PDA

View Full Version : Wiring Question.... Easy one


Georgia Lawn Works LLC
06-29-2012, 09:29 PM
This is a basic question it's just im not sure what the answer is because i have not had much experience with this.



I have a customer that has 4 zones and needs a controler replaced. Each zone only has one wire comming in to the controler and then one single Ground for the controler. Is that normal? When I have replaced control valves they always had two wires.


Are there both one and two wire options available for control valves and controlers? How is this type wired up.


What do I need to know on this? Thanks.

jcom
06-29-2012, 09:49 PM
"Ground " is the common in our circles.

If this is giving you problems, it might be time to turn it over to a pro.

Georgia Lawn Works LLC
06-29-2012, 09:52 PM
Right but how do you think the common would be run if they spread out the control valves all across the property. Would they more than likley just split it off of the common comming out of the controler and made a seperate run for each control valve?

mitchgo
06-29-2012, 09:55 PM
Depends on the installer. Generally the wire will follow the main line piping. So it continues on to the next valve box

muddywater
06-29-2012, 10:54 PM
How do you know the controller needs to be replaced? Have you tested voltage output at the clock for the zone terminals? Have you tested to see if you have resistence from the valves? What does the display read on the controller?

jvanvliet
06-30-2012, 08:22 AM
What type of controller is being replaced; that'd be a good place to start, give us a make and model#. If it's digital, is there any reading on the screen; if it's mechanical, is it keeping time? At the very least you'll need a multimeter to run some basic tests.

Any number of things can cause a controller to go bad, lightning, power surge, transformer failure, (assuming digital) circuit board failure, mechanical failure, etc, it could simply be a wiring, or a power issue such as a tripped GFI.

Generally you'd have a single common (usually white down here) for all the valves. The solenoids at the valves will have two wires coming off of them, one will always be attached to the common and the other to the line. So you'd have a single common coming back to the controller and then wire for each corresponding valve, sometimes color coded... sometimes not.

Start with the make and model of the existing controller, whether or not it's doing anything, where it is located (inside, outside) and if it's hard wired or plugged in.

Duekster
06-30-2012, 09:19 AM
I was wondering how long you guys were going to string him along.
However, it is an easy question and some basic diagnostic skills and tools are required.

Do not start swapping parts or a controller until you know that is the issue. Get a multi-meter and if you do not know how to use it then punt. I put a meter on every controller within 5 mins of arriving after discussing the concern and getting shown the controller

muddywater
06-30-2012, 01:29 PM
Yeah they used to sell a greenlee voltmeter w instructions.

I have done some jobs where people got charged for a controller from a previous contractor and a wire was cut. Thats a good way to really piss somebody off.
Posted via Mobile Device

muddywater
06-30-2012, 01:30 PM
But you really need to understand how irrigation works before you start billing someone. Do it for Free and consider it a cheap education.
Posted via Mobile Device

Georgia Lawn Works LLC
06-30-2012, 02:24 PM
I know the controller needs to be replaced because there isn't one. The homeowner said it got hit by lightning and he literally had to pick up pieces of the controller off of the ground. so unfortunately there is no model number available. Only 5 wires for 4 zones and a 120 source.


The customer also said that light ing blew a hole in the ground about a foot where the direct burial wire comes out of the house and goes into the ground. So I'm not sure if there are any breaks in the control valve line (common or hot) or not. I'm going to have to put a controller and go from there. It it's a no go after that then the break is probably where the lighting blew the hole out of the ground.


The customer said lighting hit there two different times in two years.


What controller would you guys recommend that's around 100.00 customer said he did not have to have the best thing out right now and really just needed something basic without spending a whole lot of money

Thanks for the help.
Posted via Mobile Device

Duekster
06-30-2012, 02:26 PM
I would check the circuits to make sure they are good before buying a controller unless the client is ok with buying something that may need additional repairs.

Georgia Lawn Works LLC
06-30-2012, 02:31 PM
No controller is present. Got hit by lightning and was Doa. Read last post on page one.
Posted via Mobile Device

Duekster
06-30-2012, 02:34 PM
No controller is present. Got hit by lightning and was Doa. Read last post on page one.
Posted via Mobile Device

I did. Same responce and to clarify. You had a lighting strike so I suggest you check the rest of the system before adding a $100 part if the client can not afford to fix other potential problems.

Georgia Lawn Works LLC
06-30-2012, 02:42 PM
Sorry I misread. I thought you were referring to the output circuits on the controller. He is prepared to fix all problems and already explained that to him. Doing it this way may also save him some money if there is no damage present to the control wire. Everything looks ok on the box side.
Posted via Mobile Device

Duekster
06-30-2012, 02:48 PM
Sorry I misread. I thought you were referring to the output circuits on the controller. He is prepared to fix all problems and already explained that to him. Doing it this way may also save him some money if there is no damage present to the control wire. Everything looks ok on the box side.
Posted via Mobile Device

You can test those circuits before installing controller with a Multi-meter.

You really need some basic training.

R&R mechanics will get you in trouble.

Installing ( per other thread ) without some of these basic skills will also get you.

Texas is one of the few states that requires a licenses but there is a reason they require a license.

Trust me, get into some courses because you are way too lost on a very basic skill.

Georgia Lawn Works LLC
06-30-2012, 02:53 PM
I'm know how to test a circuit. Before or after a controller is installed. But it would be less labor and cost for my customer if there is not a break in the direct burial wire if I put a replacement controller in first. And this is the case only because there is not currently one present.
Posted via Mobile Device

Duekster
06-30-2012, 02:55 PM
I'm know how to test a circuit. Before or after a controller is installed. But it would be less labor and cost for my customer if there is not a break in the direct burial wire if I put a replacement controller in first. And this is the case only because there is not currently one present.
Posted via Mobile Device

Have fun and good luck

Georgia Lawn Works LLC
06-30-2012, 02:55 PM
I'm not going to bill him for a service I can have the controller do for me. If there is a problem I will bill him and I will test each circuit for each zone.
Posted via Mobile Device

Georgia Lawn Works LLC
06-30-2012, 02:57 PM
Have fun and good luck

I appreciate the help. Thanks. Feel like giving me a recommendation on a controller?
Posted via Mobile Device

Duekster
06-30-2012, 03:00 PM
I'm not going to bill him for a service I can have the controller do for me. If there is a problem I will bill him and I will test each circuit for each zone.
Posted via Mobile Device

I had a landlord tell me to replace a controller. I priced it, they Ok'd it. All via e-mail.
I installed it then found circuit issues. Keep in mind, I just did what they asked but now the HOs thinks I own the system and should fix it for the price I quoted.

I lost the landscape contract and did not get paid for the controller.

I do however still have the tenant as the bought a house and called me. They saw and witnessed the whole thing.

Have fun and good luck.

Georgia Lawn Works LLC
06-30-2012, 03:03 PM
The customer obviously knows he needs a new controller. And he told me that there are wire issues that need to be fixed because if the lightning ( no testing was done by him) He thinks he needs both repaired but I'm not so sure. He thinks he is getting billed for both. But that may not end up being the case.


Situation is a little different here.
Posted via Mobile Device

Duekster
06-30-2012, 03:06 PM
The customer obviously knows he needs a new controller. And he told me that there are wire issues that need to be replaced. He thinks he needs both repaired but I'm not so sure. He thinks he is getting billed for both. But that may not end up being the case.


Situation is a little different here.
Posted via Mobile Device

A little different but neither of you know the extent of the damages.

Investigate the unknown and price it or fix it T&M first is still the safest move. It would take all of about 1 minute to test the circuits so your reluctance is weird.

Wet_Boots
06-30-2012, 03:11 PM
..........Situation is a little different here.
Posted via Mobile DeviceSituation is a hundred percent amateur hour, until you verify what damage exists with the wiring and solenoids. The reason that a good pro gets and deserves his time and material charges, is that he uses time efficiently, and has the test equipment needed for the task at hand.

Georgia Lawn Works LLC
06-30-2012, 03:11 PM
If I test and find a circuit issues I still won't know the extent of the damages. I'll test everything before I put the controller on. Your right, it will only take a cupple of minutes.
Posted via Mobile Device

Duekster
06-30-2012, 03:13 PM
If I test and find a circuit issues I still won't know the extent of the damages. I'll test everything before I put the controller on. Your right, it will only take a cupple of minutes.
Posted via Mobile Device

Well it would be helpful if you had more tools.

mrsteve
06-30-2012, 03:17 PM
If they took a lightning strike there may be a lot wrong. Duekster is trying to warn you ahead of time. I've seen controllers blown off the wall, smoke stain sheet rock and solder specks on the car. Every splice and solenoid damaged, so be careful. A new controller may be all that's required, but a quick circuit test will tell you the condition of the field wiring. At least a starting point, so many opens, shorts or high resistance etc.

Wet_Boots
06-30-2012, 03:24 PM
Our eager would-be repairman may know diddleysquat, but he has a great attitude, and a shoeshine to match :dancing:

Georgia Lawn Works LLC
06-30-2012, 03:42 PM
I have a fluke multimeter and a toner. I think I'm all set. If I need any more assumptions I will let you know. Also I'm well aware that all or most zone wiring will need to be replaced. And so is my customer.I'm going to complete the circuit at the control valve and test the resistance on the controller side to see if I have any issues. If they all test bad then I more than likely have a problem before the common splice. Or the lightning just fried everything. Which is possible. I'll let you guys know

Thanks for all of the help.
Posted via Mobile Device

Duekster
06-30-2012, 03:50 PM
I have a fluke multimeter and a toner. I think I'm all set. If I need any more assumptions I will let you know. Also I'm well aware that all or most zone wiring will need to be replaced. And so is my customer.I'm going to complete the circuit at the control valve and test the resistance on the controller side to see if I have any issues. If they all test bad then I more than likely have a problem before the common splice. Or the lightning just fried everything. Which is possible. I'll let you guys know

Thanks for all of the help.
Posted via Mobile Device


I Assume you know the wire path or do you have a tracer too.

I would charge for the diagnostic if it were me. If held to a price, I would do it NTE but only when I know what is burnt, or where I need to run new wires.

Georgia Lawn Works LLC
06-30-2012, 03:52 PM
I have a diagram of the entire system when the system was installed. But only has limited wiring info.
Posted via Mobile Device

Duekster
06-30-2012, 03:54 PM
I have a diagram of the entire system when the system was installed. But only has limited wiring info.
Posted via Mobile Device

Know the vavle locations?

Georgia Lawn Works LLC
06-30-2012, 03:57 PM
Yeah those were nice and visible. Usually everyone is pretty good about keeping grass and debris from covering them up around here
Posted via Mobile Device

Duekster
06-30-2012, 04:02 PM
That is a big help.

Georgia Lawn Works LLC
06-30-2012, 04:05 PM
Your tellin me. The customer has been manually turning on each zone at the valve since the lightning incident over a year ago. If that had not of happened who knows what things would have looked like.
Posted via Mobile Device

muddywater
06-30-2012, 04:05 PM
How do you know the wiring is damaged? You are going to replace the entire wiring system without doing any analysis? You need to be asking how to use the multimeter. Why not be "pinpoint" accurate in your analysis? With the multimeter you can tell if the clock is putting out voltage, you can tell if the outlet is providing power to the clock, whether the plug in transformer is bad, whether the wire is burnt or cut, or if you solenoids are gone. If you don't figure out how to use the multimeter you are flying blind and at some point the client is going to figure this out.


I have only seen a few severe lightning strikes where it burnt the wire. Most of the time it fries the controller and toasts a couple of solenoids. And sometimes it doesn't even fry the solenoids.

And Rainbird ESP on the controller.

Georgia Lawn Works LLC
06-30-2012, 04:08 PM
I not only stated I'm going to test everything but I said I might as well do it before I install the controller. I guess you overlooked that part? I did let the customer know to expect the worse. And that would be the worse. Maybe that's what you read?Ni even stated how to use a multi meter to test everything in a case like this.
Posted via Mobile Device

Duekster
06-30-2012, 04:23 PM
This irrigation group is a tough crowd. :gunsfirin

mrsteve
06-30-2012, 04:26 PM
This is a basic question it's just im not sure what the answer is because i have not had much experience with this.



I have a customer that has 4 zones and needs a controler replaced. Each zone only has one wire comming in to the controler and then one single Ground for the controler. Is that normal? When I have replaced control valves they always had two wires.


Are there both one and two wire options available for control valves and controlers? How is this type wired up.


What do I need to know on this? Thanks.
Everyone is just trying to be a helper bee, in most cases. The first post threw up a red flag when you asked about one or two wires and the ground. You may have the qualifications to sort it out, and that's what is important. I believe there is a bunch of experience on this forum and one or two A holes. You just need to wade through the war stories to get the help you need. Most people in the Irrigation trade are more than happy to share, but a little protective too. It's a great field and can be very challenging at times. Most of our great work gets buried and nobody sees it. Good Luck!

Georgia Lawn Works LLC
06-30-2012, 04:42 PM
Thanks. I worded my first question a little uneducatedly I guess lol. I was trying to find out what the proper way to run a split common to to a split valve system was.


Again thanks for all of the help guys
Posted via Mobile Device

Duekster
06-30-2012, 05:15 PM
Thanks. I worded my first question a little uneducatedly I guess lol. I was trying to find out what the proper way to run a split common to to a split valve system was.


Again thanks for all of the help guys
Posted via Mobile Device

??? You have 4 valves, 5 wires. I think of it as a series parallel circuit which may not be the text book name and I will soon find out :laugh:.

djagusch
06-30-2012, 05:29 PM
I know the controller needs to be replaced because there isn't one. The homeowner said it got hit by lightning and he literally had to pick up pieces of the controller off of the ground. so unfortunately there is no model number available. Only 5 wires for 4 zones and a 120 source.


The customer also said that light ing blew a hole in the ground about a foot where the direct burial wire comes out of the house and goes into the ground. So I'm not sure if there are any breaks in the control valve line (common or hot) or not. I'm going to have to put a controller and go from there. It it's a no go after that then the break is probably where the lighting blew the hole out of the ground.


The customer said lighting hit there two different times in two years.


What controller would you guys recommend that's around 100.00 customer said he did not have to have the best thing out right now and really just needed something basic without spending a whole lot of money

Thanks for the help.
Posted via Mobile Device

You could test the wires before spendinng money on the controller. Simple ohms test could be done.

On a controller under $100 installed is hard. Hunter xc is a low priced contoller but it would sell it above $100. Go to the big box stores if they want cheap and your willing to put your name on it.
Posted via Mobile Device

Georgia Lawn Works LLC
06-30-2012, 05:33 PM
The Old controller is in pieces. So a new one is a must. Testing will be done. I have the budget in the job to get something decent and want to.


What's a recommendation on one?
Posted via Mobile Device

Duekster
06-30-2012, 06:08 PM
Honestly, asking this crowd which controller is like asking the mower guys the best mower.

Personally, I like the Weathermatic SL 1600 or even the 800. To me the 1600 looks more professional. The weather sensor is the expense if you want to enable the ET. FWIW, it does have some wire diagnostics built in but nothing you can not do with your meter, except the valve locate feature. You have to have good wires to use that feature.

Others will quickly tell you it is crap.

Some homeowers are happy with the turn it on and leave it feature of the ET controllers, some want to fiddle with it.

I have no experiance with any other ET controller except - Calsense, Hyrdo-point and Maxicom and I suspect those are out of your budget.


General rule of thumb, I charge full retail plus and hour labor to install and review a controller for a HO

1idejim
06-30-2012, 06:53 PM
Everyone is telling the op to test the system but no one has told him how to test the wiring.
Posted via Mobile Device

Duekster
06-30-2012, 07:03 PM
Everyone is telling the op to test the system but no one has told him how to test the wiring.
Posted via Mobile Device

We knew you would show up. :laugh:

He said he knew how to test a circuit, has a meter, a toner and no tracer but he knows where the valves are located.

Besides, getting him to test was half the battle.... it is all you now.

How ya doing Jim? :waving:

1idejim
06-30-2012, 08:07 PM
We knew you would show up. :laugh:

He said he knew how to test a circuit, has a meter, a toner and no tracer but he knows where the valves are located.

Besides, getting him to test was half the battle.... it is all you now.

How ya doing Jim? :waving:

fine as frogs hair thanks.

this aint my thread fellas, the op is set on what he wants to do and the direction he wants to travel. all he wants is a recommendation on a controller.

when the op decides his next step i'm sure he'll return..... or not

i would suggest that he remove the solenoids from the testing process. solenoids are too cheap to risk reusing after a lightening strike.

insulation is the determining test for lightening and surges.

basically the only time a conventional system is in parallel is when multiple valves are wired together. these are called combination circuits.
Posted via Mobile Device

Duekster
06-30-2012, 08:20 PM
fine as frogs hair thanks.

this aint my thread fellas, the op is set on what he wants to do and the direction he wants to travel. all he wants is a recommendation on a controller.

when the op decides his next step i'm sure he'll return..... or not

i would suggest that he remove the solenoids from the testing process. solenoids are too cheap to risk reusing after a lightening strike.

insulation is the determining test for lightening and surges.

basically the only time a conventional system is in parallel is when multiple valves are wired together. these are called combination circuits.
Posted via Mobile Device

All seems true.

Too clarify, you say the solenoids should be replaced regardless of testing resistance?

I will buy the definition of combination circuit. If a series parallel is not a combo then what Is. I will defer to your knowledge here.

Thanks for all you do.

1idejim
06-30-2012, 09:08 PM
All seems true.

Too clarify, you say the solenoids should be replaced regardless of testing resistance?

I will buy the definition of combination circuit. If a series parallel is not a combo then what Is. I will defer to your knowledge here.

Thanks for all you do.

there are basically 3 types of electrical circuits. parallel - series - combination.
2 wire systems are wired in parallel.
a parallel system has more than one path in which the electrons may travel. the resistance of a parallel circuit is equal to the sum of the wire and solenoid divided by the number of solenoids.
conventional systems are series wired circuits.
a series circuit has only one path for the electrons to travel.
the resistance of a series circuit is equal to the sum of the resistance of the wire and the solenoid

when parallel and series circuits are joined they are called combination circuits.

these are seen at the controller when measuring the resistance of the field wiring.

tell me what you would reading if two 45 ohm solenoids were wired in series instead of parallel?
Posted via Mobile Device

Duekster
06-30-2012, 09:18 PM
there are basically 3 types of electrical circuits. parallel - series - combination.
2 wire systems are wired in parallel.
a parallel system has more than one path in which the electrons may travel. the resistance of a parallel circuit is equal to the sum of the wire and solenoid divided by the number of solenoids.
conventional systems are series wired circuits.
a series circuit has only one path for the electrons to travel.
the resistance of a series circuit is equal to the sum of the resistance of the wire and the solenoid

when parallel and series circuits are joined they are called combination circuits.

these are seen at the controller when measuring the resistance of the field wiring.

tell me what you would reading if two 45 ohm solenoids were wired in series instead of parallel?
Posted via Mobile Device

You want me to do math on a saturday night... :dizzy:

Off the top of my head one is divided and the othe is a square. I teach some of this too :laugh:

Thank goodness for books. :hammerhead:

1idejim
06-30-2012, 09:33 PM
You want me to do math on a saturday night... :dizzy:

Off the top of my head one is divided and the othe is a square. I teach some of this too :laugh:

Thank goodness for books. :hammerhead:

cheater, cheater.
btw bill says YES
Posted via Mobile Device

Duekster
06-30-2012, 09:36 PM
cheater, cheater.
btw bill says YES
Posted via Mobile Device


That was off my head, I was sweating it. :walking:

1idejim
07-01-2012, 08:22 AM
No takers on the question?

no not you kiril, you know the answer
Posted via Mobile Device

mrsteve
07-01-2012, 09:43 AM
In a typical series add the two 45's for a total of 90 ohms. Parallel would be half or 22.5 ohms.

Kiril
07-01-2012, 09:48 AM
i would suggest that he remove the solenoids from the testing process. solenoids are too cheap to risk reusing after a lightening strike.

insulation is the determining test for lightening and surges.

Ding, ding, ding, ding ...... we have a winner. :waving:

irrig8r
07-01-2012, 10:58 AM
I think it's time for the O.P. to engage in a little light summer reading:

http://www.l-i-a.org/Portals/0/trouble_shooting_irrigation_control_systems.jpg

1idejim
07-01-2012, 11:44 AM
In a typical series add the two 45's for a total of 90 ohms. Parallel would be half or 22.5 ohms.

it wasn't meant to be a hard question and you answered it well.

Duekster
07-01-2012, 11:56 AM
what was I thinking squared...?

1idejim
07-01-2012, 02:20 PM
what was I thinking squared...?

sometimes you just have lots of information racing around in the onboard data system and it just jumps out there. no rhyme or reason to it, it just jumps out...........




i hate it when that happens :laugh:

muddywater
07-01-2012, 02:26 PM
sometimes you just have lots of information racing around in the onboard data system and it just jumps out there. no rhyme or reason to it, it just jumps out...........




i hate it when that happens :laugh:

Jim how did you aquire your knowledge? Just experience? or do you go to seminars? Have you got some kind of recommended reading list for some of us whippersnappers?

Duekster
07-01-2012, 02:28 PM
sometimes you just have lots of information racing around in the onboard data system and it just jumps out there. no rhyme or reason to it, it just jumps out...........




i hate it when that happens :laugh:

It typically means I forgot to zip. :dizzy:

CAPT Stream Rotar
07-01-2012, 07:16 PM
Derryberry's book is good.