Programming Basics

Want to take full advantage of your underground sprinkler timer?  This may be the guide for you. 

What are stations and zones?

A station or zone refers to a group of sprinklers attached to the same valve.  Your timer will turn on the valve to let water flow to the sprinklers in that zone/station.  The resulting water pressure causes your sprinkler heads to rise.  A timer will only water one zone at a time to ensure the heads get the proper water pressure they need.  Zones are numbered based on which terminal they’re wired to on your timer, from 1 to 4,6,8,12, or 16 depending on your timer.

What is the purpose of the A, B, C, and D programs?

The different programs would be used if you have certain stations that need to run separately from the rest of your stations. For example; Your grass may need to be watered every other day, but you also have a drip system that needs to be watered once a week. You would use the different programs to make your drip system water less often than your lawn. Your timer may be limited to 2, 3, or 4 programs, but they will be called A B C and D.

What do start times do?

A start time tells your timer when to start your program.  This means that if you set a start time for your program that has all of your drip zones in it, the timer will water each zone, one after the other, at that start time.  For simple solutions where all of the zones can water on the same schedule, that means one start time and one program is all you’ll need.  Start times are usually numbered 1-4.

Making your programs

On EasyDial or Easy Set Timers, you’ll be doing this at the timer, but for the Bhyve timers, you’ll have the option to run through programming in the app.  Either way, you’ll want to answer 2 questions for each zone you have:

  1. How long does the zone need to run?
  2. How often does the zone need to run?

Question 2 will help you group zones into programs.  For example, I need all of my 6 lawn zones to run 2 times a day, three times a week, but the 2 drip zones for my shrubs get 1 time a day, three times a week.  That’s two programs,  I’ll call them A and B. Using the buttons on a timer, there should be a button to switch between your programs when you’re editing them.  In the app, you’ll need to complete a program and select a new one to edit.  Don’t forget to save!

First up is usually start times.  In the example, I’ll need 2 for program A, the lawn program, 1 for program B, the drip program, based on how many times per day I want them watered.

Then, you’ll add zones to the program by giving them a run time.  Working with the buttons on the timer, this is usually just cycling through zones and increasing times as needed, leaving zones not in the program at 0 minutes.  In the app, this is done by adding zones and giving them a run time.

Next you’ll move on to how often.  Options can really vary by timer.  Most of our underground timers will let you choose days of the week or watering every number of days.  Check your manual for the specifics.  With Bhyve, you’ll have a visual display letting you tap days of the week or choose your interval. For the example, both of my programs need 3 days a week so I’ll set them for Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday watering.

That’s it!  You’ve got your programs set.  Make sure your timer is set to Auto and let it run.

For information about a specific timer, try these articles or use the search bar:

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Tags: how-to, program, programmingstations, timer, zones