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New Member


Wednesday, May 10th 2006, 6:33am

Controller & lots of misc questions

Hi all,

My current RainDial controller just went belly up and I'm in the market for a new one. From reading your forums, it looks like Hunter Pro-C or Rainbird ESP are the controllers to look at. I'm not looking at my controller right now but I think it is either a 9 or 12 zone controller (I remember making a map when we bought the house that had a lot of zones). So while I'm waiting on the sprinkler guy to call me back, I thought I would see what this forum had to say on controllers and how complicated the install process was.

First some background on what I have done in the past - installed extra lights and switches in rooms, basic plumbing, basic construction - fort, furniture, etc, and I use to help my Dad in the backyard with his sprinkler system. Given that, I don't recall his controller needing electricity(fully manual?) I recall him saying it ran off water pressure. It obviously was a manual system or battery operated. But that's the memory of a 9 yr old.

So how hard is it to install a controller? It doesn't look like much but I haven't disconnected my old one yet. And is one brand easier to install than the other?[?]

I've never played much with varying the programming but would be interested to know how much people water their yards. We just moved from Texas to Missouri so I'm sure the watering needs of this grass are different from St. Augustine. Is twice a week enough or too much? Do you do it once a week in the spring and then 2-3 times in August when it gets dry?[?]

Also, why is there a backflow/pressure device? My Dad had a drain about 2 feet down in the ground for his system. In the fall, you turned the water off and opened the low point and all the water drained out. Granted my Dad did have a separate water meter for the outdoor water - he didn't want to pay sewage on water for the yard. So what are the advantages of a backflow device? And what are you testing in the back pressure test?

What questions should I ask the different sprinkler guys to see if they are good? (besides checking the BBB)[?][?]

Thanks in advance for any insight and information!


Senior Member


Wednesday, May 17th 2006, 11:00am

Either controller is good. Check number of zones by opening up the old controller and seeing how many ports are used. If you buy a modular controller, make sure you buy enough modules.

Do it yourself is simple. Unplug it, remove 1 wire at a time and label it (common, main, zone 1, 2, etc.), get new controller and mount it (make sure the wires will reach to their intended port before mounting), wire in the electric and plug in and program.

Back flow devices protect the public water supply from potential hazards. Most states, including TX require them. They are important, they can malfunction or freze, and most states require they be checked once a year.

MO might require an irrigator to be licensed, TX does. If he can produce one that should be enough, if you aren't satisfied with him you can take him to the licensing state agency and hold his feet to the fire.


New Member

Posts: 2

Location: USA


Wednesday, May 17th 2006, 9:22pm

Your last question about what you should ask different contractors (1) How much static pressure does class 200 pvc hold.....................................................................................

why 200. If he gets this wrong ask him if he knows how to say..."Would you like fries with that?"
Brnet E. Wastman
Landscape Services
Puyallup, WA


Supreme Member


Thursday, May 18th 2006, 5:55pm

Yawn I hate talking about friction velocity or pressure issues...but I am successful and good at what I do...and my customer service is 2nd to none..oh yeah, did I mention that I install a damn nice system...and I can repair them like no other....BUT I do not know the answer to that question, nor do I give a rats if he asked this contractor and didn't get the right answer he would be missing out on a great contractor.

Now back to your original question....why not just replace the timer w/ another Raindial?
Sprinkler Solutions, Inc.
Arizona and Colorado


New Member


Friday, May 19th 2006, 6:07am

Ok - with respect to the Raindial question.
How long should a controller last? The Raindial that just went belly up, was manufactured in 1994 so that is 11 years of service (06 doesn't count). Is that reasonable? They all seem to be in the same ball park for price so I was just going off the reviews on the site and what the contractors in the area are installing. No one has mentioned a Raindial yet. For the most part, they have Rainbird, Hunter, or Toro in stock. One guy said last year he recommended Hunter Pro-C but not this year. He said he had to replace ~80% of last years due to a faulty part (timer).

Now I also have a sticky question for those of you who do this for a living. I don't mind paying for your expertise and labor but would you mind explaining the markup on parts. I know car dealers significantly mark up parts but I didn't expect the sprinkler guys to do it. I've gotten quotes from $200 to $350 in the St. Louis area for a 10 zone Rainbird ESP modular controller (or equivalent). Shipping doesn't quite cover the difference between sprinkler warehouse and these quotes. The $350 is the quote I really question. The price does not include labor which runs between $70-$80 hour (which seems reasonable to me).


Supreme Member

Posts: 5,292

Location: Metro NYC


Friday, May 19th 2006, 6:42am

After ten years of service, a sprinkler clock owes you nothing. By the time a decade passes, the clock may already be a discontinued model, and not repairable. Go and buy another Rain Dial, and install it, and worry about in another ten years.


Supreme Member


Saturday, May 20th 2006, 3:14am

I only suggested a RDial because you are familiar w/ it.

I cannot speak for the installers in your area..but...I charge 325 to install a 12 zone timer...yes that includes labor.....
Sprinkler Solutions, Inc.
Arizona and Colorado

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