View Full Version : Can't find control valve

09-14-2001, 10:31 PM
I'm tring to troubleshoot an irrigation system. One of the valves shorts out and makes the controler go nuts. I have found 9 out of 11 valves. The valves are inline valves baried in boxes in different locations in the garden any ideas how to go about finding the last two valves. I have been searching for awhile and the lawn needs some water.

09-14-2001, 11:02 PM
If done right, look for an anti-backflow or vacum breaker in the area. That's hardway.

From Ca, so find a local Ewing, Horizon or United Green Mark irrigation place. They have a special machine that you can use to locate: buried pipes, valves, wires. They should rent you the machine for the day. I belive it runs around $75 a day. You may also want to ask\call these places and ask if they could come out. I know our local Ewing would for a fee.

Short of digging up the wires from clock to valves would be the only way.


09-16-2001, 06:19 PM
You need a wire tracker, these nifty devices will allow you to follow wires, find shorts, areas of high resistance, solenoids and breaks in the wire all without digging up the wire. The last I heard they cost about $400 for a basic model. I know that the guy I work for bills the wiretracker as an additional charge on the service invoice with a 1 hr minumum. The better you get at using it, the more usefull you will find it. The first time I used one I couldn't track the wire very far at all, but practice makes perfect :-). Make sure when you give the tracker a good ground. I usually use a piece of copper pipe that I clean with emery cloth before I dirve it atleast 6" into the ground. Also, try tracking from the closest place you know the wire to be. The signal does weaken as you get farther away from the signal generator.


09-16-2001, 11:15 PM
Progresive Electronics 521 wire tracker, $600-$700 dollars.

Hey G-MOnkey. How much does the boss get for a tracker. I don't charge, it's part of a professionals tool kit. But I talkked to a guy in Texas last winter that charged for it too. He also charged a misc. fee that covered glue, primer, saw and cutter blades, parer towels etc.. The things that are not defineable parts but cost money and are required and get consumed. WE now tag on $3.00 per servcie call for disposables like that.

09-17-2001, 09:40 PM
He gets $35/hr w/ a 1 hr minumum. I don't think we've ever actually used it for a full hour at any one job. He's got a $6 charge for copper plumbing supplies (cutter wheels / gas / grit cloth / flux / flux brushes / fitting brushes / flints / etc...) He also has the main service guy on comission which encourages him to charge for everything he can and to not have time on the clock that he's not billing for. I'm the 1st install foreman / big service project guy (I get stuck with all the really big service problems b/c they don't have to pay me a percentage of the really big service bills like they would with the service guy).


09-21-2001, 05:26 AM
Can you tell me a www. addy for this neat device? Would it work well for electic dog fences and lousy install of irr. systems. For when we do aeration, we hit some of these and have to repair them, of course at a charge, but it happens and it would save lots of time. Plus I can mark out dog fences before we aerate, but I can use a cheep AM radio to find dog fence but it would be nice to get it on the dot so I know where it is right on the money.


09-21-2001, 08:22 AM
A good tracker like I previously listed, will do what your asking and be right on the money. Not only will you know location but can determine depth of wire but not valves.

There are cheaper units including in the Progressive line but they are not the tool for a serious professional to adequately work with. I own several 521's and have used them for years. It takes practice and a little knowledge of irrigation sometimes to get what you want because people build stuff in strange ways sometimes. After you've worked on a bunch of weird jobs, the knowledge accumulates like anything else.

09-21-2001, 01:04 PM

I've never used the 521, just the 528, which seems to be a slightly less powerful model of the 521. It works pretty well though.


06-01-2002, 06:19 PM
Hey, you might want to try a "chatter box device"
All you do is attach it to the station that you can't find the valve and activate the "chatter box: and it will make that valve very noisy in the field so you can identify where it is located. Works great, you should be able to pick one up at an irrigation supply house. Maybe some others have used one before. Most irrigation techs have a few devices for locating and troubleshooting irrigation problems. Progressive Electronics makes a bunch of neat items for the irrigation tech

06-02-2002, 12:21 PM
I just heard about one of these, and was told that my local irrigation whole saler has one for rent. You hook your transmitter to the wire of the valve you are trying to locate at the time clock. You then have a head set and follow the wire location. I suppose that the thing beeps or some thing like that. I have seen telephone guys locating with some thing that is probably real similar.

06-02-2002, 02:18 PM
Brickman Group - that sounds like the Progressive 521 listed above. Works well. Have one of my own.

06-02-2002, 03:58 PM
Hey Dana read my LS id again.
I am a small owner op, that wishes he had the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$ of Brickman Group.

We are probably related some where. :)

06-03-2002, 09:36 AM
Depending on the yard...we ususally try two things. First we try "the chatterbox?". Device we use is called a Krik-it and it is the original device created by a local guy here who is smarter than all of us. This device is installed at the timer. When you run the valve in question, the solenoid opens and closes rapidly causing a hum in the valve and mainline. You can almost always find it this way.....very handy. This WILL NOT work if the solenoid is bad

After that we use the Progressive Electronics 521 Locator. These devices trace the wire in question....

This device WILL NOT work very well in dry soil....

In your case if the solenoid is shorting, you will need the locator....go to your distributer and rent one.....warning: They are not easy to use the first 50 times or so....it takes practice. My suggestion would be to call an irrigation tech in your area and ask him to find it! We charge 75 for the first valve and 25 per valve thereafter.....same cost as you would probably rent the machine for! Good Luck!