New Responsibilities - Irrigation

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by ERICKS, Aug 7, 2001.


    ERICKS LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    I have just take over a job that will involve setting and adjusting existing sprinkler programs as required. I will have 13 stores, all with the RainBird ESP-LXi+ controller. I have no clue regarding how many stations, locations, or what programs may be in the controllers. Is there an easy way to check the programs and record them for reference later. Where do I start!! Any help would be appreciated.

  2. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,712

    How does one go about getting a job they know nothing about?

    ERICKS LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    Years and years of sales experience. If you ask that question you must need to hire me to help you expand your business!! Actually it was aquired responsibility as part of a larger job.
  4. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,712

    Lets try this again. How did you represent yourself and your knowledge and capabilities to a client about something you don't know anything about and get them to give you the responsibility for this part of a larger job?

    I'm not sure sales skill is the answer, but I'm ready to listen.
  5. racerdave

    racerdave LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 260

    Doug, first of all welcome to Lawnsite. I may be able to help you getting up to speed. Please feel free to email or pm me. Maybe we can get together and I'll show you what I can.


    ERICKS LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    Hi HBFOXJr

    I didn't mean to be flippant with my reply, but really in a way it is the truth. We were being courted to take over the mowing on an account. Just happened they needed someone to check the existing irrigation system on a weekly basis, so they asked if we would do it. We let them know we didn't have any experience but, we would learn as quickly as we could. They were happy with that, probably since the existing programs were working great. There is a lot at risk, I realize, but we are getting a bunch of help.

  7. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,712 has downloadable manuals for controllers. Most controllers have sufficient instructions inside the door to operate them and change functions. The only way to know anything is to go through each clock and jot down the settings. It will help to post the schedule on paper beside each unit so that store staff and your employees can refer to it as needed.

    If your going to MANAGE the scheduling of the system, you'll need to familiarize yourself with each site on a zone by zone basis, noting head type, spray or rotor, nozzle sizes and spacing. Then learn how to calculate precipitation rates from the formulas available in the back of a RainBird or Hunter catalog. Try to find out the evapotranspiration rate, month by month for your area. You can then calulate how many minutes run each zone per week and divide it by the number of times per week (7 for daily and 3.5 for everyother day) for zone timimg per cycle.

    If it sounds like a lot of work it is initially. Once you do a few you'll learn that others that are set up similarly can use the same info.

    Why do it. Maybe you can save the customer money on water and improve the way the property looks.

    Downside - Maybe a hacker installed lousy systems and it will be difficult to do any of this. Possible re-do by a knowledgeable contractor your could subcontract.

    Tip - These controllers have a water budget feature that adjusts all program timing by a percentage at one shot. If your calculate your needed run times for the month(s ) of highest demand, set the water budget to 100% for timing and zone equal to the needs for that month.

    Then convert timing for the other months to a percentage of the greatest month. After that, all you have to do is change the water budget for each month which you could teach a store manager or your employee to do.

    The whole thing may require fine tuning as experience and conditions dictate but it works.
  8. gusbuster

    gusbuster LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,932

    Some other suggestions.

    Time consuming but worth it:
    Go visit every site, not the most reliable but pull\open the clock to expose the guts of the timer. Should see how many wires are actually connected. Remember not to count the power leads, pump relay, or the ground\common wire. Doesn’t mean that they all work but a fast way to check how many zones.

    Get a notebook, writing pad or something to write.
    Before doing the next step, break each property into areas, ie north south west, front office back garage ect...
    Manually operate each zone. Note type of irrigation involved. (Impact, drip, fixed sprays ect..)
    Write down the info.

    This does work best with 2 people (you operating timer and a grunt running around) and cheap 2 way radios.

    If you're able to post here, you must have a simple notepad, word, type of program. Put this info down in the computer. You can always sell this list to the property owner\next care company. I've made over a grand in the last 3 years selling my list to other LCO's.


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