PDA

View Full Version : Lithium batteries (not replaceable) ............ good idea or not?


irrig8r
04-10-2007, 02:23 AM
I was installing a Rain Bird ESP-M today and noticed that it said a lithium battery was used to back up the date and time. It also said in was non-serviceable, or some words to that effect.. basically making the whole panel disposable.

I don't expect the back-up battery to last forever, but how long should a lithium battery last?

I know that the non-volatile memory in the ESP-M (just like in the Hunter Pro-C ..... the Irrigation Direct DMC) saves the data and the lithium battery just time and date...

But the Pro-C used alkaline batteries for time and date and they are serviceable, and the I.D. DMC has removable/replaceable lithium batteries...

So why does Rain Bird not have a replaceable battery?

To add insult to injury, while setting up the controller, about an hour after plugging it in and setting the time and date, I unplugged it to install an in-use cover, and when I plugged it back in, date and time reverted to default factory settings... a call to Rain Bird Tech Support wasn't much help...

A guy named Robert suggested I needed to add a 9 volt battery.. he wasn't sure if the lithium battery needed charging ... I told him I would leave it plugged in overnight and check tomorrow to see if it charged up or not...

Now I do like some of the ESP features: good self-diagnostics, large display, easy to read and program for older folks not used to electronic gadgets, and the Contractor Default™ program for when they mess up...

But having no access to the lithium battery seems like a strange oversight...planned obsolescence if you will...

And the Rain Bird screw-up with their remotes is just another nail in the coffin...

Dirty Water
04-10-2007, 02:35 AM
The lithium battery only has to run the internal clock, it should last at least 5 years. If it fails, you plug a 9 volt battery into the pigtail and your good to go.

If anything, it keeps you from having to buy a bunch of alkaline batteries.

BSME
04-10-2007, 09:08 AM
anyone carry 9Vs with them in the spring? I always thought it would be a nice service touch but it seems to work out that while I'm showing the home owner how I set it up I mention it has a battery backup and they usually go run and get a 9V.

PurpHaze
04-10-2007, 09:35 AM
Both of our trucks carry two 12 battery cases of 9-volt batteries all times of the year. Not only are they used for our normal controller back-ups but they're used for our metal detector, toner, battery-operated controllers etc. and we never want to be caught without a supply of them.

BSME
04-10-2007, 09:47 AM
purp... I'm not talking to you when I ask questions about how other service techs do it...

you're in a world of your own... they should make a seperate forum for you... jk... kinda

Wet_Boots
04-10-2007, 10:20 AM
I usually try to grab some 9V alkalines whenever they're on sale in supermarkets. A buck a pop is about as cheap as I see them get.

Grassmechanic
04-10-2007, 10:26 AM
anyone carry 9Vs with them in the spring? I always thought it would be a nice service touch but it seems to work out that while I'm showing the home owner how I set it up I mention it has a battery backup and they usually go run and get a 9V.

I do. Every controller that I run across gets a fresh, new 9v. Cheap peace of mind and the homeowners are usually astonished that someone would go the extra mile to change the battery. I hear all the time "my last irrigation guys never changed the battery". I tell them "that's a good reason why they're your last irrigation guy".

BSME
04-10-2007, 10:30 AM
well great... looks like I need to keep up with grassmechanic now..

It's not really about the buck. I usually do have a few in the truck but by the time I'm in the basement or something with the homeowner and realize they could use a new battery it seems easier that they grab one.

I'll go make a trip to costco while there is still snow on the ground

DanaMac
04-10-2007, 10:39 AM
I try to keep them on the truck as well, and replace as needed. But I don't carry the Ni-Cad rechargeable that the older Rainbird ESPs used. I looked inside one the other day and of course someone had put in an alkaline instead. The whole bottom end was blown out and battery acid all over the battery compartment area. Seen this many times. I just tell them to go buy one themselves.

I also keep them around for my StationMaster actuator.

Grassmechanic
04-10-2007, 10:40 AM
BSME - that little act of replacing the batteries has got me more jobs than a years worth of advertising. Around here, irrigation systems are somewhat of a status symbol - those that have them, have friends that have them also. And sooner or later, they all need work done to their systems.

Wet_Boots
04-10-2007, 10:55 AM
My one misgiving about stocking batteries for controller replacements, is that they can do some comparison shopping for them, which makes it harder to charge as much for the battery as I want to.

DanaMac
04-10-2007, 11:00 AM
My one misgiving about stocking batteries for controller replacements, is that they can do some comparison shopping for them, which makes it harder to charge as much for the battery as I want to.

I try not to mark them up also much for that same reason, but think that it's a goodwill service for the customer.

bobw
04-10-2007, 12:08 PM
I always have 9V on hand. I charge supermarket rates for them and buy them at Costco... might make a little money on them, but I don't care. If I show up for a service call and all I have to do is swap a battery, I've made my money by showing up.

Mike Leary
04-10-2007, 02:56 PM
I always have 9V on hand. I charge supermarket rates for them and buy them at Costco... might make a little money on them, but I don't care. If I show up for a service call and all I have to do is swap a battery, I've made my money by showing up.

Same with us; a part of spring start-up & when we do a first-time service
call.

irrig8r
04-10-2007, 06:25 PM
The lithium battery only has to run the internal clock, it should last at least 5 years. If it fails, you plug a 9 volt battery into the pigtail and your good to go.

If anything, it keeps you from having to buy a bunch of alkaline batteries.

So, follow me here.. this is only for the ESP-Modular that I'm talking about:

9 volt into the pigtail? Nope.

The Rain Bird Tech said it needed a 9 volt battery too... and both of what you say goes against what the manual says.. at least the way I read it..

The way I understand it, the 9 volt is only to program the panel when it's not plugged in to the clock...

My distributor read the same thing I did, and he had the impression that the 9volt was for use with the handheld remote... because it says "Remote Panel Programming" ..... see page 51

Also see the WARNING box on page 68... 10 year life and then you dispose of the panel as hazardous waste... what a brilliant idea .:confused: ..... NOT!


http://www.rainbird.com/pdf/turf/man_ESPModular.pdf

PurpHaze
04-10-2007, 11:44 PM
Also see the WARNING box on page 68... 10 year life and then you dispose of the panel as hazardous waste... what a brilliant idea .:confused: ..... NOT!

Sounds like built-in obsolescence to me. :)

PurpHaze
04-10-2007, 11:47 PM
purp... I'm not talking to you when I ask questions about how other service techs do it...

you're in a world of your own... they should make a seperate forum for you... jk... kinda

Gee Beemer... Based on "real service techs" responses maybe we're not so different after all when it comes to 9v batteries. :laugh:

BSME
04-11-2007, 12:12 AM
Gee Beemer... Based on "real service techs" responses maybe we're not so different after all when it comes to 9v batteries. :laugh:

yea yea...

but I still would rather hear it from someone who pays for their own batteries... for all I know you pick them up in the little two packs at the checkout line

Remote Pigtails
04-11-2007, 12:19 AM
We charge 3.00 for 9v batteries. Get them at Costco.

PurpHaze
04-11-2007, 09:17 AM
yea yea...

but I still would rather hear it from someone who pays for their own batteries... for all I know you pick them up in the little two packs at the checkout line

Mentioned above that we buy them by the 12-pack case (box). We get these through an electrical supply house. :rolleyes:

bicmudpuppy
04-11-2007, 09:44 AM
Mentioned above that we buy them by the 12-pack case (box). We get these through an electrical supply house. :rolleyes:

You have a Fastenal dealer out there purp? I don't remember the brand, but locally for me, they carry a quality line of alkalines in everything from AAA, to D's an 9v! And, the price is right. Anybody still putting AA bats in Nelson controllers that just won't die? Raining now, a little lightning will remove a few more from the miseries of irrigation.

PurpHaze
04-11-2007, 09:50 AM
You have a Fastenal dealer out there purp? I don't remember the brand, but locally for me, they carry a quality line of alkalines in everything from AAA, to D's an 9v! And, the price is right.

Not that I'm aware of. We use an outfit called Medallion Supply.

irrig8r
04-11-2007, 08:08 PM
I carry a couple of 12 packs of 9 volts in the truck.... either Energizer or Duracell, whichever I can get on sale... and charge 5.00 a pop for 'em. No one complains. In the greater scheme of things, a couple of bucks for piece of mind doesn't bother anyone.

I have a few SVCs out there as well as real time back-ups in all my ICCs, Pro-Cs, Rain Dial Pluses and Total Controls... I won't be putting them in any more ESP-Ms though...

I usually change them at the same time we start up... after a wet winter that means right befoire DST starts, so we change the clock ahead at the same time. This year DST came early... no big deal.

BTW, Weathermatic Smart Lines eat batteries fast when the power goes out.. probably because they also power the backlit display.

Remote Pigtails
04-11-2007, 08:59 PM
BTW, Weathermatic Smart Lines eat batteries fast when the power goes out.. probably because they also power the backlit display.

Glad to know that. They have a cheaper indoor 8 with no backlight but it is cheap looking.

PurpHaze
04-11-2007, 11:15 PM
I carry a couple of 12 packs of 9 volts in the truck.... either Energizer or Duracell, whichever I can get on sale... and charge 5.00 a pop for 'em. No one complains. In the greater scheme of things, a couple of bucks for piece of mind doesn't bother anyone.

Around our house we don't have anything that uses the 9v batteries except my irrigation controller. We usually have plenty of AA and AAA batteries around but no 9v ones. If you told me my controller needed the 9v battery as a backup and your cost was $5 I'd think that was a reasonable price considering I don't have to get in my truck and waste my time/gas to go get one battery.