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The last 4 posts

Monday, December 16th 2013, 1:49pm

by Wet_Boots

You are probably not going to be able to clean anything and get back brand-new functionality. This has been fact ever since pushbutton irrigation controllers came onto the market. Because the power these buttons pass is so very low, they were never going to design the controllers with the kind of mechanical pushbuttons used on very-expensive industrial process controls, which would become even more expensive, due to having to employ gold contacts to provide low-power compatibility.

There's a bit of Catch-22 involved, because some controller operations require you to hold down a button for a second or so, and you won't immediately know whether you've had a successful button-push or not. Some operations require a pause after a button push, so again, you won't know what's what with a doubtful controller.

Monday, December 16th 2013, 1:01pm

by lewister (Guest)

Yes - we're using 15 of the 16 zones, so any replacement would be pricy. But we have an eye toward selling in five years, which would give someone an almost 20-year-old controller so it is in the consideration pile.

The backs of the buttons are completely obscured by the circuit board. There is a plastic rim that projects out from the faceplate and meets the board so you cannot see the contacts without removing the board. Last time I tried to remove the board, I had something (not a button) fall out and I about never got it back together again. So I can't see if there's grease, not grease, bad contact, off center contact points, etc. to even have a clue where to start.

It's possible replacing it is just the simplest way to deal with it at this point. (Just went out to reset everything after the power outage and it went just fine once I noticed if I pushed the buttons to the side instead of straight on I was more likely to get action. Frustrating. Can't even count on it to not work. :-)

Monday, December 16th 2013, 12:22pm

by mrfixit

You're definitely not the only one to have this issue.
Usually once the buttons wear out you buy a new controller. You've had this issue for a long time.
A 16 station controller isn't cheap so maybe it's worth a shot repairing. Just know it's old and you will have to replace it sometime. Maybe now's a good time.
I can't say I've ever taken an ESP apart. Maybe someone else has.
Long ago I think in my first year of servicing sprinkler systems I took the panel apart of a customers controller. All the buttons fell out onto the ground. There was no putting it back together. Lesson learned. I never did that again.
I've never cleaned the buttons before. But I might try sometime because of your post.
I have however taken apart my tv remote which has similar type buttons. Inside on each button there's a small dab of silicone grease. Cleaning all the grease off made the remote work again.
Maybe if you clean the contacts, if you can get to them, and put some grease on each contact it'll work. Just a TINY bit of grease.
That's all I have.
Here's a good place to shop for a new controller.…ollers-s/23.htm
Are you using all 16 stations? If not I'd go with the Hunter Pro C. I personally like the Pro C Conventional better than the Pro C.
Free shipping on items over 149 dollars.

Good luck!

Monday, December 16th 2013, 10:07am

by lewister (Guest)

Rainbird ESP buttons don't respond

Been suffering with this for years and just now attempting to figure out a solution. Hope you guys can help.

We have a Rainbird ESP-16i. Dial in the center, display and buttons across the top, access to the guts without removing from the wall. Been in this house 11 years, so it's older than that by a few.

Problem is the buttons across the top generally are unresponsive. You push, nothing happens. You push harder, nothing happens. You push, hold it for what feels like forever
but is probably only a few minutes, rolling your finger around every now and then, then suddenly numbers start changing on you. (Which of course startles you, causing you to let go of the button and never at the number you wanted so you start over again with the waiting.) They work eventually. Just not right when you push them the first time.

Times we've had guys out to do other kinds of repairs on the system, they've "cleaned" something on the inside and the buttons work fine. For a while. Next time I'm out there having to do something, they don't work. I can't tell what it is they supposedly cleaned that would be "fixing" the problem. Saying they've cleaned something makes me thing there's an issue with the connection between button and circuit board but I'm just not seeing it. No dirt, no build-up, no wires not meeting, etc.

Only times I need to mess with the controller are time changes or power outages (like we had last week) or manual usage when fertilizing. So it's a bothersome issue, but doesn't come up enough to drive me completely batty. But it'd be nice to not have to stand in my cold/hot garage for 20 minutes just to change from program A to B.

I have the manual and reasonable handyman/electrical skills.
So - what should I be looking for to "clean"? Or check in general for this issue. I've searched all over the web and seem to be the only person having this kind of problem. (Yea me!

Many thanks for any help/guidance/direction you can provide.