going to pull the trigger on a ground fault

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by CAPT Stream Rotar, Apr 18, 2012.

  1. txirrigation

    txirrigation LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 977

    The track home builder installers around here usually dont even run a repair truck. They dont want to go back, because it will be a warranty call and they will loose more money. Most of the time the H/O is so pissed off about their system the last thing they are going to do is call the original installer.

    I get calls often (used to*) to repair systems that builders installed. The mainline is buried in the construction grade fill 3" from the foundation, every zone maxes out the 5/8 meter capabilities (good luck taking a shower with your system on). Fittings butted up to one another, etc...etc... A repair mans dream $$$$$

    *there is a guy that recognized one of my install trucks from a picture on this site that called me up. Now I refer all repairs to him.
  2. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,978

    If that were true, there would, at least, be a method to their madness. In my experience, though, they simply don't know WTF they're doing. :hammerhead:
  3. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 7,961

    Or care for that matter.

    This is likely one of the reasons the on-site / in sight rule was enacted in Texas, plus the requirement for drawings and inspections.

    I know of a guy that was running 5 to 6 crews ( subcontractors ) and paying them by the job. There was no regard for anything to impact pricing.
    The builders paid $1425 per system regardless of the lot size.

    I would spend more than that on materials on my installs. Decided not to chase installs and focus on repairs.
  4. 1idejim

    1idejim LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,439

    eddie, don't forget that the pro-800 direct connects to the wires the same way the 521 does. earth grounding for locating the wire path. common to black and valve to red for valve locating.

    in fact this comes from page 12 of the progressive manualwhich explains how to properly connect the 521 locator

    Step 1. Start at the clock by connecting the red transmitter lead
    to the station wire leading to the subject valve and the
    black lead to earth ground. Turn the transmitter on, adjust
    the output to the highest level, assemble the receiver,
    locate the path and start tracing the wire following the null.
    The null will be present until you pass over a solenoid
    valve, then the signal will become extremely strong. Mark
    this spot. Check around this hot spot for a null leaving the
    area. If the null continues, follow it and mark any additional
    “hot spots”. (See Fig. 25)
    If only one “hot spot” or valve is located, this will be the
    valve in question.
    Step 2. If more then one “hot spot” is found, mark them
    and return to the transmitter and turn it off. Lift the black
    lead form the ground stake and connect it to the common
    Turn the transmitter on and set selector switch to
    highest reading and return it to the first hot spot with the
    receiver. Touch the tip of the receiver antenna to the
    ground in the center of the first hot spot and set the sensitivity
    knob to make it read near mid-scale. Now go to the
    second spot and without touching the sensitivity knob,
    check strength of the signal at each hot spot and determine
    which, out of all of them, is the strongest signal. This is
    the valve for the station wire you are connected to.
  5. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 7,961

    Hey Jim.

    Thanks for the insight. What is the best way to find the good old fashions broken wire? What if the solenoid is a complete short with less than 5 ohms?

    Thanks much. I know you sent me some info too. Need to find time to read, wide open here it seems.
  6. CAPT Stream Rotar

    CAPT Stream Rotar LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,911

    Dukester- what are you tracing with?

    on the solenoid have you tried to put the black lead on common and red lead on valve wire?
  7. 1idejim

    1idejim LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,439

    a broken wire is identifiable by the hot spot and sudden signal loss. back up a few feet till you reacquire the signal null. move the receiver 6 inches from the path with the tip close to the ground. parallel the wire path maintaining the 6" separation, you will be receiving a peak signal response until you reach the end of the wire where the response returns to null. you are now at the end of the wire.

    shorted solenoid is funny, sometimes you can find them during the wire trace, sometimes you can trace the common and earth ground the valve wire to isolate it. this does not mean you don't use an earth ground at the transmitter, the transmitter is also grounded if you do that you may find it as the path reverses on you. there are a few other ways but those have worked well for me
  8. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 7,961


    I will soon *trucewhiteflag*
  9. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 7,961

    When you have maifolds, I find that I often just start cleaning up commons as it has the most splices. Go back and check the ohms. If not cleared then I start over on the trace. Unfortunately many times the vaves are fairly close so it can get tricky

  10. 1idejim

    1idejim LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,439

    i connect to all of the valves at one time when locating manifolds. using a tdr prolly helps me eliminate or avoid some of the issues like you are talking about.

    another thing that you have to realize is that you normally hear about either my really tough jobs that drag on all day or a job where everything goes smooth and quick. i get the head scratchers along with the speedballs just like everyone else gets.

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