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View Full Version : SmartLine vs Hunter with Solar Sync


McKinneyMagnum
03-12-2009, 09:03 PM
I have a few estimates for a residential sprinkler system and I wanted some real world feedback on the two different controllers these installers are using.

Two of the more expensive guys are using Hunter with Solar Sync. The other guy is using the Weathermatic SmartLine.

I asked the SmartLine guy if he also uses Hunter (because I had not heard of Weathermatic before) and he said no because Hunter doesn't make their true ET system anymore and he has no issues with the SmartLine at all on any installs.

Just got another estimate and that installer told me to stay away from Weathermatic because they are cheap.

Not sure who to believe now. Any suggestions?

FIMCO-MEISTER
03-12-2009, 09:26 PM
I've installed a lot of Smartlines. In the hands of a knowledgeable contractor it is a very good controller. Has been out much longer that the HUNTER and the HUNTER has not been vetted on this site at least. I'd go with the WM SL with the Weather Monitor myself until more feedback is available on the HUNTER SYNC. I'm assuming the Controller is the only thing that will be WMatic. What other products are they recommending? Are the designs similar?

McKinneyMagnum
03-12-2009, 09:33 PM
I've installed a lot of Smartlines. In the hands of a knowledgeable contractor it is a very good controller. Has been out much longer that the HUNTER and the HUNTER has not been vetted on this site at least. I'd go with the WM SL with the Weather Monitor myself until more feedback is available on the HUNTER SYNC. I'm assuming the Controller is the only thing that will be WMatic. What other products are they recommending? Are the designs similar?

The guy with WM controller is using RB 1804 heads, DVF100 controller valves, 6" valve boxes, 200psi PVC and some other stuff I can't make out :) He has me listed for (57) 4" heads in (7) 1" valves and 7 zones.

The other guy is Hunter Sync controller and it looks like Hunter or RB heads. He is estimating 7 zones, with (35) 4" heads and (4) drip zones.

Most of that is greek too me, except for the number of heads. The WM guy wants 50% payment up front and rest at completion. The Hunter guy wants 100% at end of job. Should I be concerned about 50/50 in this business?

FIMCO-MEISTER
03-12-2009, 09:41 PM
The guy with WM controller is using RB 1804 heads, DVF100 controller valves, 6" valve boxes, 200psi PVC and some other stuff I can't make out :) He has me listed for (57) 4" heads in (7) 1" valves and 7 zones.

The other guy is Hunter Sync controller and it looks like Hunter or RB heads. He is estimating 7 zones, with (35) 4" heads and (4) drip zones.

Most of that is greek too me, except for the number of heads. The WM guy wants 50% payment up front and rest at completion. The Hunter guy wants 100% at end of job. Should I be concerned about 50/50 in this business?
On the surface I like the WM guy material list better. 4 drip zones makes me a wee nervous. Could be really well done drip. I'd want it explained very thoroughly though. I suspect the drip system with the HUNTER is a lower price as well. I wouldn't worry about the 50/50. I would make sure the contractor has been in business a minimum of 5 years and I would call their references.

I'm going to bed. As a fellow Texan I'm going to help you avoid grief. A lot of posters will follow and cause you to suffer paralysis by analysis. At the end of the day it is between you and your contractor. If they can't sell you on a quality system and help you understand responsible well done irrigation then you need to keep looking and learning.

McKinneyMagnum
03-12-2009, 09:46 PM
On the surface I like the WM guy material list better. 4 drip zones makes me a wee nervous. Could be really well done drip. I'd want it explained very thoroughly though. I suspect the drip system with the HUNTER is a lower price as well. I wouldn't worry about the 50/50. I would make sure the contractor has been in business a minimum of 5 years and I would call their references.

The WM guy has DRIP in our front landscaped beds and beds in the backyard. The rest of the backyard is concrete patio and deck (no grass). The rest of his plan is heads where there is grass. His estimate is $500 less than the Hunter guy. Will ask for references too.

Thanks for your feedback.

bcg
03-12-2009, 09:49 PM
I like the WM list better. I'd ask for 1804-PRS heads instead of the DVF100 valves and just use the DV100. On the drip, I see you're in Texas and the laws here have recently changed. Do you have any areas where the grass or landscaping is less than 4' wide with hard surfaces on eitehr side of it? If so, you'll be required to use drip in those areas now. DFW seems to be one of the first areas to really be enforcing the new regs so I'm sure the guys are taking them into consideration with the design since they should have to submit a plan to the city before getting permits.

We do all our bigger projects 50/50 so I wouldn't be worried. Just pay the deposit with a credit card and you're protected anyway.

McKinneyMagnum
03-12-2009, 09:55 PM
I like the WM list better. I'd ask for 1804-PRS heads instead of the DVF100 valves and just use the DV100. On the drip, I see you're in Texas and the laws here have recently changed. Do you have any areas where the grass or landscaping is less than 4' wide with hard surfaces on eitehr side of it? If so, you'll be required to use drip in those areas now. DFW seems to be one of the first areas to really be enforcing the new regs so I'm sure the guys are taking them into consideration with the design since they should have to submit a plan to the city before getting permits.

We do all our bigger projects 50/50 so I wouldn't be worried. Just pay the deposit with a credit card and you're protected anyway.

Nope, the grass between the sidewalk and the street is just over 6' wide and he has those marked as heads.

About the only thing that is consistent with these estimates it the fact that all mention the new requirements in place for North Texas since Jan 1st...LOL. We originally looked at doing this back in Sept 2008 and held off, now we are paying for it :)

bcg
03-12-2009, 10:03 PM
It'll cost more but you'll get a better system out of it that will save you in the long run.

McKinneyMagnum
03-12-2009, 10:06 PM
It'll cost more but you'll get a better system out of it that will save you in the long run.

Which system are you referring to? The WM system is less money than the Hunter.

bcg
03-12-2009, 11:06 PM
The post Jan 1st system.

McKinneyMagnum
03-12-2009, 11:07 PM
The post Jan 1st system.

Oh yeah...that makes sense :) Sorry about that...time for some ZZZZs I think.

Kiril
03-13-2009, 08:39 AM
I'd ask for 1806-PRS and 1806 SAM-PRS where low head drainage is a concern. The extra 2" allows for maintaining higher cut turf.

A properly installed drip zone will most likely cost more than the comparable solid set spray option. IMHO, anything that is not turf should be micro-irrigated ... especially in areas around the house.

If I am not mistaken, the Hunter Solar Sync is new this year, so it hasn't been "field tested" and a real world comparison with the WMSL is not really possible. That said, IMO the solar sync is more a stop gap than a real solution.

FIMCO-MEISTER
03-13-2009, 08:56 AM
1806s are a no go in this area. Not a bad idea it just isn't done here.

Kiril
03-13-2009, 09:00 AM
1806s are a no go in this area. Not a bad idea it just isn't done here.

Things can change ... especially given water issues. :)

FIMCO-MEISTER
03-13-2009, 09:03 AM
Things can change ... especially given water issues. :)

Maybe but in bermuda 6" is overkill though in St. Aug it would be nice. I will add that 6" popups get pushed out of plumb easier than 4s in our soil and on a 6" being slightly off becomes magnified when spraying.

Also Kiril on a design what would you look for to decide if the drip is going to be put in proper? Unless I know the contractors work I always assume the drip will be run like black soaker pipe and not with any design methodology.

Kiril
03-13-2009, 09:23 AM
Also Kiril on a design what would you look for to decide if the drip is going to be put in proper?

If I don't have the design and just a material list, total footage of pipe used would be a good indicator. With a design in hand, it should be fairly easy to determine if the pipe layout is drawn in.

IMO, a Netafim grid with multiple feeds is the only way to install drip, anything less is more likely to fail than not. By fail I mean either literally fail, or fail to perform up to expectations.

Unless I know the contractors work I always assume the drip will be run like black soaker pipe and not with any design methodology.

I would say that is a safe bet, and I suppose in a few situations "might" be acceptable (i.e. isolated plantings), but generally speaking if you are using drip in place of sprays it needs to be a grid.

McKinneyMagnum
03-13-2009, 09:45 AM
If I don't have the design and just a material list, total footage of pipe used would be a good indicator. With a design in hand, it should be fairly easy to determine if the pipe layout is drawn in.

IMO, a Netafim grid with multiple feeds is the only way to install drip, anything less is more likely to fail than not. By fail I mean either literally fail, or fail to perform up to expectations.



I would say that is a safe bet, and I suppose in a few situations "might" be acceptable (i.e. isolated plantings), but generally speaking if you are using drip in place of sprays it needs to be a grid.

Hmmm...the last estimate I got late yesterday suggests NOT using Netafilm and only to use RB's drip. He believes RBs is the best on the market.

One of the other estimates did list the number of feet of drip he was using (I wish I had it in front of me right now).

Mike Leary
03-13-2009, 09:54 AM
I'd ask for 1806-PRS and 1806 SAM-PRS where low head drainage is a concern. The extra 2" allows for maintaining higher cut turf.

:clapping::clapping::clapping:

Kiril
03-13-2009, 10:08 AM
Hmmm...the last estimate I got late yesterday suggests NOT using Netafilm and only to use RB's drip. He believes RBs is the best on the market.

Netafim is the top of the hill with respect to inline drip. They have been doing it longer than anyone else far as I know, and those who have followed are nothing more than imitators.

Everyone has their preferences and then sometimes there are other reasons for pushing a particular product over another (availability, contractor kickbacks, brand loyalty, etc...).

Personally, I am not a "brand loyal" type of guy. I pick the best product for the application and budget regardless of who makes it. That said, when it comes to inline drip (1/2" and larger), it is Netafim or nothing. :) There are some things I am willing to compromise on, inline drip is not one of them.

In order to determine how the drip is going to be installed using the length of pipe estimated, you also need to provide the accurate dimensions of the area it is being used in, soil type (rough estimation of % clay is fine), and type of plants you plan to use. Ideally it would be nice to know exposure and slope as well, but the above should be good enough to get an idea of how the drip will most likely be installed (or at least should be installed).

So with that info you can estimate the pipe needed to install a Netafim grid using their estimation formula. The formula should works regardless of who manufactures the pipe as long as the product is comparable (i.e. dripper output and dripper & lateral spacing). If you know your soil type, that would also be good information to include.

EagleLandscape
03-13-2009, 10:39 AM
Stay with netafim drip.

Do you have copies of the designs? If so, does it say who the designer is? if it is John Wingfield SR LI 851, I would go with whoever brought that design to you. Parts are going to be a minor thing, (other than controller). The design is going to be what you really want. Quality design, means using less water!!!

McKinneyMagnum
03-13-2009, 10:48 AM
Stay with netafim drip.

Do you have copies of the designs? If so, does it say who the designer is? if it is John Wingfield SR LI 851, I would go with whoever brought that design to you. Parts are going to be a minor thing, (other than controller). The design is going to be what you really want. Quality design, means using less water!!!

So far the designs I have seen are roughly drawn out on graph paper by the guy that gave me the estimate so not sure how accurate they are.

Kiril
03-13-2009, 10:55 AM
Did either one note hydrozones?

Wet_Boots
03-13-2009, 11:11 AM
....and what's their shoe size?

McKinneyMagnum
03-13-2009, 11:12 AM
Did either one note hydrozones?

I cant remember...but I will look tonight when the estimates are in front of me.