Anyone familiar with Weathermatic valves?

Discussion in 'Irrigation / Sprinkler Forum' started by amartin725, Jul 18, 2005.

  1. hillman90

    hillman90 New Member

    Messages:
    1
    a link

    Al, try this web site if you have not already:

    http://www.sprinklertalk.com/forum/default.asp

    there may be some people who can help. I bought a house with an existing system with weathermatic controller and valves and just had 2 solenoids replaced with the 24E's and now one of those zones is only functioning at about 50%.
  2. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Well, this might be a record...not for the most posts on a thread, but for the longest running post!

    At this point, with all that has been said, if this were my house, I would have long since ripped everything out and replaced it with an inexpensive timer and Toro valves. Problem solved!

    You can only lose so much sleep over your grass!
  3. amartin725

    amartin725 New Member

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    37
    I've had that thought more that once, that is for sure.

    Had another zone go done the other day with another on it's way out as well. I made another change to the system and think that it is finally resolved. I'll feel better in a week. If it works out, I'll post what I did.

    That is true!!


    Had an interesting discovery today. My neighbor's recently moved to a new neighborhood and I stopped in for a visit. They have an irrigation system installed by the same company that did mine. They have the same Weathermatic valves as mine, and the solenoids are the older ones with the smaller wires. They have no problems and the system runs without issue, the difference is that their system has a Weathermatic controller, mine is the Hunter Pro-C.
  4. brady_h

    brady_h New Member

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    2
    I just found this forum and this post in particular. I too have had numerous WM solenoid failures over the past 2 years. So far, I've replaced on my own about 20 of them and changed 6 out of 12 valves out for Orbit brand valves. The Orbit valves so far are hanging tough and have given me 0 problems. The Orbit valves are cheap, so my expectation level was rather low for them. Does anyone know if these are any good?

    Also, I have 1 Weathermatic valve that I just changed the solenoid out for one of the newer M24E (Monster) versions and am now having a small problem with. The valve will turn on just fine however it will not turn off without me shutting the water off at the backflow. Is it possible that I installed the Solenoid incorrectly? or maybe have a bad one already? Any advice is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Brady H.
  5. brady_h

    brady_h New Member

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    2
    Well, I solved my solenoid problem this weekend. Turns out, I cross threaded the new solenoid badly on the new valve and damaged the threads to the point that they would not bite into the valve housing. This was causing the solenoid to blow off the valve each time pressure was applied. I put the old one back in place to temporarily shut the zone down until I can fix the threads or buy yet another new solenoid.
  6. peejmeister

    peejmeister New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    dallas, tx
    Help on the Horizon?

    If I didn't have a 32-valve system in my 1.5 acre lawn, I might have done that myself. Up until recently, my installer had been pretty good about changing out the bad solenoids at no charge. Unfortunately, I haven't seen him back out lately and I now have 3 bad solenoids.

    Following an earlier posted link to the WM site, yesterday I entered a Technical Support note on their Contact Us page. Today I recieved a call from WM stating they would have an irrigation company come out and replace ALL of my solenoids at no charge to me. The rep seemed genuinely concerned and wanted to assure me that WM stands behind their products.

    I'll continue to post updates as things progress. I was given the name and number of the irrigation company that is to be contacting me shortly.

    amartin725, let us know what change(s) you made that you think solved your problem, I'm all ears! Incidentally, I have a Hunter ICC controller.
  7. amartin725

    amartin725 New Member

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    37
    I have not had a solenoid go down in weeks, and I was having them go at a rate of 1-2 a week. I had one that was failing and was within a day or so of going, and it is still alive. I sent you a PM.
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2006
  8. TGreenway

    TGreenway New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Charlotte NC
    First, I new to the forum, but the way I found it was via a "google of "weathermatic irrigation valve problem".....so I'm having the same problem as you experienced. I have 9 zones with a Hunter Pro C installed in March 2005, and have had nothing but issues with the valves. Not too bad the first year, I believe I had 3 replaced, but since May 2006, my system has not run more than 2 weeks without a problem (valve issues). Last issues were 4 valves in 3 weeks.

    If you have a fix/suggestion I would very much appreciate hearing of it.

    Thanks
  9. amartin725

    amartin725 New Member

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    37
    I survived the entire season without a single failure. What I did was to plug the 24VAC wall transformer into a Variac and I set the main supply to the Controller to 18VAC while under load (zone running). I had no degradation in any of the solenoids, and 2 that were on their way to failing never did.

    The system will actually run down to 10VAC with a zone running, but that isn't enough to get the solenoid going to open the valve. Being an EE, I over-designed a solution. I use the Master Pump Relay output from the Controller to fire a 15 second timer. While time timer is active, the voltage to the system is 24VAC, once the timer times out, the voltage folds back to about 14VAC. During normal operation and standby, the voltage is lower; the voltage only goes up during the first few seconds after a zone turns on. So instead of a huge Variac mounted to the wall in my garage, I have a relay and small auto-transformer. I probably could have gotten away with an 18, 20, or 22VAC wall bug, but that wouldn't have been as much fun to set up ;)

    I sent a detailed message to Weathermatic explaining all of my issues, past experiences and learnings. I was basically blown off and told that their valves don't fail. OK, fine by me, but I've had at least 12 of the 'Monster' ones replaced on my system that have failed. What the irrigation company did with them I don't know.

    Hope this info helps others.

    Al
  10. TGreenway

    TGreenway New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Charlotte NC
    First off, (the good news), is that I really appreciate your reply.

    Next, (the bad news), is that I'm not technically capable of doing the fix.

    More bad news is that my installer, has stopped returning my calls and/or gone out of business.

    I do plan on contacting Weathermatic for some type of assistance... just hoping they can help me out.

    Again, thanks for you reply, and I hope your solution continues to work....maybe they'll listen
  11. TGreenway

    TGreenway New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Charlotte NC
    update....

    My installer showed up a couple of weeks ago and replaced all of the Weathermatic valves with Hunter valves. I had time to cycle it 2 or 3 times and it worked great. I guess the real test will be next summer.

    I had sent him a "to the point" letter and attached a print of the threads from this forum. He showed it to his supplier and got "about $300.00 worth of free stuff", (I guess including my new valves).

    "Thank you" to this forum and the nice people in it.
  12. piocon@tctwest.net

    piocon@tctwest.net New Member

    Messages:
    2
    piocon

  13. piocon@tctwest.net

    piocon@tctwest.net New Member

    Messages:
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    Weathermatic valves

    Although the voltage drop may not be the only problem with the Weathermatic valves, I certainly agree with the concept of the gauge wire being too small for the length used. I would only add that the gauge must be decreased (larger wire) as the length is increased between the controller and the valve solenoid. The key is to measure the voltage across the solenoid, as close to the solenoid as possible, while energized. Then measure the voltage at the output of the controller while energizing that same solenoid. The difference between the voltage at the controller and the voltage at the solenoid is the "voltage drop" or loss due to the length and gauge of wire. A 5% voltage drop MAY be tolerable (check with valve mfgr), but the less drop, the more powerful the solenoid action will be. To be told to use any particular gauge wire with no consideration of length is ridiculous, but is a common mistake made by many installers, system designers and, sorry to say, even some EE's. EXAMPLE: 18 gauge copper wire, at 20 degrees C, has a resistance of 6.385 ohms per 1000 feet. That means that in a distance of 500 feet (2 wires = 1000 ft) from controller to valve, using a 20 ohm solenoid that your voltage drop will be, simplistically, [(6.385 ohns/20ohms)(24 volts)] = 7.662 volts, or about 32% (7.662volts/24volts)..... way toooo much! I realize that a 500 foot run is likely not too common, but just use the same math for any distance you may have using 18 gauge wire. If that 32% is not reduced to less than the mfgr's specification for adequate operating voltage AT THE SOLENOID (not at the controller), then you will have to increase the size (decrease the gauge) of the wire or some how increase the voltage at the controller for only the high resistance (long) wire runs. 16 gauge copper wire is 4.016 ohms/ft and 20 gauge is 10.15 ohms/ft, both at 20 degrees C. Hope this helps
  14. TGreenway

    TGreenway New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Charlotte NC
    Just an update....been running with the "Hunter" valves for two months and not a single failure....I'm not sure what the problem was, but replacing the Weathermatic with Hunter seems to have fixed it.
  15. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots Sprinkler Guy

    Messages:
    798
    Location:
    Metro NYC
    The Weathermatic company went through some struggles after their founder died, so figure their solenoid woes as one indication of this. Supposedly, the solenoid failures were connected with accumulated hours of valve operation, which made for some confusion, as valves in areas with wet weather, and reduced hours of operation, weren't seeing the failures that other parts of the country were.

    Their valves were always considered to be among the best, before this problem cropped up. Too bad, since they'll be awhile living this one down.
  16. Mr_Pike

    Mr_Pike New Member

    Messages:
    136
    Location:
    Nebraska
    I must have gotten into the WM valves after the problems in 03. Only solenoid failures have been on the 'Silver Bullet' economy type valves.

    Please don't take this as gospel as far as WM valves being the best out there, they all have problems.

    I would never ever install a Toro valve after their debacle with the flowmatics. Ask any independent irrigation guy which valve he hates the most!

    The old irritrol valves are the ones that fail in the open position, which is darn unhandy if you ask me.

    I have had WM solenoids fail at my own home. Do I still put them in the ground with my name on them standing on a 5 year warranty? Yes.
  17. peejmeister

    peejmeister New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    dallas, tx
    WM Solenoid Replacement Update

    Sorry to post on so late after my initial post last year.

    I had an irrigation guy out last fall to replace all of my solenoids (32) at WM's expense. When he came out and saw how my system was wired, he told me that was why I was having so many problems and that he'd seen it before.

    His explanation was that the wire to the solenoid (not the common, but the other) should have been 'terminated' at the valve and not connected to the ongoing lead down the line, as the common wire must be. So he clipped the one side after the solenoid on all the valves.

    This seemed to have made a signficant difference. The rest of last fall was dry and I ran the system regularly without problems....

    However, this spring and early summer have been excessively wet and hence I haven't had to run the system up until now. After the first week or so of use this summer, I have had two solenoids go bad on me, one that stuck with the valve shut, the other with the valve stuck open.

    It's too early to tell, still, but this does not make me as comfortable as I was at the end of last season. The guy who replaced my solenoids said to call him back if I had any further problems and left me with several extra solenoids. I replaced them but have not had any success keeping the one solenoid threaded in place, so I think I'll have to have him come back out.

    The saga continues....
  18. amartin725

    amartin725 New Member

    Messages:
    37
    It's been a year later and I have not had anymore solenoids fail since I performed my 'modifications'. Unfortunately, with having one of the dryest August's on record, my well gave out so even though the irrigation system is ok, I still can't water. Town water is just too expensive. :(
  19. amartin725

    amartin725 New Member

    Messages:
    37
    I actually just wanted to post a follow-up to some of this. Weathermatic actually dropped me a note in reference to my issues and here was my response:

    Did I resolve the actual issue? Probably not, I fashioned up a band-aid and it keeps me happy as I don't have to come home and cringe everytime I look at the Controller as I walk through the garage.

    Al
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2007
  20. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    The thread that won't die!!!

    In case no one else is keeping track, this thread has been running since July of 2005 !!!!
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