Experiences with various Smart Controllers

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by ArTurf, Oct 12, 2011.

  1. Sprinkus

    Sprinkus LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,100

    Ever check out how many people are viewing the Irrigation forum?
    Right now it's around 60. And not hardly even a thank you for all of the technical information and entertainment that we provide.

    BTW, I always thought of this forum as a place for professional irrigators to hang out and share our experiences, and maybe help a person or two along the way.
    A civil discussion/debate will certainly keep more people interested in viewing and contributing to this forum than the opposite.
    And here's the giant truck just 'cause I wanted to see it:
    :gmctruck:
     
  2. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 47,381

    get a Ford, you piker :)
     
  3. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,912

    Geez, Boots, no rack? Oh, I forgot, you're a poly guy.

    old_ford_trucks_2.jpg
     
  4. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,535

    So, back to the topic...

    I installed the Irritrol Climate Logic today.

    If you install it, mount it so you can see it face on... a little to this side or that and it's much harder to see, though I read tonight in the manual that you can change the LCD display settings.

    The mounting arm on the sensor is a little weak IMO for something that costs this much. I was going to mount it to a copper roof gutter, but it has a rolled edge and the arm won't clamp securely. Going to put it on a post in some ground cover behind the pool equipment instead. Easier access for battery changes, open to the sky, but not in the way or too visible.

    The thing that bugs me the most are the things the manual leaves out, like explaining clearly how and when it overrides the clock programming.

    Hitting the clicker on the sensor a couple of times synching it and checking it out seems to have set the controller to 2 days off (which you can do manually in the Rain Off position.)

    All zones had to be assigned to Program A. Doesn't tell me if I also have to set days of the week , so I left three days on there. All zones are set for their peak run times (July) per instructions.

    More as I dig deeper into it.

    Tried calling them this afternoon a with a few questions, but of course they close at 4:00 PM , and I called at 4:04.
     
  5. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,912

    Got some pics, Gregg?
     
  6. 1idejim

    1idejim LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,339

    thank you, irrigation gods:laugh:
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2011
  7. castle555

    castle555 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 127

    Hi guys, been awhile. Wanted to weigh in on this because it needs more information for guys not so sure about the application of these SWT controllers.

    I've installed both the Hunter Pro-C with Solar Sync and the Irritrol (Toro) Climate Logic.
    Others I've used in the last couple of years are Toro's Intellisense and SmartDial (same thing) and the Weathermatic with SLW20.

    The Intellisense can be set up to obtain daily ET data from Satellite (small subscription fee.
    Also set up a few RainBird ESP SMT systems and found them to need allot of monitoring and checking to make sure the programming was correct. You can mistakenly double or
    'ghost' program them in the advanced mode.
    Although they do give you a nice display of current data and ET values with a history. And, you can save your contractor program settings to reset it later when the owner fouls it up, as they most certainly will do.

    The really neat thing about Climate Logic is it downloads 10 years of ET and Weather data based on that area's microclimate into the Climate Logic module from a chip. You can also synchronize several Climate Logics to the same sensor within 1000 feet to run multiple controllers (Cost Savings).

    I mount the sensors on a fence or other spot (yes, even a rain gutter) in 'full sun'. The key to these controllers is checking the results over a few weeks time and monitoring carefully that they are doing what you want them to do.
    I have to say that 'Climate Logic' is the most follow-up free one I've used with established plants and fairly good irrigation systems. Even across different Sunset Western climate zones (9 and 14).
    It also matters as to how efficient the watering system is that one is using with the selected controller. When designing and installing new irrigation systems, that eliminates inefficiency and these controllers work even better, of course!
    There could be a wrench in the whole thing with gross inefficiency if the irrigation system is old or not maintained. I fortunately haven't had any irrecoverable problems, and a only a few power outtages.

    As for Hunter and Solar Sync, It is a very good set up, however, do not hook up the 'blue wire' with newly installed landscape plantings until they have had a chance to root in. Then a couple of weeks later connect and signal it.

    Also make sure that you have made any adjustments to the scheduling and program with the controller in the 100% watering mode any time you change settings (very important!). And, place the Solar Sync sensor in a 'Full Sun' location.
    Best thing about the Pro-C is that it is probably the most homeowner or property manager friendly type that a non-expert can figure out and easily program. Just need the region number and start at default '5' for water needs, then adjust.
    As for an owner adjusting the Intellisense, I put a label on it that says "Don't Even Think About it"
    Contactor defaults are a great thing.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2011
  8. ArTurf

    ArTurf LawnSite Gold Member
    Male, from Ark
    Posts: 3,439

    [Best thing about the Pro-C is that it is probably the most homeowner or property manager friendly type that a non-expert can figure out and easily program. Just need the region number and start at default '5' for water needs, then adjust.
    As for an owner adjusting the Intellisense, I put a label on it that says "Don't Even Think About it"
    Contactor defaults are a great thing.[/QUOTE]


    One reason I chose the Pro-C is I thought it would be easy for the homeowner to program and change settings. No problem in some cases but over half cannot get it. Not referring to the solar sync but the basic settings. Not blaming the design of the Pro C, just want to hit some of my customers over the head to knock some sense into them at times.

    How does everyone teach thier customers to operate the controller? Guess I might need to start another post on this subject.
     
  9. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 47,381

    I emphasize "safe operations" that leave the original program intact. Manual cycles, mostly. Keep the Hunters' dial away from the areas where the program can be changed.
     
  10. ArTurf

    ArTurf LawnSite Gold Member
    Male, from Ark
    Posts: 3,439

    The main thing I need tht customers to adjust is the frequency of watering or "Set Days to Water". I generally do not need them to adjust start times or run times, just frequency. I give them them a carfully written out set of instructions which in a nutshell states water more frequently when it is hotter and dryer and less when the opposite is the case. Some seem to think there is one magical setting for the whole season. They can't seem to realize the difference in 80 degree vs 105 degree conditions. Go figure.
     

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