I must have used up at least 750 words ranting and raving about Hunter Sprinklers products last month, so why did I choose an Orbit Sprinkler Timer, instead? I can answer that question in one word: Cost. The Orbit 9 Station Timer, Model # 27999 sells at your local Lowes Store for about $69.00. The Hunter 8-Station XC-800 model does have a few more features, bells and whistles over the Orbit 27999, none of which seemed very significant to me. For instance, the Hunter XC-800 will completely backup your entire program into permanent memory and doesn’t depend on the lithium battery to hold it. Since I plan on changing my battery once a year, I don’t expect that to be an issue and even if it ever becomes one, these digital sprinkler timers are very easy to program and the Orbit Timer is no exception. Before we get to that, what else is missing on with the Orbit versus the Hunter timer?
Differences between Orbit Hunter XC-800 Sprinkler Timer
The XC-800 allows you to power on 3 different solenoids at the same time. That might be a nice feature in a commercial setting, but I fear it would challenge the water pressure limitations of most residences. The Hunter XC-800 has a seasonal adjustment feature which automatically compensates for the varying demands of seasonal temperatures and moisture. For instance, you can increase your watering time percentage in the hotter, dryer August months, or lower the percentage in the cool April, May Spring Months or September, October Fall months. I liked that idea and I was pleased to find out that the Orbit timer has something very similar. Essentially, the Orbit 2799 the same thing, in the name of a Budget dial for dialing in a percentage. Same concept and a good idea which makes it easy to adjust your watering times without having to re-program each and every station. Enough about the differences between the two sprinkler timers: What does the Orbit 27999 actually do and what do I like about it?
Setup and Operation of the Orbit Sprinkler Timer
I wanted an electronic, easy-to-read Sprinkler Timer that offered multiple watering times for up to 8 stations and was easy to program. The Orbit Model 27999 succeeds and adds 1 station for a total of 9. Model 27999 is logically organized via an 8-Position dial with sensible descriptions:
- Set Clock
- Set Date
- Start Time
- Run Time
- How Often
If you think the Orbit timer can be programmed without a manual, you’re absolutely correct. By turning the dial, you can navigate through the 9-stations and 3-programs with the left and right cursors. I fumbled a few times getting the stations and programs confused, but I was always able to get back on track by reading the description of the dial. Each Station can have up to 4 Watering Start times. There are three programs: A, B and C. I’ve set my sprinkler system up so the front and back yard grass are on Program A. Program B is for the Garden and Program C is for the Drip System for watering shrubs. Obviously, it is not necessary to put each of these three areas on their own program, but it makes it easy to understand and provides the maximum amount of flexibility for choosing what to water, when and how often. Each Station can be watered from 1 – 240 minutes. My only real difficult with the Orbit Sprinkler Timer was figuring out how manually water specific stations. It took a little getting used to, but it does make sense after you get used to it. The 27999 timer comes with a CR2016 Lithium Battery for keeping your programs backed up in the event of a power failure. These batteries are durable, long-lasting and easy to find, so I will keep a spare and plan on replacing it once a year.
The Budget dial allows you to adjust your watering times seasonally from 10% to 200%. There is a rain-delay feature which can be ran manually or automatically through a programmable water sensor option. What else is cool? A water-tight door can be be closed and locked to protect the unit. My old Rainbird Sprinkler Timer had a bulky, large transformer; the Orbit Sprinkler Timer plugs directly into the wall with a three prong electrical cord and generates no heat.
Installing the Orbit Sprinkler Timer was the easiest part of all. My 18-year old Rainbird Timer had the wires in place. I simply removed them with a screwdriver and inserted them into the matching numbers on the Orbit. No tools are required to wire the Orbit Sprinkler Timer. They snap right into place. There is a clearly labeled connection for your Common Wire, Pump Wire and stations 1-9 are numbered. The Orbit Sprinkler Timer took about 10 minutes to install and another 15 minutes to program on my very first try. If you’re tired of your old analog system, you will not be disappointed the Orbit sprinkler timer.
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