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Any irrigation system experts out there???

seedman76seedman76 Posts: 19
It's worth a shot.  One thing I love about the egghead forum is there's a lot of people on here with expertise from many backgrounds.  I've got a sprinkler irrigation issue I'm looking for help with.  Last fall I had a irrigation system that operated perfectly. In November I did a drainage project in my backyard and in the process cut 3 irrigation lines and my 18/8 multi-color low voltage wiring. I repaired the 3 lines. I also purchased a short section of 18/8 wire from my irrigation dealer and spliced it in where I severed the wiring. I used Orbit wire nuts and silicon grease caps. I wired everything up matching each color across the splices. I thought I was in business until I discovered that on my 8 zone system, zone 4 turns on whenever any other zone is on and it won't turn off until I shut the system off at the controller. I've got a pond pump if that matters. While troubleshooting, I disconnected all the wiring for each zone at the Weathermatic SL800 controller. The only wires connected were the red/white wires which come from my Irritrol pump control box and tell the pump to turn on. Even with all zones disconnected zone 4 still ran. Somehow it's getting power/water to it even when NONE of the wires for any zone are connected at my controller. I'm at a loss for where to turn and any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Comments

  • RRPRRP Posts: 23,180
    edited May 23
    I'm certainly no electrician but my guess is you clearly have a short somewhere that is crossing over to be able to get the juice and to send out and back the messed up signal. 

    While I've never had that sort of problem with my irrigation system that is now 22 years old the thing that surprises me is all of my electrical connections are readily visible down inside plastic canisters buried flush to the ground all over my yard. I take it that your spliced connections may have been re-buried maybe? I've never understood how these canisters never have water standing in them in spite of 2 finger holes to pull the cap off! BTW mine are Rainbird whatever that info is worth!
    Re-gasketing America one yard at a time.
  • Mattman3969Mattman3969 Posts: 9,657
    edited May 24
    Sounds like when the line was cut it also stretched and broke some of the protective shielding letting bare wire touch and short out.  It doesn’t take much force to cause big damage on those small wire. I just got done running a new set of wires for my front zone.   

    -----------------------------------------


    2008 -Large BGE. 2013- Small BGE and 2015 - Mini. Henderson, Ky.
  • calikingcaliking Posts: 14,029
    edited May 24
    I’m not an irrigation expert, but I’ve messed with a couple of things here and there. 

    It seems that zone 4 is getting power from the circuit for the pump. Your best bet would be to run new wire from the valve for zone 4 to the controller. Possibly even piggyback the new wire onto the terminal for another zone. 



    #1 LBGE December 2012 • #2 SBGE February  2013 • #3 Mini May 2013
    A happy BGE family in Houston, TX.
  • JethroBodeenJethroBodeen Posts: 366
    Cant tell from the description but, is the #4 zone actually getting power? Have you measured voltage at the zone controller/solenoid? I cant help but think that the valve is stuck open and not actually getting power....
  • CornfedMACornfedMA Posts: 306
    Cant tell from the description but, is the #4 zone actually getting power? Have you measured voltage at the zone controller/solenoid? I cant help but think that the valve is stuck open and not actually getting power....
    This is what I was thinking as well. You said you’ve turned off power to the zone, so if the valve truly isn’t getting power, it could be a stuck open valve. 

    You’re lucky it was only 18/8 wire. I just got done fixing 18/13 in 2 places on my folks’ system. Unbelievable pain in the ass...
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 33,160
    edited May 24
     
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    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr, Akorn Jr, smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.  Registered republican.
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  • seedman76seedman76 Posts: 19
    Cant tell from the description but, is the #4 zone actually getting power? Have you measured voltage at the zone controller/solenoid? I cant help but think that the valve is stuck open and not actually getting power....
    I like where you’re headed here and will troubleshoot this later today once it quits raining. That said I’ve got a novice question. I do have a multimeter but am not well versed at its use. How do I measure the voltage at the solenoid?  In other words my red and black wires on my multimeter should be on “blank” to make sure I do/don’t have power. Thank you!
  • JethroBodeenJethroBodeen Posts: 366
    edited May 24
    So, a quick scan for the OM for that controller looks like it puts out 28VAC. on your meter you want to be on VAC or the letter "V" with a "~" underneath the "V". The "~" represents alternating current or AC. Post a pic of the meter and I can be more definitive. They are all a little different depending on brand, quality etc.
    If you know which terminals on the controller are going to #4 zone, you can just measure it there. If the voltage aint there then it aint out in the yard either unless its wired wrong. Check both ends to be sure.
  • JethroBodeenJethroBodeen Posts: 366
    From the OM for that controller. Try this for the trouble zone and see what the reading is on the controller.

    Use ▲arrow to select OUTPUTS function. Then use NEXTand BACK buttons to scroll through MV and Zone Valves toview AC Amp reading for each valve. Scroll back to OUT-PUTS display to move to next diagnostic function. Typicalrange is 150 to 350 mA per valve with a valve connected.Current exceeding 350 mA per valve could be an indicationof a partial short. Current readings less than 30 mA will indi-cate an open circuit. Note: If you have more than one valveon a zone, the SmartLine®controller will measure total cur-rent for the combined valves.
  • alaskanassasinalaskanassasin Posts: 3,025
    Disconnect the wires to that zone and see if it still comes one
    South of Columbus, Ohio.
  • Mattman3969Mattman3969 Posts: 9,657
    It could be as simple as the non on the valve is open. This can be manually.  If this is the case anytime water is called for in the valve box #4 is open and also coming on.  Does that make sense?

    -----------------------------------------


    2008 -Large BGE. 2013- Small BGE and 2015 - Mini. Henderson, Ky.
  • seedman76seedman76 Posts: 19
    All -- Just wanted to give a big shout out and say "thank you" for your help and suggestions on my irrigation issue.  A special thanks to @JethroBodeen for some extensive support.  I was able to resolve the issues I was having with my irrigation system.  Turns out it wasn't an electrical issue.  Fortunately before I spent much time troubleshooting the electrical components I took the advice to check the valves.  I took the solenoid off of zone 4 and verified it was operating by having my wife turn zone 4 on/off at the controller and watching the bottom of the solenoid move up/down.  Next I removed the valve and took all the components apart.  I discovered a 1/4" diameter rock below the valve laying in the horizontal inlet pipe that brings water to the valve.  I removed the rock with needle nose pliers, cleaned the valve, reassembled everything and gave it a try.  Presto, everything worked as it should.  What a relief...I was elated...thanks again for your help.  Gotta love this forum and the plethora of "experts" on all sorts of subject matters.  =)
  • JethroBodeenJethroBodeen Posts: 366
    Nice work! Glad you got it sorted out.
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