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View Full Version : Controller Bad?? "Short" on LED (Hardie)


ed2hess
12-05-2004, 04:32 PM
When I attempt to run the controller in manual, or auto mode, it immediately shows "SHORT" on the LED. I checked voltage from transformer and it is good. I removed all 8 valve wires and gnd and measured resistance across each valve wire to gnd and that looks good. Can I assume this controller is bad? It is a HARDIE Total Control with 8 stations. With all gnd and valves wires the unit still shows "Short" when I try to run it manual/auto and there is no voltage to valve post.

Planter
12-05-2004, 05:51 PM
I'd disconnect each of the station wires and the common wire. Then turn the station on with the wires disconnected and see if you get the short light. If so, it's in the controller, if not measure the volatge at the common and station teminal as you cycle through each station. The voltage should be ~24 volts AC. If they all check out good your controller is good.

Then I'd check the resistance in each station wire and the common. You'll quickly determine which one has the short. I'd next disconnect the solenoid for that station from the field wires and measure the resistance with the ohm meter. The solenoid should show ~10-180 ohms. 0-10 ohms is a shorted solenoid.

Once the solenoid, controller and the splices at the valve have been checked and found to be ok, you will need to get some specialized equipment to find the short in the field wiring.

jerryrwm
12-06-2004, 03:28 AM
How old is the controller?
Does it have a rain switch installed? Perhaps it has one that was installed by splitting the common wire outside of the controller.

If you are getting the "Short" message with all the zone wires and common disconnected, and there are no master valves, and no rain switches, then it is a pretty good bet that it is the controller. irritrol has a good warranty on those models so if it isn't out of date, get a new panel and put it in.

Jerry

ed2hess
12-06-2004, 07:57 PM
Thanks for confirming the procedure to use on this With all wires disconnected (common+rain sensor+8 valve wires) the unit goes to short when I try to run in manual, and same in auto mode. The resistance on all the valves measured(relative to gnd)okay. This controller is about 5 years old. Kinda interesting I went all summer no controllers went out on our commericial properties now I have had two in Dec(one inside and one outside). Priced new rainbird at $117(outside box 8 station with rain sensor).

Critical Care
12-08-2004, 07:16 PM
Perhaps the only thing left to do before chalking it off as a loss is to open up the controller and visually inspect the pc board and parts inside.

It doesn't take much to have areas on a pc board short out, or open up. A loose component or wire, a scratch through the pc boards conductive foil, or even a barely visible metal flake can screw things up.

ALTERAIN
12-08-2004, 09:35 PM
I had several simalar probs in past years. Ask the homeowner if they had any thunder storms latly. Lightnig will often fry a solinoid (and in turn damage cont.) or a diode on circuitboard even if it is grounded properly.

YardPro
12-08-2004, 11:49 PM
does it do it on every station?

activelandscaping
12-09-2004, 02:29 AM
Thanks for confirming the procedure to use on this With all wires disconnected (common+rain sensor+8 valve wires) the unit goes to short when I try to run in manual, and same in auto mode. The resistance on all the valves measured(relative to gnd)okay. This controller is about 5 years old. Kinda interesting I went all summer no controllers went out on our commericial properties now I have had two in Dec(one inside and one outside). Priced new rainbird at $117(outside box 8 station with rain sensor).

You must remove the battery, if one is present. Then you need to unplug the controller from the wall for a couple of minutes. Then follow the reset procedure outlined in the manual, although unplugging it should cause the board to reset anyway.
If the board is the older style, without a fuse on the board, then it's probably done for.

Best of luck.

Regards,
Active

Critical Care
12-09-2004, 06:09 PM
This info is taken from the Hardie instruction manual.

Critical Care
12-09-2004, 06:20 PM
Another thing... I doubt that you're running more than one valve at a time per zone, but if you are, that could cause problems. Valves in parallel = less resistance and increased current flow. Controllers are different in how much current they can handle safely before you run into problems.

ed2hess
12-09-2004, 07:21 PM
This info is taken from the Hardie instruction manual.
Okay this information leads me to think there is a wiring problem and not a controller problem? I ran the controller with all the wires removed including the rain sensor and the short occurred. I did not remove the battery however before I ran the unit. Before disconnecting the wires I tried all valves and none would run. The short notation would come up immediately, no voltage could be detected with volt meter at the output on controller. The customer hasn't approved replacement yet so I can do a little more investigation.

activelandscaping
12-09-2004, 09:20 PM
I did not remove the battery however before I ran the unit.

Why not?

Regards,
Active

Critical Care
12-11-2004, 02:44 PM
Hmm, I was under the impression that the battery was only used for program backup in case of a power failure. So Active, are you saying that the battery will also prevent the system from resetting? I never would have guessed...

This brings up the question, if you have a valve that shorts out and the controller indicates such a problem, after you repair the valve do you then have to reset the controller and reprogram everything?

ed2hess
12-12-2004, 01:47 PM
With battery removed for 2 days and all valve wires, gnd, and rain sensor removed the controller still goes to short. I am convinced that it is the controller. I would have had it replaced if the customer would have approved the estimate but still waiting for approval.

activelandscaping
12-13-2004, 11:32 AM
ed2hess,

Yep, it's almost definitely the controller. I am guessing the circuit board is brown? The lifespan on the brown ( old style ) boards seems to be 4-6 yrs. The new green boards appear to be better built and more durable. I would warn you that I have seen more problems with these controllers that appear to be battery backup related than all other controllers I have worked with. I usually recommend just resetting the clock, the program is stored in a static EEPROM chip and will not need to be reset in the event of a power loss.

Critical Care,

The battery is only used to power the timer, as mentioned above the program memory is static. The timer, obviously, is tied into the board which activates the program based on the timer. One canno't separate the circuitry that links the program to the timer......etc....

Regards,
Active

Critical Care
12-15-2004, 10:25 AM
Actually, the battery is used only to update the time and date of the controller during a power outage for this controller. The non-volatile program memory, EPROM chipset or whatever they use, can't update the current time or date - hence the need for the battery.

Not long ago I had to replace a Rainbird E-9, thanks to the wreckless antics of a construction crew. These controllers have no batteries, but maintain a 24 hour memory of program and time. Unfortunately, as in this case, these mau-mau-knuckle-walkers kept leaving the power off of the controller for longer than 24 hours, and then finally broke the LCD on the controller. Ever hear of the proverbial bull in a china shop?

ed2hess
12-27-2004, 07:24 PM
Controller replaced system up and running....thanks for all the input..

activelandscaping
12-28-2004, 08:44 PM
ed2hess,

I was wondering, if you happen to remember, was the board on the timer brown or green?

Critical Care,

Actually, the battery is used only to update the time and date of the controller during a power outage for this controller. The non-volatile program memory, EPROM chipset or whatever they use, can't update the current time or date - hence the need for the battery.

I'm fairly certain that's what I posted. The chip that's used is a EEPROM ( Electronically Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory ), the EPROM chip can only be programed once. I have reset 5 timers this year, the newer board type, that would only function after the battery was removed. I believe that if the battery voltage is too high or low it causes the timer/clock to malfunction.

Regards,
Active