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Mike Leary
07-05-2008, 10:45 AM
Client reports fault on RM clock, amp gage shows fried solenoid (WM, natch),
landscapers had mulched over vb, drag out the 521, start locating, but the
tones & null continue past the area I know the valve is in. Locate another
vb with good solenoids & the 521 does it's thing. So, what's my course of action? Should I hook-up to the common & the valve wire & try it? Usually the 521 is a cinch; a first for me, help! :dizzy:

Wet_Boots
07-05-2008, 10:48 AM
Man, I can't follow a tracing signal past a connected solenoid without it nearly blasting my headphones off.

Mike Leary
07-05-2008, 10:50 AM
Man, I can't follow a tracing signal past a connected solenoid without it nearly blasting my headphones off.

That's my experience, too, I just can't fathom why the null won't end.

Waterit
07-05-2008, 04:10 PM
That's my experience, too, I just can't fathom why the null won't end.

Valve wires tied (or shorted) together?

txgrassguy
07-05-2008, 06:18 PM
Exactly, a fried solenoid will create an endless null when hooked to the power wire.
Find another solenoid, disconnect the common wire from the good solenoid and trace back to the fried solenoid.
Make sure that the grounding lead is stretched out as far as possible and laying flat upon the ground and the grounding rod is not rusty or crusty at all.
If the soil is dry you will have a slightly more difficult time reading the signal depending upon the soil type but you should be able to find the fried solenoid easier this way.
One additional benefit to tracing via the common wire is finding all of the other valves at the same time (if they share a common wire).
Good up sell to the client.
I charge a flat rate of $175.00 to hook up my 521 for the first thirty minutes than $100.00/hour after that - works for me.

Wet_Boots
07-05-2008, 07:23 PM
Of course, one can always locate an adjacent valve in the manifold, unless you're in Texas :)

txgrassguy
07-05-2008, 10:21 PM
With the size of the areas irrigated here, manifolds are not commonly encountered.
Or poly pipe, or vibratory plows either. About the only thing a vibratory plow is good for around here is making gravel.
And manifolds is something found on a motor.

FIMCO-MEISTER
07-05-2008, 11:23 PM
Mike here is what I do. You have the wire path. Hook the red to the common and the ground/black to your zone wire. In theory they should null each other out as long as in the same path. As soon as you pass the valve you are searching for the common will start giving you a good signal since your zone wire will have dropped off. Back up turn down the tone signal and keep working that area. Shouldn't be more than 5'. Probe the path and ye shall find.

FIMCO-MEISTER
07-06-2008, 08:39 AM
Exactly, a fried solenoid will create an endless null when hooked to the power wire.
Find another solenoid, disconnect the common wire from the good solenoid and trace back to the fried solenoid.
Make sure that the grounding lead is stretched out as far as possible and laying flat upon the ground and the grounding rod is not rusty or crusty at all.
If the soil is dry you will have a slightly more difficult time reading the signal depending upon the soil type but you should be able to find the fried solenoid easier this way.
One additional benefit to tracing via the common wire is finding all of the other valves at the same time (if they share a common wire).
Good up sell to the client.
I charge a flat rate of $175.00 to hook up my 521 for the first thirty minutes than $100.00/hour after that - works for me.

Nice money if you can stay busy with it. I've argued this point with countless contractors but for me the 521 is the same thing as a pipe wrench. It is a tool every irrigator should have to do his job. When I pull out my 521 from time to time I'll get a HO give me this ugly frown and I realize they had a contractor who stuck it to them on a 521 charge. Obviously they are in heaven when I hand them a bill for an hours work of finding and repairing a buried 205 and it is less than 250.00. Makes them customers for life and prime candidates for upselling. If you see the same customers year after year after year I think you have a responsibilty to have the tools to be really good at your job and in exchange for their loyalty not stick it to them in return. I've only heard one good argument for charging for the 521 and that is the experience factor. If there was some way to get a certificate that says THIS PERSON IS SO GREAT WITH THE 521 HE GETS TO CHARGE AN EXTRA 50/HR OVER HIS NORMAL RATE I think that might make sense. What works for me is that a customer compares my skill level to another irrigators skill level and decides who he wants to manage his irrigation problems.

Mike Leary
07-06-2008, 10:15 AM
Thanks for the advise, guys, will try the suggestions tomorrow. The valve in question
is in a 10", alone.

Mike Leary
07-06-2008, 11:47 AM
for me the 521 is the same thing as a pipe wrench. It is a tool every irrigator should have to do his job. Makes them customers for life and prime candidates for upselling. If you see the same customers year after year after year I think you have a responsibility to have the tools to be really good at your job and in exchange for their loyalty not stick it to them in return.

I agree totally, you're either in it for the short term or long haul: long haul makes
the biz salable. :clapping:

Wet_Boots
07-06-2008, 11:51 AM
A C-note for using the Magic Box isn't excessive.

Mike Leary
07-06-2008, 11:57 AM
As long as you have results, unlike me the other day! :wall

Wet_Boots
07-06-2008, 12:11 PM
Yeah, no results, no charge. In manifold country, locates are infrequent.

Mike Leary
07-06-2008, 12:41 PM
I write it off as learning, it never ends.

txgrassguy
07-06-2008, 02:03 PM
Fimco, my many long term customers know I don't pull out the 521 unless needed - usually one can find a crapped out valve/solenoid just by looking around.
Usually I don't yank it out unless I get stumped and really need it. And they appreciate the fact I have yet another tool to complete their needed repairs.
Sometimes I won't charge the full rate or will acknowledge their standing as a preferred customer by waiving the fee.
And Mike, I haven't had a situation yet where the 521 didn't get me the results I needed to complete a repair.
On new calls, even my secretary knows to inform prospective customers of service rates and material charges up front. Once on site I will not "discuss" what I charge - nope, ain't going to happen. Cuts down on the tire kickers and whiners.

FIMCO-MEISTER
07-06-2008, 03:32 PM
Fimco, my many long term customers know I don't pull out the 521 unless needed - usually one can find a crapped out valve/solenoid just by looking around.
Usually I don't yank it out unless I get stumped and really need it. And they appreciate the fact I have yet another tool to complete their needed repairs.
Sometimes I won't charge the full rate or will acknowledge their standing as a preferred customer by waiving the fee.
And Mike, I haven't had a situation yet where the 521 didn't get me the results I needed to complete a repair.
On new calls, even my secretary knows to inform prospective customers of service rates and material charges up front. Once on site I will not "discuss" what I charge - nope, ain't going to happen. Cuts down on the tire kickers and whiners.

Having followed you pretty close on previous posts I had a feeling this was your policy. I didn't want that last sentence on the 175 for the first half hour etc hanging out there without your full explanation. One thing about our profession is that it has an excessive greed factor among certain types that give the rest of us a bad name. I know of contractors that have no experience but have a license and read a post about an experienced persons rates and think they can apply it to themselves when they can't work a 521 worth squat.

txgrassguy
07-06-2008, 10:39 PM
Fimco, thanks for the response.

Mike Leary
07-09-2008, 03:28 PM
The 521 seems to be worthless for fried solenoids; had another fry & the 521 did not
even give me a wire path. Any thoughts?

Mike Leary
07-09-2008, 04:00 PM
Here's why it would be a bearcat to find the correct common, but I might try.

Rotor_Tool
07-09-2008, 05:26 PM
Here's why it would be a bearcat to find the correct common, but I might try.

Precisely the reason two-wire jobs are a snap to troubleshoot and sell for that matter.

Mike Leary
07-09-2008, 05:31 PM
What is the method for locating a missing fried valve with two wire?

h20 guy
07-09-2008, 05:37 PM
I'm thinking a new site for "Tracing Wires" questions. Isn't this a sprinkler site?

Mike Leary
07-09-2008, 05:43 PM
I'm thinking a new site for "Tracing Wires" questions. Isn't this a sprinkler site?

For you guys that use manual valves, this maybe over your head.:rolleyes:
Go to another thread: there's a great one about annuals with dorky comments.

Rotor_Tool
07-09-2008, 05:44 PM
What is the method for locating a missing fried valve with two wire?

With the right equipment and a thorough as-built, the controller will find it for you.

Mike Leary
07-09-2008, 05:53 PM
With the right equipment and a thorough as-built, the controller will find it for you.

Boy howdy! That's the vague non-information post of the month, plus the
spelling. :hammerhead:

Rotor_Tool
07-09-2008, 06:04 PM
Boy howdy! That's the vague non-information post of the month, plus the
spelling. :hammerhead:

Not sure which dick-tionary you use for spelling, but I couldn't find an error. To be more specific, it is no secret that I prefer Rain Bird so I use the MDC controller which will test decoders/valves to identify electrical issues.:dizzy:

Mike Leary
07-09-2008, 06:11 PM
Not sure which dick-tionary you use for spelling, but I couldn't find an error. To be more specific, it is no secret that I prefer Rain Bird so I use the MDC controller which will test decoders/valves to identify electrical issues.:dizzy:

I was wrong on the spelling, but you have not answered the question about
locating a fried solenoid in a mulched-over valve box, without a as built.

Rotor_Tool
07-09-2008, 06:30 PM
I was wrong on the spelling, but you have not answered the question about
locating a fried solenoid in a mulched-over valve box, without a as built.

When you perform a test of line decoders with the MDC controller, it will tell you which decoder/valve is not performing correctly. With the as-built in hand, you know where the decoder/valve is located.

Without the as built this a little more tricky - but possible.

The original two-wire comment was directed at the rat's nest of wires in the posted photo.

Mike Leary
07-09-2008, 06:38 PM
The original two-wire comment was directed at the rat's nest of wires in the posted photo.

That's my "rat's nest"...feeds a RM 48 (of two on the site), planned for expansion to multiple clocks. I'll let you guys be the poster childs for
two wire. You still did not tell me how to locate it when it's missing.

FIMCO-MEISTER
07-09-2008, 11:31 PM
The 521 seems to be worthless for fried solenoids; had another fry & the 521 did not
even give me a wire path. Any thoughts?

It has to give you a wire path unless it is feeding back through the common in which case it will cancel the null/void out. When was the last time you put fresh batteries in your 521? Try that you'd be amazed what fresh batteries do.

txgrassguy
07-10-2008, 12:55 AM
How many common wires are you dealing with?
Worst case simply disconnect the power lead for the fried solenoid at the controller and trace to the fried solenoid.
A 521 with good batteries like Fimco mentions is good for 1500'.
Or disconnect the fired solenoid at the controller then trace that common wire to the solenoid. Take it from me, just don't touch the leads when the power switch in on.
That hurts.
You can easily find the fried solenoid at the point of connection for the clock with any decent multi-meter and eliminate a ton of guess work in just a moment or two.

Mike Leary
07-10-2008, 04:32 PM
Found another one this morning; two down, one to go, crawling through the Hostas
tomorrow. Going to use upsidedown paint to mark the path, & turn the Felco's loose.
Thanks for all the advise, yup, I did replace the batteries when the problems started.
I'll prolly weigh less than London does after all this crawling....& some of you ask why
I'm not in a good mood?

Wet_Boots
07-10-2008, 04:36 PM
Are you ever in a good mood? :p

irrig8r
07-10-2008, 07:41 PM
:laugh:

Sorry I don't have anything positive or useful to add to this discussion... I was just reading and nodding and shaking my head until that last Boots comment.. then I guffawed and scared the cat right out of the room.

Mike Leary
07-10-2008, 07:51 PM
Are you ever in a good mood? :p

"It is the duty of the humor of any given nation in time of crisis to attack
the catastrophe that faces it in such a manner as to cause the people
to laugh at it in such a way that they do not die before they get killed."

AI Inc
07-10-2008, 07:54 PM
So I guess not,lol

irrig8r
07-10-2008, 09:28 PM
Watch out... the humor police are onto you... and though they may look silly, they are not amused...

http://cache.boston.com/universal/site_graphics/blogs/bigpicture/chinamil_07_09/chinamil8.jpg

Wet_Boots
07-10-2008, 09:59 PM
By the way, did these fried solenoids ohm out as dead shorts? Or open circuits?

Mike Leary
07-10-2008, 11:51 PM
By the way, did these fried solenoids ohm out as dead shorts? Or open circuits?

Showing 3.0 ohms. RM clock pegged them @ 2.50 amps., what we call
"upper limit".

Wet_Boots
07-11-2008, 12:00 AM
Too bad. If they were dead shorts, that might make for no current circling the magnetic core, giving a shout-out to the 521.

Mike Leary
07-11-2008, 12:29 AM
The 521 failed me in my time of need. :cry:

FIMCO-MEISTER
07-11-2008, 12:36 AM
The 521 failed me in my time of need. :cry:

It's a tool Mike. You've got to think it through and make it work for you. I've never had a 521 not help me somehow. Wire path, next nearest valve, common/zone wire track, some potholing may be needed. We can never lose faith in the 521 or all is lost.

Mike Leary
07-11-2008, 12:45 AM
We can never lose faith in the 521 or all is lost.

Thanks Peter, as I'm crawling through the Hostas tomorrow, your words will
continue to inspire.

londonrain
07-11-2008, 07:47 AM
It's a tool Mike. You've got to think it through and make it work for you. I've never had a 521 not help me somehow. Wire path, next nearest valve, common/zone wire track, some potholing may be needed. We can never lose faith in the 521 or all is lost.
True...
listen to what the 521 is telling you and not what you are thinking IE: where you "think" the valve should be. I learn something new just about every time I use the 521 ... I have had the same problem with a dead solenoid, 521 went right past the valve without a peep.
Have you tried using the common as the trace wire and the field wire as your ground wire? First trace the wire the normal way via field wire or common with the normal earth ground via probe. Setup the 521 on the normal 4-8 setting and trace path with the receiver turned up and mark the path.
Then use the common as the trace wire and the field wire as your ground wire. Then turn 521 on full power and receiver on very low volume and retrace the path. You should get a stronger signal where the field wire is grounding out in the earth since the field wire is now acting as the ground...
Remember listen to the 521 and not what you are thinking...

AI Inc
07-11-2008, 07:53 AM
Had one the other day that proved "listen to the 521" was searching for a broken wire and my guy kept saying " your picking up the dog fence" I told him " just keep digging" and sure as can be, 2 more inches and it was directly below the dog fence wire.

FIMCO-MEISTER
07-11-2008, 08:01 AM
Had one the other day that proved "listen to the 521" was searching for a broken wire and my guy kept saying " your picking up the dog fence" I told him " just keep digging" and sure as can be, 2 more inches and it was directly below the dog fence wire.

Ever had one start tracking the metal landscape edging?

AI Inc
07-11-2008, 08:14 AM
No, but i do pick up underground utilities quite ofton. Even worse so when its rainy.

FIMCO-MEISTER
07-11-2008, 08:42 AM
No, but i do pick up underground utilities quite ofton. Even worse so when its rainy.

If it tracks the lscape edging you can bet they nailed it with a stake. Dig where it enters the edging area at the first stake. I've had edging stakes that nailed a pipe but didn't leak.

Mike Leary
07-11-2008, 04:35 PM
Then use the common as the trace wire and the field wire as your ground wire. Then turn 521 on full power and receiver on very low volume and retrace the path. You should get a stronger signal where the field wire is grounding out in the earth since the field wire is now acting as the ground...
Remember listen to the 521 and not what you are thinking...

I'm beyond thinking, tried every suggestion, thanks. Going to wait until the
Hostas die back & have the grounds crew cut them back, then I'll have a
better path. Four inches of mulch has been no help, either.

Wire & main come in from the right, another zone starts at the Hydrangeas
on the left. Logic would say it's dead center in the bed.

Wet_Boots
07-11-2008, 11:36 PM
You know, I wonder if you could put some lower-than-24 voltage through the bad solenoid, and get some result you could follow with the receiver. I can 'hear' the coil field with my tracer.

irrig8r
07-12-2008, 12:08 AM
I'm beyond thinking, tried every suggestion, thanks. Going to wait until the
Hostas die back & have the grounds crew cut them back, then I'll have a
better path. Four inches of mulch has been no help, either.

Wire & main come in from the right, another zone starts at the Hydrangeas
on the left. Logic would say it's dead center in the bed.

How about using a blunt tipped probe there then?

Mike Leary
07-12-2008, 11:01 AM
How about using a blunt tipped probe there then?

Believe me, I probed my butt off.

Wet_Boots
07-12-2008, 11:04 AM
I wonder if I could auction off my pre-1990 W*M solenoids for big bucks. :)

Mike Leary
07-12-2008, 12:05 PM
I wonder if I could auction off my pre-1990 W*M solenoids for big bucks. :)

If you decide to do so, I'll be first in line.

Wet_Boots
07-12-2008, 12:52 PM
I wonder who was making their M24E solenoids. I can't believe it was in-house production, given how badly they've screwed up in recent years. I figure I should be pricing them at the S24B level for those fortunate customers I save from future solenoid woes.

Mike Leary
07-12-2008, 01:01 PM
I understand they were outsourced to Mexico, they had three versions, all were crap.
Version 4.0 looks like the oldies, I'm using those now, with fingers & legs crossed.

Wet_Boots
07-12-2008, 01:12 PM
If they outsource the S24B, that will be the end of trusting W*M. It looks like, just from some checking on sites selling parts, that I could probably charge at least 40 bucks for a genuinely trustworthy W*M solenoid.

Here's a thought. I see a picture of an open-frame W*M solenoid assembly for 110V AC, so one might locate a trustworthy 24VAC coil assembly, and put the two together.

BSME
07-12-2008, 01:39 PM
Why don't you just cut the main and run some steel fish tape through it? It'll catch at the fitting/manifold for that valve and you can either bang on it with fish tape and hear where it is or you can track the fish tape.

Mike Leary
07-12-2008, 01:39 PM
If they outsource the S24B, that will be the end of trusting W*M. It looks like, just from some checking on sites selling parts, that I could probably charge at least 40 bucks for a genuinely trustworthy W*M solenoid..

If one had enough of them, it could mean early retirement.payup

BSME
07-12-2008, 02:21 PM
Why don't you just cut the main and run some steel fish tape through it? It'll catch at the fitting/manifold for that valve and you can either bang on it with fish tape and hear where it is or you can track the fish tape.

you can also start at the first head and work your way back.

Wet_Boots
07-12-2008, 02:25 PM
you can also start at the first head and work your way back.I was thinking of something like that. (fondy recalling the dozens of potholes I had to dig in one backyard when the construction guys folded over the ends of the severed poly before burying them)

Mike Leary
07-12-2008, 02:30 PM
you can also start at the first head and work your way back.

The zone has front, center & rear load heads, so I'm inclined to start with the
mainline & fish.

Kiril
07-13-2008, 10:45 AM
Good god man, look at your own website.

http://learycc.com/tile-probe.htm

Mike Leary
07-13-2008, 10:51 AM
Good god man, look at your own website.

LOL.....Some kind of shirt tail relative. All us Leary's are into liquids.

Wet_Boots
07-13-2008, 11:14 AM
You should try the Leary Locator http://learycc.com/pipe-locator.htm

Mike Leary
07-13-2008, 11:31 AM
You should try the Leary Locator

Wonder if it works, most of the Leary's are into snake oil.

irrig8r
07-13-2008, 01:28 PM
Wonder if it works, most of the Leary's are into snake oil.

Not Denis Leary.... he likes Jameson...

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=4b7_1214635020

Mike Leary
07-14-2008, 12:43 AM
Not Denis Leary.... he likes Jameson..]

Tastes like diesel, throw him out of the family.

CAPT Stream Rotar
07-14-2008, 06:56 AM
50$ says henry finds it before noon.

Mike Leary
07-15-2008, 12:54 AM
50$ says henry finds it before noon.

Hey, I'm not that proud: bringing in a buddy tomorrow who has located for
me before.....he's never tried to find a fried solenoid, tho. :dizzy:

Kiril
07-15-2008, 01:23 AM
Hey, I'm not that proud: bringing in a buddy tomorrow who has located for
me before.....he's never tried to find a fried solenoid, tho. :dizzy:

Maybe you should borrow one of boots faded neckties. :laugh:

Mike Leary
07-15-2008, 06:54 PM
Maybe you should borrow one of boots faded neckties. :laugh:

What, to hang myself with? That's a waste of a paisley.

Wet_Boots
07-15-2008, 07:15 PM
You will take my paisley ties from my cold dead hands.

Mike Leary
07-15-2008, 07:54 PM
You will take my paisley ties from my cold dead hands.

After 40 years of open collars, I bet I could still tie a Windsor knot.

Mike Leary
07-16-2008, 07:57 PM
Had to switch to the high tech tools for the locate.

Wet_Boots
07-16-2008, 09:03 PM
Had to switch to the high tech tools for the locate.I knew I shouldn't have thrown out that pogo stick.

DanaMac
07-16-2008, 10:53 PM
After 10+ days of this, couldn't you get someone to dig from the heads back towards the valve and mainline? Assuming the pipes ran somewhat in a proper direction. Reverse feed from a head using a hose, find closest head to mainline area, dig up and follow path towards probable valve.

Wet_Boots
07-16-2008, 11:09 PM
Forget the tools. Blindfold yourself with a paisley bandana, do eleven bong hits, and walk in a circular pattern, based on the Fibonacci sequence, and the valve will be found near where you fall over.

Kiril
07-16-2008, 11:52 PM
Had to switch to the high tech tools for the locate.

See, I told you to read your own site.

Waterit
07-17-2008, 02:31 AM
How much of this futile tracking/locating time is customer going to be billed for?

Kiril
07-17-2008, 09:32 AM
How much of this futile tracking/locating time is customer going to be billed for?

In TX it would be all + forum time. :laugh:

Wet_Boots
07-17-2008, 09:50 AM
Five bucks additional for each post on this thread :drinkup:

Mike Leary
07-17-2008, 06:49 PM
How much of this futile tracking/locating time is customer going to be billed for?

Zip...........:cry:

Wet_Boots
07-17-2008, 07:52 PM
Just a thought, but if you can absolutely isolate the correct wires to that solenoid, why not get yourself a Variac, and run a larger voltage through the bum solenoid. With good wire connections, the 'weak point' is the solenoid coil wire, which would be very likely to become an open circuit with enough power pushed through it.

And we all have confidence in your ability to follow a trace to an open coil.

Right?

Mike Leary
07-17-2008, 08:26 PM
And we all have confidence in your ability to follow a trace to an open coil
Right?

I probed again today, ho hum, nada, lucky for me another solenoid went
down, so I got some billing. What Variac should I look at? :wall

Wet_Boots
07-17-2008, 08:43 PM
Something cheap, I'd guess, if there's an eBay deal near you. Transformers are heavy to ship.

If you have some identical solenoids to experiment with, you should be able to figure out how much juice they can stand. (videotape the meltdown)

Mike Leary
07-17-2008, 09:01 PM
you should be able to figure out how much juice they can stand. (videotape the meltdown)

"Della, have Paul Drake abduct ROTAR and have him work up a video,
suggest he use AC/DC for the soundtrack."

Wet_Boots
07-17-2008, 09:05 PM
Variacs on eBay http://listings.ebay.com/aw/plistings/category73153/index.html?from=R11

CAPT Stream Rotar
07-17-2008, 09:06 PM
"Della, have Paul Drake abduct ROTAR and have him work up a video,
suggest he use AC/DC for the soundtrack."

lol.... I would love to be there when you found this bad boy..

great footage

txgrassguy
07-17-2008, 09:07 PM
Mike, you still beatin' this thread?
I thought the only beatin' that lasted this long was the LA cops on Rodney King.
Have you tried wiring the common and power wire together and tracing the signal from the clock to the bad solenoid/valve assembly?
BTW, additional wire tracing time in Texas is paid in that universal currency - BEER - not dollars.
Or Pesos, I forget which:dizzy:

Waterit
07-17-2008, 09:21 PM
Just a thought, but if you can absolutely isolate the correct wires to that solenoid, why not get yourself a Variac, and run a larger voltage through the bum solenoid. With good wire connections, the 'weak point' is the solenoid coil wire, which would be very likely to become an open circuit with enough power pushed through it.

And we all have confidence in your ability to follow a trace to an open coil.

Right?

Why not run 110VAC through it? Wire should stand up to it, at this point who cares what happens to solenoid? Or valve itself, for that matter!

Mike Leary
07-17-2008, 09:43 PM
Why not run 110VAC through it? Wire should stand up to it, at this point who cares what happens to solenoid? Or valve itself, for that matter!

You're suggesting blowing the solenoid up & creating a "water feature"? I've got another 40 zones down stream from here.

Wet_Boots
07-17-2008, 09:50 PM
The idea is to not zorch the other wires, or any wire connections out in the field. 24 volts might do it, or even less, but you want a second transformer for a power source.

Mike Leary
07-17-2008, 09:55 PM
The idea is to not zorch

I'll be carefull to not "zorch", I have a plug-in 24 volt transformer,
are you saying to hit it with the power from the plug-in & try to
locate with transformer on?

Wet_Boots
07-17-2008, 10:30 PM
You really want to do this on a workbench first, with some meters telling you what's happening. Sprinkler transformers won't do anything, because their internal fuses will blow, as intended by design. You need more power, like what a ten amp variac can supply. Dial up the voltage, slowly, and see when the coil opens up. In the field, you'd have some overload protection, to protect the field wiring.

FIMCO-MEISTER
07-17-2008, 11:46 PM
one word:

HENRY

Kiril
07-17-2008, 11:52 PM
Good god man, rent a metal detector and be done with it.

FIMCO-MEISTER
07-17-2008, 11:55 PM
Good god man, rent a metal detector and be done with it.

Or a 100 mexicans with probes.

Waterit
07-18-2008, 12:35 AM
Or a 100 mexicans with probes.

Or a backhoe.

Mike Leary
07-18-2008, 12:45 AM
Thanks for all the advise, of which none has been fruitful, metal detector has been
done already, finds the same path as the 521. I'm starting to lean towards a explosive
220v to get some pics to justify this boring freaking thread.

Waterit
07-18-2008, 12:46 AM
Thanks for all the advise, of which none has been fruitful, metal detector has been
done already, finds the same path as the 521. I'm starting to lean towards a explosive
220v to get some pics to justify this boring freaking thread.

WATER FEATURE!:weightlifter:

Mike Leary
07-18-2008, 12:52 AM
Thanks for all the advise, of which none has been fruitful, metal detector has been
done already, finds the same path as the 521. I'm starting to lean towards a explosive
220v to get some pics to justify this boring freaking thread.

Kiril
07-18-2008, 12:53 AM
Maybe there isn't a valve at all and it is all in your head.

bicmudpuppy
07-18-2008, 01:20 AM
I haven't been around much and haven't posted in forever, but this thread deserves another hit :)

Mike, FIRST----Take a break, drink a beer, and then start over w/ the 521. FORGET EVERYTHING you THINK it has told you before and start over. (this is even harder than it seems, but pretend you just got to the site) Think of every possible way you can connect the 521 to the wires you have and trace them ALL. Start normal and flag/paint the basic wire path. Then trace the common, marking any valves that you find. Then, like has been suggested, connect hot and ground to the common and zone wire. Then SWITCH your connection and trace it again. Now, if you haven't found it, connect to the common in any other valves you have found and trace it all again. If you LISTEN to the 521, you will find what you are searching for.

Mudpuppy - still digging :)

Mike Leary
07-18-2008, 01:28 AM
you will find what you are searching for.

Thank you Father, I've always looked for the truth.

Waterit
07-18-2008, 01:47 AM
I haven't been around much and haven't posted in forever, but this thread deserves another hit :)

Mike, FIRST----Take a break, drink a beer, and then start over w/ the 521. FORGET EVERYTHING you THINK it has told you before and start over. (this is even harder than it seems, but pretend you just got to the site) Think of every possible way you can connect the 521 to the wires you have and trace them ALL. Start normal and flag/paint the basic wire path. Then trace the common, marking any valves that you find. Then, like has been suggested, connect hot and ground to the common and zone wire. Then SWITCH your connection and trace it again. Now, if you haven't found it, connect to the common in any other valves you have found and trace it all again. If you LISTEN to the 521, you will find what you are searching for.

Mudpuppy - still digging :)


I still say blow it up.

FIMCO-MEISTER
07-18-2008, 06:38 AM
I haven't been around much and haven't posted in forever, but this thread deserves another hit :)

Mike, FIRST----Take a break, drink a beer, and then start over w/ the 521. FORGET EVERYTHING you THINK it has told you before and start over. (this is even harder than it seems, but pretend you just got to the site) Think of every possible way you can connect the 521 to the wires you have and trace them ALL. Start normal and flag/paint the basic wire path. Then trace the common, marking any valves that you find. Then, like has been suggested, connect hot and ground to the common and zone wire. Then SWITCH your connection and trace it again. Now, if you haven't found it, connect to the common in any other valves you have found and trace it all again. If you LISTEN to the 521, you will find what you are searching for.

Mudpuppy - still digging :)

Aztec, New Mexico? How have you been doing?

Mike Leary
07-18-2008, 04:20 PM
Aztec, New Mexico? How have you been doing?

Did you re-locate? We'll be in NM in October, maybe :drinkup::drinkup:a few.

Wet_Boots
07-18-2008, 07:58 PM
Why not insert a wire at the head location nearest the missing valve, and fish it back upstream, and trace that?

CAPT Stream Rotar
07-18-2008, 08:13 PM
Why not insert a wire at the head location nearest the missing valve, and fish it back upstream, and trace that?

or how about:


Shut the F up leary get your shovel...start digging..

Mike Leary
07-18-2008, 08:21 PM
Why not insert a wire at the head location nearest the missing valve
"NEAREST". I don't know "NEAREST" :hammerhead::hammerhead::hammerhead:
The plane is standing by to bring you 90 experts out here. I'll try one more
time, let the Hostas die back, then the diggers start work.

CAPT Stream Rotar
07-18-2008, 08:25 PM
"NEAREST". I don't know "NEAREST" :hammerhead::hammerhead::hammerhead:
The plane is standing by to bring you 90 experts out here. I'll try one more
time, let the Hostas die back, then the diggers start work.

don't make me bring my shovel...

Wet_Boots
07-18-2008, 08:39 PM
Any head in the zone will do, if you can fish in a wire. You'll know soon enough whether you're going upstream or downstream.

Mike Leary
07-18-2008, 08:47 PM
don't make me bring my shovel...

Supply Kenyon sharp pointed fiberglass handle with rubber grip.
Clients are on the beach,facing west, pool, spa....all ninety of you pros
should pack up and come to VALVESTOCK. :drinkup::drinkup::drinkup::drinkup::drinkup:

Wet_Boots
07-18-2008, 08:57 PM
Not bloody likely. Twist in the wind some more. :p

Waterit
07-18-2008, 09:09 PM
Did you re-locate? We'll be in NM in October, maybe :drinkup::drinkup:a few.

Sure you'll be able to locate him?

Mike Leary
07-18-2008, 09:10 PM
Not bloody likely. Twist in the wind some more. :p

I'm twisting the night away......and I don't quit twisting.

Wet_Boots
07-18-2008, 09:26 PM
I'm twisting the night away......and I don't quit twisting.http://img120.imageshack.us/img120/2979/calvinandhobbeslivingdepu7.gif

BSME
07-18-2008, 11:43 PM
I'm serious... if you just would have put some fish tape through the main you wouldnt even need the 521. when you hit that valve one guy can hit the fish tape against the valve while another guy listens...

FIMCO-MEISTER
07-19-2008, 08:37 AM
I'm serious... if you just would have put some fish tape through the main you wouldnt even need the 521. when you hit that valve one guy can hit the fish tape against the valve while another guy listens...

What if the valve is teed off? Your fish tape would just keep going down the main. Cutting into the main seems like a bad idea to me unless you know the last valve is inline. One other thing you might consider is using a 901 pulser and hoping the splices indicate a fault. The pulser is an awesome tool. Has saved me a lot of wasted digging.

londonrain
07-19-2008, 10:01 AM
use a ground fault locator...

Mike Leary
07-19-2008, 11:00 AM
The valve is teed, & the multi-strand loops. Will take both of your suggestions, digging
is a last resort, & it won't be me.

CAPT Stream Rotar
07-19-2008, 11:02 AM
good luck leary....

Wet_Boots
07-19-2008, 11:05 AM
Someone with a workbench and a bunch of dead M24E solenoids ought to be fiddling with them, to see if a short in the coil wiring could be safely opened up with the application of controlled power (Variac)

Mike Leary
07-19-2008, 11:07 AM
Someone with a workbench and a bunch of dead M24E solenoids ought to be fiddling with them, to see if a short in the coil wiring could be safely opened up with the application of controlled power (Variac)

Let us know the results, professor. :p

Wet_Boots
07-19-2008, 11:15 AM
Let us know the results, professor. :pI don't install Weathermatic, and if you think I'm ever going to abuse my supply of 20th Century W*M solenoids....

Mike Leary
07-19-2008, 04:10 PM
I don't install Weathermatic, and if you think I'm ever going to abuse my supply of 20th Century W*M solenoids....

:::::Uses Google Earth to find the location of the solenoids:::::

BSME
07-19-2008, 06:00 PM
What if the valve is teed off? Your fish tape would just keep going down the main. Cutting into the main seems like a bad idea to me unless you know the last valve is inline. One other thing you might consider is using a 901 pulser and hoping the splices indicate a fault. The pulser is an awesome tool. Has saved me a lot of wasted digging.

wondering about pvc.

with poly you'll at least feel the insert fitting it you dont get stuck on a tee... I've gotten my fish tape stuck on a coupler

FIMCO-MEISTER
07-20-2008, 09:18 AM
Another suggestion Mike. If you go really slow and really low with the 521 on the common it seems that if would slightly deviate off course at the valves if they are teed off. Try taking a valve that you know where it is. Disconnect the wire and install a WM solenoid that has the same problem of the one you are searching. Track the common through it to see what kind of deviation you get and try to find that same deviation at the valve you are hunting for.

Mike Leary
07-20-2008, 01:58 PM
One other thing you might consider is using a 901 pulser and hoping the splices indicate a fault.

I did a Google search, but nada, got a link?:)

FIMCO-MEISTER
07-20-2008, 04:13 PM
I did a Google search, but nada, got a link?:)

http://www.toolfetch.com/Category--Greenlee--Voice_Data_Video--Buried_Facility_Testing--08666g.shtml

Pretty common EBay item as well. The Greenlee site may have more info.

Mike Leary
07-20-2008, 04:22 PM
Thanks Peter, prolly cheaper to have the grounds crew dig it up. I am (on my nickel),
going to keep fooling with the 921, tho: I don't give up easy.

Wet_Boots
07-20-2008, 04:32 PM
Thanks Peter, prolly cheaper to have the grounds crew dig it up. I am (on my nickel),
going to keep fooling with the 921, tho: I don't give up easy.Tilting at windmills

Mike Leary
07-20-2008, 05:02 PM
More words of wisdom from the Sancho Paza of irrigation.

Waterit
07-20-2008, 05:36 PM
14 pages of posts and no closer to a find.

I still say blow it up...

Mike Leary
07-20-2008, 05:41 PM
14 pages of posts and no closer to a find.

I still say blow it up...

Is this a record for not getting too far hi jacked?

Wet_Boots
07-20-2008, 05:55 PM
What hijack? This will be on topic until that valve is found! I give it another month.

Mike Leary
07-20-2008, 06:22 PM
What hijack? This will be on topic until that valve is found! I give it another month.

Locate, probe, locate. probe...probe ...probe.

Mike Leary
07-20-2008, 06:50 PM
I know you're out there, I'll find you & that 10" round you live in.

Wet_Boots
07-20-2008, 07:02 PM
I still like my idea of trying to force a solenoid overload that burns out the coil wire and opens it. It can't take too many amps to do it. I'd guess 3 or 4 amps would be enough.

Mike Leary
07-20-2008, 07:09 PM
It can't take too many amps to do it. I'd guess 3 or 4 amps would be enough.

The Rain Master shows it's fried at 3.35 amps.

Wet_Boots
07-20-2008, 08:18 PM
The smart controllers cut off the power. It's the smart operator with dumb electronics (Variac) that could accurately burn up the coil.

Mike Leary
07-20-2008, 09:00 PM
The smart controllers cut off the power. It's the smart operator with dumb electronics (Variac) that could accurately burn up the coil.

I have no clue what your talking about.

Wet_Boots
07-20-2008, 09:18 PM
Think of what is the smallest diameter wire out there in the field. The solenoid coil wire. Continuous low-voltage power applied to a shorted coil would/should heat the thing up and melt the thin wire, giving you an open coil for you to trace.

Waterit
07-22-2008, 10:39 AM
Had some 521 fun myself yesterday. The cemetary we do control work for took a lightning hit, wiped out 33 solenoids, 2 mini-cliks, and one of 2 Hunter PSRB's.

Replaced all the solenoids, re-ohm from controllers, still have 7 zones dead. So we hook up 521, and all 7 track perfectly from field to controller and vice-versa. But still show dead when ohming.

Found a looped common, cut it apart, and discovered that BOTH sides of loop had to connected to get a reading. Have never seen that before, makes no sense to me, should be able to get a reading from either side if truly looped, or at one side if not.

Headed back there today to do some digging and try to find where the problem lies.

Anyone have any thoughts on the common thing?

Wet_Boots
07-22-2008, 10:47 AM
Blah blah blahhYou got the hiccups this morning?

Mike Leary
07-22-2008, 10:48 AM
Anyone have any thoughts on the common thing?

:::::Listens intently:::::

Waterit
07-22-2008, 07:29 PM
You got the hiccups this morning?

Nope, thought I might get an intelligent response faster if I posted in 2 places.:hammerhead:

Waterit
07-22-2008, 07:30 PM
:::::Listens intently:::::

::::Still listening::::

CAPT Stream Rotar
07-22-2008, 07:31 PM
this thread needs to die..but first this valve needs to be found..

If leary was just a little better @ locating.....

Wet_Boots
07-22-2008, 07:52 PM
If I ever do collect some shorted M24E solenoids, I will do some Variac tests, to see if they can be safely opened up with overload current.

Mike Leary
07-22-2008, 08:01 PM
If leary was just a little better @ locating.....

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .:wall:wall:wall:wall:wall:wall:wall

Wet_Boots
07-22-2008, 08:09 PM
We want to hear from the Presidential candidates viv-a-vis their position on lost valves.

irritation
07-23-2008, 10:43 AM
Try a combination with a Chatterbox and 501 locator. You should be able to hear the chatter in the tone until you get to the valve location, even with a bad solenoid. I've never tried with the 521, might fry the Chatterbox.

Mike Leary
07-23-2008, 02:35 PM
Try a combination with a Chatterbox and 501 locator. You should be able to hear the chatter in the tone until you get to the valve location, even with a bad solenoid. I've never tried with the 521, might fry the Chatterbox.
I could care less what I fry at this point, the only good a chatterbox does
is locate the valve in a manifold, which the bleeder does very well, so frying
the chatterbox is no big. Waterit had a good idea to hook up a W*M Smartline
to my system & see if the built-in chatterbox works.

Waterit
07-23-2008, 03:32 PM
I could care less what I fry at this point, the only good a chatterbox does is locate the valve in a manifold, which the bleeder does very well, so frying the chatterbox is no big. Waterit had a good idea to hook up a W*M Smartline to my system & see if the built-in chatterbox works.

Hope it works for ya!

Mike Leary
07-23-2008, 03:49 PM
Hope it works for ya!

If it does, the :drinkup::drinkup::drinkup::drinkup: is in the mail.

Mike Leary
07-24-2008, 08:52 PM
Pulled my flags, located off the hot, had the laborer follow behind me...never will spec
a 10" pit again, even if there is only one valve in it.

CAPT Stream Rotar
07-24-2008, 08:56 PM
congrats bud....

i hope you tied one off after you found IT!

Mike Leary
07-24-2008, 09:09 PM
I just found it a couple of hours ago, yes, I am getting hammered. We can retire
this thread with a couple of things I've learned: Do a balls-on as-built, have the crew
locate the vbs every year & scrape the mulch off, clean the inside of the vb every couple
of years, and most important, change over to controllers that measure amps...and check
it twice a year. You will PLAY HELL locating a fully shorted solenoid. :hammerhead:

FIMCO-MEISTER
07-24-2008, 09:33 PM
A hurricane hits Texas and a butterfly flaps its wings in Suquamish, WA. Glad you got that biatch out of your life.

Waterit
07-24-2008, 09:35 PM
Glad you found yours.

Going back Monday to the cemetary armed with the 521 AND the fault-finder.
Hoping I:
a). Find the problem quickly.
b). Find it in only ONE location.
c). Don't have pull new wires thousands of feet across multiple road crossings.

System expansion into a newly-cleared 5-acre area rides on this. I get the problem fixed, I get the expansion.

Mike Leary
07-24-2008, 09:40 PM
A hurricane hits Texas and a butterfly flaps its wings in Suquamish, WA. Glad you got that biatch out of your life.

Glad both catastrophes worked out...I learned a lot & you guys hung in there;
lot of freaking posts to find one stinking valve. :clapping:

Mike Leary
07-24-2008, 11:11 PM
Glad you found yours. I get the problem fixed, I get the expansion.

Is this going to remain the locating thread from hell? Good luck, write if you get work.

Wet_Boots
07-25-2008, 12:05 AM
(Cue orchestra for the Toreador Song from Carmen, and pour some Burgundy) http://img139.imageshack.us/img139/4813/smileydrinkwineji9.gif

He found the valve, he finally found the valve.
He found the valve. He found the valve.

Kiril
07-25-2008, 01:07 AM
Pulled my flags, located off the hot, had the laborer follow behind me...never will spec
a 10" pit again, even if there is only one valve in it.

Better stay away from TX then. :laugh:

Mike Leary
07-25-2008, 06:02 PM
Better stay away from TX then. :laugh:

LOL, It would have been a snap if the guy that bought my biz had run auto limits when he did the spring start-up, I'd have known to locate the valve before it fried.

Kiril
07-26-2008, 02:02 AM
Good lesson for everyone .... keep tabs on your valve boxes.

AI Inc
07-26-2008, 08:06 AM
Good lesson for everyone .... keep tabs on your valve boxes.

Thats the only thing I dont like about outdoor controlers, I no longer have to open every box each fall.

Mike Leary
07-26-2008, 10:59 AM
Good lesson for everyone .... keep tabs on your valve boxes.

It's amazing how fast they disappear & how quickly we forget the location.

WalkGood
07-26-2008, 12:14 PM
I just found it a couple of hours ago, yes, I am getting hammered. We can retire
this thread with a couple of things I've learned: Do a balls-on as-built, have the crew
locate the vbs every year & scrape the mulch off, clean the inside of the vb every couple
of years, and most important, change over to controllers that measure amps...and check
it twice a year. You will PLAY HELL locating a fully shorted solenoid. :hammerhead:

Just bury a big lump of scrap iron with the valve, then you can find it with a metal detector!!!! Take about an hour versus a few weeks.

Mike Leary
07-26-2008, 12:17 PM
Just bury a big lump of scrap iron with the valve, then you can find it with a metal detector!!!! Take about an hour versus a few weeks.

We're going to start putting detectable warning tape on the inside of the
valve box lids.

Waterit
07-26-2008, 12:32 PM
Just bury a big lump of scrap iron with the valve, then you can find it with a metal detector!!!! Take about an hour versus a few weeks.

We're going to start putting detectable warning tape on the inside of the
valve box lids.

Quick NTS sketches of where they are work well, too...

Wet_Boots
07-26-2008, 12:39 PM
Time to switch to Griswold iron-body valves :)

AI Inc
07-26-2008, 04:46 PM
Just bury a big lump of scrap iron with the valve, then you can find it with a metal detector!!!! Take about an hour versus a few weeks.

I did an athletic field a few yrs ago that this was actualy specced.

richgauci
08-20-2008, 12:52 PM
[QUOTE=FIMCO-MEISTER;2405639]Nice money if you can stay busy with it. I've argued this point with countless contractors but for me the 521 is the same thing as a pipe wrench. It is a tool every irrigator should have to do his job. When I pull out my 521 from time to time I'll get a HO give me this ugly frown and I realize they had a contractor who stuck it to them on a 521 charge. Obviously they are in heaven when I hand them a bill for an hours work of finding and repairing a buried 205 and it is less than 250.00. Makes them customers for life and prime candidates for upselling. If you see the same customers year after year after year I think you have a responsibilty to have the tools to be really good at your job and in exchange for their loyalty not stick it to them in return. I've only heard one good argument for charging for the 521 and that is the experience factor. If there was some way to get a certificate that says THIS PERSON IS SO GREAT WITH THE 521 HE GETS TO CHARGE AN EXTRA 50/HR OVER HIS NORMAL RATE I think that might make sense. What works for me is that a customer compares my skill level to another irrigators skill level and decides who he wants to manage his irrigation problems.[/QUOTE

Charging extra just for pulling out your 521 locator is an absolute joke. Your not hauling 1OK lbs of equipment to the job site, are we!

irrig8r
08-20-2008, 02:37 PM
Time to switch to Griswold iron-body valves :)

Years ago I was asked to bid on a job for a local municipality where the LA had specified using cast iron elbows for Pepco Quadra Bubblers so they could be buried and found later...:hammerhead:

I had to point out to the parks guy that it was just inviting future trouble, and that Pepco had specifically designed 6" boxes with steel washers attached to the underside of the lids to solve the locating problem...

It was during one of our regular drought cycles and they wanted to expand the hillside plantings around a Japanese garden... I declined to bid, but someone did...

In fact the QBs were also used for a few median "upgrades" too with... too bad Netafim wasn't around then...

Mike Leary
08-20-2008, 03:12 PM
Arrgg..you had to bring up that thread, I'd almost forgotten.

greenmonster304
09-15-2008, 09:42 PM
had to locate 11 out of 12 valve today. they were all in 6" boxes covered with turf. i was tired of bending over so i crafted up this thing. great if you are doing some serious valve huntin.

Mike Leary
09-15-2008, 09:44 PM
I've done the same thing with a broom handle, well done!

Waterit
09-15-2008, 09:46 PM
Egads! It's The Thread That Would Not Die!!!

DanaMac
09-15-2008, 09:46 PM
had to locate 11 out of 12 valve today. they were all in 6" boxes covered with turf. i was tired of bending over so i crafted up this thing. great if you are doing some serious valve huntin.

Nice ingenuity. Way to adapt.

Mike Leary
09-15-2008, 09:48 PM
Egads! It's The Thread That Would Not Die!!!

Hey!, at least I was honest, unlike the rest of you liars.

Waterit
09-15-2008, 09:58 PM
Hey!, at least I was honest, unlike the rest of you liars.

It's 4:20 somewhere, go chill out Grumps, I mean Gramps.:)

Mike Leary
09-15-2008, 10:36 PM
It's 4:20 somewhere, go chill out Grumps, I mean Gramps.:)

Bite me....I don't have to work anymore; you do.

FIMCO-MEISTER
09-16-2008, 08:41 AM
Smart green monster. On the spot thinking. I had forgotten about Leary's nightmare.

Wet_Boots
09-16-2008, 11:08 AM
Bite me....I don't have to work anymore; you do.If you want to call it working....

WalkGood
09-16-2008, 11:42 AM
If you want to call it working....


I thought he was mapping out all the Early-Bird Specials on Senior Nights.

Mike Leary
09-16-2008, 12:07 PM
Nope, using the google earth thermal imaging attachment to locate the hot air on the forum. :rolleyes:

WalkGood
09-16-2008, 02:33 PM
Nope, using the google earth thermal imaging attachment to locate the hot air on the forum. :rolleyes:


Get a mirror!!! :rolleyes::laugh::laugh::rolleyes:

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Suquamish, Washington
Posts: 6,637

Mike Leary
09-16-2008, 02:39 PM
Get a mirror!!! :rolleyes::laugh::laugh::rolleyes:

:::thermal imaging feeds back and melts laptop:::::)