August 2017

SportsTurf provides current, practical and technical content on issues relevant to sports turf managers, including facilities managers. Most readers are athletic field managers from the professional level through parks and recreation, universities.

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www.spor 30 // August 2017 Controllers are the brain of the system, he said, adding modular units are becoming increasingly more popular. They allow for mul- tiple stations to be put in. "The big thing you want to have is continuity within your parts. With public tendering, that can be a challenge at times because it always goes to the low bidder, and you don't necessarily always get what you wanted. But if the spec is hard and you can customize your system, you can plug in two stations, four stations, eight stations, 12 stations, and add on. You can have a base model with the system put in if you ever want to add to a system. It's very easy to put in." Two-wire Taylor addressed conventional systems with wires going out to valves, saying there are systems available where, instead of having individual stations, there could be two wires going out connecting decoders at valves. This could be a benefi t with large systems, he said, adding going with a decoder system means tying into a pro- prietary technology. He recommended a rain switch on a controller so that in the event of rain, the system will shut down. "There's nothing like the neighbors or taxpayers seeing it raining and sprinklers operating in the rain. They tend to get a little upset." Rain switches can be hard-wired or wireless. Taylor said he recommends wireless switches because they remove sensors out of the way of vandals. It is key yet inexpensive extra to incorpo- rate, he said, adding it prevents irrigation when a certain water level is realized. Typically, the controller is located inside a building. Having maintenance radio, however, allows stations to be turned on while the sports turf manager is out in the fi eld. This can be particularly helpful when aerifying sports fi elds. "You want to mark your sprinkler heads unless you want to har- vest them with your aerator. With the maintenance radio, you can pop them up, put fl ags down and identify them." A fl ow sensor is a feature highly recommended by Taylor. It is put on the main line going in in conjunction with a master valve. The master valve controls the entire system on the main line. A fl ow sensor then goes in to record fl ow on every single station. "So if someone breaks off a sprinkler head, that night when he goes to irrigate, the controller via the fl ow sensor will say, 'Oops, I have an overfl ow going here,' it will shut that station down and move on to the next station and have an alarm...on the controller." In the morning, the sports turf manager will be alert to the overfl ow. In the event of a main line break, the entire system will typically shut down because it will realize something is wrong, but every single station isn't likely to be broken. This translates into a signif- icant water saver. Although polyethylene pipe works well in a park setting, PVC pipe should be used on sports fi elds, Taylor said. It has greater wa- ter-carrying capacity and is the critical part of an irrigation system that many tend to take for granted. For every 500 feet, it is recommended having a gasket extension joint of some sort, he said. PVC pipe is put together by solvent welding. When done properly, it is actually stronger than the pipe itself, he said. "When it's done properly, these joints should last for the life of the system." Wire joins the controller to the valves and provides the path through which the signal passes. TWU wire is 14-gauge and is the preference for sports fi elds, Taylor said. "Use the right product up front and you're not going to have any problem." A special cable is needed to monitor the fl ow sensor. Twisting of the wire when sending data across it will repel any interference.

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