need a basic testing/troubleshooting refresher on mechanical timer

Discussion in 'Irrigation / Sprinkler Forum' started by GeoNOregon, May 14, 2010.

  1. GeoNOregon

    GeoNOregon New Member

    Sep 14, 2008
    It's been a long time since I had anything to do with a mechanical timer, so my memory is sketchy on them. I'm talking the kind of timer that has a 24 hr dial that you place small 'dogs' on that trip the mechanical part of the switch turning the pump off and on. You wire a supply voltage to it and then run either a single leg for 110v or two legs for a 220v pump, or light, or valve.

    There is also an 'master' switch that can be used to turn the pump off and on. These controls have been around forever and are made by Dayton, Intermatic, etc.

    I want to use one to control a misting system I am building in my green house. I have a box of them I bought from a shop that did handy man work and was getting out of the irrigation business, (I bought all their PVC pipe and fitting, and all their plumbing tools, so I have no reason to think they lied to me when they told me these were working controls, either new, used or repaired.

    They are all mechanical, and simple, except for the time motor which is either a 110v AC or 220v AC motor depending on whether the switch itself, is a 110v or 220v controller.

    Here's my question. If I hook up the correct voltage to the appropriate terminals, as if I was wiring in the pump, shouldn't the timing motor engage?

    It seems to me that's all I would need to do to test one of these dang things, but I have put voltage to all of them and NOTHING. I've double-checked my voltage and connections - it seems I'm doing this correctly. Two of them are obviously brand new, and were still in the Dayton box, thought the box was open.

    It doesn't make sense to me, I have all kinds of electric motors stored away, and they just don't die from dis-use.

    Any old timers out there who have some experience with these things?


  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    First you need a clock motor which is designed for the voltage, and that determines the use of the switch whether 120 or 240. Then you connect the "IN/LINE" wires to the proper terminals, the clock wires should already be prewired to those two terminals. Once that is done and you turn on the power, the clock and timer will begin to operate. THEN you wire your "load" to the remaining terminals using the wiring diagram, because a 120 load will only have ONE connection, plus the neutral which connects to the "in/line" neutral terminal along with the feed wire neutral.
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  4. GeoNOregon

    GeoNOregon New Member

    Sep 14, 2008
    Thanks, HJ, you confirmed what I was remembering. So I guess, in spite of what I thought, all of the 110v timers have bad clock motors. Well, I don't suppose a clock motor is too expensive.

    I've got a 220v outlet in the shop I can test the others with, so I guess I'll do that and see where I stand with the rest.

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