Need some major help - Wire\Wiring Issues

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by zman9119, Oct 9, 2006.

  1. zman9119

    zman9119 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 852

    Hey guys...

    I'm having issues today with a project we have been working on for awhile. Started with a simple controller replacement and repairing \ replacing some heads. Went there last week for the controller replacement and 6 out of the 10 zones did not work. Figured the guys might of hit it planting flowers or some of the other work (Really old system with the wiring above and underground, and its all 10 gauge for some reason). I ran some multi-conductor to the 4 valves that are all together (under 12” of topsoil and plants), got them wired up and running fine, but could not find the other two valve wires. Finally on Saturday I found the wires (2 for valves and a common out in the middle of the yard) and I was able to wire them up and test it using a controller on an extension cord. They ran fine. Now the problem. When wired with the rest of the valves in the multi-conductor, they will not work. I get a “short” message on the controller, but I have no clue where the h**l it would be. I cannot shut off the water to be able to use a solenoid locater thingy (but I bet I wouldn’t be able to hear it under a lot of soil). Is the only other way to find the valve is by potholing? I guess it would be an option but not they best. And sad to say, I do not have a locater (until next year).

    Any ideas? I’m out of them…
  2. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 50,386

    Can't rent a locater?
  3. zman9119

    zman9119 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 852

    yeh, that would be nice. I cannot find one in this area right now. More good news to come though.

    Followed the common (or what I thought was the common) and it is clamped to the copper mainline (which is part PVC, part copper in areas) with a worm gear clamp. This just keeps getting more fun!
  4. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 50,386

    Try an electrical supply house. They might have something. Absent locating instruments, you just have to dig. I've gone that route, when an intermittent high-resistance couldn't be located by conventional tracking. One does hope you at least have a multimeter of some sort, for checking resistances and voltages.
  5. zman9119

    zman9119 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 852

    Yep Yep Yep, the multimeter is the first thing that gets pulled out. It sits in the cubbie hole\hold in my van for quick access. :clapping:
  6. Mjtrole

    Mjtrole LawnSite Member
    Messages: 226

    Sounds like you need to take it out and check the leads at the controller, from what it sounds you have a couple wires that were hit and shorted together, even with a locator they might be hard to find since they are probably not broken and seperated.

    We usually check the resistance then check the valves, then got to the middle of where the wire run is, dig it up check it there then you will know for sure which way to go either to the valves or the controller, a very painful and sometime frustrating process of elimination.
  7. tomcl

    tomcl LawnSite Member
    Messages: 43

    Or you could call in a locate and talk the power or phone guys to locate it for you---
  8. jerryrwm

    jerryrwm LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,274

    For future reference - watch Ebay. A 521 just sold the other day for $280.00
  9. zman9119

    zman9119 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 852

    I would love to check it at the controller, but it is located in a basement which I will not be able to get into until next week sometime (due to homeowner being out of the city, county, state, and country). The old wiring there is such a mess too. All black (including the common, except in certain places where it changes to red and or white).

    It (the common), must be shorting out across the copper\glav (depennding on which area you are in) since it is grounded through it (the pipe).

    If I could find the valves, I would just run a new common to them. Did start digging but I've gotten to a heavily landscaped area now which cannot (well, it can be removed) be moved. Oh well, off to order a 521.

    Has anyone looked \ tried a ProTech Pro-600? It looks and it says it is the same, but does it work the same \ better?
  10. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 50,386

    There are numerous brands of locaters. It's likely a 521 gets a boost in price for its notoriety in the irrigation biz.

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