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TredH20

New Member

1

Wednesday, March 19th 2008, 7:09am

Hello - new to site - question on installing new Rainbird Controller

Hello everyone - great site. Have been using it for the past couple of years to maintain my sprinkler system.

My question is -I bought my house 2 years ago and it came with a 13-zone sprinkler system with two controllers - a 12-zone Irritrol Rain Dial and a 4-Zone Toro. The irritrol runs 9 zones - with 4 zones as "blanks" that control the 4 zones on the Toro controller. This leads to many compications with programming a schedule...

I want to upgrade to one controller that can handle all 13 zones. I am thinking of going with the Rainbird ESP 16LXi. Does anyone know if this will be an easy upgrade - as easy as just disconnecting the wires from the Rain Dial and Toro and connecting them to the terminals on the Rainbird? Any help will be appreciated by myself, and by my lawn. Thanks!

mrfixit

Moderator

Posts: 1,446

Location: USA

2

Wednesday, March 19th 2008, 10:54am

Does anyone know if this will be an easy upgrade

Yes, that's basically how it works. I suggest you write down the color of the wires and where they go before disconnecting them. Or mark the wires somehow. Masking tape and a marker work well. I am going to make one suggestion that isn't "professional" but it could save you some money. Sixteen station controllers aren't cheap. You could possibly wire two valves together. I rarely do this but I must admit sometimes it's the best option for everyone involved. Now it doesn't always work but it usually will with no complications.

Good luck!
If I can't fix it, it's broken!

HooKooDooKu

Supreme Member

3

Wednesday, March 19th 2008, 1:40pm

RE: Does anyone know if this will be an easy upgrade

...I am going to make one suggestion that isn't "professional" but it could save you some money. Sixteen station controllers aren't cheap. You could possibly wire two valves together. I rarely do this but I must admit sometimes it's the best option for everyone involved. Now it doesn't always work but it usually will with no complications.

Good luck!

Generally speaking, this is a bad idea unless you can find specifications on the controller AND the valves and verify a zone on the controller can handle the current draw required of the two valves.

Now MANY controllers have the capacity to handle the current draw from two valves because they are designed to operate both a zone valve and a master valve at the same time. But when a master valve is used, it has it's own output pin. But just because the unit can handle the current draw required of two valves, that doesn't mean a single output pin has been designed to handle the current of two valves.

Even worst, it very well might work when you run try it. But if you haven't cross checked the specifications, you never know how much you might be stressing the unit and you never know wether the stress is or is not damaging the unit until it stops working and has to be replaced.

The other issue can be the fact that two zones may be pulling too much water to run either one of them properly. This can basically be impossible if you are running off of relatively low water pressure to begin with or smaller pipe sizes have been used.

I personally have an eight zone system being run by two 4 circuit controllers. Because one if for lawn irrigation, the other is for drip irrigation, and I over-designed my irrigation system in terms of capacity, I love being able to run both a lawn circuit and a drip circuit at the same time.

mrfixit

Moderator

Posts: 1,446

Location: USA

4

Wednesday, March 19th 2008, 7:32pm

Reply to HKDK

I said it wasn't professional. It could save him a bunch of money. He said he has a Rain Dial. It'll easily handle it. So what if the controller stops working down the road? He's gonna replace it anyway. Obviously he'll have to choose two lines that are compatible. I didn't mention that. I figured he was smart enough to test to see which two can run at the same time. He could just abandon one of the valves and hook the pipes up together. I've never had a controller go bad from hooking two solenoids together. If I can run two valves at the same time and save an elderly person who's on a limited income some money. I'll do it.
If I can't fix it, it's broken!

HooKooDooKu

Supreme Member

5

Wednesday, March 19th 2008, 9:37pm

RE: Reply to HKDK

I said it wasn't professional. It could save him a bunch of money. He said he has a Rain Dial. It'll easily handle it. So what if the controller stops working down the road? He's gonna replace it anyway. Obviously he'll have to choose two lines that are compatible. I didn't mention that. I figured he was smart enough to test to see which two can run at the same time. He could just abandon one of the valves and hook the pipes up together. I've never had a controller go bad from hooking two solenoids together. If I can run two valves at the same time and save an elderly person who's on a limited income some money. I'll do it.

I must admit that I don't have near the practical experience as mrfixit here. I'm speaking from sort of a lawyer perspective and making sure we don't do anything that could void the warrantee of a controller that isn't cheap.

But is sounds like mrfixit's practical experience is envoking my caviot of "verify a zone on the controller can handle the current draw required of the two valves".

When I tried to look into the specification, here's what I could find: An Irritrol Rain-Dial series specifys a Maximum output per station of 0.5 amps. So I looked at the specs for a few Rainbird valves. I would generalize the Rainbird specifications has having an inrush current of 0.3 amps and a holding current of 0.23 for residential valves and an inrush current of 0.41 amps and a holding current of 0.28 amps for commercial valves.

If valves similar to the Rainbird residential valves are being used, then the holding current for two valves is just below Rain-Dail maximum specification and the inrush current only exceeds the max by 20%.

If valves similar to the Rainbird commercial valves are being used, the the holding current for two valves is just an itty bitty bit above the Rain-Dail maximum, but the inrush current exceeds the max by as much as 64%.

So if valves similar to the Rainbird residential are being used, then I would agree that they are unlikely to seriously damage a Rain-Dial controler since we only exceed the maximum by only 20% and only during the brief initial inrush (and that's if the valves happen to be on the high end of the spec, Rain-bird quotes thes as max values, so real world values might be even smaller).

But if valves similar to the Rainbird commercial valves are being used, pushing the max output during operation and blowing by it by more than 60% during the inrush would worry me.

mrfixit

Moderator

Posts: 1,446

Location: USA

6

Wednesday, March 19th 2008, 10:12pm

Quote from HKDK

"I must admit that I don't have near the practical experience as mrfixit here."

We finally agree on something.
If I can't fix it, it's broken!

TredH20

New Member

7

Thursday, March 20th 2008, 6:03am

Hey guys -

Thanks for the advice - didn't want anyone to get into an argument! The idea of running two valves off of one terminal is pretty interesting - but the only problem is - I am on a well - with pretty lousy water pressure to begin with - and when I have tried to run two zones at once (I tried it to save time - as it is now - my sprinkler programs runs for about 3 hours) it absolutely kills my well. The sprinker heads (Hunter PGP) weren't even spraying at full force...more like dribbling. I've been anticipating buying a new controller for over a year now - and I've talked the wifey into agreeing that it would be a good idea...so I have been given the OK by the CFO to buy something a litle more expensive (but not too expensive). The pricing on the Rainbird looks to be ok - I was actually surprised it wasn't more. I was just worried that I'd be missing something hugely important and I would buy it - and then require something else to install. But if it's basically "plug and play" I should be good to go.

mrfixit

Moderator

Posts: 1,446

Location: USA

8

Friday, March 21st 2008, 11:45am

Email

Look at this email I received today. I wonder who it was from? Any ideas? Hmm I wonder.

Dear mrfixit,

ftocci@Safe-mail.net has sent the following
message from SPRINKLER TALK FORUM - You Got Questions,
We've Got Answers (http://sprinklertalk/wbb):
I just saw this web site and it is awesome. I
need to learn wiring, backflows,controller
operations, sweating pipes, everything really as this is
my second season wth an irrigation installation
company. I learned how to dig holes already
Ditch-Witch style last year. We got this guy named
Wayne there who knows a lot but he just yells at you
and makes you look stupid especially when he's
"High" and the Mexican guys there won't teach
you anything because they would be out of a job I
say So What =I'll learn this shit myself on the
Internet With the help of Mr. Fix-It and His Ilk.
Thank you Mr. Fix-It!! Your New Friend, "Me".
--

And no worries Tred. You didn't start anything. It's obvious who did.
If I can't fix it, it's broken!

HooKooDooKu

Supreme Member

9

Friday, March 21st 2008, 8:43pm

mrfixit,

Apparently I've stepped on your toes. I know I'm sometimes not very tacktful, and I'm sorry my statements have apparently hurt your feelings. But I though we were all grown-up here.

I've simply tried to suggest that manufacturers' specifications be followed. If I have provided any faulty information, please point it out so that I can avoid providing faulty information to future visitor's of this site.

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