Smart Controller Program

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Weather Based Watering?

The patented SmartLine controller with an optional SLW series weather station uses your on-site weather conditions and plant material data to track evapotranspiration on a daily basis.

Evapotranspiration (ET data) allows the SmartLine controller to determine watering run times required to keep your plant healthy as well as saving water by decreasing your watering times automatically at times of the year when your plants are under less stress.  Check with your local water provider to determine rebates and incentives for installing this type of system.

How can I be sure I will get a good system?

A good lawn sprinkler system is one flexible enough for your watering needs: it will put the right amount of water in each area and it will keep operating year after year with minimal maintenance. Your satisfaction with the system will depend ultimately on:

  1. the quality the of the system components
  2. the craftsmanship of the installation

Weathermatic's residential sprinkler system components are professional grade and are engineered, manufactured, and tested to give years of trouble free service. Weathermatic offers the most comprehensive educational programs and publications available to our highly skilled net work of professional contractors.

How can I tell if I have enough water pressure to have a sprinkler system installed?

Your professional Weathermatic contractor will do a pressure test and design the system to insure your sprinklers will operate at optimal pressure. Should a larger water meter or pump be required your Weathermatic contractor will advise you ahead of time about the specific details involving the installation of them.

Why do I need to enter in my ZIP Code into the SmartLine controller?

The SmartLine controller automatically calculates the daily solar radiation using the ZIP Code location.  This is part of the ET calculation for run time when you are using Auto Adjust.

What does the PAUSE indication mean on my SmartLine controller?

It means that your controller has temporarily paused irrigation due to a setting in the programming for Omit Time, Rain Delay or cycle/soak to prevent water runoff.

If you are using an SLW series weather station, the controller will also pause for 48 hours after a rain sensor shutdown.  The controller will resume watering at the first scheduled start time after the pause.  If you want to delete the 48 hour pause, just press the sensor button to put the unit into bypass and then press the button again to put the sensor mode back to active.  The LED will be green.

The controller will also show PAUSE momentarily when it switches from one zone to another zone.

Where can I find a troubleshooting guide?

A troubleshooting guide is included in your SmartLine controller owner's manual.  Other useful documents include the quick start and installation guides.

Why do I have to have a back flow device and does my installation contractor have to be licensed?

Lawn sprinkler systems, as they are directly connected to your city water supply must meet local codes regarding backflow devices. These devices prevent water from being siphoned back into the water supply. The type of device required and the necessary building permits licenses and certifications required by contractors vary from city to city. Your city building permit office can tell you what will be required in your area.

My SmartLine controller runs the same program over and over. Is something wrong?

Check the Set Daily Start Times settings.  If you are using a SLW series weather station, you should only have one start time programmed.  Turn all other seven start times to OFF.  If you are not using a SLW series weather station, then you may or may not need more than one start time.  If you have more than one start time, they should not be the same time.  To turn a start time to OFF, hold down one of the arrow buttons until you see OFF shown in the display.

How do I shut my system down without losing the programs in my SmartLine controller?

Just turn the dial to OFF.  The mode LED will display RED and no watering will occur.

How do I create a "grow-in" program for newly seeded lawn or new sod?

You can create a "grow-in" program that will allow for watering with multiple daily starts. Once the lawn is established, you can cancel the "grow-in" program and switch to a normal SmartLine Auto Adjust program

First, set up your normal Auto Adjust watering program for an established landscape, activate the SLW weather station and place the controller in the Auto Adjust mode.

The next step is to save this program for future retrieval. Turn the dial to Advanced Functions, press the Adjust Value down arrow button once to get the Default screen. Press the Next button to view Store in the display. Press Next button one more time and wait until the screen shows Complete. Then turn the dial back to Run. You have saved the Auto Adjust program.

Now, place the Mode in the Standard position and program your grow-in program. When you are ready to switch back to the Auto Adjust program, push the Mode button to place the controller back in the Auto Adjust mode. Then turn the dial to Advanced Functions, press the Adjust Value down button once to get the Default screen, then press the Next button once to get Store and then press either Adjust Value button once to get Retrieve in the screen. Press the Next button and wait for the screen to show Complete.  Turn the dial back to Run.

If I have mixed types of plants in a single zone, which plant should I use when setting plant type?

If you have mixed plants, most likely you will want to choose the plant type requiring the most water.  If you have plant types other than those listed in your SmartLine manual, you can determine precipitation requirements by contacting your local agriculture extension office.

How does the SOIL TYPE setting affect ET watering time calculations?

It doesn't.  However, SmartLine automatically divides your calculated run times into run and soak periods to minimize wasteful water runoff caused by hard soils and/or elevation slope in a zone.  The controller will display a PAUSE when it is allowing water to soak in.

Why won't my SL1600 recognize zones when I use an SLM12 zone module?

The firmware in the SL1600 will only recognize 16 zones.  It will only accept the SLM4 module.  The SL1624 controller has firmware that will recognize up to 24 zones and it will accept the SLM12 and the SLM4 module.  To create 24 zones on an SL1624, remove the SLM4 module that came with the unit and install a second SLM12.Check the firmware Version number to verify that the firmware is 1.08 or higher. If the firmware version is 1.05 then this model of SL1600 will only accept and recognize the SLM4.

To check the firmware version

  1. Turn the dial to the Advanced Functions Positions.
  2. Press the UP or DOWN Adjust Value button until ABOUT shows in the display.
  3. Press the NEXT button and the firmware version number will be displayed.

Why does my SmartLine show Zero Zones?

  1. You could be trying to use an SLM12 module in an SL1600 unit as noted above.
  2. Try a different module.  You could have a defective module.
  3. Modules must be installed from left to right with no open module positions in between modules.
  4. AC must be present before the controller will recognize newly added modules.  Make sure the panel is tightly closed and try again.
  5. If none of the above works, try a Total Reset of the controller as explained in 7.1 of your manual.
  6. If none of the above works, replace the controller.

When does my SmartLine controller update watering times?

The SLW series weather station will send updated ET information to the controller at 11:50 each night.  The controller will update next run times at midnight using the latest information.  After a watering cycle, the run times will return to zero and a new deficit calculation will begin.

Does Auto Adjust change my watering days or start times for the watering cycle?

No.  It will never change these settings.  Due to enforced regulations with many cities, it is important that you be able to determine your watering schedule.  Auto Adjust will only change the length of watering time for each zone.

How do I modify the Auto Adjust watering times in my SmartLine controller?

If you think that the Auto Adjust watering times are too much or too little for any zone, you can fine tune the watering times.  There are primarily two positions on the dial for adjusting your run times.  You can use the Sprinkler Type position to change the precipitation rate for each zone.  The higher the precipitation rate you select, the shorter the run time will be.  Spray heads are generally rated at 1.5 inches per hour and rotary sprinklers at .5 inches per hour.

You can also use the More/Less position to adjust run times for individual zone conditions such as total shade.  See your owner's manual.  It is normal to have a 3 or 4 week adjustment period after setting up a SmartLine system.

What if my system did not water at a scheduled time when operating with the SmartLine controller?

Check the ACTIVE LED.  If it is RED, a rain or freeze sensor has shut down operation.  It will resume watering at the next scheduled start time.

How do I start a manual watering program in my SmartLine controller?

There are three ways.  If you want to run all programs for the scheduled run time programmed in the controller, just push the RUN MANUAL PROGRAM button at the top of the controller.  It will run all programs and return to the auto adjust mode by itself.  If you want to select a single zone, you can turn the dial to MANUAL ZONE, use the arrow buttons to enter a run time for the zone and then return the dial to RUN to start the operation.  You can also use the MANUAL TEST position on the dial to quickly run through all zones with time assigned.  When you turn to MANUAL TEST, the screen will display a 10 second run time for all stations.  You can change this time using the arrow buttons if you like; then return the dial to RUN to start the operation.

How do I know that my SmartLine controller is really watering?

Turn the dial to Advanced Functions.  Click the up arrow button until you see REVIEW in the screen.  Push the NEXT button twice to view the next run time for Zone 1.  Push the NEXT button again to view the run times for the other zones.  Return the dial to RUN.

Why is my system repeating a watering cycle?

  1. More than one Daily Start Time has been set for each program.  The program will start at the designated start time and run all zones assigned to that program in consecutive order.  If you are using Auto Adjust mode with an SLW weather station, the Auto Adjust mode will automatically divide run times to minimize water run off.  To turn off extra start times, turn the dial to the Daily Start Times position and use the Next button to view all start times for each program (A, B, C and D).  Use either arrow button to advance to the OFF position for each start time.
  2. In Auto Adjust the combination of Soil Type, Slope and Precipitation Rate (Sprinkler Type) set an automatic Run/Soak feature that causes the controller to cycle multiple times so that the proper amount of water can be applied without creating runoff.
  3. In the Standard mode a Run/Soak feature has been set in the Advanced Functions position causing the controller to cycle multiple times so that the proper amount of water can be applied without creating runoff.

Why do I need to enter Zone Run Times if I am using Auto Adjust Watering?

The run times you enter are never used by Auto Adjust to determine watering time.  Auto Adjust will calculate run times every night at midnight using new data received from the SLW weather station at 11:50 pm daily.  The run times you enter in the controller are used to create only a backup program in event of a loss of communication with the SLW.  Additionally, they are used for a Run Manual Program to apply extra watering and are used to assign each zone (station) to a Program or Programs (A, B, C, D).

Will Auto Adjust change the watering days and start times I have selected?

No, it will not.  Auto Adjust only changes the run time for each zone.  This is important as many areas have restricted watering times and you would not want the controller to decide when to water.  You only want it to decide how much to water.

How can I check how many minutes Auto Adjust is watering each zone?

You can view Next Run times at the Advanced Functions position on your controller.  Use your manual 6.0 advanced functions chart to assist in navigation.  You can also view daily high and low temperatures for the last 5 days at Advanced Functions.  Note that since your controller calculates next run time every night at midnight, values you view today will likely change after midnight.

Will Auto Adjust calculate a run time that would cause me to violate a local watering regulation?

You can use the OMIT feature on the dial to blackout any restricted watering hours, days, or dates.  The Set Watering Days position on the dial also allows you to select specified weekly days or odd/even days to an interval of days.

Does Auto Adjust use the zone watering times entered on the right hand side of the SmartLine dial?

No, it does not.  However, it is important to have realistic zone run time settings entered so that they can be used as a backup program if communication is lost with the SLW weather station.  The run times setting entered are also used for the run times for the Run Manual Program function.

Communication with the SLW is shown by an antenna icon on your display.  If communication is lost, the icon will disappear after 5 days and you will see a FAULT message on the display.  The controller will use last available SLW data to determine run times for 5 days after communication loss.  After that, it will continue your irrigation schedule using the run times at Set Zone Run Times on your dial.  If communication loss occurs, call your irrigation professional.

What is the reason I do not see a battery strength icon for the SLW when I turn the SmartLine dial to an Auto Adjust position?

The icon will disappear if the daily temp communication does not occur. You might have a communication problem with the SLW.  Turn the SmartLine dial to Advanced Functions/Review/TempData and see if you have high/low temperature readings for the past 5 days.  If you have any blank screens, then go to the SLW and perform the diagnostic test as described in the Troubleshooting section of your manual.   The SmartLine will also have a missed communication day if the clock time is moved ahead an hour or more (for example resetting for Daylight Savings Time).  The icon will return by itself if the controller receives a rain or freeze message from the SLW or if the battery(s) in the SLW have a reportable change in strength.  You can restore the icon by holding down on the rain tab on top of the SLW for about 10 seconds.  

Do I set the Seasonal % adjust in my SmartLine controller if I am using the SLW weather station?

It is a good idea to set all the parameters on the Standard side of the dial plus the cycle/soak feature in Advanced Functions.  All of these settings will be used if communication is lost with the SLW series weather station.  However, when communication with the SLW is present and the controller is in the Auto Adjust mode, the settings on the right hand side of the dial are not used except for Zone Run Times, Daily Start Times, and Watering Days.  These setting are used in either mode of watering.

How can I make sure that the rain sensor on my SLW series weather station really works?

Since the SmartLine controller comes from the factory with a zero watering deficit, you cannot force an automatic start by just resetting the time to a few minutes before your next start.  The controller will not see any watering deficit until after the first midnight, so the automatic program will not run.  A sensor also will not stop any type of manual start since it is assumed that if the user is doing a manual start, they want to ignore any recent rainfall; for example, you might want to water after fertilizing.  Do not pour water on the sensor to test as that will lock out your systems from watering for several days.  To test a rain sensor, put the SmartLine in the Standard watering mode and then change the time in the controller to a few minutes before your next start time.  Wait for the automatic start and then go to the SLW or sensor and push down on the test stem on the sensor.  The zone watering should stop and the Active LED on the SmartLine should be orange until you release the sensor stem.

Why is my Sensor Active LED always RED?

Unless rain or freezing temperatures are activating causing an interruption in watering, it is likely that the wire loop between the two SEN terminals has been removed.  Open the panel of your controller and check the wire loop in the SEN terminals.  It must be left in place if you are using the SLW weather station not using an auxiliary device such as a wind speed meter.

Where can I put the SLW weather station and how far can it be located from the controller?

The SLW will provide accurate readings at a variety of locations.  Since it does not require maintenance and cleaning it can be mounted at rooftop height or on a pole or fencepost; whatever is convenient.  The SLW10 is lightweight and can be attached to a rain gutter with the thumbscrew provided.  The SLW20 has a heavy duty metal arm ideal for location at sports facilities and other commercial sites.

Choose a location as close to the controller as possible to minimize the length of shielded cable required.  The SLW will operate a maximum distance of 3000 feet from the controller as long as splices are made with a solid mechanical or solder connection and the splice is enclosed in a waterproof jacket.  Weathermatic provides 100 foot shielded cable splice kits that include a waterproof shrink jacket.  A torch is required apply the jacket.  The part number of the 100 foot cable and splice kit is the SLC100.  Weathermatic shielded cable is also available in 1000 foot spools with 10 connector kits included.  The part number for the 1000 foot kit is SLC1000.  It is highly recommended that splices always be made above ground or in a burial box for easy access.  Polarity of connections is critical.  Make sure to splice BLACK to BLACK and RED to RED.  The cable shield is your third connection wire.

If generic cable is used, it must be a shielded communication cable with minimum 22 gauge wires.  RED and BLACK coated wires are preferred so that it is easy to maintain continuity when making splices.

General rules for SLW location are that it must be in a location where it can catch rainfall and it should be in an area with open air flow (don't locate it in a corner of two walls).  It can be located in shade or sunlight.  Height does not matter.  Avoid any location near a heat source such as a chimney, air conditioning compressor or mounting above attic ducts where wind currents will pull the hot attic air across the SLW.

Do you have any tips for placement of the SLW15 wireless for consistent signal strength?

Line of sight is rated at 600 feet.  If you are placing the SmartLine controller inside a garage or basement, you should generally still have good signal strength for at least 200 feet.  If you place the controller inside a commercial building or stainless vandal housing, you will still generally have around 200 feet of effective distance.  However, commercial sites sometimes have firewalled buildings which will necessitate placing the controller outside of the building.  Optimum signal strength is obtained when the SLW is mounted not higher than 20 feet above the controller and when the SLW is not directly over the controller.  When you perform the diagnostic test at the SLW to determine signal strength, the 4th Led flash must be green.  If the 4th Led flash is red but you have a flashing antenna icon on the controller display, that would indicate that the SLW is able to communicate with the controller but the SLHUB in the controller cannot respond to the SLW.  Try another location.