Wiring Question.... Easy one

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by Georgia Lawn Works LLC, Jun 29, 2012.

  1. Georgia Lawn Works LLC

    Georgia Lawn Works LLC LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 365

    This is a basic question it's just im not sure what the answer is because i have not had much experience with this.

    I have a customer that has 4 zones and needs a controler replaced. Each zone only has one wire comming in to the controler and then one single Ground for the controler. Is that normal? When I have replaced control valves they always had two wires.

    Are there both one and two wire options available for control valves and controlers? How is this type wired up.

    What do I need to know on this? Thanks.
  2. jcom

    jcom LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 791

    "Ground " is the common in our circles.

    If this is giving you problems, it might be time to turn it over to a pro.
  3. Georgia Lawn Works LLC

    Georgia Lawn Works LLC LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 365

    Right but how do you think the common would be run if they spread out the control valves all across the property. Would they more than likley just split it off of the common comming out of the controler and made a seperate run for each control valve?
  4. mitchgo

    mitchgo LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,907

    Depends on the installer. Generally the wire will follow the main line piping. So it continues on to the next valve box
  5. muddywater

    muddywater LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,813

    How do you know the controller needs to be replaced? Have you tested voltage output at the clock for the zone terminals? Have you tested to see if you have resistence from the valves? What does the display read on the controller?
  6. jvanvliet

    jvanvliet LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,944

    What type of controller is being replaced; that'd be a good place to start, give us a make and model#. If it's digital, is there any reading on the screen; if it's mechanical, is it keeping time? At the very least you'll need a multimeter to run some basic tests.

    Any number of things can cause a controller to go bad, lightning, power surge, transformer failure, (assuming digital) circuit board failure, mechanical failure, etc, it could simply be a wiring, or a power issue such as a tripped GFI.

    Generally you'd have a single common (usually white down here) for all the valves. The solenoids at the valves will have two wires coming off of them, one will always be attached to the common and the other to the line. So you'd have a single common coming back to the controller and then wire for each corresponding valve, sometimes color coded... sometimes not.

    Start with the make and model of the existing controller, whether or not it's doing anything, where it is located (inside, outside) and if it's hard wired or plugged in.
  7. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 7,961

    I was wondering how long you guys were going to string him along.
    However, it is an easy question and some basic diagnostic skills and tools are required.

    Do not start swapping parts or a controller until you know that is the issue. Get a multi-meter and if you do not know how to use it then punt. I put a meter on every controller within 5 mins of arriving after discussing the concern and getting shown the controller
  8. muddywater

    muddywater LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,813

    Yeah they used to sell a greenlee voltmeter w instructions.

    I have done some jobs where people got charged for a controller from a previous contractor and a wire was cut. Thats a good way to really piss somebody off.
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  9. muddywater

    muddywater LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,813

    But you really need to understand how irrigation works before you start billing someone. Do it for Free and consider it a cheap education.
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  10. Georgia Lawn Works LLC

    Georgia Lawn Works LLC LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 365

    I know the controller needs to be replaced because there isn't one. The homeowner said it got hit by lightning and he literally had to pick up pieces of the controller off of the ground. so unfortunately there is no model number available. Only 5 wires for 4 zones and a 120 source.

    The customer also said that light ing blew a hole in the ground about a foot where the direct burial wire comes out of the house and goes into the ground. So I'm not sure if there are any breaks in the control valve line (common or hot) or not. I'm going to have to put a controller and go from there. It it's a no go after that then the break is probably where the lighting blew the hole out of the ground.

    The customer said lighting hit there two different times in two years.

    What controller would you guys recommend that's around 100.00 customer said he did not have to have the best thing out right now and really just needed something basic without spending a whole lot of money

    Thanks for the help.
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