Irrigation Control System-Part-1-of-3

Irrigation Control SystemWhat to Consider and how to avoid surprise expenses (Part 1 of 3)

Remember that old adage "What they don't teach you in college"? This statement applies in the daily life of a Golf Course Superintentdent. When it comes to irrigation control system replacement, this adage holds especially true. There are multiple factors to consider and steps in the process that you may not thought of or heard of from friends in the industry. Failing to account and plan for one or more of these factors can rapidly increase the project time and expense.

Both factors, additional project time and expense never sits well with ownership. The following information and project steps are intended to help you determine all expenses and plan for a successful satellite replacement project. 

Step 1 - Station and Satellite Count

When planning and budgeting for a satellite controller upgrade, the first step is to count controller locations and the amount of existing and desired stations. If stations are doubledup or more and all wiring was run into the satellite, now is the opportunity to consider breaking them up in order to achieve more control over watering time per sprinkler. It's a time consuming task but it's important to count the total station wires in each satellite. Or if the central database is accurate, that can be used as your source for total sprinklers and stations per satellite. Breaking up double or triple stations is considered adding stations which can increase satellite and installation costs along with the necessary programming in the central and overall irrigation control system. In addition, andy old ASBuilt irrigation maps will need to be updated with the new station sequences. The big payoff is that you will have more control of your irrigation distribution if you can achieve individual head control. 

Step 2 - Should you install new cement pads or use the existing pads?

The next step is to determine if the existing cement pads and bolt patterns can be used. Existing pads can be used under the folling critera;
  • You will be replacing old satellites with new ones from the same manufacturer.
  • Each satellite will be replaced one for one and the combining of satellites is not a factor
  • The bolts are in good condition and extend high enough from the cement pad for sufficient mounting with the new thicker bases of most new satellites.
  • The cement pads are in good condition and will last another 10-15 years.
  • Wiring in and around existing satellites and pads are not problematic

Existing pads can be used despite poor bolt conditions or if you are switching irrigation manufacturers. This is possible by drilling new bolt holds in the same template pattern as the new satellites. Strong anchor bolts like redheads can be used to secure the new satellites to the old pads. As technology improves and golf irrigation manufactures improve their product lines. do some research as to what options you may have. Consider your future expectations as well as your existing situation. 

Typically, new cement pads and sweeps are needed when the goal is to combine two or more satellites into one. Questions to consider in determining if new pads are needed include;
  • Are the existing sweeps undersized with no room for additional wires?
  • How long are the existing wires and will a lot of wires need splices?
  • Is it time to check and repair a lot of the wiring problems typically found around the satellites?
  • What is the cost of new pads versus use of old pads and what are the benefits and negatives as you make decisions for your irrigation control system.

Part 2 of 3 (Click here)

Feel free to contact us at: 415-342-1030