Controller wiring

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by rockee, Aug 19, 2008.

  1. rockee

    rockee LawnSite Member
    Posts: 41

    Where can I find info on how to run cable from a controller to the valves: how many sets of wire inside the cable, how to make connections, wiring the transformer, what type of cable to use, where to branch to smaller wire, etc? For example, if the controller will take care of 10 zones, how far do I run the 10-zone wire, and when do I change to wire which takes care of one zone? I couldn't find this in the various recommended tutorials.
     
  2. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,535

    Are your valves manifolded or scattered about "Texas style"? :rolleyes:

    Run one separate continuous wire to each valve, and either "daisy chain" your common or run separate commons to different parts of the yard where your valves are.

    Don't change wire size along the way.

    Whether #18 or #14 I always try to leave at least one or two spare wires.
     
  3. lowvolumejeff

    lowvolumejeff LawnSite Member
    Posts: 72

    Originally Posted by rockee
    Where can I find info on how to run cable from a controller to the valves: how many sets of wire inside the cable,

    As many valves as it is to service plus one common (ground). That said, I always include one or two for future expansion

    how to make connections

    Where? in the ground, I use grease plugs. I try never to make a splice unless it is at a valve box. Different controllers use different connectors/modules.

    wiring the transformer - ? to the wall? either a pigtail or plug in

    what type of cable to use,

    I use 18 gauge multi strand direct burial sprinkler wire. All leads have different colored insulation,making hook up much easier. If you have exceptionally long runs from controller to valves, a larger wire (as in a 14 gauge) is required. I have never had to use anything larger than 18 gauge in residential work.

    where to branch to smaller wire, etc? For example, if the controller will take care of 10 zones, how far do I run the 10-zone wire, and when do I change to wire which takes care of one zone? Depends on your layout.

    From your question I am assuming you have valves in more than one location. Obviously, you need a common (ground) wire to each valve. If you are running wire in only one direction, start with AT LEAST a combination of the number of valve plus one (extras nice) At the first (most proximal) valve, you can drop to one less wire. I usually group 2 or more valves in a box, and usually don't start dropping leads until the second or third box, depending on distance from the controller. You don't have to drop any leads on a system, and often buying 250 foot spools of wire is less expensive than a 100 foot of say 12 lead and 100 foot of 6 lead, and another 50 foot of 4 lead. You will have to measure your distances from box to box and controller to determine the right solution for you.

    I couldn't find this in the various recommended tutorials. - Glad you knew to ask here. :)

    Hope I helped, Jeff
     
  4. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 48,027

    Or do like Mobile Irrigation, and use multiconductor stranded wire, say 24 gauge, and make connections by twisting the wires together and wrapping electrical tape around them.

    MobileIrrigation2.jpg
     
  5. rockee

    rockee LawnSite Member
    Posts: 41

    Thanks for your reply, but Lowvolumejeff and Irrig8r replies seem more prudent :) and I thank them very very much. I'm sure I will have some more questions and it's truly great to know I have people I can turn to.
     
  6. CAPT Stream Rotar

    CAPT Stream Rotar LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,969

    Dedham isn't far away for me...

    I could come out and consult your project.

    CSR
     
  7. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 48,027

    But hide the waitresses first.
     
  8. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 22,073

    Rockee has prolly read "The Recent Adventures of ROTAR".
     
  9. NC_Irrigator

    NC_Irrigator LawnSite Bronze Member
    from NC
    Posts: 1,416

    i like using 24 gauge.
     
  10. CAPT Stream Rotar

    CAPT Stream Rotar LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,969

    18 is fine imho
     

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