Reticulation controllers are the brains of the reticulation system.

These controllers send electric signals to the solenoid valves and pump (if you’re on bore water) and dictate which station comes on, at what time, what days, and how long they run for.

Through research and development over the past few years, there have been many upgrades to reticulation controllers. This covers everything from durability and performance to extra features and more waterwise designs.

reticulation controller Perth garden

To help you choose your ideal reticulation controller you need to consider:

  • The complexity of your system or irrigation needs
  • Whether you wish to operate from your smartphone or are happy to use the controller itself
  • What accessories you need; ie. weather station connection, flow meter to detect leaks and how much water is applied to each station, rain sensor, soil moisture sensor, and so on…
  • The price of the controller

There are so many different controllers on the market, it can be challenging to choose a controller based on your system.

We have tested many of the most common products on the market, and here we share our favourite controllers here at Perth Reticulation Experts. We don’t use cheap, we chose products that will last and deliver the best results for our clients.

Here are some of the features they have to offer…

Hunter X Core

This is our first choice of controller and has been one of the most popular residential controllers on the market for many years.

Source: hunterindustries.com

Features:

  • Dial operated.
  • Non-volatile memory (Which means that even in the event of a power shut down, the controller will remember the settings)
  • Automatically detects electrical faults – skipping the affected stations.
  • Indoor and Outdoor models available.
  • 4, 6, and 8 station models.
  • 3 programs and up to 4 start times per program.
  • 2-year manufacturer’s warranty.

Rain Bird ESP RZXe with LNK Module

Features:

  • Wifi enabled – Giving you access through phone/tablet etc. from anywhere in the world.
  • Push buttons – Eliminating possible broken dials.
  • Can set to automatically adjust run times based on weather data.
  • 4, 6, and 8 station models.
  • 2-year manufacturer’s warranty.

Hunter PRO-HC

Source: hunterindustries.com

Features:

  • Wifi enabled – Giving you access through phone/tablet etc. from anywhere in the world.
  • Full function controller with touch screen.
  • Predictive watering adjusts schedules based on temperature forecast, rainfall probability, wind and humidity to provide maximum water savings.
  • Can install a flow meter – Notifies you of broken pipes/sprinklers.
  • Indoor and outdoor models available.
  • 6, 12, and 24 station models.
  • 36 programs and up to 6 start times per program.
  • 2 year manufacturer’s warranty.

Hunter Node

Source: hunterindustries.com

Great for isolated or unpowered sites.

Features:

  • 9V battery operated – No need for electrical connection.
  • Weatherproof.
  • Push button operated.
  • Requires 9V DC latching coils.
  • Master valve programmable.
  • Maximum 30m wire run length.
  • Can connect to solar panel – For maintenance-free operation
  • 1, 2, 4, and 6 station models.
  • 3 programs and up to 4 start times per program.
  • 2-year manufacturer’s warranty.

Galcon 1100BT Tap Timer

Features:

  • Single station tap timer.
  • 9V battery required.
  • Weatherproof
  • Bluetooth connectivity – Just use your phone!
  • Easy to use and program
  • Up to 4 start times.
  • Optional rain sensor connection
  • 12-month manufacturer’s warranty.

Orbit Expandable Tap Timer

Source: orbitonline.com

Features:

  • Includes 2 valves and expandable up to 4 valves
  • Three independent start times
  • Watering duration from 1 to 360 minutes
  • Easy to use and program
  • Manual watering without interrupting programming
  • High-quality construction
  • Long battery life
  • Requires 2 AA batteries.

Extra controller features to consider

Rain Sensors

The main reason to install a rain sensor in addition to your controller, is so it can shut off your automatic irrigation system and NOT run when it senses rain – saving valuable water resources.

However, most rain-sensing devices must first accumulate a set amount of rainfall before a switch is activated that interrupts the circuit from the controller and shuts off the system. In that “accumulation time,” the system will continue to water, making it looks like a precious resource is being wasted.

The Hunter Rain-Clik, with its unique Quick Response feature, can command a controller to shut off immediately – not after a quarter or a half-inch of rain, but the instant it starts to rain.

And, unlike any of its competitors, the Rain-Clik can be mounted in a variety of ways: on a rain gutter, on a conduit, with a telescoping extension to bring the unit away from an eave, or (the standard method) on a flat vertical surface like a wall or fence.

Hunter’s Quick Response features:

  • Modular Mounting Options
  • Set a Maximum Dry-Out Period
  • Maintenance-free Patented Sensing Mechanism
  • Includes 7.6 Meters of 0.8 mm dia (20 AWG) Two-Conductor Wire
  • Optional Bypass Switch
  • 5-Year Warranty

Flow Meters

Installing a Hydrawise Flow Meter is a great accessory for a reticulation system. This will show you your current water usage, as well as previous water usage, as well as receive alerts if there is any change in water use.

Source: hunterindustries.com

The thresholds for the alerts are configurable as a percentage of the previous watering cycle. For example, you can create an alert if the watering amount is 10% above the previous cycle, as this could indicate a broken spray head. Or you can create an alert if the watering amount is 90% less than the previous watering cycle, as this may indicate that the system is blocked or wiring is faulty.

You can also create an alert if water flow is detected when no irrigation zones are running. This may indicate that you have a broken pipe or stuck valve.

Allows for:

  • Flow monitoring
  • Instant high- and low-flow alerts
  • Leak detection
  • Water outage during irrigation
  • Total water use reporting
  • Zone water use reporting

Features:

  • Flow meter connects to Hydrawise™ ready controllers and Hydrawise software
  • Shows total water use by zone
  • Monitors the system to alert for high- and low-flow conditions
  • Dial allows for manual recording at the meter in m3
  • Meters are factory calibrated
  • Two-wire read-based pulse output
  • Electrical connection – 2 dedicated wires in shielded cable
  • Accuracy – 2% (+ or -) at recommended flow
  • Material: Brass body with PVC reading cap


While there are plenty of good quality options in this list, it all depends on your property and the needs of your landscape as to which is best for you.

Need some help choosing and installing the right controller for your irrigation system?

Call our irrigation experts today – we’d be happy to help.

Can we help improve, fix or install your reticulation?