I am in Canada and realize this is "out of season" but since I have a
few days off I thought I would do some research into buying a garden
sprinkler control. We live on a small acerage (ranch) and have six
underground sprinkler grids connected to a manifold with manual ball valves.
I have been manually turning on the valves for each grid for the past 10 or
so yrs. I wish to update to electric valves operated by a central control
located inside the house. (Plan on taking extended holidays this coming
My question is what do you have for this type of control? Does anyone
have any recomendations for what kind, brand type etc to buy or what to stay
. I consider myself to be "fairly" good at figuring out timers
etc, but don't want something so complicated I'll need a PHD in electronics
to operate. In addition, can anyone comment on what type of electric valves
Thanks Group for any constructive replies...Jimi
Have a look at Hunter or Rain Bird web site. If you want to automate
your valve control, you'll need elecric valves, control box and wiring.
You can do it yourself if you want to.
I laid my sprinkler system at my house using Rain Bird kit. Hard part is
digging, other than that nothing to it. I am in Calgary.
I've converted over several systems
I use Champion actuators & Toro multi-staion timer
I prefer the brass/brass units....plastic ones suck :(
Valve bodies will last 20+ years or longer , acutatutors 10+ years or
they used to be sold at HomeDepot but knwo I get them at commericial
irrigation supply house
use the classic size if available
Toro Automatic Sprinkler Timer/Controller Toro ECX. 8 zone watering
look on ebay search for........toro timer
currently auction item 260050319975 is what you need
I like these units so much, they're the only ones I use
retail they're ~$60US + tax & driving to store
on ebay you can get them for ~$50 or less....including shipping
make sure they have all the plug in units to allow use of 8
valves....The controller can accept up to 4 dual valve plug
ins........sometimes the auction is for less than 4, read the
wold be a steal IF it has enough plug ins for 8 valves extra plug
ins are $10
Thanks so much for the Information Bob!
I really like the TORO model and am sold on that for a controller. My
situation is that the manifold with the valves will probably be about 50
feet from the controller. Is that a problem?. Also I will be using 3/4"
electric valves and welding up my own manifold (pipeline welder by trade).
Are there a lot of wires to run or is it like a wire harness that I would
run to the valves? Thanks so much in reply...Jimi
I even installed one of these controllers for my 83 year old mom. She
can actually run it after a few lessons.
My brother, my neighbor, my retired boss.....all use this controller
feet from the controller <<<<
Nope, My front yard mainfold is ~70ft from the controller; back yard
To send the signal to the valves I use 18 gage thermostat wire, I ran
it in PVC conduit to a raintight junction box at the manifold. But if
you want you can use individual wires....I like the thermo wire becasue
the conducitrs are all differnet colors...easier to sort out.
In my situation I've got three valves at each manifold location, so I
only need 4 wires to each location. I used 18-8 thermostat wire.......
I had a roll.
The way you wire it up is.....a single common wire is shared by all
valves, then each valve gets it's own individual wire from the
controlller plug-in spring terminal.
If you've got 8 valves unfortunately you need 9 wires (1 common & 8
unique wires). So that means 18-9 or 18-10themo wire or individual
wires your choice
ebay 330050476842 18-9
ebay 330050471783 18-10
you're good to go!
I'm not a fan of the direct bury cable...seen too many failures, I old
school, I use conduit
When I build manifolds, I either solder up a copper one or glue up a
sch40 grey PVC one; I always use the valves that have at least one
union (output side). Plus I space the valve risers such that the
"classic valve acutators" can be used and ther is plenty of room to
unscrew the valves.
There is a world of difference in quality between what is sold at an
irrigation supply house and what is sold at a home center, even if it is
the same brand. The price differential is not, in my experience, much
So my suggestion would be that you contact a couple of irrigation supply
houses and find what brand they carry, then do research on that brand as
to what you will need. I've dealt with irrigation supply houses in two
states, and they have always been very willing to offer advice and make
sure I have everything I will need.
My guess is that you will need to replace your valves with solenoids,
find a way to get them all wired into where you will have the
controller, and get a controller. You may want to get the
solenoids/controller (some solenoids have a manual adjustment; some, I
think, can be adjusted from the controller) that are adjustable, and one
of the units that measures how wet your yard is and interrupts the
sprinkler when it is raining. I like a very fully automated system, as
I set mine to water very early in the morning, since I have read this is
the best time since the water sinks into the ground before the sun is up
to evaporate it, and doesn't sit on the grass (as it would if you
watered at night), which can lead to disease.
I've had very good results with the contractors grade of Rainbird; my
son has had good results with another brand (I forget which), but I
think the contractors grade of any manufacturer is probably very good.
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