Programming Your Timer

To ensure that your landscape is watered correctly, you must know how to properly set your timer. Most sprinkler controllers operate in the same way, and most are easy to setup and adjust if you follow the following basic rules. These are general guidelines for your assistance. You may need to follow your manual to pickup details that may have been left out.

1. Set the Time and Date: follow the instructions in the manual; make sure that the am/pm setting is correct.

2. Programs: All timers usually have 3 or 4 different programs. Programs allow you to water certain areas (zones) of your landscape at different times and days. Programs are usually represented by the letters A, B, C or the numbers 1, 2, and 3. It is common to set one program for plantings and one program for grass areas. We recommend scheduling plantings on Program A (or 1), and grass on Program B (or 2). For the purpose of this guide, we will use letters A, B, C to reference programs.

3. Setting Program A (Plantings): Be sure you are modifying program A. Depending on what type of controller you have, you may have to turn the program dial to A or push the program button until A is displayed.

4. Set Start Time: Enter the time that you want your plantings to begin their watering cycle. Ex: 5 am.

5. Set Schedule: Schedule refers to the days of the week program A will run. There are usually several schedule options such as Even/Odd Days, Interval, and Exact Day. Set the days you would like the shrubs to be watered. Remember, plantings should be
watered 2-3 times per week. Ex: Monday, Wednesday, Friday.

6. Set Zone or Station Time: Each zone that you want to run should have a time duration set. Ex: if your system had zones 1 and 2 as planting zones, you would need to set each of these zones for running time, such as 15 minutes. Set zones 1 and 2 to 15 minutes, and all others should read 0 minutes since they will be on a different program. Program A is finished. Let's move on to Program B.

7. Setting Program B (Grass): Turn dial or push program button to B.

8. Set Start Time: Repeat as above for program B. However, do not set program A and program B times to overlap. Doing so will cause the timer to try and run both programs at once, and water pressure may not be sufficient to properly water all zones. For program B, we will use a 1 am start time.

9. Set Schedule: Set the days of the week you want the grass to be watered. You can set the programs to run on the same days, but not the same times, as this will cause an overlap as mentioned above. For our example, we will set program B to Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

10. Set Zone Time: You will need to set running times for all of your lawn zones. Ex: If your system has zones 3, 4 and 5 as lawn areas, and you want to run each zone for 20 minutes, set the times in the same manner as step 6. In this example, Program B will run for 1 hour.

11. Running the System: Turn your dial to Auto Run, make sure your rain sensor is on, and you are set for full operation. Using the examples shown in the preceding steps, your system would run as follows:

  • Program A starts at 5 am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Zones 1 and 2 run for 15 minutes each.
  • Program B starts at 1am on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Zones 2-5 will run for 20 minutes each.

Programming your controllers can be very easy as long as you understand  the programs, start times, schedules and zone running times. You may find that you need more than 2 programs for your property. Every property is different and these are just basic guidelines to help you.

Reading your manual to learn more about the functions of your controller is always recommended.