One of the most challenging and expensive aspects of fitting automatic timers to irrigation systems is the need for 240V power to operate the timer and solenoid valves. It is often either not available due to remote or roadside locations or very expensive to get the power to where it needs to be. Toro has an exceptional product, its Tempus DC Battery-Controller that recently hit the Australian market, which as the name suggests only requires battery power.
The Toro TEMPUS™ DC Battery-Controller is available in two configurations: one with an LCD screen and one without. Both of these are available in single station, as well as two, four and six station options providing irrigators with a selection of eight models to choose from to suit multiple applications. But what sets Tempus DC apart from other battery-controlled watering devices is that it can be programmed and operated using your smart device via Bluetooth connectivity making watering your greens so much easier and convenient. The Tempus DC app is available and downloadable for Apple and Android devices. The LCD screen model is also operational with a simple to use keypad if desired.
Setting up the controller is one of the easiest and simplest tasks I have encountered with any irrigation controller. It comes with rain sensor ready capability so it is just a matter of wiring up the solenoid valves and rain sensor as you would a conventional timer, downloading the app, pairing your device to the timer and following the prompts to program the desired settings. I must add that I am definitely not tech savvy, actually more like tech impaired, and even I found this a simple task.
The controller has four independent programs per station if required and three start times per program with run times of up to 8 hours ensuring this compact timer has all the capabilities of larger timers in a tiny package.
The controllers are constructed of UV-resistant materials for outdoor wall mounting and are also 100 per cent waterproof so they are neatly installed out of the way in the valve box. This means they don’t have to be accessed for regular operation, only removed for battery changes annually. This is also a great security feature for publicly accessible applications because it is the security key that enables the operator to use a code to access the timer, ensuring no one else can pair their device to the unit unless they are given the code.
The watering schedule program settings cover a range of options to suit any application with calendar day options, interval watering, odd/ even day settings and even non-water day options. Water budgeting can be increased or decreased depending on conditions from 0 per cent to 200 per cent in 10 per cent increments from an extremely simple sliding scale on the app screen, which changes the overall run time of all stations eliminating the need to change each station individually and making the task a fast, easy process. All programs (time and date etc.) are stored in an internal memory permanently, so should the battery fail there is no need to reprogram when installing a new battery. The LCD and Non-LCD timers are operated by 9V batteries and the LCD timer is also capable of running on AAA batteries if required.
I think the new Toro TEMPUS™ DC Battery Controllers are absolutely brilliant. They have all the features of larger conventional timers without the bulk or need for mains power. This opens up new ground for applications in all sorts of areas where previously fully automatic timers either could not be installed or where installation costs would be excessive. But more importantly, they offer a higher level of convenience to the users because they are programmable and operable using a smart phone or tablet. They give operators the ability to potentially pull up at a roadside location, connect to the controller and make adjustments, all without leaving the comfort and safety of a vehicle.