How to Install Garden Automatic Water System For Your Plants

Home irrigation popup sprinkler
How to Install Auto Irrigation

hunter x-core auto water timerIf you are 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 rainwater tank with a pump. But saving water will 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 Irrigation 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 weatherproof 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 by the letter (i) after the model number. eg XC600i is the indoor version.

hunter xc600 weatherproof box

Table of Contents

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  
  • The control valves I use are 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 rainwater tank
  • 7 Core Electrical cable to run to solenoids
  • In-ground junction box for solenoids.
  • Digging tools like a shovel and pick.
  • Pop up sprinklers or a drip system and a 
  • Irrigation manifold

Where to Mount Water Controller

The first step is to choose where you want to mount the x-core controller and where you will put the solenoids. Generally, it is 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 weatherproof controller if putting them 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 to connect up all pipes to solenoids and sprinkler 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.

Pipe it to either a water tank or a mains water tap. I had to install a new water tap out the back connected to mains water.

I prefer to have a master valve just in the case of a leaky or failed valve I won’t 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, a great time to test run your system. To quickly test run the system turn the selector switch to Manual 1 station set the runtime 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 and has a 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 are available with multiple scheduling formats. You can also add different sensors like a rain sensor so your sprinklers won’t come on if it rains.

A 365-day calendar helps make saving water simple. Summertime program more water days, winter not so much. The 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 with 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 loses its signal it will auto close off, increasing the pump pressure and it will turn off the pump. This runs off a 10,000-litre water tank that is filled with rainwater 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 backfill holes over the pipe and sit back and relax with your auto water system. Knowing it’s now watering your precious grafted trees.

Water Pump Pressure Controller

water pump pressure controllerA great feature of my pumps is this pressure controller. It’s wired into the pump’s main power so when it senses low water pressure the pump will start.

Once pressure is too high like a solenoid valve closing the pump will stop. It’s also smart enough to turn off the pump if there is no water flowing to it like an empty water tank.

Hunter Xcore 6 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 this 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. It’s truly is a one set and forget solution for the popup sprinklers for your lawn and garden bed.

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