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wiring problems

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by londonrain, Jun 29, 2007.

  1. londonrain

    londonrain LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,129

    Ok it is safe to say that I find and repair more cut irrigation wires than anyone I know...Here is another one I started on yesterday. This is a 69 home development with over 80+ zones on two 40+ zone controllers. More than half the property was not working and showing open connections on 40+ zones. Three other irrigation company's have been out in the last 9 months hunting the problem. I met with the HOA Yesterday and started hunting wires, tracing mains and just getting familiar with the property. Last night I went back out at 6:00 pm and scratched a spot on the curb that the ground fault pin pointed. Today I returned and started digging at the spot and I uncovered four strands of 13 conductor and 2 14ga red and a 14ga white. This cut was about 3' deep and I used 110 water proof connectors on the repair, I now have all but 4 zones now working....I have 10 hrs total time on the job....

    This is the spot the ground fault pinpointed last night, notice the scratch mark on the curbing....

    This is what I uncover and find four 13 strand and some singles...
  2. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,496

    Hmmm... 3' deep and someone hit them? How'd that happen? :dizzy:

    We require that wire not buried and protected with the main line be run in conduit to prevent just this issue from occurring. :weightlifter:

    Hopefully you're charging a premium for the locator and ground fault use... especially after three other irrigation companies drew a blank on this? payup

    I have a site with two non-working valves right now. I'm in no hurry to go out in nearly 3D temps to put the time and effort into locating the problem (probably gophers) since the site guy is notorious for getting into the valve boxes and manually firing zones because he likes the color and lushness of crab grass. He can manually fire these zones until such time I have hours to devote to this problem. :)
  3. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,794

    Someone must have driven a concrete stake or something down there.

    Thats amazing that your locator pinpointed that at 3' deep.

    Is the water table that high there, or did you wash the wires off?
  4. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,496

    Awful wide for a concrete stake considering the wires seem to be laid parallel. But... if the guy had the shakes I guess he could have driven it in more than once. :)

    Concrete Stake Damage.jpg
  5. londonrain

    londonrain LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,129

    I did wash off the wires..lol
    Here is what I think happened. The company that was responsible for lawn maintenance and irrigation maintenance two years ago was fired from the property by the HOA. However the same company still does landscaping and irrigation work for the builder of the community. Each new home gets added onto the irrigation system. Look at the first pic and you can see a 1" 90 and the very end of black drainage tubing. The fired company installed an irrigation system and drainage tubing, right at this spot for the current home that still gets added onto the system for the builder. I think they damaged the wiring on purpose thinking they will never find these cut wires but I did. The HOA is up in arms over this..
  6. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,794

    Actually my guess is that the guy running the trencher ran a tad deep there, but not deep enough to pull the wires up, a tooth probably just barely hit them, Wires don't fray out like that unless a trencher gets em. Since they didn't need to go quite that far for the elbow, they probably never hand cleaned that spot, and never saw the damage.
  7. londonrain

    londonrain LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,129

    Could be but around here the ground is so hard that you only trench as deep as you need it and they use a dingo. They trenched in at 6" and the wires are 3' deep... This grass strip is only about 2 1/2 ft wide ....all the wires were pulled up and cut in the direction away from the curb. The 14ga white has a slice in the sheathing on the curbside not inside.

  8. therainman

    therainman LawnSite Member
    from IL
    Messages: 196

    I gotta agree.... Looks like trencher damage to me. How many wires pull away from the insulation and spread put after you cut them with a pair of cutters. None that I have ever seen. If these were cut with any tipe of bypass or pich cutter the wire wuld still be in the insulation.


    Messages: 18,668

    Yeah that is a tough one but I'm leaning towards trencher damage. i just can't see a shovel doing that. maybe they dropped the boom deep on purpose there and then pulled up for the rest of the ditch. 3' is really deep with a trencher. Any user would notice he was way beyond his ditch depth.
  10. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,781

    How about a T-Post, with the blade through the wires and then on through the pipe?

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