One valve in zone not opening...

Discussion in 'Irrigation / Sprinkler Forum' started by SBerg, Jun 8, 2015.

  1. SBerg

    SBerg New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2015
    Location:
    Iowa
    Hi,

    Short background... Long post... I have an 18 zone system; the timer box has two 13 strand cables with 6 extra strands (2 on one and 4 on the other). Whites are connected to common leaving 12 each for zones.

    Last year I found that the Zone 9 valve stopped opening. I had an irrigation company come out and test the solenoid and it was fine. The repair tech said he'd need to use a wire locator to find the break. Could take hours... It was late in the year so I left it until I could try to figure it out myself. Or at least educate myself so I'd understand what would be needed.

    The Zone 9 strand comes from the cable that has 2 unused strands. I read that I can use one of the unused strands in the valve box (4 extra strands), but there is no matching color in the timer box. Another thing is the valve box cable has only 10 wires (white common). This alone leaves me stumped... 13 strands in timer and 10 in the valve box...

    The current non-working setup is orange to orange...Huh... black, purple, red and brown are unused in the valve box and there is tan and pink in the timer box. For some reason the pink wire also was also attached with the orange wire but at the top of the screw where it is plastic not metal (I assume there is no connection unless the wire is pressed between the two metal bits screwed tight). I hope this is making sense...

    Today I connected one of the 2 extra wires to zone 9 in the timer box and tested all the extra wires in the valve box trying to find the matching line. No joy... I am able to open the valve manually... I didn't want to detach one of the wires from a working valve to test the non-working valve as the wire is attached with a crimp style cap and can't be reused. I have to get some grease caps...

    Pertinent info maybe??? While looking at the orange wire in the valve box I found that about 3" of the orange plastic coating was shrunken and black. I cut it down to a clean section and reconnected, but it didn't help. Also inside the valve box I found the cut off piece of the original valve connection (using the orange wire!) with a crimp style cap like the other 4 valves. This says to me that something happened in the past... maybe a bad section of wire was removed and reconnected? This and the pink wire attached to Zone 9 in the timer seems to be saying something.... Any guesses? I think I'll try connecting the pink wire and testing the 4 in the valve box...

    If for whatever reason the timer to valve box wires are not compatible, I was thinking maybe I could double up a zone; there are 4 other valves in the box.

    So if anyone has any ideas please post them...

    Thanks in advance,
    SBerg
     
  2. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2011
    Occupation:
    Rocket Scientist
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Your post is a bit confusing.

    If you have long wire runs, It is very common to double up wire conductors so that you get less voltage drop. Is the one you are having a problem with a long distance away ?

    I would use a VOM-Ohm meter on Rx1, and you can see the resistance of each valve, With power off.

    Those electrons do not care about the color of wire they flow on. But if the electrons bang heads, and it is wired wrong, smoke can occur.


    Good Luck.
     
  3. Sponsor

    Sponsor Paid Advertisement

     
  4. SBerg

    SBerg New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2015
    Location:
    Iowa
    Sorry for the confusion... I don't understand the electrical part of irrigation so I'm probably not making myself clear... And I don't expect my response will be any clearer... Here is a pic of the timer wires, if that's of any help...

    20150609_114310[1].jpg

    The box is ~150' from the timer in the garage. I have a multimeter (see pic) with the OHM options at x10, x100, x1k. At which should it be set and what results am I looking for at the needle?

    20150609_120025(0)[1].jpg

    You mention doubling up but when I try to wrap my head around this I get even more confused. If just 3 of the strands are doubled up from the timer to the valve box, this takes 9 strands in the valve box. I have only 1 extra in the timer box with 4 in the valve box... What exactly does this mean? That possibly one of the extra 4 is actually usable as the others are not connected to the timer at all? I'm so confused...

    I am thinking my only solution is to run two valves off one strand and hope there is enough pressure. Any other suggestions or info is appreciated.

    SBerg
     
  5. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2011
    Occupation:
    Rocket Scientist
    Location:
    Houston, TX

    I would not run 2 valves on one strand.

    You will have more voltage drop and the controller may not be able to handle double the load, With out smoke.

    What is the model number of your controller ?

    I would power it off and clean the P1 connector with alcohol. Those header connectors can cause problems in a damp location.

    151 will work, if that is all you have.

    X100 is the ohm setting you want for your meter. But power needs to be off.


    Good Luck. Save some smoke for later.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2015
  6. SBerg

    SBerg New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2015
    Location:
    Iowa
    Thanks... Hardie Irrigation Irritrol Model "Total Control"

    I have 91% Isopropyl Alcohol... OK? Clean all pin connections of P1?

    What are "header connectors"? Controller is in the garage...

    Thx,
    SBerg
     
  7. SBerg

    SBerg New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2015
    Location:
    Iowa
    Oh, and any thoughts on my "strand" questions?
     
  8. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2011
    Occupation:
    Rocket Scientist
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    91 percent is fine,

    What size/gauge is the wire ?
     
  9. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2011
    Occupation:
    Rocket Scientist
    Location:
    Houston, TX

    P1 is a header connector. Well in the day, that is what we called them.
     
  10. SBerg

    SBerg New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2015
    Location:
    Iowa
    P1 got it... Don't know
    It's typical 13 multistrand, so whatever those strands usually measure... 20 gauge maybe, but not sure as I didn't measure.
     
  11. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2011
    Occupation:
    Rocket Scientist
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    I can tell that the installation was done half assed.

    Looks almost like something I would do, In a pinch.

    You should tape up those bare wires.

    Do you have PPE ?


    Good Luck.
     
  12. SBerg

    SBerg New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2015
    Location:
    Iowa
    23 years ago the original installation was probably fine if not well thought out for future plans; 100% rotors watering lawn. Then I suspect they added hundreds of linear feet of 3' wide garden beds on the perimeter of the tiered lawns and around the house, on a very sloped lot using the rotors to water these as well as the lawns. Which once the plants matured, became big PITA! Then they added a couple of pop up sprayer zones... I HATE THIS WATERING SYSTEM and I've been trying to remediate problem areas as best I can practically since we bought the house 13 years ago. There were a few add-ons as the yard expanded and these have been difficult to follow as the 2nd homeowner.

    So I shouldn't combine two valves, but how about joining to a zone that was originally 9 pop-up sprayers that was converted to a drip system last year? This zone was added around a gazebo located in the middle of the yard. I'm not certain it's in the same valve box... although the gazebo is 5' from the box. But if it is in the same box, could I safely combine this zone with the 5 rotor valve with the bad wire?

    Also, I would appreciate an explanation of how electrical wires are supposed to be laid out with 18 zones and several valve boxes. For example, as the cable is laid out from box to box, are the needed wires, plus an extra if available, pulled from the multistrand into the valve box, then the remaining wires continue on to the next box and so on until all wires are used? In my situation the controller has 2 x 13 strand cables; 24 usable for zones. Each box has between 4 and 6 valves and a total 18 zones leaving 6 extra strands for future use to be distributed between the valve boxes.

    Lastly, as I said earlier, I don't understand "doubling" the wires... 2 zone wires from the controller spliced to 1 wire that goes to a single valve? Or? Can you provide a detailed explanation please. I don't understand why the controller has 13 strand cables yet there are only 10 strands in this valve box. It's bad enough the colors probably won't match up because of this and funny how this one valve's wire color DOES match the controller wire.

    Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2015
  13. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2011
    Occupation:
    Rocket Scientist
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Do you have the manual ?

    This is from the Manual.

    CONNECTING THE VALVE WIRING
    1. To provide a field common wire, attach one wire to either solenoid
    lead of all sprinkler valves and master valve (optional).
    2. Attach a separate control wire to the remaining solenoid lead of
    each valve. Label the control wires with the intended station
    number for identification at the controller.
    Caution: All wiring splices must be waterproofed to prevent short
    circuits and corrosion.
    Caution: A maximum load of 12 VA (0.5 amps) may be connected
    to each station. A maximum load (including master valve) of
    30 VA (1.25 amps) may be programmed to operate simultaneously.
    Exceeding these limits can damage the controller.
    3. Route the control and common wires into the controller cabinet
    through the 1-1/2" (38mm) access opening. Remove approximately
    1/2" (13mm) insulation from the ends of each wire.
    4. Attach the field common wire to one of the three valve common
    terminals labeled “VC.”

    5. Referring to Figure 5 connect each valve control wire to the
    appropriate station number terminal. If an optional master valve is
    installed, connect its control wire to the terminal labeled “MV.”
    Tighten all terminal screws securely.

    I think this may be the one you have;

    http://www.irritrol.com/manuals/manual_totalcontrol24.pdf


    Good Luck.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2015
  14. SBerg

    SBerg New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2015
    Location:
    Iowa
    No I don't have a manual. This is close enough... My unit is for 18 zones. I couldn't find it on their website. Thanks for the link.

    Is the 12 va info referring to also the number I should compare against when testing with the multimeter? Every where I've read about testing says 24-28VAC is within range. Maybe these are not the same thing?
     
  15. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2011
    Occupation:
    Rocket Scientist
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    You would need to measure the current (The meter in your picture will not measure AC amps), Or look at the current rating of your valves, and calculate.
     
  16. SBerg

    SBerg New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2015
    Location:
    Iowa
    This is from the Irritrol valve manual...

    upload_2015-6-10_10-44-29.png

    This is on SprinklerWarehouse website:
    • Inrush volt-amp: 24 V ac-9.6 VA
    • Inrush current: .4 amp
    • Holding volt-amp: 24 V ac-4.8 VA
    • Holding current: .2 amp
    How do these numbers apply to the 12 VA station maximum and 30 VA simultaneous maximum?

    If I can't combine the drip and broken zones then I will probably try an "Add a Zone" unit to bypass the bad wire.
     
  17. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2011
    Occupation:
    Rocket Scientist
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    The Inrush kills you on long wire runs. It looks like 1 Valve is all you can run on 1 Controlled output.

    The controller should take care of the simultaneous maximum, Because it should not let you have more zones on at one time, than it or your water supply can handle.

    But if you connect 2 valves in parallel, The controller can require more power than its transformer can put out.

    It does have a Fuse, You should make sure it is the correct size.

    Some water re-piping may be your best solution. Hard to see from here.

    Places near here regulate big systems like yours. Water is worth money. I have my own water well thank goodness.

    Thank you for the Taters.


    Good Luck.
     
  18. SBerg

    SBerg New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2015
    Location:
    Iowa
    I figured the inrush would be a problem... Is 100-150' considered a "long run"? That's about how far this valve box is from the controller. Been reading of folks talking about 1000' runs...

    Tested with the multimeter and sure enough the ohms are way low for that zone so means the wire is no good. I'm going to try one more time to check current in those extra wires at the valve, but I don't have high hopes as I already tried to run the zone with each of them.

    Anyway, I'm not doing any digging... I'm ordering one of the "Add a Zone" units and it should solve the problem. Made for just this kind of problem... Has good reviews in many different places... amazon, sprinkler warehouse, etc. Worth the $100 rather than digging up the yard because of one bad wire.

    Thanks,
    SBerg
     
  19. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2011
    Occupation:
    Rocket Scientist
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    The length you can run depends on the wire size. Some people double up conductors and put smaller wires in parallel.

    There are other tricks, like adding caps and Up-ing the voltage to make up for voltage drop too.

    The wire conductor size needs to be bigger for the common terminals labeled “VC.” , If it is in feeding more than 1 valve, or the valves VC wire is looped thru and is in a series string. In other words there should be more than one wire connected to the VC connections, At the controller, Not at other valves. 1 VC wire per valve is best, But may not be needed for a 100ft - 150ft run.

    Are you confused yet ? I am. All of the info you need should be in the manual.

    Good Luck. I think you can make it work, No problem.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2015
  20. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2011
    Occupation:
    Rocket Scientist
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Is it fixed yet ?

    Please do report back with your progress.

    One thing that you can do, it put a 1 amp FB fuse in line with the dead zone, and see if it blows. I like fuses and even lightbulbs work good for testing. (Don't tell JW if you use a lightbulb. lol (Inside TL Joke))

    That would tell you if that Output is being loaded down for some reason.

    Or you could get a better Meter that measures AC and DC current, And just measure.

    I think that unit uses those Poly Auto reset fuses. They get hot when they open, That is another clue, that wiring may be wrong. There is one for each channel.

    If you have voltage and have no current, Then something is most likely open.

    I am not sure how much you know about electricity, Current is read with the load in series with the meter, Just a bit different than reading voltage by paralleling the meter connection.


    Good luck, You can do it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2015
  21. SBerg

    SBerg New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2015
    Location:
    Iowa
    Thanks Don...

    Sorry for my lack of response... Had a lot of rain the last few days and twice had water in the basement; not much but enough. Then finding it was a new drip line that had come apart caused the water in the bsmt, it got worse. Plus, when I found the broken drip line, two heads in the 2nd zone were putting out water even though the controller is set to OFF! I think there is a valve stuck in the open position depressurizing the line as only a couple of heads pop up in the 1st zone and nothing in the 2nd zone other than the two heads "leaking" a steady stream. The last straw is that our internet is down for nearly 24 hours. Have to use my phone... Perfect end to a perfect week :eek:...

    Anyway, I really appreciate your continued assistance, however I have to admit you are talking about stuff that is over my head regarding both irrigation and electricity...

    "...put a 1 amp FB fuse in line with the dead zone, and see if it blows."
    , Don't know what this means...

    "I think that unit uses those Poly Auto reset fuses. They get hot when they open, That is another clue, that wiring may be wrong. There is one for each channel.",
    I didn't know what the Poly Auto fuses were so I googled it... Now I know... I turned on the zone waited a bit and checked the fuses... Neither got hot; no change in temp as best I can tell.

    "Current is read with the load in series with the meter, Just a bit different than reading voltage by paralleling the meter connection."
    I'm totally lost with these remarks... :eek:

    I thought my meter would read AC/DC but regardless, I've already ordered a "Digital Multimeter (DMM) Multi Tester Voltmeter Ammeter Ohmmeter - AC / DC Voltage, DC Current, Resistance, Continuity, Diodes, hFE Tester"... I thought digital would give a more specific result and the instructions I found for testing use the 20/200/2000 setting points making it easier to interpret the results according to the instructions... The unit is very inexpensive but hopefully good enough for a homeowner (see pic below).

    [​IMG]



    I realize this is probably why one should call a professional, but initially it appeared to be something I could troubleshoot myself with a little non-technical guidance. And at least I have found a work around solution... by installing an "Add-A-Zone" unit to bypass the troublesome wire. Ordering today and putting that issue to bed... Now I just have to solve the open valve issue; something to look forward to next week...

    SBerg
     
Similar Threads: valve zone
Forum Title Date
Irrigation / Sprinkler Forum Two zones on one valve Apr 20, 2020
Irrigation / Sprinkler Forum Multiple Zones on 1 Valve Apr 20, 2020
Irrigation / Sprinkler Forum Please help! Low pressure sprinkler zone. Valve is good Sep 26, 2019
Irrigation / Sprinkler Forum Need Help To Locate Hidden Zone Valves and Sprinkler Heads Aug 5, 2018
Irrigation / Sprinkler Forum How to know which zone on valve goes to which sprinklers Feb 19, 2017

Share This Page