Lithium batteries (not replaceable) ............ good idea or not?

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by irrig8r, Apr 10, 2007.

  1. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,553

    I was installing a Rain Bird ESP-M today and noticed that it said a lithium battery was used to back up the date and time. It also said in was non-serviceable, or some words to that effect.. basically making the whole panel disposable.

    I don't expect the back-up battery to last forever, but how long should a lithium battery last?

    I know that the non-volatile memory in the ESP-M (just like in the Hunter Pro-C ..... the Irrigation Direct DMC) saves the data and the lithium battery just time and date...

    But the Pro-C used alkaline batteries for time and date and they are serviceable, and the I.D. DMC has removable/replaceable lithium batteries...

    So why does Rain Bird not have a replaceable battery?

    To add insult to injury, while setting up the controller, about an hour after plugging it in and setting the time and date, I unplugged it to install an in-use cover, and when I plugged it back in, date and time reverted to default factory settings... a call to Rain Bird Tech Support wasn't much help...

    A guy named Robert suggested I needed to add a 9 volt battery.. he wasn't sure if the lithium battery needed charging ... I told him I would leave it plugged in overnight and check tomorrow to see if it charged up or not...

    Now I do like some of the ESP features: good self-diagnostics, large display, easy to read and program for older folks not used to electronic gadgets, and the Contractor Default™ program for when they mess up...

    But having no access to the lithium battery seems like a strange oversight...planned obsolescence if you will...

    And the Rain Bird screw-up with their remotes is just another nail in the coffin...
  2. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,794

    The lithium battery only has to run the internal clock, it should last at least 5 years. If it fails, you plug a 9 volt battery into the pigtail and your good to go.

    If anything, it keeps you from having to buy a bunch of alkaline batteries.
  3. BSME

    BSME LawnSite Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 829

    anyone carry 9Vs with them in the spring? I always thought it would be a nice service touch but it seems to work out that while I'm showing the home owner how I set it up I mention it has a battery backup and they usually go run and get a 9V.
  4. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,496

    Both of our trucks carry two 12 battery cases of 9-volt batteries all times of the year. Not only are they used for our normal controller back-ups but they're used for our metal detector, toner, battery-operated controllers etc. and we never want to be caught without a supply of them.
  5. BSME

    BSME LawnSite Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 829

    purp... I'm not talking to you when I ask questions about how other service techs do it...

    you're in a world of your own... they should make a seperate forum for you... jk... kinda
  6. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 50,752

    I usually try to grab some 9V alkalines whenever they're on sale in supermarkets. A buck a pop is about as cheap as I see them get.
  7. Grassmechanic

    Grassmechanic LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,697

    I do. Every controller that I run across gets a fresh, new 9v. Cheap peace of mind and the homeowners are usually astonished that someone would go the extra mile to change the battery. I hear all the time "my last irrigation guys never changed the battery". I tell them "that's a good reason why they're your last irrigation guy".
  8. BSME

    BSME LawnSite Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 829

    well great... looks like I need to keep up with grassmechanic now..

    It's not really about the buck. I usually do have a few in the truck but by the time I'm in the basement or something with the homeowner and realize they could use a new battery it seems easier that they grab one.

    I'll go make a trip to costco while there is still snow on the ground
  9. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,226

    I try to keep them on the truck as well, and replace as needed. But I don't carry the Ni-Cad rechargeable that the older Rainbird ESPs used. I looked inside one the other day and of course someone had put in an alkaline instead. The whole bottom end was blown out and battery acid all over the battery compartment area. Seen this many times. I just tell them to go buy one themselves.

    I also keep them around for my StationMaster actuator.
  10. Grassmechanic

    Grassmechanic LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,697

    BSME - that little act of replacing the batteries has got me more jobs than a years worth of advertising. Around here, irrigation systems are somewhat of a status symbol - those that have them, have friends that have them also. And sooner or later, they all need work done to their systems.

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