Hunter IMMS vs Rain Bird IQ Central Systems

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by zman9119, Sep 2, 2013.

  1. zman9119

    zman9119 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 852

    Does anyone have any hands on experience or thoughts between the two systems?

    Any benefits or things you liked about one over the other?

    We are specing out an upgrade for a complex right now and are wanting it to be central capable (as this will probably occur in phases) and I am looking for the most reasonable option at this time.
  2. HunterTekGeek

    HunterTekGeek Sponsor
    Messages: 329

    Whichever system you choose, make sure you research and understand the communications options and installation needs beforehand. You can't stick a UHF radio/antenna inside a metal building. Take a look at Ethernet/LAN options along with hardwire communication. Cell/GPRS is a great option but again, it doesn't work in every area or building type.
  3. zman9119

    zman9119 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 852

    Only issue we are running into right now on the research side is that most of these controllers are more than 2,000' away from the host controller so that eliminates the use of WiFi, Ethernet, or some radio systems, even using direct connected loop would be maxed out as one run is 3,000' from the host. All of the controllers are located outside away from building too and receive decent cell signal per a site survey if we have to go that route...

    My only issue with Hunter right now is that they said the I-Core would be central compatible by Fall 2013 (which would push me over the top for IMMS)... but now they are saying *possibly* Spring or maybe sometime 2014 and refuse to supply any info regarding comms and if it will be like the ACC set-up (Talked to local sales rep, regional, and upper manager, etc.). That is the only reason I am looking at other systems at this time. I originally speced the I-Core for all of the controllers but it doesn't give me much faith when they won't work with a contractor just a little.
  4. SoCalLandscapeMgmt

    SoCalLandscapeMgmt LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,155

    I've been running a 5 site IQ system for about 2 years now and I've been pretty pleased with it. All of my sites are single controller so we just have a phone line at each location and the computer dials in every night and updates the program. I know that with the newer NCC Cartridges for the ESP-LXMe you can set it up so one controller is the host which communicates with the central computer and then pushes the data out to the other controllers. Perhaps you can figure a way to configure your site so that the controllers are all within the maximum distance of the host controller and then you only have to figure one communication path between the central and the host controller or maybe you have two host controllers. It would be worth a phone call to Rain Bird to talk to somebody about your specific site. We have another site with Maxi-Com where we have the central computer talking to one of the CCU's via a 900mhz spread spectrum radio. The distance is a little over a quarter of a mile with a lot of physical objects and structures in between the two antennas and it connects perfectly. IQ v2.0 will monitor flow too now so we're going to be upgrading the satellite controllers and installing flow sensors now as well. If you have any other specific questions just let me know.
  5. zman9119

    zman9119 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 852

    My RB rep said the 900mhz spread spectrum radio on the ESP-LXMe controllers can be real iffy at times and have not had much success with them. That would be my first choice "in theory" since we have line of sight without any interference between 3 of the 4 controllers on the south part of the property (unless you count a 26 acre lake as interference).
  6. hoskm01

    hoskm01 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,690

    I've found the systems to be equally capable, but for an affordability standpoint.

    Controllers aside, not having to purchase IMMS creates a HUGE savings right off the bat.
  7. zman9119

    zman9119 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 852

    IMMS is a huge cost, but it does have the maps feature that IQ does not offer. In the end, they are basically offer the same features.

    We are only looking at a $150.00 price difference between the RB ESP-LXMe controller (with flow control module) and the ICORE both with metal pedestals.

    One of those take the risk now with the I-CORE and see what happens in the future with central capability or go with something that is already central ready...
  8. Irrigation Contractor

    Irrigation Contractor LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 423

    With the Rainbird IQ we have found using the GPRS is the most reliable even with multiple clocks at the same site. The data plans are minimum once you create a business account. ($12-$15 per month per controller)

    We have one property with 8 - LXD controllers all running flow with multiple water sources per system or controller. The Flow Manager is an excellent benefit to narrow down water windows making programming a breeze.

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