Hunter X-Core Controller using Irritrol Solenoids Review and Install Tips

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If your like me and just have no time for any gardening but enjoy a nice tidy well cared and watered garden then a Hunter X-core water controller is what you need. Home irrigation can either be connected to the mains supply or a rain water tank with a pump. But saving water wall save you money in the long-term.

Hunter make 3 models of the X-Core they are

  • The Hunter X-core 4 station XC400 automatic watering station.
  • Hunter X-Core 6 Station XC600 Irigation Controller
  • The very famous Hunter X-Core 8 XC800 Station Outdoor Control Timer

These are all the out-door versions, which come with a very nice outdoor weather proof storage box that can e mounted to the outside of your house or any other location that you see fit.

They also make an indoor version of all 3 models which is a few dollars cheaper which is indicated buy the letter (i) after the model number. eg XC600i is the indoor version.

hunter xc600 weatherproof box

How to install Automatic Garden Sprinkler Using X-Core Controller

Most modern house blocks are getting smaller now and it is becoming very easy to DIY install of a modern Automatic sprinkler control unit. Firstly you will need to work out how many solenoid valves you are going to need to water your whale block.

Each solenoid valve will be able to safely drive 3 pop up sprinklers. Even more with better water pressure and quality pop up spray heads. Like the popular Toro 53814 4-Inch Pop up with Variable Adjustable Nozzle.

The parts you will need for this job are

  • Auto Sprinkler Controller I use the Hunter X-core controller x6 from Hunter Industries  
  • Some control Valves I use the Irritrol 205tf as they are reliable and have a manual flow control valve to fine tune your setup.
  • Irrigation pipe
  • Irrigation quick connectors
  • Pump if using a rain water tank
  • 7 Core Electrical cable to run to solenoids
  • In ground junction box for solenoids.
  • Digging tools like shovel and pick.
  • Pop up sprinklers or a drip system and a 
  • Irrigation manifold

Where to Mount Water Controller

First step is to choose where you want to mount the x-core controller and where you will put the solenoids. Generally its best to have them all close by.

I chose the Irritrol Solenoids due to great reviews online, the pros use them as they are easy to repair and have adjustable flow rates. Next mount the x-core controller to the wall and make sure you buy the weather proof controller if putting outside.205 irritrol solenoid best

Dig a hole in the ground deep enough to install the solenoid box and layer the base with road base gravel so it has good drainage. Dig a trench to each pop-up sprinkler or drip system and lay the irrigation pipe in the trench connect up all pipes to solenoids and sprinklers systems. Easy if you use an irrigation manifold.

Decide if you want to have a master control valve, this will be triggered every time a zone needs to work. It will be the 1st control solenoid valve in the irrigation line as all other zones will come off this.

I prefer to have a master valve just in the case of a leaky or failed valve I wont lose all my water. Wire up each solenoid to a pair of wires from the 7 core irrigation cable, you can also get different size core cable eg: 5 core 10 core and wire up the master valve if installed. Wire up the x-core controller with 12v power and cables to each solenoid.

Power up the x-core controller and program up zone water times, great time to test run your system. To quickly test run the system turn the selector switch to Manual 1 station set the run time and turn back to run, the system will start-up.Home irrigation popup sprinkler

Hunter X-Core 8 Features

The X-Core 8 has all the features of the 6 and 4 just it can control more 24-volt irrigation valves. It’s very compact, user-friendly timer for handy water-management.

It can control up to 8 stations using 3 programs. These programs are totally independent of each other so you can have different zones, times and durations for each program. 4 start times for each program is available with multiple scheduling formats. You can also add in different sensors like a rain sensor so your sprinklers wont come on if it rains.

A 365-day calendar helps make saving water simple. Summer time program more water days, winter not so much. Default system offers retrieval of the original program entered into the controller. Solar Sync is the ability to have total autonomous watering of your garden.

My water pump is an automatic pump that starts on the loss of pressure, when a solenoid gets a signal to open, the pump will sense a loss of pressure and start-up. When the solenoid looses its signal it will auto close off, increasing the pump pressure and it will turn off the pump. This runs of a 10,000 litre water tank that is filled by rain water every year.

The user manual for the Hunter Xcore can be found here

If you have no leaks the pump should hold pressure and stay off. If all good back fill holes over pipe and sit back and relax with your auto water system.. Knowing it’s now watering your precious grafted trees.

Hunter Xcore Specs

Operating Specifications

  • Station Run Times: 0 to 4 hours in 1-minute increments
  • 3 Independent Watering Programs
  • Start Times: 4 per day per program for up to 12 daily starts
  • Watering Schedule: 365-day calendar, interval watering, odd/even watering
  • AM/PM, 24-hour clock
  • Simple manual operation
  • Sensor override by station
  • Programmable rain delay (1 to 7 days)
  • Manual Seasonal Adjustment (10% to 150%)
  • Automatic Seasonal Adjustment using Solar Sync sensor
  • Sensor bypass switch
  • X-Core-x##i for indoor use. X-Core-xXX for outdoor use
  • Sea level to 6500 ft (2000 m) at -13˚ F to 140˚ F (-25° C to 60° C)
  • Transformer input 120VAC ±10% 60 Hz (230VAC ±10% 50/60 Hz International Models)
  • Transformer Output: 24VAC 1.0 amp
  • Station Output: 0.56 amps per station
  • Maximum Output: 0.90 amps (includes master valve)
  • Battery: 3 V Lithium (included) used for remote programming and backup timekeeping. Use CR2032 3-volt.
  • Electronic short circuit protection, Non-volatile memory for program data

Irritrol 205 TF Solenoids review and specs

  • Heavy-duty, corrosion and UV-resistant PVC / Stainless construction
  • High-flow, low-friction-loss design
  • Rugged, nylon-reinforced Buna-N diaphragm
  • User replaceable 205 Diaphragm
  • It has a 1″ NPT thread.
  • The 205TFhas a flow rate of .25 – 30 GPM.
  • The irritrol 205f  has a pressure rating of 10 – 150 PSI. 
  • Normally Closed spring return

I have had these Irritrol 205tf for a few years now and not one has had a leak. Very reliable water solenoid valve. No coil whine. Fast shut off. Adjustable flow rate. Recommended

At the end of the day the Hunter X-Core water controller is the best value solenoid controller for your garden. Its truly is a one set and forget solution for the popup sprinklers for your lawn and garden bed.

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