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 31 August 2017 // It has a foil sheath around it that protects it from interference from other power sources. "It's very important the fl ow sensor cable be that type." In the controller are station wires. An individual wire goes out to the valves and a common wire completes the circuit. With- out the presence of the common wire, the system won't run, nor will the system oper- ate if the common wire is broken. Taylor said that if a string of stations aren't working, and they are in a certain order, the fi rst thing to look at is the com- mon wire. "Individual stations will typically only affect one station." A 180-degree head puts down twice as much water as a full-circle head, taking 1 1/2 minutes to move each way as compared to three minutes for the head to go full circle. Troubleshooting Troubleshooting is something sports turf managers should be able to accomplish when problems are obvious, Taylor said. If a head is stuck up, it can be pushed down- ward by stepping on it in order to avoid it being run over by a mower. If a head is stuck on, it is a valve issue and not a sprin- kler problem and is not shutting to allow the head to retract. If a head is broken off, a little "geyser" will become apparent. "This is where a fl ow sensor pays for it- self. The fi rst time that station runs, it would turn on and then turn off. It would alarm the controller." When troubleshooting for wiring issues, Taylor said a multi-meter can be a valu- able piece of equipment. If a station doesn't come on, the voltage can be measured. The controller should be checked to see if there is voltage going out to the station. If voltage is going out, continuity can be measured. Continuity is tested through the station and will typically be about 29 volts. If there are two running, it will be doubled. If "wacky" readings appear, there is a problem, he said. A particularly low reading means the solenoid has shorted out which requires having to open the valve box. If it is wide open with "one" fl ashing on the screen, there is zero continuity, meaning there is either a blown solenoid or a broken wire. If a number of stations are fl ashing "one," the common wire needs to be checked. Taylor said wire problems can be de- tected with a wire tracer that hooks onto the controller to trace the path of the wire. If it's a direct cut, the cut will be found because the signal stops. If the problem cannot be found, a fault-fi nder device can be used to determine where between two points the problem has occurred. The best means to acquire evapotrans- piration (ET) data, he said, is via an on-site weather station. The key is to know the pre- cipitation rate of the sprinkler, understand- ing whether it is putting down one inch of water an hour or perhaps a half-inch. An- other concern is the spacing of sprinklers, and whether it's in a square or triangular pattern or if it's inline or just a single head. Irrigation auditing is an important pro- cess to acquire sprinkler data, and especially knowing distribution rates and uniformity. "How evenly is that water being applied to the turf?" Taylor said central control is an import- ant asset for the sports turf manager, allowing him to program and monitor from one site. He has access to fl ow sensing in real time and has one or more weather stations integrated into the system for accurate ET calculations. The central control system can be set up to allow the computer to determine how long irrigation should be taking place. There are numerous ways to control satellites, he said. Some sites can be several miles away. To connect to those sites, there are land or ethernet connections if a net- work system is in place. A cell modem can be put inside the controller to allow access through the Internet. UHF radio is a via- ble form of communication that has been around for several years. Another means is 900-megahertz radio that has no oper- ational cost and no licensing fees. Cellular connections have a monthly fee and UHF radio has an annual fee. "The more you have online with central control, the less often you have to go there as an irrigation manager." Taylor said central control will allow the turf manager to become aware of a leak before a crew member charged with mowing the fi eld visually spots one and reports it. /ST/ Reprinted with permission from Turf & Recreation magazine.

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