any controller up to 63 stations. And the are quite resonable for cost. For ex. the ICC cont mod is about $165. Decoders around $45 each and you have to buy a programmer to set the right addresses to the decoders...say another $165. Only need one programmer for for the company.

zturncutter
01-20-2007, 09:33 AM
Thankyou for the information, my supplier has never even mentioned these were available.:clapping:

mikecaldwell1204
01-21-2007, 03:44 PM
decoder systems are the best..after working on one you'll never want to go back multi wire system again.

PurpHaze
01-22-2007, 09:38 AM
decoder systems are the best..after working on one you'll never want to go back multi wire system again.

I agree that the concept is a valid one. The savings in wire and in other areas is very interesting. I'm just wondering how it would work in our particular situation given the large sizes of our systems. Gophers play havoc on many of them. Currently, with multi-wire systems, even if a gopher cuts a common wire we only lose part of a system, usually only 1-3 zones. If that same gopher gets a two-wire system then everything past that point is lost. A semi emergency then turns into a total emergency for us.

Dirty Water
01-22-2007, 11:48 AM
You should do overhead irrigation wire Hayes :)

mikecaldwell1204
01-22-2007, 09:28 PM
Lol overhead wires would be kinda intresting.... I'm sorry to hear over in California you have that problem. Over here in florida I've never had anything bite through an irrigation wire and I've been all over the state. The current comapny I work for, we do all the schools and they all use the Hunter two-wire system and we've never had a problem with it. The only problem with them is they are a pain in the butt to track and repair as you have to have certain types of voltmeters, and other equipment. But other then that they are great.

PurpHaze
01-22-2007, 10:00 PM
You should do overhead irrigation wire Hayes :)

Actually I'd prefer wireLESS. :)

PurpHaze
01-22-2007, 10:02 PM
I'm sorry to hear over in California you have that problem. Over here in florida I've never had anything bite through an irrigation wire and I've been all over the state.

Since your water table is so shallow I'd bet that gophers would drown in your state. :laugh:

zturncutter
01-22-2007, 10:35 PM
We may not have gophers but I have repaired broken wires cut by Armadillo's:cry:

PurpHaze
01-22-2007, 11:03 PM
We may not have gophers but I have repaired broken wires cut by Armadillo's:cry:

Are they a protected species or can you "shovel" them like gophers? :cool2:

Repairs
01-23-2007, 02:17 AM
Are any of you seeing any recurring problems with these systems. I know here, we have a lot of trouble with lighting. I wonder if a small surge would trash all the decoders. What is the ballpark of the decoders?

zturncutter
01-23-2007, 06:25 AM
You can be rid of them with whatever you have at hand, shovel, 22, RPG etc,

PurpHaze
01-23-2007, 09:16 AM
You can be rid of them with whatever you have at hand, shovel, 22, RPG etc,

LOL... Guess they're not protected then. :laugh:

The gophers are so bad here that two mowers stay running even during the winter when nothing is growing. Their main purpose is to keep the gopher mounds mowed down. You wouldn't believe the number of complaints when the mounds are all over the place. Problem is, next day the fields have grown mounds again. :)

laylow1994
01-23-2007, 06:19 PM
when we installed this big 2 wire systems we installed fround rods on every valve.... pretty much every 4 zones... haven had a problem yet.... and i also live in florida so you know how bad the lightning is here!!!!

mikecaldwell1204
01-23-2007, 09:52 PM
thats the same thing we do at all our school projects and we have yet to have one get hit by lightning.

westcom
01-24-2007, 05:47 PM
The Toro decoder system(rez-com) allows for 199 stations and works on a latching soleniod system. At 24 zones it costs around $2400can more than a contemporary system bu would save you in labour. The more zones the more it helps save money thru labour reduction. Sites with alot of conduits, which, make wire runs more complex to install would work nicely as a decoder style system

PurpHaze
01-24-2007, 09:57 PM
The Toro decoder system(rez-com) allows for 199 stations and works on a latching soleniod system.

And considering our history with Toro DC latching solenoids... NO THANKS! :)

mikecaldwell1204
01-24-2007, 10:30 PM
get the hunter two wire system and you will love it :)

PurpHaze
01-24-2007, 10:38 PM
We're switching over from Irritrol MC-Plus controllers to the Hunter ACCs. Part of my thinking is being able to modularly upgrade to 2-wire systems while not changing controllers. :)

We will be trying out a 2-wire set-up sometime before summer. I just need to do a little R&D and pick the best system for it.

If I make too drastic of a move too quickly most people up the food chain from me can't handle it. :laugh:

westcom
01-26-2007, 01:39 PM
lol Histories with Toro can often be like that. I have seen a large volume of toro latching solenoids go in with their ddcwp, and have went over rather well. I spent 4 hours at the hunter both, and listened to the growing pains with their decoder system. I personally hold hunter industries controllers as the best in the world, I think thier decoder system will be up to code by mid summer. For now when you are purchasing a unit confirm with the rep that the product number is as recent as possible. Some are in distributors that need some tweaks to work with thier centrals.

tonytonick
03-17-2007, 02:48 PM
No, one cannot convert an existing modular controller to an encoder system while maintaining all the components of each. The two are completely different.
The same goes with the wire paths as the traditional modular irrigation systems do not have a continuous two wire path. Remember, there is only one common wire then the specific power wire to the valve.
If you were to convert and existing modular system to an encoder, you would have to run a new two wire path, change out of the valves (depending upon manufacturer) and change out the controller.
The encoder controller by Hunter is a IDS, not the ACC.

You can now! You can convert any modular controller to total or partial 2-wire. Can use 2 of the existing wire paths, don't need a new wire path. Check out the Underhill Universal Decoder Adaptor. http://www.underhill.us/Controllers.htm

I've put an application note with this posting. It uses Underhill's ICC decoder adaptor, but the principles apply equally to their Universal

mikecaldwell1204
03-18-2007, 11:24 AM
This looks pretty intresting. Anyone one have any experience with this?

Mike Leary
03-18-2007, 04:49 PM
If I knew I'd have more than one site using two-wire, would consider it,
We did extensive research a few years ago for a large site & found the
cost of a special remote, training crew, etc., not worth it. I went Rain Master
and added gobs of 13-strand. Can one use two-wire in a stand-along clock?
Mike

PurpHaze
03-18-2007, 08:40 PM
I saw a presentation on the Hunter 2-wire using the new ACC controller while down in San Marcos. The main controller decoder unit is modular and slaps right into the ACC. It will take a 42 station ACC and turn it into a 99 zone 2-wire controller. You can go six different directions from the controller with the 2-wire and I believe the ACC will handle a mix of 2-wire and standard wiring from the one controller (but I'd better find my notes to be sure). :)

tonytonick
03-19-2007, 07:15 AM
This looks pretty intresting. Anyone one have any experience with this?

Please phone Underhill International, Aliso Viejo CA. Tel (949)-305-7050 They will put you in touch with contracotrs using this system.

tonytonick
03-19-2007, 02:57 PM
If i'm not mistaken, i believe i've seen a 2-wire module for the ICC. so for example the first 20 zones are a traditional multi-strand, the rest is 2-wire off the new module.

but you're still bound by the 48 zone capacity.

i'll try to find the specific module.
pg


Underhill International of Aliso Viejo CA sell it. Phone (949)-305-7050. Stocked by some distributors too.
http://www.underhill.us/Controllers.htm

tonytonick
03-19-2007, 02:59 PM
here's the link

http://www.underhill.us/Controllers.htm

londonrain
03-19-2007, 06:45 PM
I maintain a 20+ zone hitt system and the receiver are always failing..

Mike Leary
03-19-2007, 08:15 PM
That's Because You Bought The J**nk.

londonrain
03-19-2007, 09:14 PM
That's Because You Bought The J**nk.
Wrong , I adopted the junk....

PurpHaze
03-19-2007, 10:51 PM
Wrong , I adopted the junk....

Good time for a professional upgrade then??? :)

londonrain
03-19-2007, 11:02 PM
Good time for a professional upgrade then??? :)
You talk them in too it and I will do it, they are Indian and own over 40 hotels...lol

PurpHaze
03-19-2007, 11:05 PM
You talk them in too it and I will do it, they are Indian and own over 40 hotels...lol

Chicken.............. then just live with it and sock it to them each time you have to make repairs on their piece-o-crap-hit system. :laugh:

tonytonick
03-22-2007, 09:11 AM
Chicken.............. then just live with it and sock it to them each time you have to make repairs on their piece-o-crap-hit system. :laugh:

Hey guys, you want to talk to me? HIT are my competitors, but I have not heard loads of bad things about their decoder systems. I'm an expert at decoder systems, I've designed decoders and controllers over the last 10 years. If you tell me more about the HIT problems, symptoms, etc, I might be able to throw some light on why they are going wrong on so many sites.

Regards

Tony Ware
www.tonick.co.uk

PurpHaze
03-22-2007, 09:24 AM
Are there a lot of 2-wire systems being installed in the UK Tony? How about the rest of Europe? Will it be the norm one day or will it be reserved for commercial applications mostly?

tonytonick
03-22-2007, 10:03 AM
In golf in Europe which includes UK, 98% of all systems are decoder. You are looking at around 5000 systems.

On smaller systems Residential/commercial, the problem has been cost. Decoders used to cost a lot more than multi-wire, so the latter have been used, even in Europe.

In the USA in the '70s there was a decoder system introduced which didn't work. many poeple got burned by projects going bad, so decoders were considered bad news for the next 30 years!!!

This is all changing now. Firstly contractors in the USA are waking up to the fact that decoder systems are easier to fit, commission and maintain. Secondly, to fly my own flag, we have engineered a family landscape decoder systems that actually cost less to buy & install than a multi-wire. We haven't skimped on the quality or engineering, but just used our expertise to get the price right.

All the major controller manufacturers are now pushing 2 wire. so to answer your question. yes, 2 wire will be the norm in the USA within 5 years. everything except the 6 station single home system will be decoders.

kind regards

Tony

Please see http://www.underhill.us/Controllers.htm

Mike Leary
03-22-2007, 05:16 PM
Have two-wire prices lowered in the past few years? About five years ago,
I compared prices with a Tucor system vs. Rain Master & Weather-Matic valves. It was not even close, even tho I had a 65K budget, Tucor was way
pricey. With copper thru the roof & more players in two wire, It might be
getting there. Two-wire not for the electrically-challenged, tho.

bobw
03-22-2007, 05:51 PM
My distributors maintain that decoder systems begin to get cost effective anywhere from 25-45 zones.

Needless to say, we don't use many of them around here. I've only put one in (from HIT) and it wasn't very difficult to do. There are definitely a lot of advantages to them, but until the cost comes down, they are only going to be going in very large systems.

londonrain
03-22-2007, 08:33 PM
Hey guys, you want to talk to me? HIT are my competitors, but I have not heard loads of bad things about their decoder systems. I'm an expert at decoder systems, I've designed decoders and controllers over the last 10 years. If you tell me more about the HIT problems, symptoms, etc, I might be able to throw some light on why they are going wrong on so many sites.

Regards

Tony Ware
www.tonick.co.uk
The system I maintain is a hitt logic one. The field receivers are always going dead. In the last few years I have ended up replacing just about every one of the 20+ receivers. The system is about 4 acres and on top of a mountain. We have a lot of lighting storms in my area and the system had been struck by lightening. Blew the controller, a few receivers, the pump and the pump relay. The original logic one controller did not have grounding capabilities but the new controller did, so I now has a 7ft grounding rod at the controller and the pump. Since we have the lightening storms and the property has a lot of trees I don't think a 2 wire system was the right choice for this property.

Mike Leary
03-23-2007, 04:27 PM
The system I maintain is a hitt logic one. The field receivers are always going dead. In the last few years I have ended up replacing just about every one of the 20+ receivers. The system is about 4 acres and on top of a mountain. We have a lot of lighting storms in my area and the system had been struck by lightening. Blew the controller, a few receivers, the pump and the pump relay. The original logic one controller did not have grounding capabilities but the new controller did, so I now has a 7ft grounding rod at the controller and the pump. Since we have the lightening storms and the property has a lot of trees I don't think a 2 wire system was the right choice for this property.

I seem to remember when I was researching two-wire the need for a ground
at each reciever. Is that tool called a "Megger"?

PurpHaze
03-24-2007, 12:23 AM
I seem to remember when I was researching two-wire the need for a ground at each reciever.

Hunter's comes with the ground wire.

tdkx
03-24-2007, 04:01 AM
Hey txgrassguy, what you are describing sounds great! Can you provide a link or two for me? I might just need such a system as I'm looking at a new commercial install where I have very limited space yet need may need a rotor and drip/spray on the same zone. If I understand you correctly, I can eliminate the need for extra copper wiring with this system. Please advise any additional info. Thank You in advance.

londonrain
03-24-2007, 11:41 AM
I seem to remember when I was researching two-wire the need for a ground
at each reciever. Is that tool called a "Megger"?

Hitt does not have a place on the logic 1 receivers for a ground and does not state the need for a ground on the receiver literature....maybe that is the problem with a $hitt system...

Mike Leary
03-24-2007, 03:20 PM
With all the lightning you have...two wire probably should be grounded to
the t.ts.

tonytonick
03-26-2007, 11:53 AM
The system I maintain is a hitt logic one. The field receivers are always going dead. In the last few years I have ended up replacing just about every one of the 20+ receivers. The system is about 4 acres and on top of a mountain. We have a lot of lighting storms in my area and the system had been struck by lightening. Blew the controller, a few receivers, the pump and the pump relay. The original logic one controller did not have grounding capabilities but the new controller did, so I now has a 7ft grounding rod at the controller and the pump. Since we have the lightening storms and the property has a lot of trees I don't think a 2 wire system was the right choice for this property.

Dear LondonRain and Mike Leary. Thank you for letting me join into this discussion.

You are quite right that inadequate grounding is the root cause of lightning damage,. I have seen this before. A number of decoders go dead immdiately, others are 'walking wounded' which die a few at a time.

If you are faced with this nightmare again, get youself a Leakage Clamp Multimeter. This has jaws which clamp around one of the 2 wires and measure the (AC) current flowing in it. The Leakage ones are more expensive but measure down to a fraction of a milliamp. The normal ones are not sensitive enough.

Anyway, 'walking wounded' usually have a standby current that is different from the good ones. You need to apply AC to the 2 wire path, but it helps not not have any solenoids on if you can avoid it.

I attach a PDF on the Principles of Lightning Protection. It may help unravel the 'wall of silence' that many manufacturers put up. Please forgive the tiny plug on the last page. I do not intend it as surreptitious advertising!

Anyway..."anything you want to know about 2 wire but were afraid to ask"...I'll do what I can to 'tell it as it is'!

Regards

Tony

tonytonick
03-26-2007, 12:04 PM
My distributors maintain that decoder systems begin to get cost effective anywhere from 25-45 zones.

Needless to say, we don't use many of them around here. I've only put one in (from HIT) and it wasn't very difficult to do. There are definitely a lot of advantages to them, but until the cost comes down, they are only going to be going in very large systems.

Dear BobW,

The prices of decoder systems have come down significantly in the last 12-18 months. With some systems the breakeven point, taking into account installation and commissioning, is now (greater than 1/2 acre, and longer than 300ft of main line). Surprisingly, a careful analysis shows that the number of zones is not as important as the 2 items above.

I know where to get a spreadsheet that allows contractors to plug in their own quote rate figures to see if there will be any project savings.

Hope this helps

Tony

Mike Leary
03-26-2007, 12:14 PM
Thanks for the help Tony, looks like we're getting led into two-wire over here.
Isn't there a tester for proper grounding? At a class for Maxi-com, I believe it
was called a "meggar". Some soils do not take to grounding.

tonytonick
03-26-2007, 12:55 PM
Dear Mike,

The good thing about grounding at the decoderis is that it doesn't have to be too good. As long as the lightning that comes from the ground, goes up the earth rod, through the embedded Gas Dischage Tubes and into the main wires rather than through the decoder, it's going to do the job. Any old earth stake is going to conduct well before an adjacent insulated wire joint breaks down.

The problem with measuring the goodness of an earth, is you have to measure it with respect to earth. You have 2 probes on your meter, but ony one stake. An array of stakes is easier, just measure from stake to stake, but just one....

A Megger is a test meter that measures insulation resistance and is used to check your house wiring does not break down when 500V or 1000 volts is applied to it with respect to your house's ground. Not really useful for earth stakes. Sometimes used to test if the main 2 core wire has been damaged during pulling, when an isolated section of it is 'meggered' between the wire and earth. Meggering no longer works when decoders and earth stakes have been wired in.

hope this helps

Regards

Tony

bicmudpuppy
03-26-2007, 01:55 PM
Ok, upgrades are as far down the road as I can see, but I have a system that I can't fathom why they installed it in this way, but converting to two-wire may be my best bet down the road. I have aprox. 180 valve-in-head fairway sprinklers (RB51DRs) and zoned valves for each tee and green (9-hole facility, so 19 valves). My problem is that the fairway heads are wired 4 in series. Only one power wire back to the controllers from each bank of 4 heads. Why they didn't run the extra wire and group them at the controller is beyond me, except for the obvious expense. Why I don't have one valve and 4 heads that aren't valve-in-head is again, something I don't see. Maybe the installer got a great deal on the valve-in-heads. Since I have the heads, I would love to convert to better, larger controllers and have individual controll at some point.

Mike Leary
03-26-2007, 02:56 PM
In my twenty five years in the trenches, I've asked that question more
than any...."why didn't they give us wire". Come to think of it, the most
asked question was "what were they thinking?????")

Mike Leary
03-26-2007, 06:53 PM
Tony..I believe one can only use 14 gauge wire for 2-wire. Most of us, except
the commercial boys, use multi-strand 18g. Can 18g. be used for 2-wire?
Given the rocky conditions we all run into, how many spares do you spec or
in a perfect world, is all 2-wire run in conduit & sleeves ( no flame intended)?

PurpHaze
03-26-2007, 10:11 PM
I attach a PDF on the Principles of Lightning Protection. It may help unravel the 'wall of silence' that many manufacturers put up.

Thanks for sharing Tony.

tonytonick
03-27-2007, 07:25 AM
Tony..I believe one can only use 14 gauge wire for 2-wire. Most of us, except
the commercial boys, use multi-strand 18g. Can 18g. be used for 2-wire?
Given the rocky conditions we all run into, how many spares do you spec or
in a perfect world, is all 2-wire run in conduit & sleeves ( no flame intended)?

Dear Mike, again many manufacturers are 'economical with the information'.

Firstly, 18AWG is just fine for landscapes where only 1 or 2 solenoids are active at the same time. quite a different story for golf with wall-to-wall watering and 20-30 zones on at the same time. I attach a graph showing how you can size the wires needed.

Sleeves here are only used under pavements or accross the underside of bridges.

We use 18AWG wires from Paige Electric on our decoder tails. These wires are as tough as old boots. I am pretty sure you would have minimal slitting with these. I believe it is a very popular irrigation cable in the USA.

F.Y.I. Paige Electric, www.paigeelectric.com 18AWG red, part no 160010, we last paid $22.50/1000ft reel. 18AWG Black, part no. 160030.

A word of warning about retrofitting into old solenoids. Some decoder systems use DC on the solenoid wires. If the wires are porous and rubbery these old wires will corrode in weeks. Not all decoder sysems use DC, so the ones that don't are OK. I can give you a partial list if you ever get that situation arising.

hope this helps

Regards

Tony

tonytonick
03-27-2007, 08:20 AM
Ok, upgrades are as far down the road as I can see, but I have a system that I can't fathom why they installed it in this way, but converting to two-wire may be my best bet down the road. I have aprox. 180 valve-in-head fairway sprinklers (RB51DRs) and zoned valves for each tee and green (9-hole facility, so 19 valves). My problem is that the fairway heads are wired 4 in series. Only one power wire back to the controllers from each bank of 4 heads. Why they didn't run the extra wire and group them at the controller is beyond me, except for the obvious expense. Why I don't have one valve and 4 heads that aren't valve-in-head is again, something I don't see. Maybe the installer got a great deal on the valve-in-heads. Since I have the heads, I would love to convert to better, larger controllers and have individual controll at some point.

Dear BicMudPuppy.

This is a perfect job for decoder retrofit. Any number of decoder systems will work fine. I attach 2 pdf diagrams showing how it might be done.

Obviously, if all the decoders respond to unique adresses you will have individual control. If you double up some of the addresses, they will come on in pairs. If they are all unique you will need a decoder system capacity of 200+ (180 +19 + spare capacity). Not all decoder systems will handle this many.

Be careful of some decoder systems if the solenoid wires are old and porous. Some use DC on those wires which will corrode the copper. If they are in good condition you will not have a problem if you use top quality waterproof wire joiners.

Hope this helps

Regards

Tony

bicmudpuppy
03-27-2007, 01:34 PM
Thanks tony, that should make more sense after I look at the diagrams. FYI, I probably would invest in more than one controller instead of one 200+ controller. Right now, I have 4 RC12 and one ESP 16LX+ controller. Upgrading to digital is on my list sometime in the next decade. Picking a controller that can take a decoder module is a must. I like what I am seeing for the ICC. I have seperate commons for six legs, and possibly more. Again, this should make a decoder switch easier to make in steps. Finding the $$ to make the switch will be the real challenge. I would love to see a series of tournaments with the proceeds dedictated to upgrading the irrigation!

tonytonick
03-27-2007, 01:51 PM
Dear BicMudPuppy,

I didn't like to suggest what you prefer because I didn't know how many commons were out there, but I agree, your suggestion is very sound.

There is a Premier League Soccer club in the UK that has 3 decoder ICCs side by side doing just what you suggest on their practice fields.

A slightly more expensive solution would allow you to use your existing clocks. I've only just put it on the market, but it will turn any multi-wire controller into a 2 wire. It's called the Universal, and guess what, (cringe) you can find out about it on www.underhill.us However, I am pleased to say that HIT and Irritrol both do their own versions of the Universal, so hopefully you will not tick me off too much for being commercial.

On a general note, I am proud to say I don't know anything about irrigation! I know lots about transistors and wires and software, but not about what they have to do for you guys. All the products I have produced over the last 10 years have been designed from suggestions by people like you, I've just put 'em together and onto the market! So....keep those problems coming, I love 'em!

Kind regards

Tony

bicmudpuppy
04-06-2007, 11:53 PM
Okay Tony, round 2 of questions. The weather turned cold, so I've got time to explore and search about ideas. The possibility of funding isn't as far off as I thought. Not in this years budget unless something happens to make me need to upgrade (like a controller failure beyond repair). Lets say I start to convert to two wire so I can have individual control. One ICC w/ your decoder installed allows me to upgrade in this fashion. Now, for a more perm solution, what controller(s) do I use so I can run 8-16 valves at one time, but still call for water on an individual valve basis? Sounds like I want a computer controller to me, but I'm not sure. And what price range am I looking at? (more a brand/model question here vs actuall $$) Computer programing would be great, but I think I would prefer it in a satelite form. I'm thinking two controllers as a final, but I don't know what I should be looking at to make that call. Are the decoders somewhat universal? Or once you start, they have their own language and are brand specific?

tonytonick
04-07-2007, 08:08 AM
Okay Tony, round 2 of questions. The weather turned cold, so I've got time to explore and search about ideas. The possibility of funding isn't as far off as I thought. Not in this years budget unless something happens to make me need to upgrade (like a controller failure beyond repair). Lets say I start to convert to two wire so I can have individual control. One ICC w/ your decoder installed allows me to upgrade in this fashion. Now, for a more perm solution, what controller(s) do I use so I can run 8-16 valves at one time, but still call for water on an individual valve basis? Sounds like I want a computer controller to me, but I'm not sure. And what price range am I looking at? (more a brand/model question here vs actuall $$) Computer programing would be great, but I think I would prefer it in a satelite form. I'm thinking two controllers as a final, but I don't know what I should be looking at to make that call. Are the decoders somewhat universal? Or once you start, they have their own language and are brand specific?

Dear bicmudpuppy,

Firstly, decoders up till now have tended to be proprietory to each system, non interchangable. My company 10 years ago started making 2nd sources to major UK brands, but that is irrelevant in the USA. I'm in the process of engineering decoder adaptor modules for other makes of landscape controllers besides the ICC. The decoder will be common to all these types so it won't matter which clock you choose. To be launched at the next IA show in December in CA. But landscape controllers are limited to the number of zones, typically 48 max.

The Rain Bird MDC decoder system will fit your requirements up to 200 zones. Brace yourself when you hear the prices! It's wall mounted. Watch out for DC on the solenoid wires, make sure they are not porous.

Toro have just come out with a new 2 wire system but you will have to change out every solenoid for a latching version! Not cheap either

Both the above will allow you to water loads of zones at the same time with all commons commoned (one 2 wire path).

Tonick make a golf decoder system where the commons will have to be kept seperate and each goes into a different 2 wire line driver. Each line driver will turn on up to 4 zones at the same time; max 4 line drivers in a system (so 6 commons could be consolidated down to 3 + 3), making 8 zones on at the same time. No DC anywhere and no earth stakes on the 2 wire path unlike the 2 systems above. Max zones 500 with 4 line drivers, 256 zones with 2 line drivers.

You'll have to ask Toro & RB for their prices, but the Tonick one will cost you around $3800 for the controller plus decoders at around $57 for a single zone to $114 for a 4 zone (= equivalent of 4 singles).

Hope this helps

regards

Tony

PurpHaze
04-07-2007, 11:29 AM
Toro have just come out with a new 2 wire system but you will have to change out every solenoid for a latching version!

If Toro doesn't, or hasn't already developed a "self contained" latching solenoid instead of relying on their current multi-piece after-market one I see no viable future for them. Their after-market latching solenoid is junk.

Hard to tell since their website is so difficult to navigate and find what you're looking for even with their serach feature.

tonytonick
04-07-2007, 01:16 PM
One or two contractors are comparing costs of the new Toro 2 wire with latching against multi-wire Toro satellites with Underhill's Universal 2 wire decoder adaptor in each satellite. don't know what comes out best.

bicmudpuppy
04-07-2007, 02:38 PM
Tony, can you pro/con the Hunter ACC w/ 2 wire module? will your field decoders work with this controller? I'm not seeing pricing from my irrigation supplier on these items, and I hesitate to ask. I don't want to get his hopes up yet!

I *think* two ACC's would be adequate for my application and the hunter site lit reads that I can run concurrent programs w/ stacking etc. Sounds almost idiot proof. The one true axiom I have learned is never to underestimate the ability of people to be stupid!

Mike Leary
04-07-2007, 06:16 PM
[QUOTE=bicmudpuppy;. Sounds almost idiot proof.

I may be "old & in the way", but two-wire STILL seems to be a system,
unlike our tried 'n trued multi-strand methods, that I would research to the
t.ts before I came charging in & possibly, give yourself enough of a budget
to learn & troubleshoot. I'd hate to eat one of these!

1turfguy
04-07-2007, 06:33 PM
i deal with a tucor system.. it definately takes some time getting used to..
not many of my guys can work the clock( a little tricky) clock can handle 100
zones if needed.good system once you get used to it..tucor support is good

Mike Leary
04-07-2007, 06:40 PM
Tucor is the system I checked the most when figuring two vs. multi:
how long has the system been operating & what valves ?

1turfguy
04-07-2007, 07:08 PM
4 years weathermatic valves..system has 30 zones on it

Mike Leary
04-07-2007, 07:13 PM
4 years weathermatic valves..system has 30 zones on it

Means to me it works....I like Weather/mat...do you have a remote ?

1turfguy
04-07-2007, 07:24 PM
no remote..was unsure of system at first..a few years later i like it a lot
controller is like a computer, once your fear of screwing it up is gone its great
had to send it back to tucor last year a mouse made a house in it and ate the ribbon wire..(can't describe the smell) they fixed the problem and even made some up grades.had it back in no time..

1turfguy
04-07-2007, 07:35 PM
mike, now that i think about it i do have a remote HE is my helper
trying to nextel him to turn on zone 2 field 1 from 500 ft away is like like trying to land a 747 without the pilot (like in the movies)get the remote if you have a big site lol

Mike Leary
04-07-2007, 07:46 PM
[QUOTE=1turfguy;1784081]mike, now that i think about it i do have a remote
The first affordable remote (for us low lifes) was called a "sidekick", same deal, I guess....is it better w/Nextel?

1turfguy
04-07-2007, 07:59 PM
depends who is on the other end!!!

Mike Leary
04-07-2007, 09:19 PM
depends who is on the other end!!!

The "sidekick" should be trenching!

PurpHaze
04-07-2007, 09:26 PM
You have to close quoted sections with the "[/QUOTE]" at the end (minus quotation marks) of it for it to work Mike. If you're deleting other parts of original quotes don't delete the "end quote part. It'll work like a charm. :)

Or you can do what I do: highlight the end quote, CTRL+X to erase/copy it and CTRL+V to paste it again where you want the quote to end. :laugh:

PurpHaze
04-07-2007, 09:27 PM
YEAH... you got that one right. :)

bicmudpuppy
04-07-2007, 11:34 PM
[QUOTE=bicmudpuppy;. Sounds almost idiot proof.

I may be "old & in the way", but two-wire STILL seems to be a system,
unlike our tried 'n trued multi-strand methods, that I would research to the
t.ts before I came charging in & possibly, give yourself enough of a budget
to learn & troubleshoot. I'd hate to eat one of these!

I have a basic understanding of what I'm getting into here. I just don't have the budget to do it the "traditional" way. What I would like to do with a conversion is get individual control of my valve-in-head fairway sprinklers. They were installed in banks of 4. Each bank of 4 shares the power and common wire in series. Even if I had to convert 8 at a time to use the two power wires and leave the common, I would be able to convert slowly. I haven't "priced" an ACC controller with the 2 wire module in it, but it looks like around $6-700 for the controller. 30-40 for each decoder. So, for about $1000, I can replace the next controller that dies and begin converting. I will need two ACCs when/if the project gets completed. I think I have 9 or 10 commons back to the central location of my controllers. Depending on what the technology will really let me do, I could concentrate on areas that need better water management first. My existing controllers are 4 maxed RC12's and an ESP 16lx+. The ESP is fairly new and was used to replace two RC12's. All blanks on the other RC's were filled to make this happen. I haven't seen an ACC in person, but it reads like I could use one ACC to replace all I have and then begin switching to 2 wire, but I'm not sure.


One thing I haven't mentioned, but won't leave the back of my mind is that running 4 valve in heads as one station is more output than the RC is rated for. The fact that it gets it done is a credit to the controller, but I'm still not within specs.

tonytonick
04-08-2007, 06:50 AM
3 general comments.

1) the latest decoder controllers program like multi-wire. If you forget the wiring it is the same as a multi-wire... the same rotary dial, same legends etc.etc.. The older golf-style multi-menu systems no longer have to be used.

2) The only extra bit of equipment you need to faultfind decoder systems is a current clamp meter of the sensitive type, call a 'leakage clamp meter'. Armed with one of these, decoder systems are easier to repair than multi-wire.

3) Providing you adhere the the manufacturer's instructions about lightning protection, you will find decoder sytems are more resistant to damage than most multi-wire systems. Note that most but not all systems require an earth stake at every decoder location. I've been told this adds around $30 parts & labour to each decoder location. Some manufacturers are coy about mandating this and get very vague about how many one needs. Don't be lulled into a false sense of security over this. If the decoder has an earth wire coming out of it...use it.

I must add that Underhill's decoders do not require earth stakes and are warranted against lightning damage. If it breaks you get a new one, no quibble. Sorry for the plug, but you need to know you have a choice over lightning protection systems!

tonytonick
04-08-2007, 07:09 AM
Tony, can you pro/con the Hunter ACC w/ 2 wire module? will your field decoders work with this controller? I'm not seeing pricing from my irrigation supplier on these items, and I hesitate to ask. I don't want to get his hopes up yet!

I *think* two ACC's would be adequate for my application and the hunter site lit reads that I can run concurrent programs w/ stacking etc. Sounds almost idiot proof. The one true axiom I have learned is never to underestimate the ability of people to be stupid!

Dear bicmudpuppy,

Yes the ACC with decoders looks a good choice. No, our decoders will not work with this model, only the Hunter ICC with Underhill decoder adaptor (5 ICCS = 5 x 48 zones max), so just 2 ACCs would do 198 zones. Is that enough, I counted over 200?

Don't forget an ACC needs an earth stake at every decoder and that it produces DC at the solenoids, so watch out for electrolytic destruction of the wires if any contact with water or porosity.

In UK, the list price of a 99 station decoder ACC is $2143. Single zone decoder is $69, 2 zone $96.50, 4 zone $124, 6 zone $151.71.

Before you get excited about using a 4 zone decoder for the 4 fairway heads, there is a significant decrease in lightning protection with increasing distance between decoder and solenoid. Best use 4 singles, 1 + its stake next to each head.

Hope this helps

Regards

Tony

bicmudpuppy
04-08-2007, 11:43 AM
From old experiences, I am guessing that the length/size of the earth stake depends on soil type? in average clay, what length/size are we talking about? The underhill decoders are less expensive, but realize that I need these heads to run about an hour every other or every third day and the greens need to run every day and sometimes more than once per day. This makes using a 48 station controller that only runs one zone at a time a problem. I had no intentions of using any 4 zone decoders, but had thought about using a few two output decoders. In many situations, my valve for a green is within 25' of the valve for a tee and the wire path should be together so I don't even have to run wire. In the fairways, I was considering using a 2 output at the third head and running a pair of wires to the last head (about 75'). Again, this is all planning and conjecture stage. I don't expect to even begin conversion until next spring unless I have an event that requires a controller replacement.

PurpHaze
04-08-2007, 11:55 AM
Bryan... You're probably going to find out that with your valve-in-head golf course situation you'll need to tweak things a little (as UK Tony has indicated) versus a traditional irrigation system. Retrofits are always tougher than if you were installing the system new. I can also see 6" round boxes (ouch... don't believe I said that) possibly in your future to hold the decoders and ground stakes in the areas of your heads.

When I was down at Hunter Campus we had a very good section presented on the ACC and decoder system. Wish I could remember all that was said but I can't. I do think I remember that the decoders need to be within 100' of the solenoids for best performance and for lightening protection (but don't quote me on it). The seminar on the ACC 2-wire was actually given by the Sacramento or Bay Area area rep and not by someone down there since he's had tremendous experience with them out in the field. If you're interested in this company and technology (and since you have the time) I'd contact your Hunter rep and see if they have someone close that has good practical knowledge that can be passed along to you out in the field.

bicmudpuppy
04-08-2007, 12:12 PM
Bryan... You're probably going to find out that with your valve-in-head golf course situation you'll need to tweak things a little (as UK Tony has indicated) versus a traditional irrigation system. Retrofits are always tougher than if you were installing the system new. I can also see 6" round boxes (ouch... don't believe I said that) possibly in your future to hold the decoders and ground stakes in the areas of your heads.

When I was down at Hunter Campus we had a very good section presented on the ACC and decoder system. Wish I could remember all that was said but I can't. I do think I remember that the decoders need to be within 100' of the solenoids for best performance and for lightening protection (but don't quote me on it). The seminar on the ACC 2-wire was actually given by the Sacramento or Bay Area area rep and not by someone down there since he's had tremendous experience with them out in the field. If you're interested in this company and technology (and since you have the time) I'd contact your Hunter rep and see if they have someone close that has good practical knowledge that can be passed along to you out in the field.



No, purp, I'm picturing this w/o boxes. Decoders right under/beside the solenoid on the head and ground rod nearby but away from the main and swing before driving. If the decoders can't be direct buried, then the box they go in will be be the least expensive option i can think of and 8-10" deep near the head. maybe 3" sdr w/ a cap. Or possibly even 2". The decoder should fit in a 2" sdr or class 120 pvc with a cap and notched at the bottom for the wires to exit.

PurpHaze
04-08-2007, 12:15 PM
Hopefully you'll do up a good as-built so the next guy knows where all the decoders are? :)

Wet_Boots
04-08-2007, 12:34 PM
Hopefully you'll do up a good as-built so the next guy knows where all the decoders are? :)Just run some high voltage through the wiring, and look for the smoke :p

PurpHaze
04-08-2007, 12:51 PM
Or the dead squirrels? :laugh:

tonytonick
04-08-2007, 01:14 PM
Usually 20-50 ft between decoder & solenoid is OK with earth stake systems. All lightning protection is relative, it just degrades the more you push it.

In the extreme, cattle can be electrocuted if standing such that their back & front legs are at different potentials, but not if they are at right angles to this orientation! If lightning is around don't stamd with your legs apart...ouch!

ICC with decoders is not a golf controller. ACC would be a better bet.

ICC with decoders is priced for landscapes where zones rarely exceed 40. In this application it becomes cheaper in a project than multi-wire when main line exceeds 300ft and area over which heads are spread exceeds 1/2 acre. Cost copmaprison is not very dependent on the number of zones as long as it exceeds 3.

Mike Leary
04-08-2007, 01:28 PM
You have to close quoted sections with the "" at the end (minus quotation marks) of it for it to work Mike. If you're deleting other parts of original quotes don't delete the "end quote part. It'll work like a charm. :)

Or you can do what I do: highlight the end quote, CTRL+X to erase/copy it and CTRL+V to paste it again where you want the quote to end. :laugh:[/QUOTE]

Sorry for the breach of protocol; Home Depot delivered my weekly order
of Lawn Gernie lite beer & I must have drank too much. Oh yes, my order
of white Marlex ells also arrived. Mike

PurpHaze
04-08-2007, 10:50 PM
Lawn Gernie lite beer ... white Marlex ells

I think I'd cut back a little then. :laugh:

tonytonick
04-13-2007, 01:31 PM
Usually 20-50 ft between decoder & solenoid is OK with earth stake systems. All lightning protection is relative, it just degrades the more you push it.

In the extreme, cattle can be electrocuted if standing such that their back & front legs are at different potentials, but not if they are at right angles to this orientation! If lightning is around don't stamd with your legs apart...ouch!


I've done some math, based on some 1st class work done by your Bell Labs in the '40's.

Attached is spreadsheet, but in PDF form, showing the sorts of voltages seen across a decoder-solenoid pair when the solenoid is distant from the decoder.

Don't be put off by the numbers, just read the notes and look at the worked example.

The moral of the story is.....keep decoders and their solenoids near their earth stakes. OR use a floating lightning protection system that does not need stakes.

Please keep the questions coming!

Regards

Tony

Mike Leary
04-13-2007, 01:52 PM
Hi Tony....Thanks for the mind-boggling info. O.K., I'll bite: what is a
"floating lightning protection system"????

Wet_Boots
04-13-2007, 03:09 PM
an ungrounded rowboat?

tonytonick
04-13-2007, 04:16 PM
The components, controller and decoders, have voltage barriers in them that resist kilovolts allowing those sort of potentials to be across them without damage. The wiring floats up to whatever potential it needs to, but the barriers limit the currents to less than damaging ones.

Mike Leary
04-13-2007, 05:34 PM
an ungrounded rowboat?

Snork snork..(the sound of blowing Lawn Genie beer thru my nose into
the terminal):laugh:

bicmudpuppy
04-14-2007, 12:55 AM
Ok, raining and cold again with measurable snow predicted for in the AM, so........time for another round of questions. What if I decided I liked your universal decoder. Up to 63 stations sounds impressive, but what about phase problems using more than one controller as an input to the device? the "senders" are in 8 station blocks back to the two wire universal decoder. The decoder can use a seperate transformer or run off the controller. So, what if I wanted to use a series of ESP 8's to run my irrigation. Would I get phase problems between the controllers? In a "normal" situation, using more than one controller, you either have to make sure you have seperate commons for each controller or they have to share a transformer and be wired exactly the same from the transformer to prevent phase problems. If they shared a power supply, could two 12 station controllers share 3 8station "senders"? And then another bank of two 12 stations controllers on a different transformer share another bank of 3 8 station "senders"? We now have 4 controllers running 48 stations using six 8 station senders conected to one 63 station universal decoder. The decoder is using a seperate transformer, and we have two other transformers each sharing two controllers.

tonytonick
04-14-2007, 06:07 AM
don't wave your oars in the air during a thunderstorm, it might give your hair that frizzy look!

bicmudpuppy
04-14-2007, 09:34 AM
I'm on a golf course, take Trevino's advice and just carry a one iron :)

tonytonick
04-14-2007, 03:59 PM
Dear Bicmudpuppy,

The sender inputs are completely isolated so no problems. I've had the main Universal running off a 50Hz transfomer and the senders connected to a RB controller running on 60Hz. The senders will also accept DC for the PLC boys.
The 2 wire path must always run off just 1 transformer.

Regards

Tony

Hot in UK, eating a BBQ. Where the hell are you, Alaska?

bicmudpuppy
04-14-2007, 09:06 PM
Hot in UK, eating a BBQ. Where the hell are you, Alaska?

Nope, Alaska has more predictable weather :) I'm in NE Kansas. I can be guaranteed that at some point this summer, we will be the hottest place in the US, AND at some point we will be the coldest during the winter. We were 60+ and some 70's in March. I get ready and manage to aerify my greens and we get another freeze. Saw almost 60 again, and they predict measurable snow that missed us to the South?? go figure. I ain't complaining. Took away their carts this morning and let them have carts back this afternoon. Will be near 70 tomorrow and better than that on Monday. Only weather stranger than this comes to Texas.

tonytonick
04-15-2007, 05:47 AM
If the melting Greenland ice cap disrupts the Gulf Stream, as predicted with global warming, UK will be joining you in the same weather.

As the Chinese say, "intersting times".

I think the Great Dust Bowl is again predicted for your part of the world too.

bicmudpuppy
04-15-2007, 08:49 AM
If the melting Greenland ice cap disrupts the Gulf Stream, as predicted with global warming, UK will be joining you in the same weather.

As the Chinese say, "intersting times".

I think the Great Dust Bowl is again predicted for your part of the world too.

I'm a believer in cyclic weather, and the possibility of a dust-bowl type drought in the near future is not comforting.

I also believe that global warming is the biggest hoax politicians have pulled on the average joe in the history of mass media. There are more articles out there with real data evidence against global warming than there are opinions about how devestating the results of global warming are going to be. All the global warming studies I have seen are comprised of the modern weather data collection practices. Use what works and throw out the data that doesn't "fit". They pitch about half the data to publish what "fits". Yes our major metro areas are warmer. Areas like NYC, but go out into rural up state NY, and you will find average temperature that are droping to negate the increases in the urban sprawl. BUT, the fear of something like global warming generates public intrest and gets politician elected.

tonytonick
04-15-2007, 12:59 PM
well there's certainly a heated (excuse the pun) debate going on. i would say that on balance it's happening a bit and will happen even more if we keep spewing out CO2 like today.

I'm all for a balanced energy mix, wind waves, coal with CO2 sequestration and (shock-horror!) nuclear power.

Amazing the number of people that can't stand the sight of windmills. They would rather like to 'light a fire' to boil their cup of tea than use the power of the wind. hypocrites

tonytonick
05-15-2007, 11:50 AM
The IA's official magazine has just published a report on 2 wire. Might want to check it out.


http://igin.com/ME2/dirmod.asp?sid=9B6FFC446FF7486981EA3C0C3CCE4943&nm=Articles%2FNews&type=Publishing&mod=Publications%3A%3AArticle&mid=8F3A7027421841978F18BE895F87F791&tier=4&id=CE661A6631D944DD959671F3DAD54A25&SiteID=6817839757EF4441818726B97A2175A5