Imperial valve - how many amps is normal

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by villagegreenlandscape, May 23, 2008.

  1. villagegreenlandscape

    villagegreenlandscape LawnSite Member
    Posts: 69

    I replaced a fairly new mechanical Rainbird controller with a SmartLine. The SL immediately told me four of the five valves had shorts and wouldn't turn them on. Turns out they are really old 1 1/4" brass Imperial valves. I spent lots of time on the phone with Weathermatic and the problem is they are drawing around 1.5 amps and the fuse on the controller blows at 1.6 amps. Weathermatic thinks if I replace the solenoid with a new one that should it should reduce it to around 1.2 amps and allow it to work fine. The solenoid vendor doesn't know how many amps a new one would draw and is convinced no electronic controller will work with them. I have a SL working at another location with old brass valves that I think were the same so I know there's at least a chance. Does anyone actually know the amperage of a new one of these things?
     
  2. Try calling RIGGs Irrigation supply on Race St.
    Don't know if ARCO makes a universal that works on the Imperial. You just need new coils since it's a post type. RIGGS is your best bet.

    You can set a higher fuse setting on the SL but I'm assuming you knew and tried that.
     
  3. villagegreenlandscape

    villagegreenlandscape LawnSite Member
    Posts: 69

    The "skip" default is 1 amp and you can set the skip up to 2 amps but it has a 1.6 amp fuse wired in. Riggs just says they're 10 watt and they won't work on a digital controller but I know that's not necessarily so because I have one out there working on a SL now.
     
  4. That 1.6 amp fuse defeats the purpose of that 2 amp skip I'm guessing. i guess if i was in your shoes I'd get the new coils and see what happens.
     
  5. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 47,999

    Imperial humbly called those "Ten Watt Solenoids" or something like that, and you probably need a 30 VA transformer as a minimum to power those valves. The Imperial Valet controller had a 50 VA transformer.

    I learned by experience that the RCo universal solenoid will not operate an Imperial valve. You can fit it to the valve, but that's as far as you get.

    I'd look for a controller made for heavier loads.
     
  6. villagegreenlandscape

    villagegreenlandscape LawnSite Member
    Posts: 69

    I'm afraid you're right but at this point I already have the SL installed and programmed so I figure it's worth running out and buying the solenoids to find out if it can work. If there are problems I've saved the mechanical Rainbird and since it was designed back when Imperial valves were being installed it will drive the valve just fine.
     
  7. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 47,999

    Yep, old Imperial Valves will justify the continued existence of electromechanical controllers. Now, there were newer low-power solenoids made by Imperial for those valves, in a nod to modern solid-state controllers, but Imperial is long gone, so you won't find those easily, or cheaply. Five of them would probably cost more than the new controller you just installed.
     
  8. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 22,064

    Too bad, those are bullet-proof valves, wonder why Imperial went out of business?
     
  9. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 47,999

    They were a domestic brass house, and that would have been increasingly marginal. They sold out to Buckner, who then were selling the Valet controllers for a time, and the rest of the Imperial line, but Buckner sold it off, and where it is now, who knows?

    I didn't consider those valves as the finest ever, but they were reliable enough, and simple to repair.
     
  10. villagegreenlandscape

    villagegreenlandscape LawnSite Member
    Posts: 69

    Are they better than a new 1 1/2" Rainbird? The client and I talked about replacing the valves with new ones but sometimes older stuff is better buildt. BTW I'm guessing at the size. I haven't been doing this long enough to eyeball larger pipe well. Was there a normal size to these things?
     

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