Help Please, new house sprinkler problems...

Discussion in 'Irrigation / Sprinkler Forum' started by -=GS=-, Apr 23, 2007.

  1. -=GS=-

    -=GS=- New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Hello everyone, I could use a little help as I've never had a sprinkler system before and have run into a problem. I just bought a house and have been in it less than a month. I have a rainbird system, with a rainbird dual program controller (model 408 I think). Well, I know just before I moved into the house the sprinkler system completely worked. There are a total of 7 stations, 4 in the front and 3 in the backyard. The problem I am having is the 4 in the front will not come on. Can anyone suggest what may be wrong with the system? I read the manual and am sure that they should be turning on, I even tried switching the wires on the control box, one of the non-working with a working, and nothing happened.
  2. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

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    7,311
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    There could be something else, but it sounds like possibly a ground wire problem. The valves share a common ground wire, they are daisy-chained from valve to valve. If the connection was broken along that chain, the first ones in line would work fine, but the ones after the break would not. The connections are make using either special wire nuts that have a sealant inside or a regular wire nut and silicone.
  3. -=GS=-

    -=GS=- New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Hey thanks for the reply.

    Forgive my ignorance here. Where might I find the valves? I know they are inline with the sprinkler heads, but are they usually all located in a central location. Is there something I should look for that would tell me where the valvles are located?
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2007
  4. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

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    7,311
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Normally the valves are located in an underground box close to the control box. I suppose every installation can be a bit different, but for example, my irrigation water supply is teed off of the domestic water supply five feet under ground. It runs through a manual shutoff valve then comes up to the back flow preventer. From there is runs under the lawn about 20 feet to the side of the house where there is a valve box. Each zone has it's own valve in the box. Wires run from the valve box through the basement wall to the controller in the basement. The valve box could be located further away from the control box, but all of the wires from the controller will run to the valve box. There is one hot wire for each zone plus the common ground. It would not make much sense for the valve box to be very far away from the controller. Just follow the wires.
  5. -=GS=-

    -=GS=- New Member

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    Alright, after looking up some pictures I now know what the green lids are in the front and back yard. I'll do some investigating when I get home this afternoon. How often does a controller go bad?
  6. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,311
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Controllers usually don't fail other that a blown fuse. I suspect a wiring problem as I outlined earlier. Are you using domestic water? If so, you must have a back flow preventer to avoid cross contamination of your household water. In my city, I am required to have mine certified annually. Since you're a newbie to irrigation systems, it would pay you to spend some time at a irrigation supply house and learn what you have and how to take care of it. Ain't rocket science, but there are somethings that you really need to know.
  7. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

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    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    There could be a main shut off valve for all the front yard water, which has been turned off.
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