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New electrical snafu for me.

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by jcom, Jun 1, 2012.

  1. jcom

    jcom LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 791

    I had to troubleshoot a non functioning valve yesterday. I had voltage at the solenoid but would not function. Installed another solenoid and still not operational. Same with a third. WTF??

    I then put my meter in with the connections. As soon as I connected any of the solenoids, the voltage disappeared. I had only the common and the "hot" in the valve box. I was only a foot from where the cable left the building so I opened the cable and spliced in new wires to the box and all is well. The installer did not use waterproof wire nuts in the box so I think he used them underground as well. Nice guy that doofus.

    I did not excavate in this situation but anticipate that in the future it will be needed as the remaining boxes are a long ways away.

  2. Sprinkus

    Sprinkus LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,108

    Welcome to the wonderful world of troubleshooting poorly installed irrigation wiring.
  3. 1idejim

    1idejim LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,436

    what were yovr restance measurements john. did you measure your short to earth and your vac potentials. what about amperage measurements. you have a situation that will be made easier if you can list and compare results
    Posted via Mobile Device
  4. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    Just because you have the necessary voltage doesn't mean you have the necessary current. See the above post (Jim's).
  5. ArTurf

    ArTurf LawnSite Gold Member
    Male, from Ark
    Posts: 3,460

    Welcome to the world of ground faults and breaks. I got my feet wet on this last year on a golf course with 500 yard long runs of wire (talk about jumping straight into the frying pan). With the help of the good folks on this forum I was able to learn and somewhat conquer this. I actually don't run across this much in residential.
  6. jcom

    jcom LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 791

    This was my first time where the voltage would disappear when a load was hooked up. In the past, if I had voltage, the solenoid would operate.

    I did not do any measurements as to common to ground, etc.. I expect more trouble in the future on this property. And I expect the problems to be the same.

    Where the installer branched out to the individual boxes, he simply brought the hot and common to the box underground. Saved a few pennies by not bringing the cable into the box but instead just brought the individual conductors. I am sure he used non waterproof wire nuts underground to continue the common.

  7. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,976

    I'm sure the client is overjoyed. :rolleyes:
  8. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    I'm sure your old ;)
  9. KrayzKajun

    KrayzKajun LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,742

    Amen to that!
    Posted via Mobile Device
  10. agrostis

    agrostis LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,294

    You can find all kind's of problem's in all kind's of electrical thing's because of bad connection's all of the time.

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