Understanding Your Sprinkler Timer

Sprinkler Timer Terminology

  • Sprinkler Timer, Clock or Controller
  • Program
  • Date and Time
  • Start Time
  • Run Time
  • Days, Watering Days or Days of The Week
  • Rain Delay or Delay Watering
  • Seasonal Adjust, Percent Adjust or %
  • Auto Run
  • Off
  • Zone, Station or Hydrozone
  • Rotor, Spray, Drip, Bubbler and Rotator
  • Test Stations
  • Rain Sensor
  • Manual Station or Manual Program

Sprinkler Timer, Clock or Controller

Sprinkler Timer, Clock or Controller are different words that are used interchangeably to describe the same thing. The sprinkler timer is essentially the brains of you Sprinkler system.

Program

Program, generally represented by A, B, C, D, etc. Is simply a way to add more versatility to your system.

How programs can make your sprinkler timer more versatile.

  1. Multiple stations can run at the same time (only if the property has enough water supply)
  2. Setting a different program to water new sod or seed, allowing it to be watered several times a day without affecting the remainder of the yard.
  3. Seasonal programs for gardening, growing in flowers or daily watering of vegetables.
  4. Some areas may need to be watered at different times of the day or night, I.E. around a patio, play land or parked vehicles.

Date and Time

Date and Time is pretty straight forward, but it is a vital part of proper sprinkler programming. Not setting the date and time correctly can lead to unexpected problems, I.E. sprinklers running at unexpected times, like during a barbecue or party.

Start Times

Start times are simply the time/s that your sprinkler program starts running during the night or day. YOU MUST HAVE ATLEAST 1 START TIME PER PROGRAM FOR YOUR SYSTEM TO RUN PROPERLY. Start times are generally set sometime between 10pm and 4am.

Run Times

Station run time is the total time each station, valve or zone will run.

    Example for stations 1-6,
  1. 22 Minutes / Spray Heads
  2. 40 Minutes / Part Circle Rotors
  3. 60 Minutes / Full Circle Rotors
  4. 8 Minutes / Bubblers
  5. 15 Minutes / Drip Garden
  6. 55 Minutes / Rotary Nozzles

The run times for each zone will very. The times listed above are typical run times for a timer set to run every other day, during the middle of the summer, with temperatures around 90 degrees F.

Days, Watering Days or Days of The Week

Watering days are simply the days specified for running your sprinkler system. This can be set by days of the week, month, even, odd or cyclical. Most residential systems run by the days of the week setting.

Days, Watering Days or Days of The Week

Watering days are simply the days specified for running your sprinkler system. This can be set by days of the week, month, even, odd or cyclical. Most residential systems run by the days of the week setting.

Rain Delay

Rain Delay stops the controller from running the sprinklers for a specific length of time, generally 1-30 days. You simply set the number of days for the rain delay and the controller will resume regular irrigation at the end do that time period.

Seasonal Adjust %

This is the easiest way to manually optimize your sprinkler systems performance over the course of the season. By changing the percent adjustment, the program/s will adjust all the run times accordingly. For example, if you have 2 zones that are set to run 10 minutes each, and you adjust the percent adjust to 50%, each zone will run 5 minutes.

Auto

Auto (sometimes called Run) is the position the dial rests in when the sprinkler system is operational. If the program is set correctly, but the dial is not set to Auto, the system will not run.

Off

Off is self-explanatory. When set to off, the sprinkler timer WILL NOT run. This is the position the dial rests in during extended down time, I.E. When the system is winterized.

Zone, Station or Hydrozone

Sometimes referred to as the valve, these words are used to describe a section of sprinklers that run off 1 irrigation/sprinkler valve.

Test Stations

This function allows the installer or programmer to observe the operation of the system after it has been programmed. This also allows the operator to inspect the system for damage, by observing the system while it is running.

Rain Sensor

This allows a rain sensor to shut down the sprinkler timer when a predetermined amount of rain hits the sensor. This is simply a tool to help save water, especially for those that travel.

Manual Station and Manual Program

This allows the operator to run water as needed. Manual station allows you to run a single station, I.E. if a single station needs more water to catch up during dry hot weather. Manual program allows you to run a whole Program.

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