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View Full Version : Are Nelson rotors any good?


mojob
03-26-2007, 10:20 PM
I was going through a customer's system last season and I was impressed with the Nelson's spray pattern. Can anyone tell me how they hold up.

Wet_Boots
03-26-2007, 11:48 PM
Not all that great. They don't compare to the PGP's they imitate.

LCPullman
03-27-2007, 12:23 AM
I've seen problems and heard of alot more problems with them.

Keith
03-27-2007, 12:54 AM
We used some Nelson 6000's for a while, years ago. At one time they weren't bad sprinklers, and our local supplier, then, pushed them and backed them up. I have no idea where they stand as far as quality these days, but I don't see many newer ones out there.

Homeowners seemed to have a greater fondness for them than installers because of their perceived simple adjustment. At the same time, that simple adjustment mechanism did not allow for quite as precise settings, and it would take an installer longer to set a Nelson than most other brands. The caps were notorious for coming off if they were not secured with a screw, and the click-set mechanism in older ones often failed. Both were easily replaced , but a nuisanse. But I noticed more and more Nelsons having problems sticking up early on. At one time you'd run across a lawn full of 5 year-old Nelsons with one or two that would stick. Then it seemed to become three or four in a lawn of 2 year-old Nelsons. That is when I quit even carrying any in the truck for replacements.

Bottom line, in 2007, I think there are much better choices. I will say this though. Their rotors may be the best thing they make :eek:

Mad Estonian
03-27-2007, 03:30 AM
Personally, I can't stand them, and I don't think too highly of any of the outfits who install them. Around here, you get them at the plumbing suppliers', not at the irrigation shops.

PurpHaze
03-27-2007, 09:16 AM
We have one site that has some Nelson rotors and valves in its system and they're working fine. These are probably over 20 years old since this is at the district office complex that was originally the area SoCal Gas HQ. They worked well enough that I just left them in when we took over the property. However, as the rotors and valves need replacement we do with what we normally use; Hunter I-20s and Irritrol valves.

Mike Leary
03-27-2007, 07:28 PM
Personally, I can't stand them, and I don't think too highly of any of the outfits who install them. Around here, you get them at the plumbing suppliers', not at the irrigation shops.


We took over a site having Nelsons....as they stick.....I-20 Ultras stainless.

PurpHaze
03-27-2007, 10:47 PM
Around here, you get them at the plumbing suppliers', not at the irrigation shops.

Probably so plumbers can install them on the same zone as spray pop-ups without being embarassed by real pros in the irrigation business. :)

Mike Leary
03-28-2007, 09:45 PM
Probably so plumbers can install them on the same zone as spray pop-ups without being embarassed by real pros in the irrigation business. :)

YASS ON THAT....At least the plumbers use sch 40.

PurpHaze
03-28-2007, 09:57 PM
Is that good or bad? :)

Midlo Snow Maker
03-28-2007, 11:46 PM
nelson sucks and i mean sucks!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wet_Boots
03-28-2007, 11:50 PM
But how do you really feel?

Midlo Snow Maker
03-29-2007, 12:08 AM
But how do you really feel?

http://www.lawnsite.com/showpost.php?p=1771031&postcount=11

Jason Rose
03-29-2007, 12:41 AM
There's a contractor here (no names, lol) who uses nothing but Nelson CRAP. One lawn I did repairs on less than ONE YEAR after installation. I had to replace about 6 of the 4" pop spray bodies and over a dozen of their JUNK adjustable "VAN" wannabe nozzles that were unadjustable already. (many heads were just mis aligned, un level, stuck UNDER the plastic edging or fence, and so on, but that's what happens when a few college guys with no experience do an install)

The nelson controlers have to be the most ass backwards thing I have found. Very user unfriendly! One customer has thought of just having me replace it and then take the nelson POS and smash it on his driveway, lol!

Iv'e had to adjust some of the rotors too, what a PITA. One click = too far one way or the other. Plus there's no "slip clutch" so you have to WAIT for it to make the snails pace rotation back and forth. And, yes, many I see are missing the caps. Pattern sucks, but I think Hunter pattern sucks too, looks the same to me, shoots right over anything within 10 to 15 feet of the head. Better have 100% head to head coverage lest the lawn is doomed.

LCPullman
03-29-2007, 12:53 AM
but I think Hunter pattern sucks too, looks the same to me, shoots right over anything within 10 to 15 feet of the head. Better have 100% head to head coverage lest the lawn is doomed.

I did some testing last fall, and I found out that looks can be actually somewhat deceiving when it comes to rotor nozzles. Hunter rotor nozzles (as well as Rainbird and K-Rain) actually put more water on areas closer to the head. Reason being that there is less area to water closer to the head and so you don't need as much water closer to the head. Rainbird nozzles are by far the most even distribution across the covered radius.
I don't know about the Nelson nozzles because I didn't test them.

Keith
03-29-2007, 01:18 AM
I got stuck on a few of their controllers back in the mid-90's. The outdoor model was susceptible to moisture and the indoor models were done in by heat. All were very short-lived. I have a total of 1 that is still in service. It defies logic. It's an indoor model that is in a garage. When I was there two months ago changing some rotors, I noticed that I had dated it "July xx 1996." Setting it that day reminded me how screwy their programming and manual operation was.

I have only had the pleasure of running across two of the newer ones, the really cheap looking newer ones. Both were malfunctioning.

PurpHaze
03-29-2007, 09:29 AM
Pattern sucks, but I think Hunter pattern sucks too, looks the same to me, shoots right over anything within 10 to 15 feet of the head.

Hmmm... Considering that I saw one tested down at Hunter just two weeks ago I'd have to differ. I've also seen the pattern graphs on manufacturers from CTI testing and "unofficial certification" and they'd disagree also.

Jason Rose
03-29-2007, 09:39 AM
Hmmm... Considering that I saw one tested down at Hunter just two weeks ago I'd have to differ. I've also seen the pattern graphs on manufacturers from CTI testing and "unofficial certification" and they'd disagree also.

These studies aren't "real world" I recall Hunter recommending a very high pressure to operate correctly, like 60 psi at the head? to acheive the proper pattern out of the nozzle.

I have one lawn that has Hunter rotors. Last summer was incredibly dry, so the irrigation faults were quite obvious. They don't have good head to head coverage, so around every sprinkler was a 10 to 15 foot circle of BROWN grass. I checked the system and they were all working and the pressure was good, they just threw mist in the first 15 feet. I can't really even replace them with rainbirds (that have much better coverage) because they simply don't spray far enough. Those Hunters are spaced at about 40+ feet and have to reach to the road... RB nozzles would water what they could hit a lot better, but wouldn't reach to the edges.

SprinklerGuy
03-29-2007, 10:05 AM
Design issues shouldn't be blamed on the manufacturers......

Wet_Boots
03-29-2007, 10:53 AM
About Hunter nozzles - I asked a Hunter rep one time about their current rectangular-hole nozzles (for the more common #'s 5,6,7,8 nozzles) whether the change from the old center-hole-and-side-slot(s) was really about coverage, or more about countering Rainbird's marketing of their Rain Curtain nozzles. A sly smile was his response.

I kind of think Ed Hunter got it right the first time, and Nelson rotor nozzles still copy the older Hunters. You do need a minimum watering time, and a good stiff breeze would probably damage close-in coverage, on account of mist being easier to push around than drops.

bicmudpuppy
03-30-2007, 12:05 AM
Remember that a poor coverage "donut" is a ring, not a hole in the middle. Most of the "poor" coverage I see that resembles Jason's description is actually the result of stretched spacing. The only "green" is the overlap, the rest is dry because the zones aren't running long enough. 90+degree heat and even a drought tolerant tall fescue needs an inch per week minimum of water. Stretched spacing and 3gpm nozzles means more than an hour of run 3x per week or it just isn't going to be green. Not many homeowners want to pay for that kind of water. Those few that really want to water that much, pay up front for systems that are properly designed. I'll take PGP's spaced 40' on a good design any day. A good design means 40+ psi at the head and the nozzles are chosen for matched precip. With 40+psi, getting very close to 40' with everything but your corner nozzles isn't that hard. MAYBE, (big stretch here) the 5004's from RB will turn out to be as durable as the PGP. My money would bet against it. If perfect nozzles are your primary concern, look at the irritrol line. I loved the pulse-pause XL, but the head had durability and reliability issues. I think the CR-500 will prove in time to be an equivalent head to the PGP with some very nice improvements, but you can't make that statement against a head with the PGP's track record with only a few years of data. I'm not sure there are any CR-500 or RB5004's that would be out of warranty yet!

PurpHaze
03-30-2007, 09:18 AM
These studies aren't "real world".

True... wind (lack of) and other things are controlled but all manufacturer's use them and abide by them for their performance charts. There are also charts as to what happens with prevailing wind at certain speeds. This is where design knowledge comes into play... using the product you feel will be best suited for a particular area and then designing the system with other outside factors in mind to combat those issues and obtain a viable system is the key.

So often irrigation people forget that any given sprinkler is only as good as its neighboring sprinklers, any given zone is only as good as its neighboring zones and any given system is only as good as its neighboring systems. One must forget about what one particular sprinkler is accomplishing and look at the big picture.