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There are many battery powered automatic tap timers on the market which vary greatly in price and reliability. A lot of the time you get what you pay for. These types of units have a reputation for not being a long term solution which are largely true.
First thing to take note off is inlet pressure. Inlet pressure is critical. All units have a rating as to what water pressure they can handle going into them. This rating can vary from 600kpa to 900kpa. The home owner generally has no idea what pressure their water service delivers and will get a nasty surprise when their unit suddenly starts leaking or fails to turn on or fails to turn off.. Fortunately the importers don’t enforce this water pressure awareness when units are returned so warranties continue to be honoured. It is still a time consuming excercise for the warranty process to complete.
We recommend a 20mm 500kpa brass pressure reducing valve be installed onto the garden tap before any Automatic Tap Timer to ensure the unit is operating at a comfortable inlet pressure. 500kpa is generally still strong enough for a medium sized spray system, and is low enough for a drip system to operate efficiently. We have in the past highlighted the Importance of Pressure Regulation, check it out if you haven't done so!
Please note: While not pictured, a vacuum breaking check valve is to be fitted at the tap as a council requirement.
An often overlooked aspect is the quality of the batteries used. We receive units back from customers claiming their units have stopped. We fit new batteries in and the unit comes to life, despite the customer claiming to have installed new batteries. These "new" batteries could potentially have came from a kitchen drawer or a glove box and may have been there for long periods of time.
Batteries have a “Use By Date” which appears on the packaging. Check that batteries are fresh. We recommend Energizer or Toshiba. We do not recommend Duracell as we have had countless suspicious experiences with them. As a general tip, replace your batteries as the watering season approaches.
Adhere to these 2 tips and your timer will have the best chance of these tap timers serving you well!
Here at Sunshower, we have had extensive experience selling and installing a variety of units, at the moment we stock Galcon, Rainbird, Pope, Orbit tap timers, as we have found these to be the most reliable timers in the market.
Worth noting here that many professional gardeners and landscapers (us included!) will take doubt out of the situation and install a Hunter Node or similar battery operated controller instead of a tap timer. These do cost a little more but will operate reliably for years as they have dedicated solenoid valves