WiFi Controllers and You
Hunter or Rain Bird: We have both!
A year has come and gone since Hunter and Rain Bird have launched their wireless irrigation controllers into the market. Do you have one yet? They can be a lifesaver when it comes to watering on the go!
Before the wireless controllers came out I had an old unreliable controller. It would irrigate when it was raining, and not irrigate when it should be. It was difficult to get my yard and garden from drying out or drowning while I was traveling. As soon as I discovered these controllers I instantly invested in one.
One Scoop or Two?
I have two scoops for you. Let's talk controllers for a minute. Depending on the part of the country you live in will determine whether you have quick access to Rain Bird or Hunter products. Both controllers do similar things, it comes down to personal preference on which brand you prefer. You won't miss out on much of anything if you pick one controller over another.
Rain Bird has made it simple to get your controller up and going with WiFi. That's if you have the right controller, and properly updated panel. Currently only the ESP-Me controller and the ESP-TM Series are WiFi capable. All ESP-Me and ESP-TM controllers purchased during or after 2017 will come ready to do WiFi, but you have to buy the LNKWIFI chip to get them to do that. Older models of the ESP-Me will require a panel upgrade, and the panel is super simple to change out. Once you have all that out of the way. Setting up the controller with the WiFi becomes a breeze.
Hunter Industries has three models of controllers that are WiFi capable. The HC series, Pro-HC, and Pro-C Hydrawise. All three of these controllers run the same Hydrawise software. They are all quick and easy to setup! Any Pro-C controller bought during or after 2014 can be upgraded with the new WiFi panel that will allow them to use the Hydrawise software. To upgrade your existing Pro-C is as simple as pulling out the power tape and plugging it into the new panel. You won't have to mess with your wiring for your zones, or even have to take down the housing.
There's two scoops for you about the different WiFi controllers. Whether you choose Rain Bird or Hunter you will get a controller that is simple to setup, and will help you to save time and heartache.
Amazon Alexa is Here!
Both Rain Bird and Hunter have added the ability for your controller to be controlled by Amazon's Alexa. Have a look at this great video from Rain Bird about the fun you can have with your Alexa enabled controller.
A great thing about Alexa is that she is setup pretty much the same way for both of the controller brands. Here are two videos, one for the Rain Bird controller, and the other for the Hunter Hydrawise software.
Most Common Questions
"Will the controller work with my sensors?":
Any one of these controllers is setup to work with the weather sensors that you may already be running. Unless you are installing a new controller, you will not be removing any other wires except the one that powers the panel.
"Do I need a professional to install one of these?":
Any one of these controllers is so easy to install that it won't even take the afternoon to do it. For those who are installing a controller to replace an older controller. The best suggestion would be to take a picture of the inside of your old controller. This will help you to know which wires are plugged in, and where. This picture will make the transition to the new controller easy. You will already know which zone does what, and now you just have to play with it in the app.
"Why is the WiFi controller water smart?":
Both of these units are able to connect into a local weather station in your unique area. They are able to take the information and determine if it needs to turn on or stay off depending on the data given from the weather station. If you have the sensors setup in your own backyard that it will determine by your yard readings whether it should water or not.
Some municipalities will offer you a rebate for buying one of these units and having it installed on your property. Check out your local ordinances to see if that is a possibility for you. Cities enjoy having their citizens having these units. Because they can be accurate, and will help cut back on wasteful watering.