Problems locating a valve

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by grassman177, Jun 16, 2013.

  1. grassman177

    grassman177 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,795

    I have a error read out on my controller for a zone, which is not working. I recently got a new greenlee wire locator and have had great luck using it to find shorts and valves for repair.

    however, on this job i have issues as the utilities are interfering so much i lose track of my wire, and cant pick up the signal again past this large area of utilities underground. I am not sure, there could be a short or cut wire if they rain new utilities( have not asked this question, but doesnt look to be any new lines run).

    any suggestions for this type of situation?

    Thanks guys.
  2. Without A Drought

    Without A Drought LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,087

    an error is usually a bad solenoid, which creates a short. a broken wire is an open, which usually does not result in an error at the clock.
    as far as tracking, do everything you can to isolate the wire you are tracking. pull out the wire and any commons from the clock. unplug the timer, and disconnect any additional ground that is in place. on a residential job, one can usually narrow down possible vavle locations to smaller areas and concentrate there. then just start listening. also a lower power output from the locator will help with the signal bleed. good luck
  3. bcg

    bcg LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tx
    Messages: 1,865

    If you haven't, remove the common wire from the controller in addition to the zone you're tracing. This will help to keep your signal from jumping to the electrical ground and keel it a little cleaner on the zone wire. Once you get to the end of the utility interference, if you can't pick the signal back up right away, start making 1/2 circles from that point out. This part of locating becomes more art and finesse than anything else, experience makes it easier so stick with it, keep trying different things until you find it again and then remember what worked for next time.
  4. 1idejim

    1idejim LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,358

    "Lift" the common and the valve wire from the controller.

    "Earth Ground" the common wire at the controller.

    Go to a known VB and "Lift" the common at the value.

    Attach the transmitter to the common and "earth ground" it, trace and flag the path towards the controller.

    Once done, attach the transmitter to the common that continues to the field, trace and flag.

    When that is done remove the 521 and reconnect the wiring in the VB.

    Take the 521 to the controller, lift the common from ground and attach the transmitter to the common and valve wire (Closed Loop), follow the marked path until you find the valve.

    Earth Grounding the far end of a conductor really improves a signal and is a common practice for utility locators. Our main problem is that we don't always know where the last valve is so we have to cut into the wire path beyond the interference and work both ways.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  5. grassman177

    grassman177 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,795

    this is the last valve on the wire, all the way around the house from one side to the other. and yes, we have tried just pokin around to find it as well.

    I do ground to the earth, i unplugged the doggie fence, which was causing issues. however there is also landscape lighting too Fing me up. Since this is the last valve on the system, ugh.

    I do appreciate all the ideas fellas. I will return to work on it , and I can find the valve in the middle of the sytsem, however and can get into the wires there. I would hate to cut the wires, as there is no extra to work with prob is it aint multistrand. i hate when at the clock is all dif colors multistrand, but in the ground it is switched to larger gauge wire of no color differential except the common. Makes it much more difficult overall in the field imo. you have to use tools to figre out which wire it is. dif for commercial applications where voltage drop would be a concern etc.
    this is a medium resi account though

    on a dif subject, can anyone explain to me why wiring this way IS actually a GOOD thing? cuz it seems most ******ed to me.
  6. 1idejim

    1idejim LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,358

    I will pm you my number. Call me today and i will explain to you how to clean the locate up.

    Call me when you are onsite and i will walk you through the locate.

    The difficvlties you are experiencing are simple to overcome or eliminate alltogether.

    I am in my rotation and will be @ home both days.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  7. alf500series

    alf500series LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 256

    have you tried a valve locator?

    i have the krik-it and it works great. found many a valve with it. the suck it tube works great also.
  8. 1idejim

    1idejim LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,358

    With all due respect, interrupters like the krik-it may be fine for the home owner or the DIY crowd but have no place in the professionals toolbox.

    Even though these circuit interrupters work at times, one must already know the wire path and the area must be fairly quiet, the water must be off and the valve must be shallow, the box dry and not be packed with dirt.

    I've been around long enough to know better that to "bring a knife to a gunfight".

    Buy a wire and valve locator and learn to use it well. An experienced man with a quality tool can do near anything.
  9. Sprinkus

    Sprinkus LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,322

    Never heard it put like that but it's going to become my new "pickup" line! :laugh:
  10. grassman177

    grassman177 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,795

    i live by that standard, hahaha

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