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Automatic Distribution Valves

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by Critical Care, Mar 20, 2005.

  1. Critical Care

    Critical Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,654

    Has anyone used one of these guys, such as the six zone distribution valve shown below in the picture? By turning the power on and off to the valve you can sequence the outlet from port 1, to port 2, and so on. With a controller's multiple start times for a zone you could use this one valve in place of six.

    My idea was to use one for a number of drip zones. I could get by with just one regulator, and one filter.

    The idea of using one valve for numerous zones sounds entertaining, but has anyone been down this road?

    distribution valve.gif
  2. jerryrwm

    jerryrwm LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,274

    They do work and work well most of the time, (like any other sprinkler equipment) You would use only one electric valve for up to 6 stations.

    Drawback to them is the time delay needed between sequencing. They do not operate like conventional valves where one turns on and the previous turns off. The design of this sequencing valve requires a delay so that the rotating port plate can return to start position and rotate to the next slot. You can accomplish this by either buying the K-Rain controller that has a delay between stations, or use a conventional controller and wire the stations to every other terminal. For a six-zone valve, you would need at least an eleven station controller.

    Other than that you only have one moving part in the valve, and that's easy enough to change. If you are using less than the full compliment of outlets, ou will need to get the correct plate and hub. If I recall they have the option for 4, 5, or 6 active outlets. You just cap the unused outlets.

    Also, they are ordered by flow. Too low flow and the device will not sequence. They have low-flow springs, but don't remember what the low end is.

    Hope this helps.

    TLI #1452
  3. Critical Care

    Critical Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,654

    You know, after I posted this I noticed, "Yikes, this thing doesn't have a solenoid and ins't electronic." So it still requires an electronic valve in front of it... right? Originally, what I wanted was a simple electronic "Y" type of distribution valve that would toggle from one outlet to the other. Should be pretty derned simple.

    This automatic distribution valve is closer to what I want... but still isn't quite the cats meow. And Jerry, thanks for the info on the thing. Perhaps you would know who manufactures these guys, and approximately what their cost would be.

    And... I suppose that instead of having to use an eleven zone controller you could use two different Program settings with a six zone controller. Program A for outlets 1-3 plus two delays, and then another delayed start time for Program B for outlets 4-6 including two delay periods. Right?

    I was also thinking that some controllers may have problems when you basically short their station ouputs together...
  4. jerryrwm

    jerryrwm LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,274

    K-Rain out of Florida makes these valves. Here's the link:


    On most professional grade solid-state and hybrid controllers, you will not harm them by jumpering stations. They have the circuitry to prevent elec. from going back into the PCB.

    It has been quite a few years since I used them, but seems to me they were around $50.00 back then for a four station valve. The plastic model.

    Also, reading the info, you need to have 10 gpm minimum. And believe me, they won't work with any less. Damn thing won't advance!

    Shouldn't be a problem using a 6 zone clock as you described. just put a 1 or 2 minute delay between zones. The K-Rain controller is a mechanical with hybrid tendencies, but not very flexible.

    Just a sidenote, Mr. Kah the founder of K-Rain was a contemporary of Ed Hunter at Toro, and they both designed the proto-type Hunter head while still at Toro Co. When Toro decided in their infinite wisdom that the design was too radical and not needed, they both left the company. Ed took the PGP design, and Mr. Kah took an off-shoot which became the K-Rain rotor. Both are really kicking Toro's butt in the rotor market now! Another interesting note is the fact that they both held the design patents on several Toro rotor heads, and continued to receive a bit of royalty on those heads long after they left Toro.

    Jerry R
    TLI #1452

    Distributors in Oregon:
  5. Critical Care

    Critical Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,654

    What's interesting is that out here you see very view K-Rain rotors. Toro by far out numbers them because of dedicated dealers and installers. Looking at the link for K-Rain distributors in the state it only shows six, with one being out here, which happens to be a general plumbing and electricial store.

    To be honest, I haven't heard a whole lot of good things about K-Rain... but then again no one really mentions them.

    The info on the 4000 model "indexing" valve shows it operating at 10 gpm, but the 5000 model operates at 15 gpm and has a built in AVB that is rather interesting. Fifteen gpm would surely be pushing it at a lot of places.

    Oh, and I would imagine that it wouldn't be too hard to put together an external 24 volt electronic delay to connect in between the valve and the controller. This would be the way to go.
  6. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 47,681

    For these things, it's location, location, location. Standing idle for months does not improve their reliability. If reducing the number of regulators and filters in a multi-zone drip installation is your objective, then you might install a single filter and regulator, and connect a standard valve manifold downstream of it.

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