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drip irrigation challenge.long distance, no power

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by treemonkey, May 1, 2008.

  1. treemonkey

    treemonkey LawnSite Member
    Messages: 178


    I have a researcher coming out tomorrow and I seek some basic information to guide him. Thank you in advance.

    He needs to run a small, but complex drip system (about 8 valves) with a a 120 volt computer controller. The closest AC power to this site is about 400 ft. away with somewhat difficult access.

    Last year he tried a 12v inverter system with deep cycle battery and solar back up. He claimed it was problematic.

    He wants 120v run out there. All said and done, that will cost upwards of $2,000.

    What about running a low voltage line out there (400') to the inverter??? Is this do-able? Voltage drop? Most inverters need 10 to 16 volts input.

    Again, thanks for sharing (I hope) your professional advice and wisdom.
  2. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    AC is great if you can run it, but nothing wrong with DC either if you got the money for it. Personally I would price out both options and then make your choice. A good DC system/controller may set you back more than running AC line.

    Anyone got a 400 foot extension cord. :laugh:
  3. treemonkey

    treemonkey LawnSite Member
    Messages: 178

    This system is already in place from last year.....controller, valves, drip lines.

    I'm NOT sure if the inverter system was "problematic" because of lack of attention or whatever.

    This system was installed without my input and now they want me to remedy it!

    Extension Cord???????? He already asked to do that!!!!!!!!! PHD is involved in this equation.
  4. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    Why don't you run control wire over the 400 feet and put the controller where you have AC power? That will certainly be cheaper than running an AC line to the controller.
  5. lowvolumejeff

    lowvolumejeff LawnSite Member
    Messages: 72

    As usual Kiril is right on.

    A couple of thougths. How is it problematic? If not just the controller, suggest you explore other causes. You did not mention the type of valves,filtration, pressure reduction or the flow involved. The customer may be experiencing problems related to 1) Valve not shutting off due to low flow 2) mismatched pressure reducer to GPH requirements 3) too much demand on a zone (volume, pressure loss due to length, or elevation changes). Worth discussing when you are on site.

    That said, I like Kirils answer best. Jeff
    "conqeuring the city one drip zone at a time."
  6. treemonkey

    treemonkey LawnSite Member
    Messages: 178

    To run 8 individual pairs of 24v controller wires 400'..... sounds expensive. Are there voltage drop concerns here?

    Thanks again. I am sort of the sub contractor/middle man here. I will try to come up with a solution and tell him to hire someone else to get it done.
  7. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    I think you would be ok using direct burial 18 gauge multi-strand assuming you run 1 station at a time.
  8. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 50,523

    400 feet is not a problem for 18 gauge multiconductor. You don't need pairs. One common wire is enough, if you run one zone at a time. Just don't cheat and use 20 gauge instead of 18.
  9. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,219

    Make sure to run extra wires as well. They will get damaged or short out over time. They usually do.
  10. Dripit good

    Dripit good LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,081

    If you have Rainbird valves you can swap out the solenoids with TBOS solenoids and wire to either a 1, 2 or 4 station TBOS module depending if you have a manifold or single valve situation. If the valves are not Rainbird, get the manufactures potted (or DC) solenoid, they will work with the TBOS modules. Then use the field transmitter to download your desired program.

    It will solve your problem and it's a quick conversion, but may take a little effort getting used to changing programs.

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