How To Program A Hunter Sprinkler System (Do This!)

Jessica Stone
by Jessica Stone

Since your home’s lawn will require different amounts of water for different times of the year, it is vital that your sprinkler system is programmed accordingly. It should also be adjusted as needed about once a month.

Knowing how to program your Hunter sprinkler system is crucial to keeping your lawn looking great throughout the year. The steps to programing a Hunter sprinkler system begin and end at the controller.

Hunter Industries manufactures a number of lines of residential and commercial sprinkler system controllers. However, each operate similarly and are relatively easy to understand. We’ll walk you through all the steps to successfully program your Hunter sprinkler system, so that you can enjoy its full benefits.

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Step One: Set the Current Time

Before you proceed with any programming, you want to ensure that the current time displayed is correct. An incorrect current time means that all of the other settings you input will also be inaccurate.

  • To adjust the current time on your Hunter sprinkler system controller, turn the dial to “Current Time/Day.” This will cause the displayed numbers to start flashing.
  • Then, use the plus and minus buttons on the device to change the numbers accordingly.
  • When you’re ready to move on to minutes, date, and year, you can use the left and right arrows to switch between settings.

Keep switching between settings until the correct current time, date, and year are set. Be sure to pay special attention to AM vs. PM and select the proper one that applies.

Step Two: Establish the Start Times

Once the current time is displayed accurately, you can move on to start times. Twist the dial on your controller so that it is in the “Start Times” position. Adjusting this will determine when your sprinklers will turn on. Make sure to factor in your local watering schedule to determine the appropriate time and day to run your sprinklers.

With the dial turned to “Start Times,” use the left and right arrow buttons to switch between the first (morning) and second (evening) start times for the sprinkler. As you did above, adjust the time using the plus and minus arrows on the device until your desired start times are shown correctly.

Step Three: Establish the Run Times

With the start times set appropriately, twist the dial again to the “Run Times” position. By adjusting this setting, you are establishing how long you want the sprinklers to run until they automatically shut off. Again, be sure to factor in your local water schedule so that the sprinklers only run for the permitted times.

The device allows you to establish different run times for each ‘station’ of your sprinkler system (beds, lawns, etc.). As a general rule of thumb, you usually want a run time between 10 and 13 minutes in the spring and fall, and approximately 12 to 17 minutes in the summer months.

When it comes to flower beds, you’ll want to adjust the run time to double the amount if you have a drip system. For spray systems, adjust the run time for flower beds to half the amount of time. Observe your lawn or garden closely throughout the year and fine-tune these times as needed.

Step Four: Establish the Watering Days

Now that you have the start times and run times set, you can move on to establishing the watering days. Twist the dial so that it is in the “Water Days” position. This will switch the display on the controller to days of the week. Use the left and right arrows to cycle through the days. To program properly, the days should be shown as follows:

  • A water droplet icon indicates a day that you want your sprinklers to run.
  • A water droplet icon with a circle around it and a dash through it indicates a day that you do not want your sprinklers to run.

These days will depend on the city you live in, as long as the time of the year. Based on your address, you can determine the days you are allowed to have your sprinklers run on. When programming your watering days, be sure to refer closely to your local water schedule.

Step Five: Verify Coverage

With all of the proper settings established, you’ll want to perform some steps to verify coverage. To do this, twist the dial so that it is in the “Manual One Station” position. This setting allows you to run each station for a select amount of time. To check your coverage, run each station for just a few minutes and inspect that everything is running smoothly.

You’ll want to look for any sprinklers that may have spun around and are now spraying areas of your property that do not need to be watered, such as your driveway. You should also be checking for any possible clogs in your line. In addition to testing the coverage after programming, you should also do it once a month to ensure that the entire system is running as expected.

With the dial turned to “Manual One Station,” use the plus and minus buttons to modify the run time for the first station. For this brief test, three minutes should be plenty of time. Once the time is adjusted, twist the dial to “Run” and the sprinkler system will turn on automatically.

After you’ve finished checking the first system, let the time run out or shut off the system manually by turning the dial to “System Off.” Then, switch back to the “Manual One Station” position and use the left and right arrow buttons to cycle to the next station. Repeat this entire procedure until you’ve successfully inspected all stations and verified the coverage.

Step Six: Success!

When you’ve finished setting the start times, run times, watering days, and have checked each station to verify that everything is running smoothly, turn the dial to “Run” again. Congratulations, your Hunter sprinkler system is now programmed and will turn on and off automatically, according to the settings that you entered.

Related Questions

Why is my Hunter sprinkler system not working?

This could be caused by a number of reasons. If your sprinkler system’s controller displays the flashing sprinkler icon but your sprinklers are not running, you either have a wiring problem at the valves or your water supply has been shut off. If you have a master valve on your system, then the problem may be due to a master valve that won’t open. Inspect the wire connections at the master valves for any corroded or loose wires, or a faulty solenoid. If your system does not have a master valve, check that your valves have a water supply.

Why does my Hunter sprinkler system turn on again?

The most common reason that a controller repeats a cycle is because of an excess of programmed start times. Each active program only requires one start time. If you have a second start time programmed into the controller, the system will cycle an additional time.

Why is my Hunter sprinkler system controller displaying “Err”?

When the display on your Hunter sprinkler system controller shows “Err” this indicates an issue with the installation or an interference with the SmartPort wiring. It may also be the direct result of a faulty device plugged into the SmartPort. Check the wiring to be sure that it is correct and is not bundled. Bundling wires together can cause interference.

Why won’t my sprinkler system turn on?

If your sprinkler system won’t turn on, this may be caused by a variety of reasons. The first thing you should check is the sprinkler heads to make sure that they aren’t clogged with dirt or debris, or simply broken. Either situation can prevent your system from functioning properly. If the issue isn’t with the sprinkler heads, you could have damaged or leaking pipes, voltage issues, a defective valve, or you’re the valves from your backflow device may not be turned on all the way.

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Wrapping It Up

While the controller on your Hunter sprinkler system may look intimidating, it is rather easy to operate. With a greater understanding of all of the different settings and how to establish them, you can keep your landscaping healthy and maybe even save some money on your water bill!

Jessica Stone
Jessica Stone

Jessica considers herself a home improvement and design enthusiast. She grew up surrounded by constant home improvement projects and owes most of what she knows to helping her dad renovate her childhood home. Being a Los Angeles resident, Jessica spends a lot of her time looking for her next DIY project and sharing her love for home design.

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