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irrig8r
08-06-2008, 11:56 AM
Has anyone taken a look at these products yet?

http://www.lawnsite.com/forumdisplay.php?f=214

I had coffee with Don Walker the other morning.

He explained to me why he thinks (I agree) his products are better than Add-A-Zone or Doubler and gave me some literature that I found time to review more thoroughly last night.

Seem to be good products with good contractor pricing. He offers more discount for one-of samples.

The trouble with waiting for a problem to order one is that most distributors aren't going to have these on the shelf. So, I'll order a couple to try them.

I'd like to hear opinions from tough judges like Fimco, ML, Boots, Kiril, etc...

The Irrigander sponsor forum has some good diagrams and a photo of one of the circuit boards... and explains the products pretty well.

Don isn't an aggressive sales guy like some other Lawnsite forum sponsors... he's an electrical engineer who had a problem with his own sprinklers, looked at solutions already on the market, and figured he could do better.

Kiril
08-06-2008, 01:00 PM
Didn't look real hard for this info, but I also didn't see it in the pdf's I checked.

1) clamping voltages
2) NEMA enclosure type rating

Also might be nice to see a chart of controllers and whether or not the encoder will actually fit inside the controller cabinet.

duwaprod
08-06-2008, 11:42 PM
Hi Kiril,
Good questions!

The Encoder is designed to meet NEMA Type 1 (General Purpose) and the Decoder is designed to meet NEMA Type 6, however we do not recommend that the Decoder run continually submersed. While the products have been designed to meet these standards they have not been certified. The Encoders are made from flame ******ant ABS and meet UL's highest flame rating of UL94-5VA. The Decoders are made from ABS that meets UL94V-0.

The Encoders are designed to mount just below the controller with the wires from the Encoder going into one of the knockouts on the bottom of the controller. The sizes for the Encoders and Decoders are in the online user manuals but most of the Encoders are 5.125"(L) x 2.80"(W) x 1.00"(H).

By clamping voltage I believe you are referring to surge suppression. We use MOV's that start to conduct at 35vac and clamp at 110V@250A. If that is not what you are asking clarify and I'll get the answer for you.

--Don

jcom
08-07-2008, 10:05 AM
We have used the Irriganders and keep several on hand. When we need them, we need them NOW!

They have worked flawlessly for us. If it is necessary to mount the unit outside the controller, they look great.

My two cents worth.

John

sprinklerchris
08-08-2008, 01:31 PM
Has anyone taken a look at these products yet?

http://www.lawnsite.com/forumdisplay.php?f=214

I had coffee with Don Walker the other morning.

He explained to me why he thinks (I agree) his products are better than Add-A-Zone or Doubler and gave me some literature that I found time to review more thoroughly last night.

Seem to be good products with good contractor pricing. He offers more discount for one-of samples.

The trouble with waiting for a problem to order one is that most distributors aren't going to have these on the shelf. So, I'll order a couple to try them.

I'd like to hear opinions from tough judges like Fimco, ML, Boots, Kiril, etc...

The Irrigander sponsor forum has some good diagrams and a photo of one of the circuit boards... and explains the products pretty well.

Don isn't an aggressive sales guy like some other Lawnsite forum sponsors... he's an electrical engineer who had a problem with his own sprinklers, looked at solutions already on the market, and figured he could do better.


What did he say makes it better than the Add-A-Zone?

irrig8r
08-08-2008, 03:44 PM
What did he say makes it better than the Add-A-Zone?

I'm not an EE, so I have a vague understanding.... and Don could explain it much better.

He said something to the effect that the Add-A-Zone (which I have used with success) works by somehow splitting and using half of the alternating current to run each zone separately... but maybe I didn't understand him correctly.

The impression I was left with from my conversation with Don is that the Irrigander is more robust, and applies full power to the solenoids, with little or no moving parts....

But again I'm no EE, and the product literature doesn't make any comparisons with the competition, just explains how their various products can be used in different scenarios.

Mike Leary
08-08-2008, 03:57 PM
Finally looked at their site, smart idea turning wire run into a two-wire system.
I assume it works on 18 gage multi-strand?

duwaprod
08-08-2008, 10:18 PM
Hi Mike,
Yes. The Irrigander Pro family of expanders is designed for retrofit installations that will typically use 18 gauge multi-strand. We spec the maximum distance at 1000' between the Encoder (at the clock) and the Decoder (in the field). The multi-strand can be shared between the field wire connecting the Irrigander Pro Encoder and Decoder and field wires where valves are connected in the typical way. The Irrigander Pro Decoders use the system wide common for their second field wire connection.

--Don

Waterit
08-08-2008, 11:05 PM
Hi Mike,
Yes. The Irrigander Pro family of expanders is designed for retrofit installations that will typically use 18 gauge multi-strand. We spec the maximum distance at 1000' between the Encoder (at the clock) and the Decoder (in the field). The multi-strand can be shared between the field wire connecting the Irrigander Pro Encoder and Decoder and field wires where valves are connected in the typical way. The Irrigander Pro Decoders use the system wide common for their second field wire connection.

--Don

Am I reading this correctly? The Irrigander Pro actually uses the common as the "hot" side?

Mike Leary
08-08-2008, 11:34 PM
Am I reading this correctly? The Irrigander Pro actually uses the common as the "hot" side?

Who cares? It's a cool idea for the guys that inherited a system that was
jacked.

bicmudpuppy
08-09-2008, 12:03 AM
I'm looking very hard at their Pro 8/2. I have a lot of valve-in-heads that have been paired for various reasons and I have areas where heads were left out of the original install. An Irrigander Pro 8/2 would allow me to add and split heads at a very attractive price point. Glad to hear some are having good luck with the product.

Don, if I ground each 2 station decoder AND at the satellite, does it matter about the length of the run in between? The specs recommend grounding every 300'. Do I have to find the station wire every 300' or so? My gut tells me no, but I'd like to hear it from an "expert".

duwaprod
08-09-2008, 12:21 AM
Waterit,
The common connection on the Irrigander Pro Decoders connects to the system common, the "hot" is the other field wire just as you would expect. One wire from each of the valves driven by the Decoder connect to the Decoder output and the other side of the valve also connects to the common. Sorry if my wording was confusing.

Bicmudpuppy,
Grounding the Decoders will go a long way in protecting the system from lightning. Installing an Irrigander Surge Suppressor along the two-wire path is optional but does improve the protection for strikes in the vicinity. Not much can be done to protect the system from a direct strike.

--Don

JimLewis
08-09-2008, 12:56 AM
Here's something I don't understand about expander systems like that, no matter what brand;

If I come to a sprinkler system that has a 4 zone controller that is tapped out and I want add a 5th zone, I'm just going to upsell the customer on a larger (modular) controller. Why would I want to Jerry-rig it with some add-on thing? Why not just switch out the controller to a newer, more versatile controller?

Is it just to save money??? Because a 13 Station Rain Bird ESP controller with a module or two isn't all that much. We usually don't have much problem upselling our customers on a bigger controller. Is that something you all usually have a problem with? Your customers can afford to have you add on a whole new zone but can't afford $100-$200 for a better controller????

Or is there some other reason I am missing why you'd want to use one of these add-a-zone dealies?

bicmudpuppy
08-09-2008, 01:15 AM
Jim, picture this. I have an area that needs water that doesn't currently have coverage or the correct coverage. I can fix this with a new zone. The controller has room for more zones, BUT the 48, 56 or 64 station controller is 200 or 500 yards from the controller with no spare. I can dig through several hundred feet of premium turf, sprinkler lines, drainage tile, etc. or I can pop in a product like this, excavate a the closest zone or wire point and then go 100' or so to the new valve to fix my problem. Even if only adding ONE wire, 500' of a single strand of 14UF is half the cost of the Pro 8/2. With the Pro 8/2, I can do this 4 or more times in different directions and it all works.

In some cases, the larger controller is just part of the project. You can use the 8 station unit at the farthest point from your controller and add 7 new zones to an existing zone w/o ditching in any new wire. If you have ONE spare, you can turn it into 8 new zones instead of just adding 7. I don't know any installers just dropping an extra 7 or 8 wires on the chance the customer MIGHT someday pony up and water that back 40, but I have seen time and again where that house sells and the new owner wants that extra half acre in the back wet.

Waterit
08-09-2008, 02:06 AM
Here's another scenario similar to Bicmudpuppy's where it's a good call to drop in a doubler/expander. We just did this in 2 different areas on the cemetery job I've posted about:

A zone with a bad wire is 500 ft. from the controller. The next good valve is 50 ft. away, and the wire between it and the bad-wire valve is intact. Pop in a doubler/expander, jumper the stations in the controller, you're done. Your customer is saved the expense and intrusion of all that digging and wire-pulling (we had multiple road crossings between clock and problem valves on top of everything else).

JimLewis
08-09-2008, 04:34 AM
Yah, Ok. I guess I get that. It just doesn't happen much with the systems we work on. We're mostly working on 6 or 8 or 10 zone systems on small 8K or 10K sq. ft. properties using 13-strand wire cables. So first, the valves aren't usually very far away from one another or the controller. Second, there are usually a few extra unused wires to work with.

But I understand now where something like this would be valuable. I guess I didn't quite understand how they worked totally either. So these things can basically take 1 wire and make it essentially into two wires, huh? That's interesting. Again, not something we'd usually need on the smaller residential systems we work with but I think I get it now.

bicmudpuppy
08-09-2008, 08:26 AM
The R-Co Add-a-Zone will make one wire act like two in most instances. These will make one wire (plus the common) act like 4 or 8 wires. For the guys that manifold, I even see lots of installation potential on larger lots. We are back to doing the math, just like regular two-wire installations.

If the distance between the controller and the first 4 valve manifold is say 500' and you have another 4 valve manifold that is 500' in the other direction, what is the difference in cost savings between 1000' of 18/5 (min or 7 for spares) compared to 2000' of 16UF and two of the Irrigander 4 units? (I would probably install a 14UF common and use the 16UF for the hot) Your first 4 valve manifold is near the clock and you run wire normally to it for a 12 zone system. I don't know if it has been mentioned here, but the web site prices are RETAIL. The price sheet I received showed a contractor discount. I haven't purchased wire recently, (what happens when you stop doing installs and outside repair work) but even with the wire prices I saw several years ago, this would save money, time and (I think) effort on installs.

Now, for another question. As I understand traditional two-wire, we only run the two wires plus maybe a spare or two. Could the Irrigander units (on the transmitter end) share the same "hot"? And would the decoders on the other end recognize "their" transmitter vs the other one? Or do you need a dedicated "hot" for each unit set?

Waterit
08-09-2008, 09:57 AM
Yah, Ok. I guess I get that. It just doesn't happen much with the systems we work on. We're mostly working on 6 or 8 or 10 zone systems on small 8K or 10K sq. ft. properties using 13-strand wire cables. So first, the valves aren't usually very far away from one another or the controller. Second, there are usually a few extra unused wires to work with.

But I understand now where something like this would be valuable. I guess I didn't quite understand how they worked totally either. So these things can basically take 1 wire and make it essentially into two wires, huh? That's interesting. Again, not something we'd usually need on the smaller residential systems we work with but I think I get it now.

We were faced with 14GA single, no spares. Needed to turn 1 wire into 2, so:
(http://www.transitionalsystems.com/doubler.htm).

Waterit
08-09-2008, 10:01 AM
I haven't purchased wire recently

A commodity like anything else. HUGE price jumps in the last year - just paid $100 for 100 ft. roll of 10/2 WGUF, $95 for 250 ft. of 12/2WG NM.

Guys are getting killed stealing copper wire out of power substations, have even heard cases of the outside AC condensing units being stolen for their copper and aluminum content.

duwaprod
08-09-2008, 06:45 PM
Now, for another question. As I understand traditional two-wire, we only run the two wires plus maybe a spare or two. Could the Irrigander units (on the transmitter end) share the same "hot"? And would the decoders on the other end recognize "their" transmitter vs the other one? Or do you need a dedicated "hot" for each unit set?

The Irrigander Pro units can not share a "hot". Each single wire will drive up to 8 zones but going past 8 zones requires another "hot". The Common is shared between all Encoders, Decoders and valves.

--Don

Mike Leary
08-09-2008, 06:54 PM
Before anyone jumps in to 2-wire as a "fix all", I'd suggest looking at the thread below.

duwaprod
08-13-2008, 02:43 PM
Before anyone jumps in to 2-wire as a "fix all", I'd suggest looking at the thread below.

Two wire systems can definitely be a challenge since there is electronics in the field (decoders). The signal running between the clock and the decoders is more sophisticated as well. Just measuring voltage and current on the field wire is not the whole story.

Our Irrigander 2-wire Technology is not trying to compete with the large 2-wire systems. It is intended to be a flexible way to add valves and bypass broken wires in small to medium size installations. The technology is designed to be very reliable.

Feel free to PM me if you have any questions regarding our products.

Thanks!
--Don

Waterit
08-13-2008, 04:59 PM
Don, feel free to send me a sample! Seriously, I'd like to try one at your risk, adding a zone to my test field (the un-irrigated south side of my house) in about a month.

Mike Leary
08-13-2008, 05:04 PM
Two wire systems can definitely be a challenge since there is electronics in the field (decoders).

Um, I never got a answer about running two-wire through conventional
non-armored 18 gage.

duwaprod
08-13-2008, 05:26 PM
Um, I never got a answer about running two-wire through conventional
non-armored 18 gage.

Hi Mike,
For distances of less than 1000 feet, the Irrigander Pro will work fine with multi conductor 18 gauge unshielded wire. That is what it is designed to do. I do not know how well any of the other 2-wire systems work with multi-strand.

--Don

Mike Leary
08-13-2008, 06:30 PM
Hi Mike,
For distances of less than 1000 feet, the Irrigander Pro will work fine with multi conductor 18 Gage unshielded wire. That is what it is designed to do. I do not know how well any of the other 2-wire systems work with multi-strand.

--Don

Thanks, we generally don't tolerate reps or owners on this site, but you've
been forthcoming and very informational; other would-be posters should take
notice. :)