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Well, worry no more! AMS Plastics has developed a clever product called "Pre-Set One-Piece Manifold Tee". This product is a pre-built valve manifold available in 3/4" and 1" sizes with two or three outlet ports. Each of outlet ports are properly aligned along length of pipe and at proper spacing. The one piece construction eliminates worry of leaky fittings. It also comes with a "key and groove" feature that insures proper alignment when you use two or more units in series. This is a product that can save lots of time.
Another broken pipe complaint involves pipe installed above ground, especially on slopes. Standard white PVC does not survive well in real world of sunlight. That's why Brownline Pipe Company developed a product they call "Brownline UVR PVC". Brownline is PVC pipe that is resistant to ravages of sunlight, particularly ultraviolet radiation. Ultraviolet radiation is what destroys regular white PVC. It's what causes regular white PVC to become brittle and to fall apart. Since Brownline is PVC it's much easier to install than galvanized and much more versatile. It's also not subject to myriad problems that affect galvanized such as corrosion from chemicals such as fertilizer and herbicides.
Brownline (named for its tan or light brown coloration) is Sch 40 and available in 1/2" to 2" sizes. A complete range of fittings is also available. To compliment system they have also developed a Non-Drain Valve to eliminate low head drainage and a nipple and pipe stabilizer made of a heavy duty square steel stake with adjustable extensions.
NDS, (National Diversified Sales) has a unique product called "Spee-D-Drip Edge". This product solves two problems. Made of extruded black polyethylene it can serve as border edge and a drip line. The top edge is a hollow tube, extra thick on lawn side to withstand punishment of line trimmers. Clever!
NIS (National Irrigation Specialists) have come up with a few clever products themselves. The first one is an irrigation system analyzer called "Checkmate II". This product was developed to save you lots of time and trouble in locating and determining electrical system failures in valves, solenoids, and wiring. It is basically an electronic trouble shooter. It can perform several very important tests quickly and simply.
Since Checkmate II has a sufficient internal power supply, it can activate a properly working solenoid. By connecting test leads to solenoid you can determine if solenoid is or is not working, if it's mechanically malfunctioning, if coil is burned out, or if it's drawing too much power. You can also perform these tests at controller. You can test wires from valve to controller. By connecting Checkmate II at valve and activating valve station at controller you can find out if valve is receiving current from controller. You can also test individual station at controller to determine if controller is activating station in question. There are no switches or dials to adjust on Checkmate II. All you have to do is connect test leads to appropriate connections at valve, solenoid, or controller and let unit do its thing.
Another clever device made by NIS is "Switch-Hitter". This unit is an auxiliary controller. It allows you to turn a valve station into a multiple valve station without having to run more wires from controller to valve box. Available in either two or four station models it allows you to upgrade a system simply and efficiently as well as bypass broken wires, thus avoiding problem of replacing hundreds of feet of wire running under sidewalks or other obstacles.
A good example would be a typical irrigation situation. You have all encountered problem of of an irrigated zone encompassing several lawn areas with varying water requirements. One half of lawn needs ten minutes of water and other half needs five minutes. The result is either a swampy area that makes mowing or maintenance difficult or a desert area which is unsightly. The Switch-Hitter allows you to install another valve to be run off same station controller. One valve would be for high water requirement area and other for low water need area. The Switch-Hitter is installed in-line between valve and controller. The controller is set to water for fifteen minutes. Switch-Hitter station A is set for five minutes and station B is set for ten minutes. And there you have it! Each lawn area receives proper amount of water. Your garden and landscaping will appreciate it.
NIS also makes a universal solenoid called "Super Max". This product allows you to replace nearly any solenoid. It comes with a threaded adapter, different length plungers, and different dimension "O" rings.
So, there you have it. This is by no means a complete review of many time, money, and labor saving devices available for irrigation specialists and others in Green Industry, but it should give you a pretty good idea of kinds of things you can do to run a more efficient operation. __________________________________________
Jack Stone is a Contributing Editor for ProGardenBiz Magazine, an online magazine for professional gardeners and landscape contractors. Visit ProGardenBiz to find out how you can get a free subscription, start-up guidance, business ideas and inspiration at http://www.progardenbiz.com. __________________________________________
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Jack Stone is a Contributing Editor for ProGardenBiz Magazine, an online magazine for professional gardeners and landscape contractors. Visit ProGardenBiz to find out how you can get a free subscription, start-up guidance, business ideas and inspiration at http://www.progardenbiz.com.