The latest sprinkler timers use historical weather data and rain sensors to reduce water use. The sensors will communicate with the watering system, switching it off when it has recently rained. Historical data second-guess water requirements, too. Other features include a cold weather sensor to prevent the sprinkler from watering so much in winter-like conditions. These tools are all dependent on the timer being set properly.
Set the time of day. Press the "Set Time" button, or rotate the dial to that setting. Use the plus and minus buttons to choose the current month. Press the “Set” or “Next” button to move to the day of the month. Again, use the plus and minus buttons to choose the correct date. Follow this protocol until you’ve entered the correct month, day, year, hour and minute.
Enter the zip code for your location. Entering your zip code will program historical data—like local rainfall rates in, say, December. There may be a button or a dial labeled “Configure Controller” or something similar. Enter your zip code one digit at a time using the plus and minus buttons. Then hit the “Set” or “Next” button.
Enter the days you’re allowed to water by your city. This may be labeled “Allowed” or similar. Fine tune it with the plus and minus buttons.
Enter your zone as noted in the user guide for your type of terrain. The timer uses codes, rather than clear text, for the zones, so you’ll need to look up the correct one. For example, if you have sandy soil, you can enter the code for that terrain in the timer.
Press the “Auto” button, or rotate the dial to “Auto,” and the timer will start its program.