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Old 05-20-2013, 05:58 PM
gdeangel gdeangel is offline
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I guess I don't understand Rain Bird panel - valve hum & transformer hot

So the system I am going to be working on is all Rain Bird valves (8 zones) & panel, with short (< 3 ft.) underground run from house to manifold box. It was winterized and during the process one of the zones was noticed to be leaking, so the valve had to be manually opened and some debris was found and cleaned out - while I was at it I checked out all the valves for debris, and reinstalled them. Nothing electrical was messed with.

As is my normal procedure, the master shutoff was closed in the house, but the panel was left on normal schedule so the valves would open and close for a few weeks and clear any residual water before the fall freeze. The owner turned off the control box sometime in December / January, but left it plugged in as usual.

Anyway, now during spring pre-activation inspection, it was discovered that three of the eight zone valves are humming / hot, and the transformer at the control box is really hot. Confirmed the control panel was set to off. Unplugged the control panel and humming stopped (obviously no surprise there). I don't suspect any damage to the underground control wires.

I though OFF meant no current to valves. I'm guessing that's not right. #1 what's the best way to deal with this? Should I just tell them, opps, I overtightened the valves and they've been trying to close all winter so your motors and transformers have been slowly frying, or what? Is it likely realistically that this could be from some other problem? #2, do you advise your customers to unplug the control box over the winter?

Thanks in advance for all help and information!
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  #2  
Old 05-20-2013, 06:55 PM
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Mike Leary Mike Leary is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gdeangel View Post
Should I just tell them, opps, I overtightened the valves and they've been trying to close all winter so your motors and transformers have been slowly frying, or what?
"Tighten valves" You want to explain the above sentence before the thread continues? To answer another question, I left all my clocks, after winterize, in "OFF", but powered-up to provide a residual amount of heat over the winter,
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Old 05-20-2013, 07:38 PM
gdeangel gdeangel is offline
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So actually I didn't have to open the whole valve, just remove the solenoid and there was a piece of rubber debris where the solenoid sealing disk would normally shut off the zone. When I cleared the debris I then put the solenoid back in by hand tight until just a little resistance, the flow issue was gone. I'm pretty sure I tested the zone on and off and didn't notice any unusual humming, but honestly I'm not all that up on the electronics of solenoids.)

The only thing I came up with when I try to think why the solenoids were humming / getting hot was the solenoids were screwed down too tight, so when the motor tried to actuate the disk, there was nowhere for it to go, and it started to draw current and get hot (that's part I'm not so clear on myself, but seemed to fit the circumstances).

Now of course there could be a short somewhere, but just seems unlikely, probably even less likely than a bad transformer..
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Old 05-21-2013, 05:21 AM
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Originally Posted by gdeangel View Post
So actually I didn't have to open the whole valve, just remove the solenoid and there was a piece of rubber debris where the solenoid sealing disk would normally shut off the zone. When I cleared the debris I then put the solenoid back in by hand tight until just a little resistance, the flow issue was gone. I'm pretty sure I tested the zone on and off and didn't notice any unusual humming, but honestly I'm not all that up on the electronics of solenoids.)

The only thing I came up with when I try to think why the solenoids were humming / getting hot was the solenoids were screwed down too tight, so when the motor tried to actuate the disk, there was nowhere for it to go, and it started to draw current and get hot (that's part I'm not so clear on myself, but seemed to fit the circumstances).

Now of course there could be a short somewhere, but just seems unlikely, probably even less likely than a bad transformer..
What motor are you talking about? A solonoid is nothing more then an electro magnet. Like any other solonoid.
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Old 05-21-2013, 08:22 PM
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cjohn2000 cjohn2000 is offline
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Since its a RainBird, im gonna gues and say an old ESP-M with firmware issues.
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Old 05-22-2013, 12:37 AM
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mitchgo mitchgo is offline
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Originally Posted by cjohn2000 View Post
Since its a RainBird, im gonna gues and say an old ESP-M with firmware issues.
Ding Ding Ding Ding

The first mod espm's are known for sending power to multiple valves in the off position. Time to replace the controller. You can quick fix it by resetting the controller.

I've turned on small systems before to have all the zones ' on ' . I initially think all the valves are manually turned on.. Turns on the controller is sending power to all the zones. With the a 1amp fuse you can only have 3-4 valves on at a time before it blows
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Old 05-20-2013, 07:41 PM
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Wet_Boots Wet_Boots is online now
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Solenoids have no motors, and you can't cause electrical issues by over-tightening them.
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Old 05-20-2013, 09:26 PM
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1) what is the resistance measurement of each zone?
2) what is the resistance measurement of each solenoid when isolated?
3) what is the line voltage?
4) what is the transformer output?
5) what is the amperage draw?
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Old 05-21-2013, 09:13 PM
gdeangel gdeangel is offline
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Originally Posted by 1idejim View Post
1) what is the resistance measurement of each zone?
The three buzzing solenoids were on zones 3, 4 & 5
Z3 = 45 Ohms
Z4 = 42 Ohms
Z6 = 43 Ohms

Quote:
2) what is the resistance measurement of each solenoid when isolated?
Wasn't able to isolate them because the wire nuts were rusted on and I didn't have my wire strippers. Anyway, I tested the zones after I disconnected them from the panel, and it should just be the same, right?
Quote:
3) what is the line voltage?
116 VAC
Quote:
4) what is the transformer output?
29 VAC. That's higher than it's rated at, but the voltage to ground was only 12V, so I think the meter might be the problem
Quote:
5) what is the amperage draw?
Well, that's interesting, because for sure something was drawing a lot of current to generate so much heat, but when put the transformer in series with the meter, plugged the thing in, and tested it, there was only .1 amps being drawn in "OFF" setting. But the receptacle is definitely the classic smoked color when there is too much current, so I have to think it was probably drawing a lot more when I showed up... although no breakers tripped... not even the GCFI on the outlet it's plugged in to.



So like I mentioned above, when I did plug the thing back in after the transformer cooled off, the thing seemed to be working normally. No buzzing electromagnets (yes, I get it, don't call them motors), no voltages on the panel where they shouldn't be, and just a little heating up of the transformer what I would call normal (and no big current flow).

So I'm just scratching my head again, but at least the thing is operational. I guess I'll wait and see if it happens again.... Unless it was the rain sensor, which I disconnected when I was testing the transformer and then left off when I reconnected it.... has anyone heard of wireless sensor generating back voltages to zones or other problem like that?

BTW, your right on, it is an ESP-M with two installed modules and one open port. Not sure about the firmware...
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Old 05-21-2013, 11:38 PM
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cjohn2000 cjohn2000 is offline
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Never saw an ESP-M with firmware issues run three solenoids. Most of the time it was programming issues. In one case zone 4 could only be programmed to run for 0-9 minutes. RB will walk you through "rebooting" the controller.
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