Recommendations on a 4 zone controller

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by argh, Apr 9, 2013.

  1. argh

    argh LawnSite Member
    from CA
    Messages: 6

    I'm looking for an irrigation controller with at least 4 zones that many have had positive experiences using. Most importantly, it must be from the following list: link to PDF

    I revisited several of the historically popular Hunter and Rainbird controllers on the list, but the one that really stood out (and wasn't on the list) was the IrrigationCaddy ICEthS1. What a simplistic, modern interface. If there is a qualifying controller with a well designed web based interface, this is definitely a huge plus.
  2. AI Inc

    AI Inc LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 27,061

    only 4 zones , go with the pro c
  3. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 50,758

    Professionals do not employ web-based interfaces. It is necessary to be able to walk up to controller and physically program it.
  4. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,335

    You can't really go wrong with the Rainbird ESP-SMT for residential purposes. The caddy is a cute little gimmick, but that is all it is. The only benefit to a web based interface is if you have someone manage your irrigation. One of the major points with smart controllers is to remove the need for continual adjustments. Even though there is no such thing as a set it and forget it controller, the smart ones once dialed in are as close as you will get.
  5. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 50,758

    I'm thinking easy web access would remove a controller from the approved list, being that it would get employed to deliver extra watering.
  6. SoCalLandscapeMgmt

    SoCalLandscapeMgmt LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,156

    The ET Water controllers and two of the Hydropoint are internet based. Those are the closest that you will get to a web interface. You'll also be paying for an annual subscription. Not to insult anybody but the Irrigation Caddy looks cheap and it doesn't look like it is a weather based smart controller, which is the whole point of the So Cal Water Smart program. I'd stick with the Rain Bird ESP-SMT if I were you.
  7. irritation

    irritation LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,594

    I thought his post was spam. I might be wrong but that thing spells junk.
  8. bcg

    bcg LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tx
    Messages: 1,865

    I agree with this completely. Of that list, the ESP-SMT would be my choice.
  9. argh

    argh LawnSite Member
    from CA
    Messages: 6

    Subscriptions of any sort are definitely out. Do you have any thoughts on the following report by Texas AgriLife Extension Service? Between Solar Sync and the ESP-SMT's tipping rain bucket, it seems like Solar Sync does a lot more automation while the ESP-SMT requires you to set up many of the zone specific details first (e.g. location, soil type, landscape slope, plant type/density, sun exposure, sprinkler type and root-depth requirements). So, potentially, the ESP-SMT would be more accurate provided you know all the specific zone requirements and Solar Sync might be off if you have varying zones since it only has data from the area it is placed in. Does that sound right?
  10. SoCalLandscapeMgmt

    SoCalLandscapeMgmt LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,156

    The ESP-SMT will be far more accurate than the Solar Sync. The SMT as you stated does require detailed setup for each zone (which any smart controller will). It's fairly easy to do and you only have to do it once when you first install the controller however you can go back and make adjustments at any time. My issue with the Solar Sync is that all that it does is simply adjust the water budget of the controller up and down. Nothing more, nothing less. You program the host controller for peak watering requirements and then the Solar Sync is supposed to adjust the budget up or down depending on the weather. This only works accurately if you have first correctly calculated the peak run times for your site. With the ESP-SMT the controller will calculate the run times automatically based on the data that you supply when you set the controller up. I've installed a couple of Solar Sync and about 100 or so ESP-SMT. I prefer the ESP-SMT.

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