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Posted: 10/20/2016 9:25:24 AM EDT
So our home sprinkler system is having some issues. There are five zones total, and two of these zones have stopped working. When I set the programmer to these zones, the LED display shows that they are active, but nothing is spraying out. Actually, on one of the zones, the heads came up, sprayed for about 5 seconds, then they lost pressure and they dropped back down. On the other zone, nothing happens at all. I don't have a clue what is going on, and I'm afraid of the cost to call someone out to fix it. Any experts around here?
Link Posted: 10/20/2016 9:43:17 AM EDT
Sounds like you are having a problem with the zone valves. 1st step is checking the electrical to the valves. If DC current is getting there, then the valve is not working.
Link Posted: 10/20/2016 2:25:17 PM EDT
the first step is to swap the leads out for the zones that don't work with the zone that does.

run it from the new zone and see if it acts the same.

If it does, then it is probably the valve or wiring to the valve.

If it works fine, then it is the controler.

if it is the valve or wiring, to the valve, then that can be a pain unless they are marked or have the little boxes to show where they are.

There is a electronic device called something like a chatter box or some such that makes the valve click loudly. It will or can damage the valve, so only to that if you plan to replace it.

you can then take it apart and fix it in ground, or dig it out and replace it.

or run new wire to it.
Link Posted: 10/20/2016 9:58:41 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By searchin4shacks:
Sounds like you are having a problem with the zone valves. 1st step is checking the electrical to the valves. If DC current is getting there, then the valve is not working.
View Quote


Not that it matters much, but the valves are operated by 24 VAC.

I would check the solenoids of the non-functional zones. You should be able to activate the zones by screwing down the solenoid (black cylinder on top of the valve with two wires). If that works, replace the solenoid.
Link Posted: 10/20/2016 11:08:50 PM EDT
Originally Posted By RinsableTick:
So our home sprinkler system is having some issues. There are five zones total, and two of these zones have stopped working. When I set the programmer to these zones, the LED display shows that they are active, but nothing is spraying out. Actually, on one of the zones, the heads came up, sprayed for about 5 seconds, then they lost pressure and they dropped back down. On the other zone, nothing happens at all. I don't have a clue what is going on, and I'm afraid of the cost to call someone out to fix it. Any experts around here?
View Quote


A large leak near the end of the line can cause the behavior described above in bold. Check the area of that zone or slightly downhill from there for very damp or flooded ground. Sometimes a large leak won't appear at the surface if it is "burrowing" sideways or downwards.

The zones with nothing happening, check voltage for each zone on with a voltmeter at the controller, then at the valve.

The valves do go bad, they aren't to expensive and are fairly easy to change if you have some plumbing experience.

FWIW, the valves can be taken apart and cleaned, and often times slow leaks in the valves is a sign they are dirty and not closing fully. The lowest head in the zone will often leak slowly or dribble water if the valve does not fully close.
Link Posted: 10/21/2016 12:39:25 PM EDT
My neighbor just had a similar problem. Mice got into the zone valve box and chewed up the wiring.
Link Posted: 10/21/2016 7:59:43 PM EDT
Get out your multi meter and measure the voltage output at the terminal strip of the controller. One lead on the common and the other lead on station 1, then 2 and so forth. Each station, when it is turned on, should have 24 volts AC.

Check the resistance through the valve solenoids. Do not have any stations on when you do this. Put the multi meter on ohms and put one lead on the common and the other on station 1, then 2 and so forth. The resistance through most solenoids should read between 25-50 ohms. Lower readings indicate a short circuit and higher readings indicate an open circuit.

Go to the valves with your multi meter. Disconnect the wires at the solenoid. Put one lead on the common, usually the white wire and the other lead on the hot wire. Turn the station on at the controller and measure the voltage. If it is 0 volts then you have a broken wire. If it is 24 volts then connect it back to the solenoid and check the voltage. If it dropped to 0 volts you have a ground short. Either way, you find the wire break/ground short and repair it or replace the wire from the controller to the valve.

When the heads on the one station pop up briefly and then drop down is there water still running through the valve? With the station on, touch the valve and listen. Do you fell or hear water running? If yes look for a broken pipe and repair it.

Most 'home owner' valves are inexpensive and the valve is cheaper than the parts. If the valve needs to be rebuilt, buy the exact same valve, gut it for the parts and rebuild it.


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