Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dialing It In

As the irrigation installation nears the end, the fine tuning of the newly installed components begins. With more than 3000 sprinkler heads installed each of which requires specific adjustments and run times to properly operate.

One of the more labor intensive items that I have been doing is the programming of the central computer that operates the irrigation system. The data input is fairly straight forward, but it is the heads specific details that will make the difference on the overall uniformity of irrigation coverage.

Sprinkler Head Detail in Database

Each sprinkler heads is assigned attributes such as; spacing, gpm, radius, slope, pressure, soil type, grass type and numerous others. These individual attributes figure into the overall calculations the computers does in establishing run times for the sprinkler heads. Our biggest challenge is the fact that we have more 2700 part circle heads that all have different arcs and each one needs to be accurately established. With out this information being correct each head could have as much 10%-50% run time variance which will lead to overly wet or dry conditions depending on which way the variance is. One of the keys in establishing correct arcs will the use of a protractor to identify the true arc of each head.

Using a Protractor

Another challenge we will face is re-nozzling individual heads to deal with our hard lining of the fairways. Our fairways vary in width throughout and this creates challenges for us in establishing the right nozzle setup. The layout of our sprinklers in the fairways in not on a traditonal grid as you would find with most conventional irrigation systems. The fact that we have separated the fairway from the rough creating two different water areas makes using tradtional spacing methods not possible.

These tasks will be incredible time consuming, but in the long run it will be invaluable information that will be used in establishing uniform water distribution.