Nightmare unfolding on me

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by TPnTX, Jun 20, 2006.

  1. TPnTX

    TPnTX LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,775

    I started this thread in the landscape section. It needs to be here because I got a problem and I'd appreciate some help.

    I did a small landscape job around a pool. I had to remove the existing sod with a sod cutter before preping the beds. I didnt get the customer to show me that the irrgation system worked properly becuase they where out of town and i couldn't get to the garage.

    So I did the job. I busted one head with the cutter and of course replaced it. No biggie I only went down a couple of inches.

    That was last week and yesterday I went by to do a follow up visit.

    The lady told me the landscaped area zone comes on anytime any other zone comes on.

    After the landscape was complete here is what took place:

    I found a valve close the area landscaped area. I turned it on manually but I didn't get anything. I mistakenly left it in the on position.

    Then yesterday I turned the valve manual to off. And that took care of the problem.

    I was confused though. I ID'd that valve as zone 6. If I opened the valve nothing happened unless another zone come on.

    I turned it off and and begain testing each zone because the customer didn't have it labled or know what position belonged to each zone.

    Because I had z6 valve closed z6 didn't come on until I got to zone 9. Zone 9 comes on and includes zone6. but this time it ain't going through the z6 valve.

    So that tells me they have a valve that controls zone 6(landscape) but that zone is also fed by zone 9 controller.

    The reason they never had the problem with zone 6 firing along with all zones is because it has never been left on manually. And Zone 6 doesn't work be itself because it obviously isn't connected to the main.

    I don't know if that makes any sense but to me it means a really messed up plumbing job and they really believe I messed it up.
  2. Grassmechanic

    Grassmechanic LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,697

    They're trying to whitewash you into fixing an existing problem that they knew was there long before you came along. Fix the head(s) that you broke and tell them to get bent.
  3. Oxmow

    Oxmow LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 483

    They are trying awfull hard to take you. Ask them if the zone (6 and 9 together) have always come on at the same time. If so, and they have enough pressure to run all the heads, you could "fix" it by removing the "extra" valve and adding a slip fix to it instead and letting it all run as before.

    Oh yeah...charge them for it or don't and have an extra valve for some other job!
  4. bumper

    bumper LawnSite Member
    from So. Cal
    Messages: 187

    First and ripped a replaced said're done..second...55.00 an hour and I am all about trouble shooting it for them....Third..if they have convinced you that ripping a head simultaneously caused the valves to rewire themselves,,,,,then four...they are fantastic salesman and you should consider hiring them to promote your business...or five you are a hell of a nice guy willing to go the extra mile......while going broke.
  5. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 50,367

    Run away!! Run away!!! Run away!!!!
  6. GrazerZ

    GrazerZ LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 670

    There is no way you caused this problem. I have actually seen systems wired this way on purpose because they didn't want to go to the next size up controller or other stupid reasons. I have not been at this long, but I would recommend to them to get an irrigation co to fix it for them or offer to fix it if you can and charge them as necessary.
  7. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,112

    I would love to reply but I am confused and don't understand what you are asking at all.
  8. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,496

    There is obviously a wiring problem that preexisted anything you did as long as neither the controller nor wiring were touched. You fulfilled your responsibilities by replacing the sprinkler head that you chopped off with the sod cutter.

    For two zones to come on simultaneously there could be several problems: (1) controller is bad and firing the two zones at the same time; (2) control wire for Z6 is pigtailed onto Z9s control wire in the valve box(s); control wire for Z6 is pigtailed onto Z9s spot on the controller; (3) Z6 and Z9 are jumpered together somewhere either purposely or accidentally; (4) etc.

    We have a couple of sites where two zones actuate through separate valves wired together as one zone at the controller. This is usually because the contractor does not realize that an Irritrol Century Plus valve can handle more water that its nominal size. For example, they will hold a zone to less than 55 GPM running through a single valve with a 2" inlet and a 2" outlet and put two of these valves on the same controller zone. They could of saved time and effort by running a 3" inlet and outlet with only a very short 2" connector (i.e. SCH 80 nipple) in/out of the valve.
  9. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,496

    Kind of confusing but you actually might have a valve that was attached to a lateral line (Z9) instead of the main line. I've seen this occur when you have a jumble of pipes using the same trench and they're all the same sixe, i.e. 1". When the valve is manually shut down at the flow control you won't have any water going through it when Z9 is actuated because it is off. It will only work when Z6s flow control is open AND Z9 actuates.

    This can also be used as a design element in rare cases where it is not desirable to have part of a zone come on for some type of special reason. A ball valve in a box can be installed on a main lateral supplying a given section of a zone. It can then be turned on/off as desired. In the on position the entire zone will work while in the off position only that part of the zone prior to the ball valve will actuate.

    An example of this would be an athletic field that is used for both baseball and football. A lateral line is split into two separate lateral lines with ball valves. One line feeds several part circle rotors that run along a home run fence with "batters eye" material when it is baseball season. One line feeds several full circle rotors that are used when it is football season and the home run fence has been taken down. Manipulation is accomplished via the ball valves.
  10. TPnTX

    TPnTX LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,775

    1) thats okay sheshovel, You're so pretty :)

    2) no they have not conviced me of anything.

    I left that valve on and it caused that zone to fire with every other zone.

    After I explained that to them and they commenced to run through each zone to make sure it was back to normal but normal doesn't apply here.

    While running through the zones, all kinds of crazy sheet started happening.

    I do believe they thought their irrigation system worked fine before that landscape. Call me gullible but I do think they where unaware of any problems. It was running the program and there is no telling what is was doing. Apparently it was hitting all zone because nothing is dying from lack of water.

    The guy is an engineer at TI. God help them. She is a very talkative Realtor who depends on his logic. Afterall he's an engineer. :rolleyes:

    I guess my question on the board should have simply been "what's the best way to handle this one". This lady is a member of a very large busines group. I was highly recommended as the groups "approved" landscape company. This is the 1st job from this group. So any extra mile I go is for a reason.

    As of yesterday the best I can tell is that the RainBirdESP12 controller is at least a culpret.

    There are 9 red wires that appear properly connected in the comtroler. 1 common. Dialing up each zone and starting manually, I am getting irratic results.

    Im going through each zone and I get to 6. Nothing happens so I walk around the house and z6 has moved to the front yard. It was in back.

    I continue to 7 and that zone doesn't fire. I walk around the house and the same front zone that became Z6 comes on again.

    Z8 is fine.

    Z9 does nothing.

    For grins I power down the controller and disconnect the battery.

    After that I get completely different results. Zones are moving around in realtion to the controller. Obviously something has corrupted the controller or it's bad. It's a printed circuit board I guess anything can happen.

    I told the customer that I'm done and they need to call a Irrigation Company.

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