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Old 03-05-2012, 04:41 PM   #1
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Sprinkler system stays on all the time?


Before winter started I had a problem with what I thought was a bad solenoid, because a zone 1 stayed on all the time. Fast forward to today I replaced all four of the solenoids (just in case) and turned on the main water supply and all of the zones are working except for one (now I'm not sure if it was working or isn't working any longer but the right side of the house isn't working).

As soon as I turn on the main water supply all of the heads pop up and start spraying water. I've got the controller unplugged and the battery taken out but they all pop up & spray as soon as the main water is turned on. I also replaced the controller with a friend/neighbor that has the exact same one with the same results.

Can someone give me some things to try and fix this? I don't know much about what I'm doing but the solenoids were pretty easy for a first timer.

Could it be that the controller was stuck on position and needs to be reset or calibrated with the solenoids, I don't know but thought I'd ask.


Last edited by imola ghost; 03-05-2012 at 05:35 PM.
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Old 03-05-2012, 06:44 PM   #2
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Sprinkler system stays on all the time?


I am notorious for stupid things and not looking for the obvious so join with me in trying that right in front of you.

There is a little bleed thingie on irrigation valves that is different from the flow adjustment handle. It looks like a tiny bolt and has a hex head. A rubber o-ring around is around it.

It is down in the housing and will, and is supposed to bypass the solenoid. Lazy arsed types like me twisted such valves open because it was faster than racing back to the timer/controller to see if sprinklers worked.

Betting $5US that if you screwed that little bolt down or replaced the o-ring you would be good to go.

Let me know.

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Old 03-05-2012, 06:58 PM   #3
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Sprinkler system stays on all the time?


Quote:
Originally Posted by sdsester View Post
I am notorious for stupid things and not looking for the obvious so join with me in trying that right in front of you.

There is a little bleed thingie on irrigation valves that is different from the flow adjustment handle. It looks like a tiny bolt and has a hex head. A rubber o-ring around is around it.

It is down in the housing and will, and is supposed to bypass the solenoid. Lazy arsed types like me twisted such valves open because it was faster than racing back to the timer/controller to see if sprinklers worked.

Betting $5US that if you screwed that little bolt down or replaced the o-ring you would be good to go.

Let me know.
I appreciate the way you worded this...LOL! Because I understood what you mean. I am going to try this tomorrow morning.
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Old 03-07-2012, 11:46 AM   #4
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Sprinkler system stays on all the time?


Also you can take the valve top off and check the diaphragm for rips or holes and check the body for tiny stones or other debris. Some valves use the solenoid as the bleed so check it.
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Old 03-07-2012, 02:57 PM   #5
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Sprinkler system stays on all the time?


I cannot find the little bleed nut/screw on these valves? I've got the solenoids off & out of the way. I've remove all kinds of dirt so that I've got a nice clean area to see what I'm doing and I do not see these adjustment screws/nut.
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Old 03-07-2012, 09:59 PM   #6
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Sprinkler system stays on all the time?


Well it sounds like you found your problem and if you have that much sand and grit you need to flush your system.

If you are lucky, you can pull the sprinkler heads at the very end of each circuit and flow water and full force and flow rate through the pipes.

As for the manual override screw on your irrigation valve, you are probably searching for something more dramatic than you should expect. As I remember most look like little hex head bolts. Sometimes they are part of the flow control system.

As an example though, see that little black thing on the left of this image and under your flow control handle? Just guessing. Much smaller than what you were looking for? It should have a little o-ring on it and if it is loose or it cannot seal because filled with sand or grit, it will keep the valve open. You should hear or be able to feel water flow through the valve if it is loose. You can remove, change and clean solenoids until cows come home. If that little screw sucker is loose or acting up I promise you water will flow through the valve. As mentioned before it is there for those of us who designed irrigation so we did not have to walk back to the central controller to turn water on.

If yours are plastic valves, the thing may just be broken. Know this. The little screw head thing and solenoid do the same thing. They control the valve. One is manual, the other simple and electric. They both open and close the valve if working properly. The handle thing just controls water flow rate.


Last edited by user1007; 03-07-2012 at 10:30 PM.
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Old 03-11-2012, 06:08 AM   #7
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Sprinkler system stays on all the time?


There are two main things that go wrong with valves when the water sticks on like you have said. The solenoid, and the diaphragm. The solenoid is activated by electricity and essentially uses a magnet inside to get the diaphragm to work. When the plunger is activated inside the solenoid, it contracts and changes pressure inside the valve so that the valve opens and allows water flow. You appear to have successfully eliminated a bad solenoid as the problem, although there are possibilities of bad o rings, cross threads, and a few other items that could affect proper function.

It is not unusual at all for the diaphragms to "freeze" or lose their flexibility over time, but especially after a season of being off. This is one of the more common diaphragms, and is used inside of valves similar to those pictured below.





The same diaphragm is used in inline and anti-siphon valves. To replace the old diaphragm, you need to remove all screws and remove the top of the valve. (Note also, the black screw on the top right of the valve top--this is the bleeder valve others were referring to)

You simply put a new diaphragm in, and close things back up--being careful to remove all grit, flushing the valve with clean water, etc. Valves like this can typically be rebuilt once or twice before you replace them in my experience.

Hope this helps

Also, if you valve looks quite different, no worries. Nearly all valves work the exact same way. Solenoid and diaphragm are the only two moving parts.
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Old 03-11-2012, 05:31 PM   #8
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Sprinkler system stays on all the time?


Here is a couple of photos of my valves with the solenoid removed off of the top of each one. They were a little cleaner but got a little dirty after cutting the lawn, raining and several days of just sitting here without knowing what to do next.



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Old 03-12-2012, 02:51 PM   #9
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Can you attach the file vs host them? My filter is blocking the pics, and I'm unable to assist if I can't see them. Thanks.
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Old 03-12-2012, 03:47 PM   #10
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Sprinkler system stays on all the time?


I've tried uploading them but after I click on the files and select upload the upload box turns white and never does anything. I'll see if I can try it again.

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