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New Member


Monday, May 25th 2009, 10:40am

2 controllers vs modular system

I'm planning a system that will start at 8-9 channels, eventually expanding to about 15. As far as I can tell, the least expensive solution would be to use two separate controllers (e.g. two Rain Bird STPi-900's would provide 18 channels for ~$150-170). I have plenty of garage space to mount two together.

What are the advantages and disadvantages to moving to a modular system instead. For example, a Hunter ICC-800-PL and expansion module would yield 16 channels for ~$100 more than the two Rain Bird 900's.

The Hunter would obviously allow further expansion if ever needed, but that alone might not be worth the price premium. What other considerations I should be aware of?

Thanks in advance,


Supreme Member

Posts: 482

Location: Houston, Texas


Monday, May 25th 2009, 1:58pm

Get the Hunter Pro-C timer that is expandable to 15 zones. This is the best bang for the buck. It is a smaller footprint than the Hunter ICC. It is a great controller that will do everything that you need. Two timers is a problem because they could potentially operate at the same time and kill your water pressure, They will also look Mickey Mouse and show the world that you did on the cheap. The Hunter is an affordable option that will be a professional option.

:thumbup: :thumbsup:
LI0006121, BPAT0011021, CI0009500


Supreme Member


Tuesday, May 26th 2009, 8:32am

Dan has given you the main reason to potentially avoid two controllers... what are you going to do to make sure they both don't run at the same time?

Now that doesn't mean that it's impossible. After all, if you have a watering schedule where it's impossible for the two to operate at the same time, then two controllers is a non-issue. An example would be where everything on controller 1 only runs on Mon, Wed, Fri and everything on controller 2 only runs on Sun, Tue, Thr. But of course that makes things less flexable.

The other situation (and this is mine) is to have the system designed so that it doesn't mater if both controllers operate at the same time. In my case, I accomplished this by using one controller for drip irrigation and the other for lawn irrigation, and then over designed the lawn irrigation system. (i.e. my system is so over designed that I can have a lawn circuit and a drip circuit running at the same time and still have a load of laundry running while someone is taking a shower).


New Member


Tuesday, May 26th 2009, 10:24pm

Thanks, HooKooDooKu. That's helpful. I think it's easy enough to program the two controllers for different time periods (and yes, my drip system should be loaded lightly enough that it could run even if another channel is also active).

As for "showing the world that I did it on the cheap", well, few of those who wander through my garage consider frugality to be a vice.

I'm still open to other thoughts (and to the opinions of anyone who's used either of the controllers I'm considering), but at this point, my leaning is to save the money and go with 2 controllers.


Supreme Member

Posts: 5,331

Location: Metro NYC


Wednesday, May 27th 2009, 5:07am

Even if you don't mind showing off your dumbass cheapness, you are providing a disservice to all the subsequent homeowners, and you are also affecting the value of your home, by displaying Amateur-Hour DIY workmanship. What's next, leaving out the backflow preventer, because you want to save a buck? Buy the Hunter Pro-C or ICC and add modules as needed.


Supreme Member


Wednesday, May 27th 2009, 8:03am

Hey Boots,
Aren't we getting a little insulting here? I mean come on, we are talking about a frickin controller. While you might be right that having multiple controllers looks amateurish, it's rather inappropriate to attempt to start equating amateurish with a lack of safety.

After all, I'll freely admit the system I put together would probably be laughed at by a professional. But I can tell you that my system works and works in a safer manner compared to the building contractor neighbor who installed his own system that looked profession... that is except for its total lack of any backflow preventer.

While your advice (as usual) is sound, the name calling is not.


Supreme Member

Posts: 5,331

Location: Metro NYC


Wednesday, May 27th 2009, 4:45pm

I want to shock all would-be cheapskates - the money you save by avoiding the use of the one correct controller may show your home in a poor light, and actually cost you more money down the road, when the home is shown to prospective buyers.

For a 15-zone system, it looks like the price difference between a Pro-C and two Rainbird timers is less than ten dollars. I mean, really, can it get any more lame? And how many acres are these fifteen zones going to water?

This post has been edited 1 times, last edit by "Wet_Boots" (May 27th 2009, 5:21pm)

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