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Trouble Shooting Tricks

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by bicmudpuppy, May 29, 2005.

  1. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,781

    Well, how 'bout a sharing thread from those who manage to survive by being good at this? Let's chip in our favorite time saver tools/techniques and discuss all the ways we can improve our situation with them. Would like to se this thread flow w/ one idea per post and quotes to help follow where the responses are comming from.

    One of my favorite pull your but out of a mess tools is the Rambit. I buy these from a local plumbing supplier and try and keep a 3/4 and 1" on the truck w/ my cordless drill at all times.

    That Tee/MA/etc. that gets broken off right at the fitting with nothing to glue to and the hole is a picture of pipe art.......Everyone been there? With a Rambit, you can actually drill out the existing fitting and reset everything. The Ram bit conmes in your standard PVC sizes and has 3 washers. The washers are from largest to smallest, the sam OD as the ID of class pipe, sch40 pipe, and sch 80 pipe. The cutting bit is the OD of the ID of a sch40 fitting. As long as you can get a straight run at the fitting, and install the right washer to guide you into existing broken pipe, everthing is simple. Use a saw to cut the pipe flush w/ fitting and drill. Allow a little extra time for the glue to dry and be very liberal with the primer application and you can be in and out w/o rebuilding someone else's pipe art
  2. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,799

    For people having trouble visualizing a rambit:

  3. kerdog

    kerdog LawnSite Member
    Posts: 129

    Hey everyone-----

    Looking forward to this thread....

    Thanks for the picture of the ram bit Jon.

    I have seen a broken fitting, or a wrong size fitting (during installation), cut off (or split) with a hacksaw and the help of a screwdriver to break it off the pipe. And then a new or right size fitting welded back in place. I would have concerns about the new fitting being welded back onto a previously welded pipe, or whatever the case. Because of the solvent 'eating' away at some of the pipe or wall of the fitting. Logic argues that the O.D. of the pipe, or the I.D. of the fitting would not be there to get a 'leak proof', tight fit, after having once been 'glued'. I took this type of repair as....just because it could be done.......didn't mean it worked. You know, it was one of those kind where...while no one was looking, and quick, cover it up!

    I take it that it can work, since there are tools (ram bits) to facilitate those type repairs. What would one do about the old glue, from the original weld, left behind, after removing the fitting or pipe replaced? The primer doesn't remove it, scrape it off with a pocket knife? Seems like you couldn't help removing some more of the meat needed to make a good weld.

    See ya---kerdog
  4. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,799

    I use the rough side of my Leathermans file to remove the glue from the old weld.
  5. jerryrwm

    jerryrwm LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,274

    How about an oldie but a goodie - For those pesky water leaks that take forever to drain down enough so you can cement on the fittings. Try using a bit of bread - White bread with no crust. It will stop the water long enough to make the cement joint. Then just turn on the zones and flush the lines. The bread breaks down and will pass throught the valve and out through the nozzles.

    Words of caution - Don't use this tactic on the house supply line when there is an ice maker involved! It will plug that little line tight! Also, be careful when dealing with drip zones - flush thoroughly!

  6. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,781

    remember, if done CORRECTLY, we are not glueing pipe, we are creating a solvent weld. If you use a good primer application and then glue, there is very little difference in strength/composition of the joint compared to the fitting or pipe. I've seen tech's "whittle" a fitting out, but this is a limited success process and works best when going behind those who like cleaner instead of primer. When all you do is "clean" the pipe instead of etching it, you don't get the same solvent weld. Also, I don't recomend this type of repair on the pressure side unless you really have no choice. Then be liberal with your glue and allow extra cure time for the weld.
  7. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,781

    How 'bout using that multi-meter for wiring faults. You've got a dead common. Isolate the ohms between zone wires. If you are ohming between two consecutive zones in the field, you will get a double solenoid reading until you get to the spot between the two valves where the break is. The break could be a bad splice in either box, or a true break between the two. You can confirm this by jumping the two zones in question together too. ground one hot wire and jump the other to the power source. If the common between the two is good, you will have two zones running.

    One of those valve testers they sell w/ the little lights on them won't give you the kind of info you need to figure out these types of problems.

    Progressive 521 valve locator (or other progressive valve locator models). What happens when you connect the locator's ground to the common?
    Or better yet to another zone wire?
  8. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,781

    Many companies sell "valve actuators". Remote battery units for firing a solenoid. Three 9V batteries and one 9V battery terminal strip from Radio Shack completes the same product. Connect the three batteries in series. Use the middle one to connect the other two. Then connect the battery clip accross the two remaining terminals from battery one and three. Instant battery power for a valve.
  9. Instant Rain

    Instant Rain LawnSite Member
    Posts: 54

    I value my 24A battery powered valve actuator. Many of the systems I work on are large commercial systems. The 24A allows me to test 24 volts from the controller and activate a valve at the same time. It also allows me to identify the valve in question when used in combination with an induction indicator. This is a small "wand" that emits an audible tone when placed in the proximity of a wire that the 24A in attached to. Although I also value a multimeter, I believe it is a more refined tool. Trouble shooting process for valves that fail to turn on goes like this.

    First with the 24A test for 24 volts from the controller.

    Second test the common and the station wire in question to see there is a short open or if it is good.

    If it is good then i move on to find the valve in question either by sending a tone on the station with the 24A or by tracking it with the 521. Then I will trouble shoot it mechanically from there. Usually it is just the diaphragm, the valve is shut off at the flow control or the exhaust port needs a flag through it.

    If it is bad then I will find the valve using the same methods listed above and I will test for 24 volts from the controller to that valve and test the solenoid by trying to activate it. If there is not 24 volts from the controller I know there is either a bad connection or a broken or nicked station wire. If the solenoid is bad the 24A indicates such and the valve does not open.

    After fixing what ever problems I find from there I move back to the controller and test every station once again to be certain that every thing still works.
  10. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,781

    Lets pull this thread back to the top and talk about locators. The use of the 521 has been a thread lately, maybe we can all learn a trick or two about using a 521.

    One of the threads links to a prev 521 discussion of using the manual's suggestion of grounding to the common instead of an earth ground. This means red signal wire to the station you are hunting and the black ground wire to the common. Before doing this, I strongly recomend you have walked the wire path several times first. You aren't going to get a "clean" signal this way. The two wires will cancel each other much like the twisted pair of the dog wire loop. BUT, the solenoid should be screaming when you walk over it. Also, right after the valve you are hunting, you will suddenly get a "clean" signal again because the wire path is no longer doubled. This method works sometimes. I also recomend reversing the wiring order. Connect the red signal wire to your common, and the black ground to the station you are tracking. This gives you a much better signal on the common when you have gone to far. You still get a "null" signal where the wire paths are doubled. Also, connecting to wiring this way has better results w/ single strand wire than with multi. It still works w/ multi, but not nearly as well.

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