Weather-based control for up to 22 zones from Rain Bird

After Rain Bird introduced the ESP-SMT smart control system in 2009, the weather-based, 13-station controller quickly made a name for itself as a technologically-advanced, water-efficient way to schedule irrigation. Now, Rain Bird is introducing the ESP-SMTe—an enhanced version of the original ESP-SMT that features numerous enhancements and the ability to manage up to 22 zones.

“The ESP-SMTe still includes all the features that made the ESP-SMT a breakthrough in smart controller technology and earned it the EPA’s WaterSense label,” said Adolfo Meza, product manager for Rain Bird’s contractor controllers. “However, we’ve taken the original product and made it even better—and, because it’s expandable to 22 zones, it’s the perfect weather-based controller for both residential and light commercial applications.”

Like its predecessor, the ESP-SMTe consists of two key components—a controller chassis with an integrated smart panel and an on-site weather station that includes a temperature sensor with an integrated solar shield and a unique tipping rain bucket for instantaneous rainfall measurement. An intuitive on-screen wizard prompts users for site-specific and zone-specific information to create a customized, optimum irrigation schedule. The ESP-SMTe also combines historical data along with actual temperature and rainfall data to determine how much water is needed to maintain the optimum level of moisture in the soil. Each day, the controller uses all this information to decide whether to continue with its pre-defined irrigation schedule, suspend irrigation or adjust the schedule to apply more or less water as needed.

“Zone by zone, the ESP-SMTe uses information like slope, shade, soil type, plant type, density root depth and sprinkler type to calculate the most efficient irrigation schedule for your site,” Meza explained. “You can also factor in watering restrictions as well as watering windows that some municipalities may impose. In this way, you’re truly creating a customized schedule without the guesswork often required by traditional time-based controllers.”

In addition to its new expandability to 22 zones, the ESP-SMTe now features a number of useful updates:

Changes to a site’s zone configuration are updated immediately instead of waiting until midnight by entering yesterday’s high and low temperature at setup.
The “Rain Delay” feature can now be set to zero, and “Rain Delay” is no longer displayed when the irrigation schedule is not time-based.
A rain bucket graphic is incorporated that shows the soil’s moisture capacity and planned moisture level at which the controller will start irrigation for that specific zone.

“More than ever before, both residential and light commercial applications need the water-efficiency that a smart controller has to offer,” Meza said. “With the ESP-SMTe, contractors can use a single controller to give both types of clients the same level of efficiency and customization. There’s no need to stock multiple controllers or learn how to use them—the ESP-SMTe can do it all.”