As we read in the last issue of Irrigation & Green Industry, the technology of the battery-operated controller has been greatly improved. To further prove the worth of this burgeoning alternative to traditional electrical systems, Peoria, Illinois-based L.R. Nelson Corporation continues to evolve their line of wireless controllers.

Since L.R. Nelson acquired the French company Microprocess Applications three years ago, they claim to have improved the quality and dependability of these battery-operated clocks. Taking on the defunct company's entire line of controllers, improvements were made in manufacturing existing product, as well as adding radio technology. The product line, tagged SoloRain, is the key player in what Randy Symonds, the electronic product manager for Nelson, says is the most complete line in the United States.

"In fact," says Symonds, "we have the only radio-programmed controller in the U.S." Nelson's focus on honing its wireless product exemplifies the company's faith in filling a need. "What we've done is made improvements to the design of battery-operated controllers," Symonds notes. "And we've also implemented manufacturing processes and quality checks that ensure the product will last in the field."

Radio programming has been the major product addition, and features "true two-way communications," according to Symonds. "We have a range of 60 feet inground, and full programming capabilities."

The benefits of radio include time savings, particularly if frequent program changes are common, and safety. Using battery-operated controllers and radio in a highway median, there is no need to cross a busy highway to reach the controller.

Looking forward, Symonds is excited about what's in the wireless works at Nelson. Although reluctant to reveal what the future holds, improved features and easier programming will be introduced at the next IA show in November.

"We'll see widespread use of this technology," Symonds comments with a spark of excitement. "We really expect the market to grow. And you'll start to see the battery-operated controller reaching the mainstream of irrigation."