Wiring problem!

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by Beartooth, Feb 26, 2007.

  1. Beartooth

    Beartooth LawnSite Member
    Posts: 209

    I have ran into a problem with a large system we installed about five years ago. Last fall, two zones started to come on simultaneously. I have isolated the problem to the point that I know that the two control wires are either making contact out in the field or they are going to ground out in the field. The wire is 18 guage multi-strand with 13 conductors. There was a lightning strike about a month or so before this condition appeared. Is there an efficient way to find out where the two wires are making contact?
  2. justgeorge

    justgeorge LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 352

    Are all 13 strands in use? If not switch one or both of the problem zones to spare wires. I always run at least 1 extra wire than what is needed in case of problems like these.

  3. If there was a lightning strike I would be more inclined to blame the timer than the field wiring.

    I know you said you had it isolated....however, have you checked the timer? Sometimes lightning strikes to strange things to solid state controllers.

    Start there, IMHO....
  4. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 7,961

    Check the ohms on the strands and across the zones in question. This can help determine if the controller or the wires.

    There are several wire trace tools available to you but as someone said, eliminate the controller first.
  5. Beartooth

    Beartooth LawnSite Member
    Posts: 209

    The controllers have been eliminated, there are no extra wires available. The problem is 100% in the field wiring as I stated in my original post.
  6. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 48,003

    If you had two zone wires shorted together out in the field, it might be possible to disconnect those two zone wires at the controller and at the solenoids, and run a tracer signal through the two wires. In a perfect world, the signal would enter one wire, cross over at the short, and return through the other wire. A locater could then pinpoint the fault.
  7. Beartooth

    Beartooth LawnSite Member
    Posts: 209

    What type of tracer and locating device do you suggest?
  8. Please satisfy my curiousity and explain how you eliminated the controller?

    Thanks....always learning.
  9. Beartooth

    Beartooth LawnSite Member
    Posts: 209

    In order to eliminate that the controller was causung the problem, I physically removed the wires from the controller and connected them to a new controller. When I did this, we had the same problem. After the lightining strike, by the way, the controller was replaced. So we are dealing with a controller(Rain Bird ESP 16lx) that is less than a year old. Hopefully this will help clarify the situation to you. Thanks for the help!
  10. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 48,003

    The Tempo/Progressive 521 is probably the most popular locater in the sprinkler biz, and there are several other makes. You can probably rent one. If you have a good digital multimeter, you might do a resistance check to see if any other zones might be faulty, or grounded out somewhere.

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