March 9, 2014 11:21 AM   Subscribe

Got the lawn done, now need to decide if I HAVE to buy a new irrigation timer?

After an extended foray into lawn resurrection we now have a beautiful front lawn. There are three irrigation valves. One is to a brown hose drip line and two are for grass/lawn.

My controller works, but it is ancient, it is a Rain Jet RJC Six (not the 6 model, but the Six model) here is an image.

The main issue I have is that this model can only handle up to 99 minutes and not sure if that is long enough for the drip system?

Also, my main irritation is the fact that these things are all designed like it is still the pre-dawn of computers, they interface is never intuitive and changes are clunky, manual over ride is clunky, etc, etc.

I see there are a number of people working on this, an interesting kickstarter looks promising. I also found an open source one that seems to have high regards, but do I really need to spend hundreds of dollars to have my irrigation system go on and off a few times a week?

The guys at the local irrigation store hands down recommend the Rain Dial six channel indoor controller (still about $100)

OK, MeFi, any thoughts on this??
posted by silsurf to Home & Garden (4 answers total)
The main issue I have is that this model can only handle up to 99 minutes and not sure if that is long enough for the drip system?

This can't be answered in the abstract -- it depends on the flow rate of the drip emitters and the water needs of the plants. 99 minutes may be plenty, or it may be way too little.

Unless you are already maxing out the flow rate of that valve (which is very rare for household drip zones, which tend to be fairly small), a work around if you needed more flow would be to double up the drip line (two lines of the brown hose, rather than just one) or doubling the flow rate of the emitters, assuming that doing so didn't exceed the soil's ability to absorb the water or create other issues. (Two hours of 100 emitters at 0.5 gph is the same as one hour of 200 emitters at 0.5 gph, for example; you get the same result by switching from 0.5 gph to 1 gph emitters.)

With a lot of controllers you can also have multiple run times for each zone, so even though each one is limited to 99 minutes, you might actually have 3x99 available each day, which is almost certainly more than you need. Your controller looks like it should be able to do that, but it would take reading the instructions to know -- you are right that they are not intuitive at all. Newer ones tend to be less clunky but still not that great.
posted by Dip Flash at 12:07 PM on March 9, 2014

Thanks, I realized that perhaps I could use the "A" and the "C" program to increase the amount of time on the drip side, but it appears to be an either or situation, not concurrent?

I do not have a manual other than what is written on the inside of the door. The internet has RainJet RJC6 manual but not the RJC Six manual.

As far as the drip system, the landscaping architect who designed the front suggested 1.5 hours twice a week. I installed approx 200 feet of brown line with 18 inch emitters if that helps? The valve on that line is for drip systems and puts out 30 PSI I think? I do not know a lot about drip systems, as you can tell. Thanks for the info
posted by silsurf at 5:11 PM on March 9, 2014

Well 99 minutes is more than 1.5 hours, so I think you're covered?
Edit - We used to run the system probably for 1/2 hour or so 3x a week for our garden, and it was fine. If a plant needed more water, it got a higher gpm drip fitting.
posted by defcom1 at 5:38 PM on March 9, 2014

posted by silsurf at 6:33 PM on March 9, 2014

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