Commercial wiring repair - process

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by DanaMac, Nov 2, 2011.

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  1. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,156

    I haven't done a commercial wiring repair in quite a while, so looking for some process tips. New sewer line put in, cut through main and wiring. There are about 12-16 single strand wires cut. I have a feeling there was a repair there from once before, somewhere in the 5' span of the trench. Reason being, I found a few wire nuts, and on one side there is all red, other side there is all red and one white. My main concern is finding the common on the side with no white. There is an old map of how things were installed, but I don't know how precise it is, or what may have been changed.

    So what process should I do to figure out what is what? I thought I would start at the controller with a meter, and figure which zones have an open circuit. Then I can use my remote to activate the different open circuits, trying to figure things out at the damaged area. I would assume I can find one of the valves that has now been cut off, and use a station master at that point sending back to the area with all red wires, and hopefully figure out which is the common.

    I have to repair these before I can blow out the system, and we are on our third storm. Any tips would be appreciated. I know Jimmy will have some good suggestions, and I know I can call if needed as well. But I want to hopefully figure it out without being talked through. I work well with trial and error on my end.
     
  2. SoCalLandscapeMgmt

    SoCalLandscapeMgmt LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,750

    I would start by identifying the common on the side that is all red. You should be able to use a tone and probe set and easily find the common. It wasn't clear from you post which direction the bundle of all red wires is heading. If it is coming from the controller then that should be easy to tone out. If they are heading away from the controller then you should be able to find the first valve past the break identify the common there and tone out the common back at the break. Once you find the common wires then everything else should be a piece of cake!
     
  3. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,783

    I have had some luck by carefully matching the cut wires, they all seem to have a "personality". Once you find the common, you're home-free. Do you have a "toner"? Good luck, man.
     
  4. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,156

    That is the way they are heading, and I was thinking the same. But I don't know if we have a toner in all of the meters and such between us. I think the newest station master may have a toner feature built in, which I will check later.
     
  5. bcg

    bcg LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tx
    Posts: 1,835

    Dana, when I get into a mess like that, I start by ohming the wires on the valve side in all possibilities to find the common. There will be one there that you'll get good ohm readings on all the other wires with.

    On the controller side, activating from the remote is a good idea but you won't be able to easily tell which is the common with the meter so take a solenoid with you to find which wire activates it. Since the universal remotes work on a hot common, you'll have voltage on all the wires. Disregard this if you're using a manufacturer specific remote.

    Finally, don't assume that the white you found is the common.

    Have fun.
     
  6. SoCalLandscapeMgmt

    SoCalLandscapeMgmt LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,750

  7. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,156

    Thanks again for the tips, fells. Much appreciated.
     
  8. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,783

    Ditto. However, I remember my buddy Russ using the 521 to send the signal and using a cheapo non-ranging v.o.m. to i.d. the wires. I think that's something Jim taught him, worked great.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2011
  9. You can buy the Greenlee toner separate at HD. Been times I thought I had no white in a situation like this and after some more digging or by some other means discovered I did have a common.

    I count the wires on each side. If the same number then figure out the common. BCG's method is what I did also. Done the toner a few times as well.

    The remote will help you label each zone coming from the controller. Then what I did is wire the common together and put a long strand on zone 1 and power it on with the remote. Used that strand to touch each wire on the other side and wire that into whatever zone I think it is. I found it easier to get the order right where they were cut than to just wire them altogether and sort it out at the controller.
     
  10. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,535

    This was a cool tool. Sorted six conductors at once. Rain Bird doesn't have any mention of it on their site anymore though. They seem to do that a lot. Products disappear from their catalog and it's as if they never existed.
     

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