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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am a site superintendent for a builder in a maintenance-provided subdivision. Part of my job is responding to homeowner complaints about irrigation. We have a Toro 2-wire/decoder system with a TDC controller and 111 zones that is malfunctioning. So far it has stumped our installer and his supplier. They are both very busy and can devote little time to troubleshooting the system. Meanwhile, I'm on site every day and the homeowners are driving me crazy and it makes my company look bad. I've had a hard time finding information about troubleshooting this type of system. Is anyone familiar with this type of system or know any sources on info besides the Toro site? Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Some zones don't water and some zones don't shut off. There is no consistency to the problems except they usually occur on the same wire path. They've swapped solenoids, decoders, and installed an above ground replacement for the communication wire(partial). The controller's firmware was updated 1 month ago. We have called the manufacturer, but we're only getting 2 hours of site time per week and, did I mention, the homeowners are driving me insane. (I don't blame them--if I spent $1million for a house and $300/month for maintenance, I'd be calling someone every day and jawing).
I'm just looking for info so that maybe I can steer the guys toward the source of the problem. Our system began life as a beta version and has had problems from the beginning, but most have eventually been diagnosed and solved. The current issue has everyone frustrated and scratching their heads and wanting to go home. Meanwhile, I start every day up to my elbow in frog water in flooded valve boxes, turning and tapping solenoids, telling the homeowner that the techs are coming on Thursday.
 

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Some zones don't water and some zones don't shut off. There is no consistency to the problems except they usually occur on the same wire path. They've swapped solenoids, decoders, and installed an above ground replacement for the communication wire(partial). The controller's firmware was updated 1 month ago. We have called the manufacturer, but we're only getting 2 hours of site time per week and, did I mention, the homeowners are driving me insane. (I don't blame them--if I spent $1million for a house and $300/month for maintenance, I'd be calling someone every day and jawing).
I'm just looking for info so that maybe I can steer the guys toward the source of the problem. Our system began life as a beta version and has had problems from the beginning, but most have eventually been diagnosed and solved. The current issue has everyone frustrated and scratching their heads and wanting to go home. Meanwhile, I start every day up to my elbow in frog water in flooded valve boxes, turning and tapping solenoids, telling the homeowner that the techs are coming on Thursday.
I feel for you. Two wire is new stuff and the expertise is still being developed. London Rain is the one I'd refer you to if you called me. The word TORO in your first post gives me the willies. TORO hasn't been too hot lately with product development. The premier two wire company I've been told is TUCOR. Try getting a TUCOR rep involved and see if they can't help you out and win some positive press.
 

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How old is the system? When did it last run normal - or as close to normal as possible? Any other major things that may have caused a problem? Lightning. Vandalism. Construction. Utilities/fiber optics installed/bored.

Are the valves not shutting off due to the controller? Or stuck solenoids? Debris in water supply maybe? There are a lot of variables that we cannot see from the interwebs. :) I know you are more asking for a place to get info on this, which most of us can't help you with, but i'm just trying to find possible reasons/solutions for the problem.

When they don't turn on, are you getting power to the valve? Or are they having mechanical problems with the valves? What kind of valve? I know.... too many questions, huh? ;)
 

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I feel for you. Two wire is new stuff and the expertise is still being developed. London Rain is the one I'd refer you to if you called me. The word TORO in your first post gives me the willies. TORO hasn't been too hot lately with product development. The premier two wire company I've been told is TUCOR. Try getting a TUCOR rep involved and see if they can't help you out and win some positive press.
1. Toro STILL a four-letter word.
2. Baseline supposedly better than Tucor.
3. Call anyone and everyone that you think can help if you've run out of ideas.
4. Take anything Boots tells you with a grain of salt.
5. Watch for Leary to call you a piker.
6. Bicmudpuppy will probably come closest to possible solution (man that guy knows his stuff).
7. Dana will probably grumble and moan but will have something creative and positive to offer.
8. Kiril will go theoretical on you.
9. I have no 2-wire experience, I'll just thread-jack.
10. CSR, well, he'll be CSR!
 

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My experience with 2wire systems is that when the decoders go bad they either come on with every zone or they are completely dead, this is assuming the controller is operating correctly. I would start with the zones that will not shut off, either flow control the valve closed or disconnect one wire going to the solenoid. Once you get all the zones shut that want to come on regardless which zone is programed, then you can figure out which decoders are dead. You might now find zones that you think are not working are now working because you now have full flow to the zone valve. Also remember that the field wiring is always putting out 24v to all the decoders and you can check to see if the wire is providing 24v before the decoder. Do all of the above and report back!!!
 

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1. Toro STILL a four-letter word.
2. Baseline supposedly better than Tucor.
3. Call anyone and everyone that you think can help if you've run out of ideas.
4. Take anything Boots tells you with a grain of salt.
5. Watch for Leary to call you a piker.
6. Bicmudpuppy will probably come closest to possible solution (man that guy knows his stuff).
7. Dana will probably grumble and moan but will have something creative and positive to offer.
8. Kiril will go theoretical on you.
9. I have no 2-wire experience, I'll just thread-jack.
10. CSR, well, he'll be CSR!
Spot on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Nothing stuck on, but there were several alarms showing on the controller.
They have checked voltage, etc. at the valves and it's ok.
I suppose I need advice from someone who's familiar with the Toro system.
The problem seems to be intermittent communication between the controller and the decoders.
Nobody can figure out what's causing it. The current theory is interference from crossing a power line too closely. Is that a plausible explanation? They used the specified wire but it's not shielded.
The controller has diagnostics, but when you run them, different stations show a fault on different diagnostic runs.
The controller puts out 38 volts BTW. Anything between 12 and 38 volts is acceptable.
Thanks again
 

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Nothing stuck on, but there were several alarms showing on the controller.
They have checked voltage, etc. at the valves and it's ok.
I suppose I need advice from someone who's familiar with the Toro system.
The problem seems to be intermittent communication between the controller and the decoders.
Nobody can figure out what's causing it. The current theory is interference from crossing a power line too closely. Is that a plausible explanation? They used the specified wire but it's not shielded.
The controller has diagnostics, but when you run them, different stations show a fault on different diagnostic runs.
The controller puts out 38 volts BTW. Anything between 12 and 38 volts is acceptable.
Thanks again
Sounds more like a wiring problem than a interference problem.
Since the TDC uses DC latching solenoids then the wiring must be correct for the solenoids to work correctly...IE: same color wires connected throughout the entire systems with correct wire splices plus the 2 wire cannot be looped back to the controller.......
 
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