Sprinkler Equipment

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by bicmudpuppy, Apr 22, 2005.

  1. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,781

    How 'bout everyone pitching in for a discussion about what they like to use / hate to service? I learned this business from the golf course industry side. One of the major benefits those guys have is a lack of competition. They share ideas and pull each other through because they aren't directly competing with one another to feed their families, etc. You go to a local Lawn care association meeting and you would think how to program a controller was a trade secret......It seems different here. Maybe because of the anonymity or distance between professionals.

    So, here goes. I am in the KC market as far as distributors go, but I moved here from Texas. I really like a lot of the Irritrol line.
    My equipment of preference is the Kwik Dial controller, 2400 series (prefer slip x slip) valves and the CR500 rotor.

    The Kwik Dial controller IMHO gives you the most bang for your buck. It has up to 31 day interval watering, up to 7 day rain off feature, perpetual calendar, 3 programs and grandma can program it.
    2400's I've always liked this valve, but for dirty water, the 205 is the best. Not all jar tops are created equal. If you see a flow pro, cut it out. Immediately. (just my opinion mind you) The jury is still out on the new RB.
    CR500 - Same gear as the PGP, slip clutch for true 360, beautiful nozzles that excel in low pressure, head will work at 30psi, easy to adjust and the pop 5" instead of 4"

    Junk I hate to service any controller you can buy at a hardware store or home center, and the ESP. The ESP is a great controller, but I was running service calls in DFW when the buttons were bad and we were constantly replacing them. Just a bad taste I can't get rid of. Toro visions simply because I really like that shocking realization that they have a vision controller when you stick you hand in a valve box full of water (the 12 volts for the clock back feed to the common and if a wire is the least bit unprotected, you will get shocked unless you have unplugged it. Rotors...I'll work on anything, would prefer to replace with what I have in the truck. T-birds are still junk. Valves, just fix it. (with the exception of the flow pro). What ever is there, repair it. Don't tear up the customers yard if you don't have to. Spend a few bucks to have one of each of the valves most common in your area and cannibalize them as needed. You will be more productive selling parts than digging big holes and replacing equipment

    These are just my opinions. I've been sorting through different equipment and fixing what I inherited on each site for over 25 years. I love this job. Would love to see a thread about repair tricks too, but lets have fun with this one first. Everybody likes different equipment for different reasons (and there is that particular device you groan every time you see one too. A lot feel that way about 2400's :) )
  2. Instant Rain

    Instant Rain LawnSite Member
    Posts: 54

    Earlier in the week I was trying to rebuild a 3" Irritrol 100 series valve. It was leaking from under the solenoid. So I went to the local
    supply house and bought a whole new valve. when i tried to place the new bonnet on the old valve it wouldn't fit! The 1996 valve in the ground had a bolt pattern about an eighth of an inch off of the 2005 valve bolt pattern. I really don't like this type of valve at all. I have had problems with the studs coming right out of the valve
    on the two inch type. the offset in elevation from the inlet and outlet
    are there to discourage any one from installing a different type of valve to replace them. Another one by the same company is the 700 series. it seems as though the first time even the smallest piece of debris gets caught under the diaphragm seat it will seep forever, even if you replace everything in the valve. I do like the 2400 series.
    Also the old RC controllers by Rain bird last forever. And I like the brass valves by Weathermatic. Hunter rotors are good. I don't like the LMC controllers.
  3. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,156

    Since we only do repair and service, we get to see all the products that fail more often, and the ones we rarely replace. So, here goes.

    Rotor heads
    Prefer: Hunter PGP and Rainbrd 5004
    Hate: Anything Toro, T-Bird (repalce thousands of these over the years), Maxi- and Mini-Paws (impact heads)

    Prefer: Rainbird DV (although they shut down fast ans can cause water hammer), Irritrol 2400 (simple valve to work on), Hunter
    Hate: anything Toro, old Hardie/Richdel/Champion valves, Greenlawn

    Prefer: Rainbird ESP (especially the new modular ones), Hunter SRC and Pro C
    Hate: anything Toro (get the picture yet),
  4. Flatbed

    Flatbed LawnSite Member
    from Iowa
    Posts: 39

    I use all Hunter parts for my new installs. Not that I don't like the others, I started using Hunter from the start, and have had no reason to change. I use Pro-C controllers, SRV valves, PGP Rotors, PGJ Rotors, and Hunter sprays. Rainbird has a good controller, but I have found that homeowners have a hard time using them. I have replaced a lot of T-Birds this year. One bigger company used them for years around here, and were pissed when they quit making them. I have also replaced four Irritrol Controllers. They were all older systems, and started doing odd things like running two zones at a time, and not putting out what the should for voltage.
  5. Planter

    Planter LawnSite Member
    from Utah
    Posts: 214

    DanaMac, I'm about the same as you. Except this year I've had some older ESP controllers that have given me problems. I HATE them. The display is hard to read, the toggle switch that changes from the front half (i.e., 1-6 and 7-12) to the back half of the stations won't work on the first stations after it toggles. Have several that work fine when running the program, but will keep firing the same station over and over no matter where you change the dial to, some of them even fire that station and the correct one listed on the controller. The wire area is too small for my fingers to wire into and the tech I work with has bigger fingers than me. I really hate the ESP controller (almost as bad as I hate the Orbit controller).
    I agree, anything that the brand starts with a T gets cut out and replaced with Hunter or RB. Not since working on it, faster and better to replace it.
  6. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,156

    I was first taught with the ESP and have stuck with it. Yeah, it's had it's set of problems over the years but I still prefer it. Never had the problem with the toggle switch you mentioned Planter. and I also have short, fat fingers (Hobbit hands :rolleyes: ) but never realized a problem with wiring them. The new modular model is easier with more room.

    Also hate Orbit, WaterMaster, anything Home depot sold. If someone wants a cheap timer put in, I won't do it. Even if they bought it (well maybe). I am still pushing updating controllers since our utilities company is still giving rebates for upgrading to certain ones. BUT the Hunter SRC doesn't qualify because it doesn't have the Seasonal Adjust % feature, unless they changed it and I haven't looked lately.
  7. Broker

    Broker LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 382

    My Preferences:

    2400T-B 1" residential valve


    4" spray- PS-04

    12" spray- Pro Spray

    Rotor- 5004

    Timer- PRO-C

    Remote- ICR

    Have had bad batches of: R-50, DV's, ESP's, I-20SS, 5004-pls-SS, SRV, PVG, 5004 (before they redesigned them, perfect record since), I will quit using a product if I get a bad batch, except for the 5004 (they got a second chance.)
  8. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,781

    I'm still really new to this site. When I started this, I was almost disapointed that I didn't see much response immediately. It just takes a few days to get quality responses. I like where we are going here.

    I also refuse to buy anything this that four letter T word on it, but.....since they bought out Hardie, I have to admit that some of the hardie stuff they are putting there name on ain't bad. The "new" super 800 is the CR500 that I love, and the upper end controllers same way.

    Danna Mac, If the water department (You just said utilities, assuming water) is giving rebates for controllers that will seasonal adjust, interval water, etc. I would strongly suggest you take a peak at the Kwick Dial. Honestly, I have had zero problems with this controller since Irritrol introduced it, and the price is right. For an indoor model, you won't pay much more than an SRC, and you will get a true perpetual clock, three programs instead of 2, Interval watering, seasonal adjust, and rain off features that that the SRC just doesn't have. If the remote capabilities are appealing from the SRC, Irritrol's remote works about the same, you just don't have the long range remote capablitlity that Hunter is producing.

    Oh, one other plus.......The Kwick Dial also comes in an outdoor model, just costs about 20 bucks extra for the internal transformer and swinging front door cover.
  9. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 47,701

    ...or initial design flaw. Including the Irritrol 2400 valve, in its earlier incarnation as the Richdel jar-top. Hopefully, a manufacturer responds to a problem quickly enough to minimize its impact on the professionals that use the product.

    I'm curious about what would have been the problem in a bad batch of R-50 heads by Rainbird. I don't think the company emphasizes this product very much, and it is a pain to adjust the R-50 heads at install, but they seem to have a good track record out in the field.

    As for the "T-word" - it is very likely that the most reliable sprinkler heads ever made have a T-word on each one.
  10. Broker

    Broker LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 382

    I like the way the R-50 look under pressure and the option of adjusting the speed. The bad batch that I was referring to effected 8 jobs where we had to go back and replace on the average of 3-4 heads per job. The stems where getting stuck. This was around 5 years ago. That was the same period where we where getting bad DV valves at a rate near 10%.

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