Valve Labeling & Connecting Commons

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by Richie1, Jul 4, 2007.

  1. Richie1

    Richie1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 37

    Hi there folks,

    I'm going to start revamping my valves on Friday for my 10 zone system, getting things ready for the Irritrol PC12 INT controller that's on the way.

    I've only installed one new Toro 1" jar top model 53708 so far. I'm also going to purchase one Rainbird DV 100 1" valve. I know these new controllers can be finicky, so I'm going to see which valve the controller likes best and stick with that brand or model. I did want to know if there is an outdoor solution for connecting the commons from a central point, rather than simply twisting large numbers of commons together and capping them? Also, I'm interested in some type of zone labeling system for the valves themselves? Thanks for any suggestions you can offer.
     
  2. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,496

    Since all automatic zone valves work on basically the same principle and at the same voltage (12-13 volts minimum at the solenoid is quite common) the controller doesn't really interact with the valve, only the solenoid, by sending out a constant current when that valve is actuated. Where you have some differences is with battery-operated controllers that use a much lower voltage to the valve solenoids which are DC latching solenoids instead. You will also have some differences in the controller themselves as to how many solenoids they can actuate simultaneously and sometimes it depends on what gauge of wire is used, how long of a run, etc.

    I don't know what you're getting at here. If you have different main line spurs with common wire spurs going down them there are different methods of connecting all the commons together. Sometimes they're run all the way back to the controller and then spliced together in either the controller box or a junction box so that one wire alone is actually being connected to the terminal. Some controllers have multiple common wire terminals that allow you to bring the separate common wire spurs into the controller box and connect them to individual terminals. Others join all the commons together outside in either a make-up box or in the valve box closest to the controller and then run a single common wire into the controller. Many different ways of doing this and a lot of it depends on the wire being used and exactly how it is run through the system.

    Some manufacturers make waterproof tags that attach to the valve itself. You'll have to check with your supplier to see if they carry them or can order them for you.
     
  3. Mjtrole

    Mjtrole LawnSite Member
    Posts: 226


    to label your valves use a perm marker and write whats what on the underside of the valve box or just write the valve numbers on it, or another simple way to do it would be to write it down on a sheet of paper, laminate it and store it by the controller.
     
  4. Richie1

    Richie1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 37

     
  5. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,496

    We had one contractor that branded the zone number on the top side of the valve box lid. Of course that only lasted as long as the lid was good and or until someone swapped lids onto different boxes. :)

    We got rid of descriptions a long time ago and went to zone maps that we do up on a CAD program. They are not to scale (don't need to be) but they do give instant identification of a zone's general area although I do not include valve locations. If I have a particular problematic area then I CAD up a to-scale plan showing valve locations in a particular area... usually these are sports fields where the boxes are buried for safety reasons.
     
  6. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,496

    They make them but I'm unsure how this would help you. You'd have to go to an electrical supply house and see what they carry. Then you could adapt it to your needs. It might be kinda spendy though.

    Depending on how many commons you're attempting to splice together there are alternatives. 3M makes a DBR waterproof connector for about $1.50 that can splice together 4-6 14 gauge wires. It's just like their DBY connectors but has a larger wire nut and silicone tube that the nut/wires insert into to make the connection waterproof.
     
  7. CAPT Stream Rotar

    CAPT Stream Rotar LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,968

    MY GOD....

    This is the best explanation I have ever heard.. Even my sh!t canned boss couldn't mumble out anything near that good....I just might write that down for the next time a homeowner asks me why the valves don't work..

    Haze should write a book on how to educate a homeowner on the logistics of basic irrigation, teach a class...Did I hear you will be leaving this fine trade?
    That surely cant be true.
     
  8. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,496

    You give me way too much credit Eddie. It's just a combination of good education from folks that taught me certain things coupled with years of experience. :)

    I'm not sure if I'll stay in the trades or not. I'd like to get off my knees though as they're deteriorating fast and the right one's already been replaced. I'm leaning to becoming a WalMart greeter when I move to WA. :laugh:
     
  9. Gotta market that knowledge purp. If Hunter has a hills beans worth of sense they will beg you to be a rep.
     
  10. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,496

    LOL... I'll be closer to Walla Walla than I am now. :laugh:
     

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