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Starting Member


Wednesday, November 19th 2008, 12:41pm

Hunter vs Rainbird Controller


I am designing my irrigation system for a new home we just moved in. I am planning a sprinkler system for my grass lawn and drip irrigation system for my vegetable garden. I might do a drip for my landscaping depending on success with my drip system for vegetable garden. I am probably looking at 8-10 zone system.

Which controller should I pick. These seem to be better ones:

Rainbird - ESP LXMi OR
Hunter - ICC 800-PL

These appear to have more programmability and features. I am not sure if I will need all the extra features??

Or shall I just get simpler ones like:

Rainbird STPi-900 Controller(9 Zones)

and be done with it. Any reason I shall be looking into above two choices rather than keeping it simple with STPi-900 controller?

I am DIY type guy and like to setup a good system but this is my first time around doing a sprinkler system design.

Thanks for all your expert help,



Advanced Member

Posts: 88

Location: Seattle Area


Thursday, November 20th 2008, 1:30am

Welcome to the forum

Good question. I bet you can get several different answers. Seems every installer has a favorite brand and model.

In my case, I'm a Weathermatic guy, I use the SL (Smart Line) 1600. When teathered to a moniter (SLW 10 or 20), run times are adjusted according to the programmed evapotrranspiration index and conditions sensed by the moniter. Very cool and efficient. Additionally each zone is adjustible to slope and type of soil, and for type of plants or turf.

That said, any controller that is programable (runs multiple programs) and allows run times over 1 hour (some drip zones require it) should work beautifully. Check out this sights sponser, they offer a wide selection

We can provide better answers if you furnish more information. Your location is important. Not only for suggesing equipement, but also to suggest water purveyor limitation/restrictions. For example some locales give a rebate for using a E-T adjusted controller, others are starting to require it on new installs. Soil type, climate, plant needs, and terrain all are considerations when help is given.

Welcome to the sight, and don't be afraid to ask for any help you may need. Most of us have more than enough time during the winter.


Big Dog

Active Member


Thursday, November 20th 2008, 1:27pm

I would go with a hunter pro-c it's easy to use and it is cheap


New Member

Posts: 9

Location: Beaverton, OR


Wednesday, February 11th 2009, 4:09pm

I know this thread is a little old. But I wanted to chime in, if only for new people considering the same question.

I love the Rain Bird ESP-M controllers. Easiest to program of all the controllers (except maybe the STPi). And most functions of any residential controller too. Also expandable up to 13 zones.

I am a Rain Bird guy. So you'd expect me to say that, right. But honestly, probably the single biggest reason I am a RB guy is because of their awesome controllers. I used to install systems that were 80% Hunter. So I was mostly a Hunter guy for a few years. But even back then, I always installed the Rain Bird ESP controllers because they've always been the best, in my opinion.

My second choice would be the STPi. That's a slick and inexpensive controller.
Jim Lewis
Lewis Landscape Services - Oregon

Portland Oregon Sprinkler Repair


New Member

Posts: 9

Location: North Coastal, South Carolina


Saturday, February 14th 2009, 9:01pm

Jim Lewis

I do residential irrigation maintenance and repair.I like the RB ESP - M also but lately I have run across 3 different ones that are giving a MV error message even though there is no MV. I have to reset the controller to clear it and it comes back again in a few days. Someone told me there is a "mother board" problem on certain ESP-M's. Have you run across this???




New Member

Posts: 9

Location: North Coastal, South Carolina


Friday, February 27th 2009, 5:00am

Bump To Jim Lewis

Bump please


New Member

Posts: 9

Location: North Coastal, South Carolina


Friday, March 6th 2009, 6:27am

Jim Lewis Are You Available To Answer The Above Question?

Have you run across the MV err message?




Supreme Member

Posts: 5,307

Location: Metro NYC


Sunday, March 8th 2009, 1:55am

Describe the problem to your Rainbird distributor, and they can set you up with a fix.

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