Lack of 521 fun.

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by Mike Leary, Jul 5, 2008.

  1. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,611

    Client reports fault on RM clock, amp gage shows fried solenoid (WM, natch),
    landscapers had mulched over vb, drag out the 521, start locating, but the
    tones & null continue past the area I know the valve is in. Locate another
    vb with good solenoids & the 521 does it's thing. So, what's my course of action? Should I hook-up to the common & the valve wire & try it? Usually the 521 is a cinch; a first for me, help! :dizzy:
     
  2. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 46,482

    Man, I can't follow a tracing signal past a connected solenoid without it nearly blasting my headphones off.
     
  3. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,611

    That's my experience, too, I just can't fathom why the null won't end.
     
  4. Waterit

    Waterit LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,879

    Valve wires tied (or shorted) together?
     
  5. txgrassguy

    txgrassguy LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,084

    Exactly, a fried solenoid will create an endless null when hooked to the power wire.
    Find another solenoid, disconnect the common wire from the good solenoid and trace back to the fried solenoid.
    Make sure that the grounding lead is stretched out as far as possible and laying flat upon the ground and the grounding rod is not rusty or crusty at all.
    If the soil is dry you will have a slightly more difficult time reading the signal depending upon the soil type but you should be able to find the fried solenoid easier this way.
    One additional benefit to tracing via the common wire is finding all of the other valves at the same time (if they share a common wire).
    Good up sell to the client.
    I charge a flat rate of $175.00 to hook up my 521 for the first thirty minutes than $100.00/hour after that - works for me.
     
  6. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 46,482

    Of course, one can always locate an adjacent valve in the manifold, unless you're in Texas :)
     
  7. txgrassguy

    txgrassguy LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,084

    With the size of the areas irrigated here, manifolds are not commonly encountered.
    Or poly pipe, or vibratory plows either. About the only thing a vibratory plow is good for around here is making gravel.
    And manifolds is something found on a motor.
     
  8. Mike here is what I do. You have the wire path. Hook the red to the common and the ground/black to your zone wire. In theory they should null each other out as long as in the same path. As soon as you pass the valve you are searching for the common will start giving you a good signal since your zone wire will have dropped off. Back up turn down the tone signal and keep working that area. Shouldn't be more than 5'. Probe the path and ye shall find.
     
  9. Nice money if you can stay busy with it. I've argued this point with countless contractors but for me the 521 is the same thing as a pipe wrench. It is a tool every irrigator should have to do his job. When I pull out my 521 from time to time I'll get a HO give me this ugly frown and I realize they had a contractor who stuck it to them on a 521 charge. Obviously they are in heaven when I hand them a bill for an hours work of finding and repairing a buried 205 and it is less than 250.00. Makes them customers for life and prime candidates for upselling. If you see the same customers year after year after year I think you have a responsibilty to have the tools to be really good at your job and in exchange for their loyalty not stick it to them in return. I've only heard one good argument for charging for the 521 and that is the experience factor. If there was some way to get a certificate that says THIS PERSON IS SO GREAT WITH THE 521 HE GETS TO CHARGE AN EXTRA 50/HR OVER HIS NORMAL RATE I think that might make sense. What works for me is that a customer compares my skill level to another irrigators skill level and decides who he wants to manage his irrigation problems.
     
  10. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,611

    Thanks for the advise, guys, will try the suggestions tomorrow. The valve in question
    is in a 10", alone.
     

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