Rainbird LXME Delay b/n station

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by e171fish, Jul 18, 2012.

  1. e171fish

    e171fish LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    I'm a homeowner and just had an irrigation system installed that uses a Rainbird LXME controller. The system is supplied by a well and the controller only allows up to a 10 minute delay between stations. I need a longer delay to allow the well to recharge.

    Without trading controllers, does anyone see a problem if I re-wire the controller using every other station connection port?

    Station 1 on the module connected to sprinkler zone 1, station 2 on the module not connected, station 3 on the module connected to sprinkler zone 2, and so on.

    I can then use the unconnected stations "run" time for setting whatever "delay" time is needed between stations as it cycles through the program.

    I tried it this afternoon and it works, but I'm wondering if there will be any negative effects.

    My installer told me that I know more about the controller than he does, so that is the reason for posting in a professional forum.

  2. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 50,752

    If the present controller doesn't satisfy, get a different one. Or better yet, balance the system so that your pump can run continuously, without the well going dry.

    By the way, it was not uncommon to program 'dead' stations, on old electromechanical controllers, for just the purpose of allowing wells to recharge. On modern controllers, your results may vary, as some controllers will not let a zone operate with an electrical fault present, and that would include an open circuit
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2012
  3. mrsteve

    mrsteve LawnSite Member
    Messages: 158

    I have one of those controllers in play and it will do almost everything you could want. I looked in the manual for the station delay and you are right on ten being the max setting according to the book. I don't see a problem with swapping wires to get more time. You should be able to turn off any activation of master valves etc. on the dummy stations. Maybe the pump experts will chime in with any concerns.
  4. 1idejim

    1idejim LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,358

    that doesn't speak very highly of the installer, does it?

    how much time are you placing on your ~recharge~ stations?

    unless you create a circuit the only thing you have is a hot terminal. if you were daisy chaining the vacant stations you could be asking for trouble back feeding current.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  5. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,226

    I have seen this done. I have a customer with 4 older RB ESP 8 station controllers on a wall (don't ask, I've tried upselling). She does the exact same thing. Her system is on a well, but it comes off the house and the tank. It's not designed where it is turning on the pump directly, through the controller. So with hers, the pump is not operating when the "dead" stations are running. Seems to work for her.

    To the OP - how many stations do you have? Could you still utilize the delay, and set up half the stations for one day, and have the other half run the next day? Using the A and B program?
  6. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 50,752

    It does seem odd for a controller to have a station delay that does not permit well recharging.
  7. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,335

    1) Determine what your well can supply continuously and short term

    2) Schedule your run times so they don't exceed that amount by splitting the total zone runtime over multiple start times, allowing for well recharge between the end of the one cycle and the start of the next.

    2a) Alternatively you can schedule the cycle and soak for a soak time of up to 60 minutes for each zone. This is essentially the same thing as you would be doing by setting multiple start times, however using cycle and soak is a hair easier as the controller sets up the start times automatically. If the cycle and soak is not enough, then you are stuck with using multiple starts.
  8. e171fish

    e171fish LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    Thanks for the replies.

    A little background...

    The system was installed a few months ago. It consists of 19 zones, 11 for the front yard and 8 for the back yard.

    The well is 290ft deep and provides approximately 12gpm at 60psi from the spigot with the pump running. Unfortunately I don't know any other specifics regarding the well. I also don't know the pressure at the heads, but it seems to be very strong.

    Zones 1-3 are spray heads for landscaping beds and the remaining zones consist of three RB 5000's per zone with 4gpm nozzles.

    The front yard is setup as Program A , which is zones 1-4, and Program B, which is zones 5-11. Zones 1 and 2 run for 20 minutes, zone 3 and 4 for 30, and zones 5-9 run for 35 minutes each. Zones 10/11 are not used. Total run time is 3.75 hours on Mon, Wed, and Fri.

    The back yard is setup as Program C, which is zones 12-16, and Program D, which is zones 17-19. Zones 12-16 run for 35 minutes, zone 19 runs for 15 minutes. Zones 18/19 are not used. Total run time is 3.16 hours on Tue, Thur, and Sat.

    After installation, I discovered that the well was cycling on and off every few minutes because the well was providing more water than the irrigation system was using.

    I ended up setting zones 1 and 2 to run simultaneously, and the same with 3 and 4 using the simulstations setting on the controller. I changed the nozzles in all of the remaining rotor zones from 3 to 4gpm. The well pump now runs consistently for the duration of the irrigation program.

    Most mornings after irrigating, our household water is a little yellowish in color for a short period of time. The well company believes the well is drawing down to far after irrigating for 3-4 hours and introducing sediment. Thus the need for a delay between stations to allow the well to recharge.

    The yard is surviving with 35 minutes per zone but I think it needs to be increased. Increasing the run time without being able to set a delay will only cause more water issues.

    Ideally I'd like to run the rotor zones for one hour with a one hour delay.

    I tried the cycle and soak program today, but when one zone is “soaking” the controller advances to the next zone and irrigates. It then returns to the previous zone, finishes the irrigation, and then moves forward again. The system is calling for water the entire time.

    The Hunter ACC controller appears to do what I need but I really don't want to spend an additional $700+ if I can find a solution with my current controller.

    If I did not have to run zones 1 / 2 and 3 /4 simultaneously to prevent the well from cycling, there seem to be a lot of less expensive controllers available that will allow the delay between stations that may solve my problem.

    Zone 1 uses 6 sprays and approximately 7.36gpm. Zone 2 uses 5 sprays and approximately 6.98gpm. If ran independently the well pump cycles, so I combined them to prevent that from occurring. Similar situation with zones 3 and 4.

    I guess I could add more heads to each of those zones to use more water and prevent the well cycling. I could then use most any controller.

    I'll try multiple start times and/or rearranging programs and see if I can find something that works before I re-wire the controller using every other connection port.

    Thanks to anyone who is still reading.
  9. eludemann

    eludemann LawnSite Member
    Messages: 59

    You could upsize the nozzles on each zone. That would increase the amount of water put out, keeping the zones running about the same times and keep the pump running without doubling the zones up. It may put you closer to the output of the well and not draw it down as much. Just a thought.
  10. S.O.Contracting

    S.O.Contracting LawnSite Member
    Messages: 186

    Check out the flow management section of the manual. It starts on page 51. Might be able to set it up to only pull X gallons of water from the well before stopping.

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