Irrigation Control System Part 2 of 3

Posted by Craig Zellers

Irrigation Satellite WiringWhat to Consider and how to avoid surprise expenses

(Part 2 of 3)

Should you be breaking up doubled wires into new stations or changing the station sequencing, there will be irrigation central programming needed. At the same time your existing irrigation maps will need to be changed. If you utilize any of the electronic maps resident in the software, those will need to be changed as well.


If you are replacing an older Toro LTC or NW8000 satellite with V.P. or E-OSMAC, you may need to change the hydraulic flow tree /zones within the central.

This is due to the fact that some of the older systems were programmed using program based flows versus station based flow. Without explaining this in detail, it’s important to understand how your hydraulics are programmed and to know that all the new control systems are station based flow. It’s also a great time to improve the hydraulic flow tree/zones which have a considerable effect on system pressure and efficiency. Consult with your distributor or an irrigation consultant to help determine what changes, if any, may be needed.


Additional GPS Mapping


On many course, satellites, sprinklers and acreage have been added or changed since the original maps were created. If you are changing satellites and station numbers, it is the perfect time to have additions and feature changes GPS mapped and incorporated into the new irrigation map.


Irrigation Inventory Audit


Over time many sprinklers and or nozzles have changed rendering the central database
information unreliable. Typically we find the changes made have a negative effect on system pressure and performance. In an inventory audit, every station is activated and sprinkler data recorded. This includes;

    • Satellite and Station Number
    • Sprinkler type and nozzle
    • Arc (what it should be)
    • Hole # and the area irrigated
    • Average Sprinkler pressure (recorded with pitot tube)
    • Sprinkler and Valve report problem
 


The creation of a sprinkler problem report, listing needed repairs, can help with determining future irrigation budgets. The data collected in the inventory audit should be compared and changed as needed in the central. It is important to note that we have seen Superintendents send their staff out to perform an inventory audit. This effort can become a waste of time due to the reality that staff hesitate to record every problem related to pressure, arc, leaks, low heads and more. In my opinion, this may be due to the following three possibilities;


1. They don’t want the boss to know about the problems that have not been repaired.
2. They don’t want to create a list that requires a larger workload.
3. They have not been properly trained and don’t know all data that should be checked.


Step 4 –Acquire estimates


Once you have the station and satellite counts and know your direction regarding the pads, it’s time to get prices from distributors and installation contractors. Due to the “unknown factor” always include a little bit extra. Additionally, talk to other Superintendents, contractors and distributor representatives so you have an awareness regarding the possible “unknown” expenses. Some courses elect to plan and install the new control system in house. Careful consideration should be given to this option. The experience and knowledge of the irrigation personnel is a key determining factor. The time commitment to completing the project is important due to the fact that the satellite will not be operable for whatever time it takes for the irrigator to complete each satellite. Typically many irrigators are too busy with day to day maintenance to commit to a project that requires 3-18 man hours per satellite. Also consider the time of year, what are ownership expectations and what is your ultimate goal when it comes to irrigation control.

Part 3 of 3 (Click here)

Contact Golf Irrigation Consultants: 415-342-1030