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Old 10-09-2013, 03:59 PM
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1idejim 1idejim is online now
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Boots, you're the old school guru

Educate me on thermal solenoids pls.
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Old 10-09-2013, 04:28 PM
SoCalLandscapeMgmt SoCalLandscapeMgmt is online now
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Thermal hydraulic were a neat idea. They had a solenoid that was filled with a chemical (not sure what, some sort of wax I suppose) that when heated by electrical current would melt and allow the valve to open. The valves opened and closed r e a l s l o w l y. Rain Bird purchased the Thermal Hrdraulic Co in 1967. From what I remember my dad telling me, RB discontinued the valve because there was an issue where some jackass connected them to line voltage which caused the TH solenoid to explode... I think a lawsuit may have followed. I'm not sure how accurate that story was but that was what I had heard. When I was about 6 or 7 my dad gave me a cutaway of a brass TH valve that showed the entire inner workings of it. Too bad I didn't know any better at that age to appreciate it more or I might still have it. We had some in operation on one of the RB properties all the way up to the late 80's if I recall. They also required a fair amount of amperage to operate as well so you typically had to use them with an RC series mechanical controller with the bigger transformer in them.

Last edited by SoCalLandscapeMgmt; 10-09-2013 at 04:35 PM.
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Old 10-09-2013, 04:35 PM
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Thanks Dan, one tends to forget you were raised in the biz and have the ability to draw on the experiences your pop passed down to you. thanks again.
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Old 10-09-2013, 05:34 PM
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....and that's more experience than I ever had with them. Just one of many cool things in the old-school Rainbird product lineup.
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Old 10-09-2013, 06:43 PM
Without A Drought Without A Drought is offline
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wow. i may be young but have been around for 15 or so years. ive seen a lot in the field and read and researched a lot more. i feel there is very little i've come across or will come across that is different, new, etc.

Thermal hydraulic solenoids are something i have never heard of and sounds really interesting. it's always exciting to hear about different things in the industry besides rotors, sprays, and drip. its also cool to be reminded every once in awhile that there existed a whole other generation of irrigation prior to the one that i know.

my hat's off to both of you
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Old 10-09-2013, 06:49 PM
RussellB RussellB is online now
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Thought this was an interesting subject even though I am not in the business. Tried to google thermal hydraulic solenoids and the only hit was this thread. Is there another name for these?
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Old 10-09-2013, 07:07 PM
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Thermal Hydraulic is the only name I ever heard used in connection with them. They'd never fly in today's energy-efficient world.

Another cool old-school item in the Rainbird lineup was a very special under-head valve that would remain tightly closed until the pressure in a zone exceeded a set point (30 or 40 psi, I think) - then the valve opens fully ~ the idea of the special valve was to compensate for weak systems that couldn't raise all the heads in a zone simultaneously (impact heads, almost certainly, with a sizable flow-by before popping up and sealing)
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Old 10-09-2013, 08:16 PM
bobw bobw is offline
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Cool topic. I feel I've learned something today... something I'll never use, but something I'm glad to know just the same.
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Old 10-09-2013, 08:43 PM
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Here's a link (tested and certified badger-free) to a sort of talking slide show that starts with the special valve
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Old 10-09-2013, 08:46 PM
RussellB RussellB is online now
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Dang it. My IPAD won't open the link.
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