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View Full Version : Quirky irrigation addition, suggestions


GreenLight
08-21-2011, 10:06 AM
Warning, this is pretty long and there is a diagram attached. I have a new client that I just did repairs for on an existing system (home he just recently purchased). He has a large amount of property for a residence and already has a 12 zone system installed that covers the basic highlights of the entire surrounding residence. That being said, he has a large field in the backyard past the existing irrigation coverage that he is interested in irrigating. I did take offs and with a basic rotor head to head spacing he will need another 4-5 zones depending on the pressure I get from the existing system. Well there are a few obstacles. First, the RB ESP modular is maxed out and couldn't handle 5 more zones. The controller is only a few years old and is completely dedicated at this point. If I were to upgrade to a rb esp lx me I could incorporate the entire system, but the original clock would be a waste and I would have to run 18/7 about another 120 feet from the original controller to the valve locations I have in mind. I have included a pic to reference below. Ultimately, a new RB controller with 18 zone expandability, 120 feet of 18/7 and a complete rewire of all incoming wires would cost him about $850. I offered him another option which he appeared to like much more, a simple RB esp with one module to cover the 5 new zones and have room for future expansion. I would then simply run a common and master wire from the original controller to the new, 60 total feet in the basement(original system is controlled by master valve so the new controller would have to open it as well) and only charge him $260 for all of that. He sounded much more pleased about simply having 2 controllers at 1/3 of the price as opposed to one commercial controller handling everything. Now onto the next order of business.

The main line never even comes close to entering the back yard, in fact it terminates at manifold 3 which ultimately has one zone line going to the backyard. My plan was to cut out valve 12 at the manifold and then couple back the pipe using it as mainline to the back yard, then reinstall zone 12 valve right before the closest head on zone 12. This way I now have mainline to tie into without having to trench all the way around the house to get to it and run all new pipe. Ultimately, from this point I would Tee into the main line and begin feeding main to valves covering the lower field. Any suggestions or differing opinions?

Wet_Boots
08-21-2011, 10:10 AM
Are you including electronics to isolate the two controllers from each other, since they will both be wired to the master valve?

GreenLight
08-21-2011, 10:20 AM
Please elaborate wet boots, my ignorance might be showing a bit.

GreenLight
08-21-2011, 10:24 AM
Sorry, now I think I understand, I misspoke about that...I was going to run the master and common wire from the existing master valve back through the basement to the new controller and not wire directly from one controller to the other...WHat I meant, was both controllers would fire the same master valve.

Ultimately though, I guess that doesn't really change your question, it would still be applicable.

Wet_Boots
08-21-2011, 10:33 AM
Controllers might "talk to each other" when they are directly interconnected. I had it happen the first time I used a pair of electromechanical controllers in tandem, with a master valve. I had to add an isolation relay to keep them apart. In its purest form, this isolation relay would have two or more 24VAC coils, so it could be energized from multiple sources that aren't at all connected together. Lacking a multiple-coil relay, one can cobble together resistors and diodes and capacitors and power a DC relay to switch the master valve on and off.

You have to price this isolation into your bidding. It might make sense to do a bit more shopping for an 18-zone controller.

GreenLight
08-21-2011, 10:35 AM
I see what you are saying...Well that does bring mean to one other option as well. Eliminate the master valve altogether and not have to worry about wiring that extra 60 feet at all.

DanaMac
08-21-2011, 10:39 AM
If it has a master valve already, don't eliminate it. Especially if you are trying to use part of a lateral line to be used as main line. You have no idea the condition of the pipe, or if it is poly, if it is single clamped.

ArTurf
08-21-2011, 10:45 AM
I think 1 controller would be better in the long run. If you had 2 it would be hard to sync the 2 up for most homeowners. I have trouble with them working 1 control. You do not have to rewire the existing zones just change them over to the new controller, no big deal there.

I don't understand how you are going to use the end of zone 12 for a main line without capping off the heads?

Saving 60 feet of wire not a big deal either. I would just run a dedicated wire to the new manifold/zones through the basement as you mentioned. Don't see the problem there.

My opinion is do this right and don't end up with a rigged system just to save a few bucks.

GreenLight
08-21-2011, 11:02 AM
I think 1 controller would be better in the long run. If you had 2 it would be hard to sync the 2 up for most homeowners. I have trouble with them working 1 control. You do not have to rewire the existing zones just change them over to the new controller, no big deal there.

I don't understand how you are going to use the end of zone 12 for a main line without capping off the heads?

Saving 60 feet of wire not a big deal either. I would just run a dedicated wire to the new manifold/zones through the basement as you mentioned. Don't see the problem there.

My opinion is do this right and don't end up with a rigged system just to save a few bucks.

I don't disagree with you in theory at all. The two problems im facing are the price difference of $600.00 doing it one way vs. the other and the fact that if I get the 18 zone controller his 2 year old 12 zone controller is basically a paper weight in his storage shed. Im all for the 18 zone controller, but he really isn't crazy about it and would just assume dedicate another controller to the back fields. And yes, I agree, don't have to rewire all the valves, but I would have labor spent on dewiring the entire old controller, rewiring, reprogramming, remounting etc...

As for the zone 12 being used as main, ultimately I would be cutting the zone 12 valve back in right before it reaches the first head. The way it is now, zone 12 is at the manifold, the zone line then runs 125 feet around the house and through a lot of trees before it theoretically ever even gets to any heads. So, I planned on cutting out the valve at the manifold and letting that 125 feet become extended mainline and then right before the reaching the heads (which are piped in series) cut zone 12 valve back in and then run wire from my new controller to this zone (10 feet). Thus basically eliminating one zone from the old controller and zone 12 would now reside as a zone on the new controls along with the 5 other zone additions.

Wet_Boots
08-21-2011, 11:09 AM
Two separate controller locations is bogus. (just noticed that) ~ Use the "crosstalk" as reason to not go with the two controllers. He can always sell the old controller on eBay. No problem laying your hands on an 18-zone controller for less than $350

FIMCO-MEISTER
08-21-2011, 11:27 AM
The headaches involved with two controllers aren't worth the savings. Especially since a MV is involved. I'd let him pay the additional cost over three months before i'd get him into a system with 2 controllers.

GreenLight
08-21-2011, 11:27 AM
Two separate controller locations is bogus. (just noticed that) ~ Use the "crosstalk" as reason to not go with the two controllers. He can always sell the old controller on eBay. No problem laying your hands on an 18-zone controller for less than $350

The crosstalk part does concern me and im glad you brought that up. Based on the responses across the board, looks like im going to be breaking some bad news to the guy. I appreciate everyone's help on the matter, looks like im going up to the controller that can handle 18 zones, if he will go for it.

Sprinkus
08-21-2011, 11:57 AM
Use the Isolator (http://www.transitionalsystems.com/isolator.htm) if you have to connect two controllers to one master valve.

mitchgo
08-21-2011, 01:17 PM
How can you install the new controller on the opposite end of the house with out running wire from the existing system to the new controller's master valve?
It seems you would still have to trench along the side of the house to extend the wiring.


Why not use 1 controller... Maybe the Weathermatic SL 20 zone series? (http://www.sprinklerwarehouse.com/Weathermatic-Smartline-Irrigation-Controller-p/sl1620.htm)

Offer to take the controller that he has off his hands for a $125-150 discount and sell the controller yourself

GreenLight
08-21-2011, 01:50 PM
How can you install the new controller on the opposite end of the house with out running wire from the existing system to the new controller's master valve?
It seems you would still have to trench along the side of the house to extend the wiring.


Why not use 1 controller... Maybe the Weathermatic SL 20 zone series? (http://www.sprinklerwarehouse.com/Weathermatic-Smartline-Irrigation-Controller-p/sl1620.htm)

Offer to take the controller that he has off his hands for a $125-150 discount and sell the controller yourself


In the original plan the master valve is on the existing system and is right behind manifold 1. then feeds back through the wall (3 feet) to the existing controller. The floor plan you see is a large basement and I was going to carry common and hot wire from the master valve back to the new controller through the basement ceiling. I have basically decided to scrap that plan and sell a 18 zone controller. The WM has a great price tag, but I have had a few issues with WM and NOBODY seems to carry them in my area so replacement parts always have to be ordered (I also don't have a remote for the wm which is really my way of saying no.) I have basically gotten to the point of "if I don't have a remote for your product, im not installing it". It worked for me with RB and Hunter!

bcg
08-21-2011, 01:56 PM
I would never have even offered the option of 2 controllers, I'd have just said we'll need to change this one out. By the time you figure in the cost of the isolator and the hassles of trying to keep 2 controllers from running at the same time, etc., etc. there really is no savings. Remember, he's going to have to deal with those headaches a long time after he forgets about the money he "saved."

Wet_Boots
08-21-2011, 02:44 PM
In the original plan the master valve is on the existing system and is right behind manifold 1. then feeds back through the wall (3 feet) to the existing controller. The floor plan you see is a large basement and I was going to carry common and hot wire from the master valve back to the new controller through the basement ceiling. I have basically decided to scrap that plan and sell a 18 zone controller. The WM has a great price tag, but I have had a few issues with WM and NOBODY seems to carry them in my area so replacement parts always have to be ordered (I also don't have a remote for the wm which is really my way of saying no.) I have basically gotten to the point of "if I don't have a remote for your product, im not installing it". It worked for me with RB and Hunter!You can probably get most any brand of controller, for 18 zones or more, in the same price range. Irritrol's Total Control is less than $300 from Sprinkler Whorehouse.

Waterlogged
08-21-2011, 04:11 PM
I wouldn't do two controllers, if you can help it. I would install one controller, to eliminate the problem of two controllers talking to each other. Even though you ran a new wire to the master valve, you are still connecting the two controllers together.
I'm strictly a RainBird guy, but, the newly designed LXME has issues. I recently installed one of the new LXME"s. Seven of the 24 zones did not work. I could switch wires around and get them to work. I took the controller back to exchange it.
I was talking to my account mgr at my wholesaler and he started telling me about the issues with the newly designed LX. Apparently it runs the zones according to the length of the run times. It doesn't run in zone number order.
I couldn't put that controller up at my commercial property because I couldn't have the zones around the building come on at any time, when the controller thought they should, instead of in the order and the time that I wired them to.
Just want to give you a heads up before you put up an LXME and find out the changes the hard way. It's my understanding that RainBird is working on this issue.
I was able to find the last old style modular LX in our area and I put that up.

Wet_Boots
08-21-2011, 04:25 PM
Looks like a Hunter I-Core would be a good deal, especially as it comes in an outdoor case, with a built-in remote connector.

GreenLight
08-21-2011, 08:08 PM
Looks like a Hunter I-Core would be a good deal, especially as it comes in an outdoor case, with a built-in remote connector.


The I-core looks like the direction I will be going, I will explain in a follow up post.

GreenLight
08-21-2011, 08:20 PM
I wouldn't do two controllers, if you can help it. I would install one controller, to eliminate the problem of two controllers talking to each other. Even though you ran a new wire to the master valve, you are still connecting the two controllers together.
I'm strictly a RainBird guy, but, the newly designed LXME has issues. I recently installed one of the new LXME"s. Seven of the 24 zones did not work. I could switch wires around and get them to work. I took the controller back to exchange it.
I was talking to my account mgr at my wholesaler and he started telling me about the issues with the newly designed LX. Apparently it runs the zones according to the length of the run times. It doesn't run in zone number order.
I couldn't put that controller up at my commercial property because I couldn't have the zones around the building come on at any time, when the controller thought they should, instead of in the order and the time that I wired them to.
Just want to give you a heads up before you put up an LXME and find out the changes the hard way. It's my understanding that RainBird is working on this issue.
I was able to find the last old style modular LX in our area and I put that up.

Wow, you have no idea how coincidental it is that you bring up that issue with the LXME. On Monday I installed one of these controllers for a customer whose old RB non mod controller had been fried by lighting. The system had basically been built with zones 1-4 covering the foundation with sprays. The foundation plantings are all well established so I had run times ranging from 5 minutes to 10 minutes. Most of the remaining 9 zones were rotor zones that were running the turf and large wooded natural areas. Zone times ranged from 20 mins to 45 mins with the heavier runs times largely on zones 11-13. I set the controller for M,W,F,Sun watering days starting at 4:00 am. Then used the program review to check my start times, etc.

Well on wednesday I get a call from the client and he says "At 6:30 am this morning zone 2 was running." Im thinking oh great, stuck zone. So I ask if the pressure looked weak and he saw any other zones in operation and he said no, it appeared to be working fine. So he believes that the controller is repeating and I told him at 6:30 am the controller shouldn't have even reached the end of it's original cycle. So he said, let's see if it happens again Friday, I was agreeable and told him I would come take a look it if it did. I didn't hear back from him, but I have a feeling it did the same thing. This was a brand new LXME and if what you are saying is true across the board I bet it's the same thing.

jcom
08-23-2011, 12:37 PM
If he does not want to spend the money to do it correctly, do not do it at all.

Your name and reputation is attached to anything you do.

IMHO

John

AI Inc
08-23-2011, 12:53 PM
Wow, you have no idea how coincidental it is that you bring up that issue with the LXME. On Monday I installed one of these controllers for a customer whose old RB non mod controller had been fried by lighting. The system had basically been built with zones 1-4 covering the foundation with sprays. The foundation plantings are all well established so I had run times ranging from 5 minutes to 10 minutes. Most of the remaining 9 zones were rotor zones that were running the turf and large wooded natural areas. Zone times ranged from 20 mins to 45 mins with the heavier runs times largely on zones 11-13. I set the controller for M,W,F,Sun watering days starting at 4:00 am. Then used the program review to check my start times, etc.

Well on wednesday I get a call from the client and he says "At 6:30 am this morning zone 2 was running." Im thinking oh great, stuck zone. So I ask if the pressure looked weak and he saw any other zones in operation and he said no, it appeared to be working fine. So he believes that the controller is repeating and I told him at 6:30 am the controller shouldn't have even reached the end of it's original cycle. So he said, let's see if it happens again Friday, I was agreeable and told him I would come take a look it if it did. I didn't hear back from him, but I have a feeling it did the same thing. This was a brand new LXME and if what you are saying is true across the board I bet it's the same thing.

Should be mandatory that all engineers have to work 1 week a yr in the field.