Manually opening the valves won't turn on sprinklers

Discussion in 'Irrigation / Sprinkler Forum' started by RobLee08, Jul 7, 2019.

  1. RobLee08

    RobLee08 New Member

    Jul 7, 2019
    Hi, I am having a similar issue that was posted on here before concerning a Rainbird sprinkler system not coming on both manually and on Auto. The controller cycles through the zones but no water comes out of the sprinklers. We do not have a rain sensor so that is not the issue.

    Similar to previous poster with the issue, I thought there was some electrical issue (eg wire from the controller) but turning the valves manually (turning the solenoid quarter of a turn) won't make the sprinklers come on either. Also I have checked the voltage across the zones at the controller and they all read 29.9 Volts. The valves are DV series and when I turn the little knob anti-clockwise water dribbles out. But nothing comes out of the sprinklers. This is for all the valves.

    Rainbird tech support suggested that since I have wiring going into MV, there must be a master valve somewhere which is not suppling water to the individual zone control valves. I have not been able to locate a master valve and online research seem too suggest one of the inline valves are acting as MV. See in the attached picture the orange wire from controller MV going into orange DBY connectors (?) at the zone valve.

    The only thing upstream of zone control valves is the pressure vacuum breaker, that has no leaks. I observed no water pressure when opening the test cocks (bleed valves). A small stream came out initially from test cock 2 which died eventually. My neighbor has the same PVB and his did the same too (his sprinkler system does not have any issues btw)

    Is there something I am overlooking? I am also puzzled why all 6 valves would suddenly stop working. Is there anything which would override the manual valve opening? I am pretty sure the water supply is on. If Anyone who recalls how the previous posters issue was resolved please share with me as I think I have the exact same issue.

    Any replies appreciated! Thanks.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 7, 2019
  2. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida The wife is still training me.

    Oct 28, 2009
    Orlando, Florida
    I notice that the orange wire has some duct tape on it, try to see if it is a repair or just to cover a cut insulation. It does seem that there is a MV somewhere. First remove the orange wire and measure the voltage output from the controller. I believe you stated that there is voltage but not sure about the MV. Another item is the 29.9 is a no load voltage. If a solenoid it activating it should go down in the around the 20+ voltage range.

    With the orange wire disconnected measure the ohms. If there is no reading then the solenoid is open. If there is a reading then the valve itself is clogged up or the diaphragm went bad. Dig around the valve box to get a direction to where this wire is going. It probably is before the vacuum breaker and maybe inside another valve box but the grass grew over it. In the direction of the orange wire and where your water main line is to the house, poke the ground to try to hit the cover. It shouldn't be far from the vacuum breaker. I myself would dig out the entire area at the vacuum breaker and follow the orange wire. The connection of the orange wire in the valve box is nothing but a connection and nothing to do with the valves in that box. If it was one of the valves would have to be in the opposite direction.

    I copied this from

    It's fine to be able to make the measurement, but you must understand what it means. With solenoids, for example, you must have a reference point with which to compare the resistance readings. Levels of resistance through solenoids differ due to size, age and manufacturer. Generally, most solenoids measure between 20 and 60 ohms of resistance. If an irrigation system has 10 solenoid valves-each the same size and make-they probably will measure about the same resistance.

    What is the link to this other post?
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  4. RobLee08

    RobLee08 New Member

    Jul 7, 2019
    Thanks for your response. The tape on the yellow wire is from a repair. Looks like they came out a couple of inches short and had to add an extension but I removed the tape to make sure connection was proper. The voltage across the MV at controller terminal (at no load) is 29.9V just as the others. I will check with the solenoid activated and report back.

    I will look for the MV more closely and follow the orange wire as you suggested.

    I am thinking should I open one of the valves and run the cycle to see if starts spouting water. That way we know MV is not the issue?

    Don't know how to add link to the other thread but if you scroll down it shows in similar threads with same title as mine (its from 2007).

    One thing i didn't mention earlier is about a month or so ago I dug around the a few sprinkler nozzles around the house and added a 2" adapter to raise them up. The sprinklers came on for about a week or so just fine. We turned them off after a heavy downpour which is when the problem started. Don't think the two are related but thought I would share.
  5. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Sep 25, 2013
    Have you tried the neighbor's test cocks while a zone was actively spraying? I would expect the stream would not have died in that case.
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