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Inground Sprinkler Help Needed


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21 replies to this topic

#1 of 22 OFFLINE   Alex S

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Posted June 26 2007 - 12:44 PM

I've had inground sprinklers for about 7 years now without any problems.
I just noticed my backyard wasn't getting watered.
I tested each zone (I have 3) and zone 3 isn't working at all.
The other 2 zones work fine.

Anyone have any idea what the problem could be ?

#2 of 22 OFFLINE   Brian Perry

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Posted June 26 2007 - 01:48 PM

First check the controller to make sure the wire for that zone didn't come loose.

#3 of 22 OFFLINE   Paul D G

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Posted June 26 2007 - 04:19 PM

I battled for years with the sprinkler system in my front yard. Years because I didn't have the free time to work on it, and because when I thought I did fix it some weeks later my lawn started dying again.

Part of the problem was that I usually wasn't home when the sprinklers went off, and they weren't always going off. When I was home and made a point to check them they were (typical) but when I got wise and adjusted the times I soon realized more than half the time they weren't.

I replaced some of the pumps as they were starting to deteriorate and when that didn't do anything I replaced the controller. For some reason I couldn't get that to work at all so I gave up for a while. In the end I ripped out all the wiring and redid everything. The new controller finally worked, and my lawn returned to life!! Then I moved four months later. So it goes.

So with that little rant out of the way: if it's just the one zone that's not working it could either be the wiring, the controller, or the pump. Simple, eh?

If you have free connectors on your controller try moving the wires for Zone #3 to an empty zone and see if that works. Or swap #3 and #1 on the connector. If #1 fails to come on there's probably a problem with the controller. If #3 still doesn't work it's more specific to #3 (ie pump or wiring)

- Check the pump and make sure the wires are connected there. Maybe even disconnect, restrip, and reconnect them. I'm sure there's a way to check if any juice is coming thru them.

Changing the pump is easy (unless you're clueless like I was the first time).

If all else fails do what I did and buy a new controller, a bundle of wire and redo the whole damn thing. Posted Image

-paul

#4 of 22 OFFLINE   Alex S

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Posted June 27 2007 - 12:32 AM

Paul,

Thanks. I'll check the wiring on the controller and the pump.
I hope it's something like that instead of a broken line somewhere.

#5 of 22 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted June 27 2007 - 12:52 AM

In addition to the controller, check to see if a wire has come loose at the valve box outside. Since it's a single zone that is not working, it is most likely a loose wire somewhere or a bad valve controlling that zone. The third possibility is a leak somewhere in that zone that is causing a loss of water pressure. However, this problem is usually easy to spot -- you'll have a puddle of water where the leak occurs.

#6 of 22 OFFLINE   Alex S

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Posted June 27 2007 - 01:42 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Merryfield
In addition to the controller, check to see if a wire has come loose at the valve box outside. Since it's a single zone that is not working, it is most likely a loose wire somewhere or a bad valve controlling that zone. The third possibility is a leak somewhere in that zone that is causing a loss of water pressure. However, this problem is usually easy to spot -- you'll have a puddle of water where the leak occurs.

Scott,

I've been checking for puddles and don't see any. That zone suppose to come on for 40 minutes so if it was a leak I think I would have seen it by now.

Where is the valve box located ? Is it the underground box ?

#7 of 22 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted June 27 2007 - 01:49 AM

The valve box (or boxes) will be located outside, usually somewhere close to your house. There should be an access lid at ground level, and the actual box with the valves will be recessed underground. This is the junction box where all your sprinkler piping is run from. Each box should have main line feed back to your house for its source of water. The wiring from your controller also runs to these valve junction boxes, where they activate the valves to turn on/off each zone.

For example, our house has a 9-zone system. We have two valve junction boxes -- one with four zones located in the shrub bed at the side of the house, and another with five zones located in the shrub beds in the back of the house. Our boxes are green plastic with a green lid.

#8 of 22 OFFLINE   Alex S

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Posted June 27 2007 - 02:01 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Merryfield
The valve box (or boxes) will be located outside, usually somewhere close to your house. There should be an access lid at ground level, and the actual box with the valves will be recessed underground. This is the junction box where all your sprinkler piping is run from. Each box should have main line feed back to your house for its source of water. The wiring from your controller also runs to these valve junction boxes, where they activate the valves to turn on/off each zone.

For example, our house has a 9-zone system. We have two valve junction boxes -- one with four zones located in the shrub bed at the side of the house, and another with five zones located in the shrub beds in the back of the house. Our boxes are green plastic with a green lid.

Thanks Scott I know exactly what you are talking about. My box is green as well.

Hopefully, it's just a loose wire somewhere.

#9 of 22 OFFLINE   Dennis Nicholls

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Posted June 27 2007 - 02:08 AM

Alex, where do you live?

If in a place with freezing winters, do you get your sprinkler system "blown out" in the fall?
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#10 of 22 OFFLINE   Alex S

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Posted June 27 2007 - 02:30 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Nicholls
Alex, where do you live?

If in a place with freezing winters, do you get your sprinkler system "blown out" in the fall?

NY and yes I get my sprinklers blown out every fall.

#11 of 22 OFFLINE   Dennis Nicholls

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Posted June 27 2007 - 09:06 AM

Your valves should be capable of manual operation....try turning the valve for the backyard on manually and see what you get.
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#12 of 22 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted June 27 2007 - 09:26 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Nicholls
Your valves should be capable of manual operation....try turning the valve for the backyard on manually and see what you get.

Yes, if you can activate the the valve manually, then it is fine and the problem is most likely a wiring connection at either the controller or the valve.

#13 of 22 OFFLINE   Alex S

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Posted June 27 2007 - 11:05 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Nicholls
Your valves should be capable of manual operation....try turning the valve for the backyard on manually and see what you get.

I turned the valve for zone 3 manually and they did come on.
I switched the zone 3 wire in the control box to zone 4 but it still didn't come on.
I also checked for loose connections in the valve box.

Now what ?

#14 of 22 OFFLINE   Dennis Nicholls

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Posted June 27 2007 - 11:36 AM

Sounds like your solenoid in the #3 valve went out. They are available generally as a spare part for about $10. You should just be able to screw it in like a sparkplug.
Feline videophiles Condoleezza and Dukie.


#15 of 22 OFFLINE   Alex S

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Posted June 27 2007 - 11:41 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Nicholls
Sounds like your solenoid in the #3 valve went out. They are available generally as a spare part for about $10. You should just be able to screw it in like a sparkplug.

Dennis,

Could you post a picture of what it looks like ?
Is it the piece where 2 wires are coming out of ?
Where could I get a new one from ?

Posted Image

This is what mine looks like.
How much of this (or all) do I need to replace ?

#16 of 22 OFFLINE   Dennis Nicholls

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Posted June 27 2007 - 01:17 PM

The solenoid is the black cylinder with the two wires coming out at the top...it should just unscrew. After you turn the water off. Copy down the name of the mfg. just in case, e.g. "Rainbird", "Toro", et al. The valves are made by many companies and each has its own kind of solenoid - maybe more than one depending upon the age of your valve. The standard places Home Despot, Lowes, Wallyworld, et al. should carry them for the brands they sell.
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#17 of 22 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted June 27 2007 - 01:49 PM

If you cannot find parts locally, the Internet and Google are your friend.

http://www.rainbird....parts/index.htm
http://www.sprinklersuperstore.com/
http://www.sprinklerwarehouse.com/

#18 of 22 OFFLINE   Alex S

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Posted June 28 2007 - 01:00 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Nicholls
The solenoid is the black cylinder with the two wires coming out at the top...it should just unscrew. After you turn the water off. Copy down the name of the mfg. just in case, e.g. "Rainbird", "Toro", et al. The valves are made by many companies and each has its own kind of solenoid - maybe more than one depending upon the age of your valve. The standard places Home Despot, Lowes, Wallyworld, et al. should carry them for the brands they sell.

Thanks Dennis.
The solenoid has 2 black wires coming off it going to other wires that are capped.
When I put the new one in does it matter which wire from the solenoid goes to the other capped wires ?

From what I could see there were no marking on the solenoid to distinguish one wire from the other one.

#19 of 22 OFFLINE   Alex S

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Posted June 28 2007 - 01:05 AM

I'm pretty sure it's one of these two:

Irritrol:

Posted Image


Toro:

Posted Image

#20 of 22 OFFLINE   Alex S

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Posted June 28 2007 - 06:37 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Merryfield
If you cannot find parts locally, the Internet and Google are your friend.

http://www.rainbird....parts/index.htm
http://www.sprinklersuperstore.com/
http://www.sprinklerwarehouse.com/

Thanks Scott. If Lowes or HD doesn't have it them I'll get it online.


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