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camner

Senior Member

1

Friday, May 18th 2012, 11:20pm

I don't understand what my Rainbird ESP-SMT is telling me

I have a 3 hour watering window programmed into my ESP-SMT. Recently the following was seen in the event log (a paraphrase):

14 May: (all 10 zones scheduled for a total of 275 minutes) [I have a 180 minute watering window]
14 May: Z1 complete
14 May: Incomplete

This makes sense so far. This tells me that zone 1 completed its cycle but the others did not. The controller directions says that the other zones will be completed in the next watering window.

BUT, the next day I see the following:

15 May: Z6 scheduled 15 min
15 May: Z7 scheduled 27 min
15 May: Z6 complete
15 May: Z7 complete

This DOESN'T make sense to me. Shouldn't all the zones other than Zone 1 complete their schedule on the 15th? If I look at the log by zone, only Zones 1, 6, and 7 show that there's been any watering. All the other zones indicate no action.

There was no rain between May 13 and May 18, so it isn't that the controller should change its mind about needing to water.

I saw the same thing repeat on May 16 and 17 (this time two zones completed on the 16, followed by an "INCOMPLETE" message, followed the next day by only a couple of zones scheduled and completed)

Looking outside, I could see that on May 14 some other zones had fired off.

What it seems is happening is this:

On May 14 all zones were scheduled, they all went off for some period of time, but only Zone 1 completed its full watering time
On May 15 only 2 zones (Z6 and Z7) seemed to fire off and complete (but I can't be sure no others fired, but none were logged)

Shouldn't the log show the completion (in a subsequent watering window) of a zone's watering, even if it is a carryover from a previous day?

What am I missing?

Wet_Boots

Supreme Member

Posts: 4,021

Location: Metro NYC

2

Saturday, May 19th 2012, 6:41am

why do you have only a 3 hour watering window for ten zones?

camner

Senior Member

3

Saturday, May 19th 2012, 11:31pm

why do you have only a 3 hour watering window for ten zones?


Well, because I've read that it's not great to water much during the night time hours (possibility of inducing disease) and during day time hours there's a lot of evaporative loss due to sunshine. So, I figured a short watering window would be reasonable and that when the controller didn't have enough time to finish the program it would finish it the next day.

When I had a manual controller I essentially forced a short watering window by programming the different zones on different days so that there was never more than 3 hours of watering on any one day.

Should I be doing something else?

Thanks!

Wet_Boots

Supreme Member

Posts: 4,021

Location: Metro NYC

4

Sunday, May 20th 2012, 12:29pm

the ESP-SMT is a tough controller to program - you have your homework cut out for you, and you get to do the heavy lifting

personally, I think controllers with 80-page instruction manuals are for professional use only, or for homeowners with vast amounts of persistence, and very good reading skills

camner

Senior Member

5

Sunday, May 20th 2012, 2:09pm

the ESP-SMT is a tough controller to program - you have your homework cut out for you, and you get to do the heavy lifting

personally, I think controllers with 80-page instruction manuals are for professional use only, or for homeowners with vast amounts of persistence, and very good reading skills


Well, I think I have both persistence and good reading skills! I also have to say that at least as far as I could tell by interviewing about 5 well-regarded local professionals (one of whom I chose to install the ESP-SMT...I didn't want to take that on myself) that even the pros (at least the ones around here) don't really understand this controller. All of them said that they had been trained on the controller and that they had installed a number of them, and that folks were happy with the installs and the water savings, but in the end the installer I chose entered fairly "standard" entries rather than trying to fine tune for type of soil, etc.

Anyway, any thoughts about the watering window? In your experience do the benefits of a larger window outweigh whatever disadvantages come from watering at night and during the day?

Wet_Boots

Supreme Member

Posts: 4,021

Location: Metro NYC

6

Sunday, May 20th 2012, 3:02pm

I do not generally have the opportunity of employing a restricted watering window. Too many lawns have to be covered from a limited water supply, with watering sometimes being restricted to two or three days a week during drought conditions. There have not been any observations of lawn damage from watering over most or all of an overnight period.

The real problem for pros, is that time is required to get the controller dialed in for best results, time that can be sold elsewhere.

Another aspect of these 'smart' controllers, is if you get everything exactly set up right, you'll still use more water than if you kept a close eye on the landscape, and only watered just before lack of water did harm to your lawn.

camner

Senior Member

7

Sunday, May 20th 2012, 5:08pm

I do not generally have the opportunity of employing a restricted watering window. Too many lawns have to be covered from a limited water supply, with watering sometimes being restricted to two or three days a week during drought conditions. There have not been any observations of lawn damage from watering over most or all of an overnight period.


Thank you very much for your thoughts. I'll likely increase the watering window by starting earlier in the morning (more like middle of the night!)

8

Monday, May 21st 2012, 8:45am

I'm scanned the entire manual and can't find an answer.
I also can't confirm that if it does not finish watering in a particular water window it will finish in the next.
Too many factors. It might determine your soil needs more/less water, a "grow period' might be entered.
At this point I'd call Rain Bird at (626) 812-3400 or (520) 741-6100.

I also looked through their FAQ, figuring this problem might show up for others.
Nothing.

If you find a solution we'd appreciate if you tell us what it is.
Thanks.

camner

Senior Member

9

Monday, June 18th 2012, 11:53pm

I'm scanned the entire manual and can't find an answer.
I also can't confirm that if it does not finish watering in a particular water window it will finish in the next.
Too many factors. It might determine your soil needs more/less water, a "grow period' might be entered.
At this point I'd call Rain Bird at (626) 812-3400 or (520) 741-6100.

I also looked through their FAQ, figuring this problem might show up for others.
Nothing.

If you find a solution we'd appreciate if you tell us what it is.
Thanks.


Somehow I missed this last post...sorry. I will call Rainbird.

camner

Senior Member

10

Tuesday, June 19th 2012, 6:49pm


At this point I'd call Rain Bird at (626) 812-3400 or (520) 741-6100.



Called Rainbird. Talked to a guy that knows a lot less about this controller than I do. Waste of time. (Perhaps I should have cheated and pushed the button for "contractor" rather than "homeowner.")

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