Really old system

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by Frick, Jun 11, 2007.

  1. Frick

    Frick LawnSite Member
    Posts: 36

    I bought my house last fall and never used the sprinkler system. Actually I've never lived in a house with a sprinkler system (yes I know I'm a heathen.)

    Here is a picture of the booster pump in the basement.


    Do I have everything labeled correctly?


    This is a photo of one of the sprinklers in the back yard. It pops about 1/2" and shoots 2-3 streams of water. All of the sprinklers in the back yard are similar.

    Anyone have any idea how old this system is? I have PGP's in the front yard and a mix of new sprays and old brass sprays in the back and side yard.


    Here's a photo of one of the brass sprays.

    The sprays around the house are on copper risers with brass heads.
  2. I can't help now too busy but a dude named boots will give you a ton of help after he wipes the sentimental tears from his eyes when he sees that second pic.
  3. Frick

    Frick LawnSite Member
    Posts: 36

    Well, I guess I'll have to go back outside and count them now.

    Heck, there's a bit of sun left, I'll go fire them up and try to get a picture of them in action.
  4. I don't know where Boots is. He is usually here by now. Don't worry I'll get him on your post. I don't know enough on pumps to help you but somebody here will. A pic in action would be cool.
  5. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 48,000

  6. Frick does your system have a controller? How many zones? Do you know where the valves are? Does the booster pump kick on okay? Do you have good pressure and coverage? Just from the little you have shown I sense a somewhat quality system with old parts. Send some more pics. If the valves are in a manifold we love manifold pics. Also pic the controller. I would be surprised if it is the original. i believe you have marked your piping right. Since we don't drain systems or have basements here I can't tell if you are right on the drain. I'm guessing their is manifold box on the other side of that wall outside. With all the ball valve handles it looks really well done to me. Does the other parts of the house seem to be of good qualty and well serviced? That tells me a lot about previous owners. Did the previous owner before you install the system?
  7. Frick

    Frick LawnSite Member
    Posts: 36

    Yes the system has a controller, and I'm guessing it's the original. I'll post a photo later this evening. I've seen one similar to it in one of the threads discussing old controllers. It's a Weathermatic controller, has a clock that spins (well if it wasn't broke) and pushes pins which fire the zones. The controller has 8 zones, but only 4 are used.

    I know where two of the valves are. No manifolds although I wish there were. When the system was fired up this spring zone 3 wouldn't turn on, a sprinkler company came out and turned it on. He suggested replacing the controller mainly I felt because he didn't know how to operate it. After he left I was able to determine that zone 3 was feeding current out. I happened to have access to a tone/locator. Hooked it up and started following. In the back yard the tone got really weak. I hooked up the tone to another zone and tried it, took the same basic path and then under the concrete patio (uh oh.) I tried to locate all of the wires, but I think the tone was bleeding over when the wires were all in the conduit heading outside.

    I was able to trace one zone to the other side of the patio an close to where the feed come outside. (The controller is on the W side of the house inside the garage, the pump feeds out to the N side of the house) I dug down and found 2 wires heading, I got a strong tone on zone 1. I followed the wire and eventually found two of the valves. When I tested the current I got 24V on one, but only 5-6 on the other. I'm guessing there is a partial cut in the wire somewhere, and it seems to be under the concrete patio if the locator is correct.

    To make a long story short, here was the quick fix.


    I know you guys would never do this on a job, but I had limited time to get it running. Those are coffee cans turned updside down so I can find the valves this fall. I took the good wire and ran it to the box you see mounted. This lets me control which valve is opened. Not the ideal fix, but it worked. This fall I plan on running new wires so the zones can operate independently at the controller without requiring me to go outside and change it.

    The front rotors are Hunter PGPs which from what I have gathered are good rotors for a residential home. I'm not sure how to measure pressure, I did time the meter on the system and came up with a rate through the meter of 1.5 cubic feet/min. According to the website from the pump manufacter the pump is a 1HP that should give a pressure of about 45PSI at 11 gal/min. Does that seem reasonable or did I mess up my calculations some where.

    What I can't figure out is what to replace the heads in back with. I don't know how they are fed so adding sprinklers is going to be a challenge. I was hoping for some suggestions from the crowd.

    Oh, here is a picture of the old rotor (?) in the backyard in operation


    Here's a close up of the 1/2" pop it has.

  8. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 48,000

    That's a common part-circle pattern, by the look of it. Maybe three outlets in the center spindle, and close-in coverage provided by the water blowing around the 'baffle' that restricts the spray to the part-circle.

    Now, going back to the wording of the patent for that head, is the rotation steady and smooth, or does it sort of stop and start?
  9. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 22,068

    It could be the system is not that old, I noticed a Weather-Matic pop in the
    pics that were still common (well, not exactly) twenty to thirty years ago.
    The W.M. clock was made up into the late seventies. The neat thing about that system is I bet the valves are brass, are they? W.M. still makes replacement parts for valves that old. Galvanized lines? Wood?
    A metal detector should locate the missing one. Wow!!!!!Boots..our roots!
  10. Frick

    Frick LawnSite Member
    Posts: 36

    I'll dig up one of the valves and take a picture. The lines to the heads are plastic, although I didn't recognize the what type of pipe it was, just a grey color with no markings.

    Yes, the rotation of the heads is steady. I'll try to take a video clip tonight and post a link so you can see it.

    Are these types of heads as good as current heads as far as water distribution?

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