1" Rainbird valve solenoid knob-Should it be used to turn valve on?

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by villagegreenlandscape, Sep 1, 2007.

  1. villagegreenlandscape

    villagegreenlandscape LawnSite Member
    Messages: 69

    I had an instructor tell me to remove the plastic knob covering the solenoid on the 1" rainbird valves because it could cause some sort of problem but I can't remember what the problem was. He said to only use the bleed screw. Does anyone know what the problem might be?
  2. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 50,900

    Better to use the bleed screw. I've had service calls (on account of the O-ring failing) on some systems with above-ground valves, when the homeowner repeatedly used that solenoid method of manual operation.

    The plastic cover/lever, I might leave in place, since it might prevent some wire damage from rodents.
  3. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 23,220

    IMHO...your "instructor"is full of it, failure of the O-rings is usually caused
    by tightening the bleeder down too tight. The lever is "internal bleed", which
    means no flooding of the valve box, you can have more fun unscrewing the
    bleeder on the bonnet (which is external ((flood)) bleed) if you unsrew too
    much & the bleeder pops into a alternative universe!:laugh:
  4. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 50,900

    This Rainbird solenoid O-ring undergoes a 'wiping' action as the solenoid is turned. I'm sure the O-ring is manufactured with some lubricant on its surface, but that won't last forever, so the instructor might have had a point.

    Messages: 18,668

    New one on me but this is why all systems should have a remote for servicing so that you don't have to tinker with bleeds.
  6. LCPullman

    LCPullman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 589

    In my experience the Rainbird solenoids get really hard to turn after a few years, especially if it is not used to turn the valve on.

    I haven't run into that problem on any Irritrol 2400s or Hunters though.
  7. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 50,900

    I've had Hunter O-rings get fouled up when doing winterizing.
  8. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 23,220

    Ditto....Also, w/Weather-Matic valves...no "O" ring to foul-up & internal
    bleed too!:)
  9. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,496

    Since you don't recall what the instructor stated that the potential problem could be... any answer would just be guessing since the info you've posted is basically being taken out of context.

    A quarter turn of the solenoid has been the time tested failsafe method of activating a valve without bleeding water to atmosphere (i.e. the valve box) for many years. Many manufacturers have incorporated this method into their valves by either putting a plastic knob (actuator) over the solenoid or in a special adapter between the solenoid and the valve bonnet.

    Problems can occur if there is debris around the solenoid in the form of rocks, pebbles, plastic pieces and/or dirt as there is the chance some of it may work its way between the solenoid and bonnet creating leakage, breakage, "permanent activation", etc. Many manufacturers incorporate a "stop" position on their actuators so the solenoid cannot be turned too far.

    Of course, if the solenoid is turned too far then there is the potential of the solenoid coming completely off and activating the valve under pressure. If the valve is not equipped with a Flow Control to shut it down some models of valves are extremely hard to get the solenoid back into its threaded receiver because of pressurized water coming out of the solenoid ports in the bonnet. There is then the potential to crossthread either the solenoid or the receiving area which may in turn require the solenoid and/or valve bonnet to be replaced.

    If the solenoid does not have a "captured piston" then there is also the chance the piston will fall out unnoticed into the valve box in which case even screwing the solenoid back in will not shut down the valve.
  10. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 23,220

    One of the crazy features of Weather-Matic is the lack of "captured piston",
    the piston & spring fall out waaay too easy.:hammerhead:

Share This Page