Hunter Et System

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by irrig8r, Apr 21, 2007.

  1. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,553

    I'm certified on the Weathermatic Smartline (just one installed so far.... monitoring it's reliability.) And just last week I took and passed the test online for the WeatheTRAK-enabled Irritrol Smart Dial.

    I have a lot of ICCs and Pro-Cs installed on past jobs and I'm offering one homeowner a slight break on my labor for an ET System with her knowledge it's my first one... Any of you out there install one yet? Any tricks or points I need to pay attention to that i might easily overlook?

    My plan is to set it on a post at about 6 feet off the ground in a shrub area that's pretty wide open to the sky, but not too conspicuous.

    To do this I'll have to run the cable thru conduit under a walkway. Haven't even looked at the instructions yet, but I think I read that within 100 ft. of the controller is good. I'll probably run the cable through conduit the whole distance. Looks like part of it connects to a SmartPort, but also has a SmartPort coming from that same piece, and I'm guessing that's for my remote.

    One zone is lawn with PGPs on a steep slope, another zone lawn with 570s that's flat in full sun. Two more lawn zones of 570s in shade. A handful of drip zones, 3 Xeripop zones, 3 zones of PGMs in ground cover on a slope (2 shade, 1 sun) etc., etc. .. so basically, a lot of variety.

    Should be a good test case, but I'm thinking the hardest to figure out will probably be the drip.

    Any advice is welcome.

    I have one customer who calls me his "irrigation guru" and another that calls me the "McGuyver of irrigation" so I have a longstanding and hard won reputation to uphold :)
  2. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,496

    I haven't used the Hunter ET system yet but was thinking about testing it out on my home system. Let me know how things go as you get the chance to see it in action.
  3. bdb

    bdb LawnSite Member
    Messages: 74

    The WM controller is not true ET. WM is perfect for smaller residentials to keep it affordable. And it does a good job. I think the Hunter ET is a more precise unit. This is the better choice for the larger properties. IMO its a just too big to mount on a house within 100' of the controller. The Rain Bird and the Irritrol you have to subscribe to a service......are you kidding me. I'll sell you this cool controller for a more then a standard one and you, have to pay a fee every month to use it. Not to many customers want that!
  4. zman9119

    zman9119 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 852

    I looking into the Rain Bird setup last year. They had no providers in my area, so they offered to set me up as one...

    I thought it would be nice until they gave me the price of 7,000$ for a weather station, broadcasting unit, and all the other junk. They say you can resell the broadcasting information, but who is going to waste their time doing that.

  5. Rotor_Tool

    Rotor_Tool LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 349

    Depends on where you live as to whether or not you pay a service fee for the Rain Bird unit (ET Manager). I know in Utah, the state provides the signal for free to anyone that wants to use it; this is also the case for many of the large municipalities in Colorado. In other parts of the country, you must pay a minimal signal fee, but you do not have any onsite weather instruments to maintain. My distributor demonstrated the Rain Bird unit to me in comparison with the other ET based devices not long ago. The nice thing about the Rain Bird unit is that it works with any sprinkler controller and it does not manipulate run times which could lead to trouble.
  6. Remote Pigtails

    Remote Pigtails LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 581

    I agree with you completely. We've been pretty happy with the smartline. My supply house tells me they sell a lot of them but not nearly as many monitors. On the Hunter ET I was told cleaning the radiation shield regularly is really important. haven't tried it yet and doubt I will unless the positive feedback is overwhelming on this site. Except for the PGP I've always had a bias against Hunter. They seem to be popular with contractors on this site so I've tried a few of the products. Micro sprays didn't do much for me. Ck valve prs heads were okay but I'll stick with RB. Hate the seasonal adjust on their residential controllers. SRV valve has ruined any desire to try their other valves.
  7. Rotor_Tool

    Rotor_Tool LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 349

    I heard some noise about a bill that was to be heard by the Senate in TX requiring these smart controllers on every irrigation system in the future, any news related to that?

    I've heard some stories from friends in the business in MI and other parts of the Midwest that have experienced complete failure with the Hunter ET Systems. A few have had to provide complete landscape replacements (including turf) because the weather sensors had failed. I didn't think this system was even for sale yet because of these issues. I have another friend in Dallas that installed 30 of these things in a development and the management of the development made the installer take the product down because the "weather stations" are such an eyesore. Besides these things, if you don't have a Hunter controller with a smart port (and why would you?) you have to replace the controller to work with the ET System.

    I've read other posts concerning the WeatherMatic Smartline product on this site, where guys have mentioned plant water requirements. The WMatic, Hunter, Toro-Irritrol-Hydropoint, products all adjust run-times vs. frequency. So, if ET took .15" away yesterday the controller will put back .15" today. How is that satisfying the plants water needs? It seems that the unit is teasing the root structure of the plant.
  8. Remote Pigtails

    Remote Pigtails LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 581

    If you want to see the guidelines of the future I'd suggest Frisco, TX
    The current philosophy seems to be a move away from infrequent heavy run and soak watering to frequent ET based watering. They say now that 80% of water and nutrient absorption occurs in the top 2-4 inches of soil and all this effort to encourage deep root systems is wasted water. My attitude is learn to recognize plant symptons and water accordingly.
  9. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,496

    To better understand ET-based watering you should hone up your knowledge skills because there are a LOT of interrelated aspects to it... from available water holding capacity (often referred to as field capacity in the ag areas), soil texture/structure, root zone depth, irrigation system efficiency, plant crop coefficients, plant transpiration and soil moisture evaporation, system precipitation rates, etc. There are literally thousands of resources on the internet that can explain it from the simple layman concept to highly technical and mathematical papers.

    An easy-to-understand resource is and most other irrigation manufacturers that sell ET-based components usually have explanatory informational resources available for downloading.

    A college background in Plant Sciences, Soils Technologies and Irrigation Designing/Consulting doesn't hurt the knowledge curve either.
  10. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,496

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