Running wire...

Discussion in 'Zone Talk' started by woodlawnservice, Dec 6, 2019.

  1. woodlawnservice

    woodlawnservice LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,394

    I generally run multistrand on residential systems. This big commercial hob specs out 14 guage wire.... it's about 21 zones in total.... how do u run the wires to make it kost efficient and not pulling 1 strand at a time? Specially if I buy 2500' spools...? Tricks? What about labeling them or do you not worry about this till you go and wire it all up together? I need tricks to be most efficient on this...
     
  2. Mowing monkey.

    Mowing monkey. LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 926

    Are all of the wires started and ending at the same place? If so pull a string or the first wire and measure it and cut the remaining 21 that length. You probably can’t pull all 21 together but a few Beats 1.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    woodlawnservice

    woodlawnservice LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,394

    Nope all different lengths.. valves located in the field and not on any manifolds... I was hoping to pull multiple wires vs 1 at a time....
     
  4. Love the Green Biz

    Love the Green Biz LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,251

    I've heard that referred to as "Texas style" before.
    I did a job like this (and many, many others) 40 years ago with 38 zones and 14 gauge was the order of the day due to distance (which you did not mention). However to ensure proper voltage at the end of the job I ran a 12 gauge white common-a habit I picked up in the 70s from an old timer when heavy load valves (such as brass Imperials) were the norm.

    Back to your issue-from your specs you don't mention trenching as an option. As long as your soil is somewhat granular (and not heavy clay, shot rock or any other poor conditions) there is no reason you cannot pull many if not all the wires you need to the first valve (if this works for the way you lay out the mainline) by setting up the wire on rods for free rolling (I suggest you build a simple triangular rolling rack out of wood and galvanized 3/4 or 1"pipe-you may have to drill the roll's center holes larger).

    For 21 zones I recommend pulling (3) 12 gauge white commons, (8) red 14 gauge, (8) green 14 gauge and (8) yellow 14 gauge (or in whatever other colors you may want). If you are limited in rack size or whatever other reason then plan on separate pulling with a 12 gauge common and each color group to an appropriate point.

    Plan on each color wire going a certain distance (such as the first 7 valves) and purchase accordingly. You will have at least one spare and more if you up each color count. Economize wire by using extra valve boxes as wire splice boxes (leave plenty of slack on the wires) and ONLY use DBY connectors when splicing. Make sure to install them CORRECTLY as I have seen many examples of workers not inserting the wire nut all the way into the gel (in the old days I would silver solder every wire splice and use a no longer available vulcanized rubber tape). If you don't use the DBYs correctly today's non-annealed copper wire will tarnish and corrode quickly.

    Good luck with the installation. I don't know who drew up the specs but ask if they would consider a 2-wire system.

    It would definitely make your life easier but you will have to not only trench more but follow manufacturers specs to the letter-no shortcuts!
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2019
  5. OP
    OP
    woodlawnservice

    woodlawnservice LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,394

    Everything will be trenched.. distance isnt the main factor.. the job specs are... so it it what it is... I like the rack idea actually.. but I'd have to have multiple smaller spools.... I was looking at just two larger spools but, smaller spools may save significant time pulling multiple strands like this.. great idea thanks
     
  6. Sunset

    Sunset LawnSite Member
    Messages: 23

    I don't think I've seen a stamped design with anything smaller then 14ga. Submit for a change order for a ICC2 w/ EZ decoder and use 14ga 2 wire decoder cable. Throwin the wifi module to sweeten the deal. Zones near the controller can be conventional and the 2wire decoder's for the rest. I prefer the web based centralus ICC2 for commercial but you could also do the HCC with hydrawise.

    Reach out to Hunter spec guy for your area for assistance with the change order. Good chance he knows the designer. Change orders get approved if you prove a equal and better solution.
    Equal - with 14ga 2 wire, commercial controller, and system cost.
    Better- jacketed wire, easily expanded system using decoders, and web based wifi controlled.
     
  7. GreenLight

    GreenLight LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 607

    I agree with your thinking. Also agree that almost every stamped design is spec'd with 14 ga even if it's not necessary
     
  8. OP
    OP
    woodlawnservice

    woodlawnservice LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,394

    Imo this job could run multistrand.... but, not what its stamped....
     
  9. Love the Green Biz

    Love the Green Biz LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,251

    Probably could as long as the distances are not too great. That's why sometimes I will run a 12 gauge solid common even with 18 gauge multi strand. In the summer I've seen voltage drops down to 108 which means the transformer will only give 21.6 volts. Given the high pressures in my areas I'm cutting it close if I don't do something to keep the volts up at the end of a run.
     

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