Lesson 10.1 – Setting Up For Normal Operation
The RST system works on low pressure and does not allow soiling to build on the panels. However, if panels are extremely dirty, particularly with caked on mud or bird excrement, an initial manual cleaning may be necessary. Luckily, with the RST system now installed, the necessary water to clean the panels is already there. For manual cleaning, most manufacturers recommend brushes with bristles less than 4mm (0.15”) in diameter. Softer brooms, at Home Depot, for example, meet this specification. If soiling is extreme and a broom will not remove the soiling, a professional cleaning will be necessary. A professional cleaning should have been done before the installation of the RST system so sprinklers and piping will not be loosened or disturbed.
To set up the system for normal operation, make sure the garden faucet is in the full ON position, the main valve in the control box is full ON, and all control valves in the control box are set to “auto”. The garden faucet will need to be on at all times, except for times when you want the system shut down (winter months, for example). The valve on the Y-fitting that leads to the control box should be kept open, and the other valve should be closed (if not using it).
Programming the irrigation computer
The control unit is stored in the control box and will be used to schedule the daily/weekly activation times for the sprinkler system. The unit is powered by two AA batteries which are inserted as shown below. Consult the instruction manual on how to program the unit. These instructions can be found in the pocket of the control panel door.
We strongly recommend activation times of 1-4 am for the best efficiency. Activating during the day will put thermal stress on the glass that may eventually crack the glass and void the panel warranty. If activation is necessary during the day, cleaning while the panels are the coolest is strongly recommended.
In cases where the tubing runs a long distance to reach the panels, it will take longer for the line to fill with water. Longer run times should then be programmed into the unit.
After the system has been programmed to be activated according to a schedule, double-check that the automatic control valves to “Automatic”, and the RST solar panel cleaning system will be in full operation. It should now run on its own, and nothing further needs to be done to it other than occasional maintenance and troubleshooting (chapters 12 and 13).
You should have plenty of extra clips and sprinklers left after installation. Leave a handful of both in the control box – it is possible that after many years of use, some clips may be lost, or sprinklers may need replacing.