All Things Rain Bird

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by Ron Wolfarth, Aug 11, 2014.

  1. stebs

    stebs LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 499

    Possible future addition? Not fond of having it cancel an entire program over a quick shower with insignificant rainfall...
  2. Ron Wolfarth

    Ron Wolfarth Sponsor
    Messages: 1,036

    I will check with the Product Manager, but my understanding of this is that the quick shut off will react very quickly, but if the rainfall does not reach a certain threshold, it then continues to irrigate as programmed. This way, the system is not irrigating in the rain prompting complaints, but will resume once the short, insignificant rain has stopped.
  3. ArTurf

    ArTurf LawnSite Platinum Member
    Male, from Ark
    Messages: 4,473

    Is this some feature I am unaware of? I set the shut off point to the amount of rainfall reaches a certain point, 1/4" for instance
  4. Ron Wolfarth

    Ron Wolfarth Sponsor
    Messages: 1,036

  5. stebs

    stebs LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 499

    True, but when using with a controller such as the par +es, if the sensor stops a program, it does not automatically resume.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  6. Ron Wolfarth

    Ron Wolfarth Sponsor
    Messages: 1,036

    In another thread we were 'discussing' (some cussing, but mostly discussing) how homeowners should learn to program their controllers like we learn to use our thermostats.

    I agree with all those comments, but we are preaching to the choir here. Rain Bird's challenge is to design a product that the homeowner who will not take the time to learn much will still have a good outcome. I think the ESP-SMT is a step in the right direction. The contractor can set it up and then the homeowner has little real reason to mess with it. (I know some will anyway.) There is still room for improvement.

    Motivation has a lot to do with this. Maybe the California drought will change that region's perspective on the value of their landscapes and help them to recognize the value of true irrigation professionals and be willing to pay for the products and services that result in an acceptable landscape at the lowest total operating cost. Brown lawns are in the news. I haven't been there for a month or so, so I don't know how widespread that is.

    Maybe SoCalLandscapeManagement can shed some light?
  7. Ron Wolfarth

    Ron Wolfarth Sponsor
    Messages: 1,036

    This is mostly true. I discussed this with the Product Manager and learned that the WR2 interrupts the common wire on the controller. It does not interact with the controller, so it does not interrupt the program per se. Therefore, it cannot 'resume' the program.

    If a rain event starts while the controller is running, the WR2 interrupts the common and irrigation will stop. When the rain event has stopped and the rain was not sufficient to satisfy the threshold setting of the WR2, the WR2 will wait 10 minutes. If the condition is stable for those 10 minutes (meaning no more moisture is added to the disks in the device) then it closes the common. If time is still remaining in the controller's programmed run time, it will then allow irrigation to continue for the balance of the controller's programmed run time. It will not interact with the controller in such a way as to capture that 'lost time' during the suspension of irrigation while it was raining.

    In some markets like in Florida, there are tight water restrictions and rain sensors are required. Sometimes those restrictions allow irrigation once per week. If it starts to rain at during the cycle, the rain sensor should stop irrigation to see if it is going to rain enough to completely eliminate the irrigation cycle. But if it is just a short rain that is insufficient, we want the irrigation cycle to continue. The WR2 allows for that.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2014
  8. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,335

    I understand the challenges faced by manufacturers to produce a product that will actually be bought. This however doesn't necessarily mean products need to be designed so a 10 year old can use them.

    Smart controllers are not as "set it and forget it" as many think. It is only as smart as the person setting it up, and does need monitoring on a regular basis regardless of how smart it is. Yes it is a big step in the right direction (smart controllers in general), but IMO not quite there.

    While I do agree people should take the time to RTFM and learn how to properly operate their controller, actually knowing what your landscapes water needs are is infinitely more complex than simply learning how to program a controller, or by analogy, your thermostat. Even most landscape "professionals" I meet do not know how to do this properly and/or choose not to do it because it takes too much time .... the former being more true than the latter.

    What is the solution ..... I don't know. Hiring qualified professionals is certainly one solution, but many people probably won't do that because they think they know better.

    Personal responsibility .... doubt that is going to happen anytime soon, but if people are not going to take the time to learn how to do something right, then they should hire someone to do it right for them.

    Yes there is and Rainbird has come a long way in the right direction with the SMT, but until the engineers can get out of their "program" mind set and generic variable assumptions (some), it will still fall short. It is fine to make a simple dumbed down option for the masses, however advanced setup should be just that .... advanced. Full control over variable values along with full independent control of every valve/station.

    Another thing that has always baffled me is why irrigation control technology (hardware and software) is about a decade or more behind everything else.

    Perhaps .... money being the biggest motivator. When water costs go through the roof, then people will start thinking about it their irrigation use, or just shut it off.
  9. Ron Wolfarth

    Ron Wolfarth Sponsor
    Messages: 1,036


    I believe that at least some customers do it themselves because they don't know how to select the right contractor and may have been burned in the past by someone who said they knew what they were doing when they did not. In the auto industry, they addressed this with certifications. You go there and see all the different certifications hanging on the wall for each of the mechanics. The IA has offered this for years. It is not used for the marketing tool that it could be to differentiate ones who truly know what they are doing from those who are just good talkers. Everyone with certifications should prominently promote them to their customers so that eventually customers might actually start to look for them.
  10. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,226

    Frantic call from a long time customer last night. Her recent water bill came and it was over $1000, and I think it's 7-8 zones. Apparently her son changed out the controller this summer, after we got the system up and going in the spring. He put in some "smart" controller to adjust on it's own so she doesn't have to call us every time the lawn gets dry. Older lady, couldn't understand a simple RB ESP. She also couldn't figure out the old RB RC mechanical controller she had many years ago that we replaced due to failure. Looking forward to seeing how the controller was set up by the son.

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