User manual frustrations

March 3, 2010

As I mentioned earlier, we’ve moved into a new house. A house with a reticulated garden. I’ve had reticulation before and the programmable controllers are a bit of a mystery — not at all helped by the invariably incomprehensible user manual that comes with them.

This system is a Rain Dial system from Irritrol, and the instructions to set up a manual override seemed easy enough. Not so. One critical thing that was missing was information about whether our system was on program cycle A, B or C. Without that, I couldn’t figure out which dials to turn and buttons to press. With the help of two friends (one of whom works in the irrigation supplies business!), we tried valiantly to get it to work. All I wanted to do was a manual run through to see which stations were set to which number, and to check the arc ranges of the sprinkler heads. Three of us fiddled around for more than 30 minutes (a combined 90+ minutes) and STILL we couldn’t get the manual override to work. My level of frustration was high… I was cursing the manual, the company who made the product, my own lack of knowledge of such things, and anything else within striking distance!

So now I have to call the retic specialists to come out and show me how to set it, as well as tell me what stations are set to what numbers. An expense I could have been spared if some critical information was included in the user manual.

One good thing these manuals do is provide you with a place to write down the stations, whether they are set to the A, B or C cycle, and the timer settings. However, the person who set up this system and/or the previous owners of the house never bothered to write this stuff down. Which means I’m now in reticulation frustration land.

Am I wrongly blaming the user manual, when it may be the lack of documentation from the installer/previous owners that’s at fault?

We’ll see when I call out the guy later this week…

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