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Catch Cup Test

Posted: February 7th, 2021, 11:07 am
by cjac9chris

I did a proper catch cup test for the first time yesterday and I was shocked by the results!

I'd done a very unscientific tuna can test at some point and somehow figured out that it would take about 70 minutes to put down 1" of water. WRONG.

Here were the results:
  • Orbit H20-6 Hose End Rotor set to "small" w/ 100 ft. expandable hose. Precipitation Rate: 0.13 in./hr. That means it would take 7+ hrs to put down an inch of water!
  • Orbit H20-6 Hose End Rotor set to "large" w/ 100 ft. expandable hose. Precipitation Rate: 0.19 in./hr. That means it would take 5+ hrs to put down an inch of water
  • Orbit H20-6 Hose End Rotor set to "large" w/ 50 ft. 5/8" diameter rubber hose. Precipitation Rate: 0.19 in./hr. This was interesting. I rushed out and bought this at HD after the expandable hose did so poorly and it was exactly the same.
It's no wonder my St. Augustine was struggling so much last year. I was barely watering it!

I've ordered a beefy 25 ft. 3/4" hose that should arrive this week and I will retest. I'm hoping to get my precipitation rate up closer to 0.5 in./hr. so I don't have to water for hours upon hours.

Anyway, I thought this might be valuable for someone who has yet to do a test. The results may surprise you too!

Re: Catch Cup Test

Posted: February 7th, 2021, 2:30 pm
by MorpheusPA
Yep, the tests are always a shocker.

Er, you can try the new hose but...the most frequent issue with output is actually going to be the nozzle on the hose end rotor. I can't find the manual for the Orbit H2O-6, but looking at the device and patterning, I don't think you're going to be able to move much more water through that, I'm afraid. A bit more, sure.

I use sets of Rainbirds, operating 2 at a time maximum and throwing the water short distances (20'). That allows me to fill an inch in about 3 to 3 1/2 hours. One of my hose-ends, on a pipe fit to hose end sled (you can buy them) is a sprayer, able to drop an inch in an hour over a 15' radius circle.

This is a complicated set of tests requiring balancing what pressure you have (not that great in my case, but not awful, either) against what you can run at once. I ended up with six zones, needing to run 3 to 6 hours each (south face runs longest at 0.15"/hr output; it absorbs the slowest with the greatest runoff, so a slow precip rate is best).

Re: Catch Cup Test

Posted: February 7th, 2021, 4:24 pm
by cjac9chris
Oh wow, maybe that's why the hoses were the same? I also have an old house (1960) so it might just be the pressure here. I haven't measured it.

We'll see if the new hose makes a difference. I purposely bought it on Amazon because returns are so easy. Fingers crossed...

Do you happen to have a pic or video of your Rainbirds in action?

Re: Catch Cup Test

Posted: February 7th, 2021, 4:29 pm
by cjac9chris

Re: Catch Cup Test

Posted: February 7th, 2021, 4:47 pm
by MorpheusPA
Tommy Tester had a static pressure of 68 PSI, dynamic of 40-44 :-) I don't get that at the top of a mile-long hill, my static is closer to his dynamic. He's covering a 24' radius, which is great...but he's only doing it in one direction. Check Head to Head watering for the reasons on why to do that--it helps confound winds and even out watering issues. 85% uniformity is good, but it's not perfect. HTH watering would raise that into the 90's.

Fortunately, age of home isn't likely to make too much difference. Mine is very new, but location limits water pressure. It's fine with our substation, but we're nearly the highest point in the city except for the part on the mountain to the south. I used to live in a 1950-built home and the pressure was fantastic.

Get yourself a pressure gauge. You'll thank yourself and they aren't expensive.

I don't have a vid, but I will say that it looks much like the Orbit. The Rainbird is a pop-up, so it just magically appears out of the ground, though. :-) One warning (and it's minor) with the stake-run rotors--they can unseat themselves pretty easily when wet. You'll suddenly find your rotor spraying mindlessly into the air. So plan on either seating it in very, very well or checking on it every now and again.

Either that or sled-mount the thing instead.

Re: Catch Cup Test

Posted: February 9th, 2021, 2:41 pm
by cjac9chris
I got the new beefy hose in (3/4" 25'.) It made a tiny difference when run straight to the hose. If I used a timer and/or quick connects, I was right back to where I was with the expandable hose. I guess the sprinkler itself really is the limiting factor here.

I'm going to return both of the standard hoses and stick with my lightweight, expandable hose.

As Tommy's test showed, this sprinkler has really solid uniformity which is what I need in this situation.

I'll just have to accept that it's going to take me 5+ hours per week to water the lawn. At least I know that now...

Re: Catch Cup Test

Posted: February 9th, 2021, 3:46 pm
by MorpheusPA
If you want to get fiddly, there are other options; most rotors have replaceable heads and can be spike-mounted or sled-mounted (and have uniformity in the 85% range just like the Orbit). I swear by the Rainbird, which comes with heads numbered from 1 to 12. That would be from "thread of water" to "deluge," depending on what your pressure and volume can take. I think I'm using a pair of 7's on my flow, but could use a 9 if I only had 1 on the line.
I'd need industrial water flow for a 12. :-)
But almost any other brand at that level is very good. The Orbit...doesn't have a lot of choices, and even the large flow isn't large. Some swear by them, but I've been....well, less than impressed.

However, if you're happy and it's doing the job, then stick with it. When it goes (and they do), then think about replacing it with something like the Rainbird. Mine have lasted...twelve years now?

Re: Catch Cup Test

Posted: February 9th, 2021, 3:50 pm
by MorpheusPA ... lsrc=aw.ds

Oh. This is a bit pricey (you can do better), but kind of what I had in mind. Spike-mount, single-hose-end. I can't see if they give you all the inset heads with them or not (the light gray pieces) and it doesn't seem to say. But I'd keep looking because the price isn't right anyway.

Re: Catch Cup Test

Posted: February 9th, 2021, 6:50 pm
by cjac9chris
Thank you, Morph! I think for now I'll stick with the Orbit because it's still working. I know the local hardware store around the corner has a lot of Rainbird stuff in stock and I'll check it out when the Orbit dies.