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Program Start Time (multiplier)

Discussion in 'Zone Talk' started by Lloydk, Nov 18, 2018.

  1. Lloydk

    Lloydk LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    The STACKING RUN TIME concept to achieve desired RUN TIMES seems a bit clumsy. It can be error prone and creates some very larger reports and lengthy Calendar messages if you have many zones.

    If a new field called "Multiplier" defaulted to 1, with a range of 1 to 6 was added to the PROGRAM START TIME screen, a couple things could be done internal pragmatically.
    1. use the "MULTIPLIER" to create internal stacked START TIMES (eliminates manual entries"


    2. use the MULTIPLIER" to calculate the total run time for each zone. (Multiplier * Zone Run Time). (no stacked Run Times needed)

    Any thoughts??
  2. mitchgo

    mitchgo LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,530

    First off, What type of controller are you operating for this?

    The method you are talking about is ' Cycle and Soak ' . The concept is to help provide a desired watering soil depth to provide water to the rootzone of your plant. ( Remember - this is your job... You Water ROOTS!) . This is dependent on a few factors ; Soil Type, Sloap, Micro-climate, Hydro-zone and sprinkler application- (DU) Distribution Uniformity and (AE)- Application Efficiency. This method of watering truly is a better way overall to water your landscape- it's just harder to program and figure out.

    Almost all traditional controllers these days having the ability for Multiple Programs ( A,B,C,D) Which ultimately gives you the ability to separate day frequency, also they have multiple start times within each program- Average 4-8 start times which ultimately is your ' multiplier ' as it duplicates the program .

    There are several controllers out there that have there own ' cycle and soak' and also ' Stackable ' sections of programming on the controller itself. There are also a few controllers out there with this same concept except programmed at an Each Zone Basis with it's own set start time. Lets not even touch Smart Controllers that do this all for you.

    You state that it is clumsy and prone to error. The reality is this method of programming shouldn't be setup if you don't know what you are doing, as you are right you can easily mess your programming up.

    My suggestion is if you are to use this method- get use to format that's been provided. Although I would agree with the terminology - to Someone who doesn't know what is/isn't . Start Time 1, 2,3,4 ect.. can make it sound like it's the start time for each zone.. which I see all the time people getting mixed up. If it was named ' Multiplier programming' or ' Duplicate programming ' instead of ' start time for 2,3,4 or more then it might make more sense for people
    hort101 likes this.
  3. OP

    Lloydk LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Just a follow up to my original message to clarify some things I failed to point out.
    The controller I was talking about is a Hunter Pro-HC which has no A B C D concept like the Rainbird Controller I had been using for several years. Currently have 24 zones.
    I enjoy the Hunter Controller and its WiFi app is very good.

    In my area (west central Wisconsin) we do very little with The Cycle and Soak concept do to our environment and short season. May make some minor run time changes for a drip zone or real sandy area. Have always used A & B programs for long runs (30 minutes) every other day, C program for short runs. Example: Five (5) minutes after fertilizing, after mowing, spring startup testing, fall blow out, etc.

    The only way I can accomplish this with my Hunter is to set all zones to 5 minutes run time and setup 6 stacked Start Times (2:00 AM,2:01 AM,2:02 AM etc) to achieve the 30 minute runs each day. The special short runs would obviously only need 1 start time. If there is a better way let me know!

    This concept works fine but little messy when I want to increase/decrease the 30 minute run time based on weather conditions or other reasons. (must remove or add stacked start times).

    If there was another option to expand or decrease run times using a “Multiplier” to modify Zone Run Times would be helpful to non complicated applications such as mine. (multiplier * Zone Run Time = total Run Time).

    This would provide another option and all other functions of the Hunter including “Cycle and Soak” would be available and remain the same.

    I started the thread to see if others would be interested in this concept. If interest shown, Hunter may look at in any future programming upgrades.

    hort101 likes this.
  4. mitchgo

    mitchgo LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,530

    I agree the programming on the hydrawise is tough . More then anything- it's not very user friendly/ intuitive. I was very excited when Hunter bought out/ Endorsed hydrawise, at the time they were the first main brand irrigation company to have a real Wifi controller ( Other then Irritrol but that controller was almost a separate entity in itself) However as I began seeing other controllers out there-I found a lot to be easier to use.

    Most of All of what you are saying is there in the program. It's just hard to figure out. My suggestion is to take about an hour or 2 and create a large list of preconfigured settings to how you want it and then just change it when you need to.

    To be frank, you probably just have limited experience/ knowledge with the hydrawise. Which is understandable. Hunter is well versed with the 'cycle and soak ' method. To my knowledge the xcore is the only controller out there that has a dial icon option on the controller face itself that reads ' cycle and soak'

    Part of this is letting go of what you know and allowing the controller to take control- base off the input you give. This is what a smart controller is, which is purely based off mathematical equations based off many factors. When you tell a controller It has Full sun Lawn on a 5% slop with pure clay with spray head VANS @3 Inch/hour . The controller takes all of these very basic answers and calculates them into rather complicated mathematic equations and creates a scheduled based off numbers- nothing else.

    I can't even really do that just yet. When I Want 30 min run time I don't want to have to create a crazy program and then ' manipulate' it in the advanced sections to get my 30 min.
  5. OP

    Lloydk LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Got it all figured out...no need for multiplier.
    Great controller..many options

  6. Love the Green Biz

    Love the Green Biz LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,734

    Cycle and soak programming has been around for a long time yet many in the industry don't or won't wrap their heads around it be it conventionally or with smart controllers.

    Nature demonstrates cycle and soak benefits with different rain fall events. During a dry summer stretch a thunderstorm rolls in and dumps 1.5 inches of rain in an hour or less. Parched non-irrigated turf doesn't respond much over the next several days. If the 1.5 inches were spread over two or three days in multiple increments the dry turf responds positively and starts to green up. Short answer-more water gets to the root zone's appropriate depth and is in the root zone longer.

    Smart controllers and their idiosyncrasies take a bit of getting used to, not the least of which is when the client that recently had their old controller replaced calls you up and demands to know what you did wrong-their sprinklers are doing all sorts of "weird" things.

    I had stacking occur when is is very hot and dry and I have limited the water window to a 12 am to 5 am slot. If the unit calculates that it cannot apply adequate water it will water "X" minutes on zones and then finish it after the initial cycle as needed. I just tell the clients it is the equivalent of a "sleeping dog" and should be left alone.
  7. DitchDiggler

    DitchDiggler LawnSite Member
    Messages: 20

    Hunters hydrawise does have A,B,C,D programming. Makes it really easy to use.

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