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Checking sprinkler zones

519 Views 5 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  SPS-1
Moved into a new house - I’m trying to find out if there’s some zones not working - I’ve been reading this specifically step 2.

Com to any station terminal should produce a volt reading and while I can get ONE terminal per station to show a reading regardless of what zone is actually turned on, I’m not sure if that’s right? Ie

Com + zone 1 ON should mean a reading on the first terminal but it doesn’t ... so I don’t get it.

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You are loosing me on what you are actually checking and seeing, but yes, when a zone is turned on, you should be seeing voltage (probably 24 volts) between common and the screw for that zone. When that zone is turned off, you should be seeing zero volts.

Are you sure you you have that zone turned on ? On some of these controllers its not obvious how to actually cycle them.

If you turn on the water pressure, you should be seeing the head pop out of the ground and start spraying water. Thats what I do in the spring. If a zone does not work, its normally the leads to the solenoid on the valve (at least for me -- freaking Hunter solenoids have no strain relief on the wires and break right where the wires enter the solenoid, every time).
Thanks - honestly I think there’s a couple of zones not working… I had the sprinklers on the other day for the first time and I think probably 12 or 13 out of the 15 zones that I have are working fine.

Though now that I’m trying to test at the controller between common and each terminal and not getting the results I expected I am confusing myself as to what is going on!

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OK, you have two or three zones that are not working. Not bad, I often find something not working in the spring, at first start up.

Take a look at your solenoid valves and see if you can see a model number or even just the brand. Its probably molded right on the plastic housing, but its probably all covered in dirt and mud and you will have to clean it off. Or just look at a bunch of web sites and Youtube videos until you see one that looks like yours. All valves have some type of manual method to turn them on. On my Hunter valves, you grab the solenoid and rotate it with your hand.

Actuate the valve manually and see that water pressure getting to the valve. While you are in the valve box, check that the wire connections to the solenoids look intact.

If you have water pressure, then manually shut the valve off again, and use your meter to check voltage is getting to the valve when the controller has that zone on. There will be wire nuts on the pigtails to the solenoid where you can check the voltage. I think they are supposed to use waterproof connectors with a dielectric grease, but good chance they are just standard household wire-nuts with no dielectric grease, so you could just have a bad connection.

If you have water pressure and voltage, then sounds like a bad solenoid. Could be bad valve, but I would guess just the solenoid.

If you don't have voltage going to the valve, its either a broken wire or bad controller. Then you are back to checking the controller. But another way of checking the controller is, if say, zone 7 works, but not zone 8, swap the wires on zones 7 and 8 at the controller.
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OK thanks… I’ll take a look at the solenoids. But first I have a leak in one of the pipes that I need to fix… And then I found two sprinkler heads that when the water is turned on at the pressure valve they leak water so I think that means those two sprinkler valves are bad?

Once I fix the pipe and whatever’s wrong with these two sprinkler heads then I can check the solenoids…

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If water leaks from the head, probably time to replace the head. But dig it up and check the fitting first. Common way these are plumbed is a 1" main line, and then tee off with perhaps a couple of feet of 1/2" or 5/8" tube. (The small diameter tube can be easily bent to position the head, the 1" tube is stiff as heck).

Keep in mind that irrigation tubing is not the same size as common hose. The hose barb fitting you find in the home plumbing department wont fit irrigation tubing --- close but no cigar. They call the tubing "funny pipe". An irrigation place or a well stocked hardware store will have proper fittings.
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