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The last 6 posts

Monday, May 23rd 2005, 11:55pm

by CPFox


Normally, unless you are pretty sure of where the problem lies the best troubleshooting procedure is to start at the water source and work your way to the heads. Because your house is of modern construction, I would say the city tap is ok because that kind of corrosion takes years (or decades) to develop.

Brass shutoff gate valve stems will also sometimes break off and the partially to fully-closed gate will shut down the water supply. I see that you already have a corroded gate valve and I would recommend that be replaced anyway with a good nylon/pvc unit. You might just have to turn the water off to the system someday anyway!

Because you have an existing system that presumably worked well at one time, I would suspect a bad gate valve or bad master valve. In short - it sounds very much like something just broke, and that will really narrow down your search to pinpoint the problem. I would check the gate valve, master valve, backflow device, and zone valves - in that order.

Controllers do go bad on occasion - especially after a nearby lightning strike, but the culprit is usually the wiring. It's usually fairly easy to see if controller microchips are fried from lightning because you usually (but not always!) can't program them. I know of cases where lightning has done some really bizzare things to controllers, wiring, and valves (i.e: shorting out a single zone when all other zones work fine).

From everything you have described, I would say you are looking at a mechanical failure - not electrical...

Let me know how it all turns out...

Monday, May 23rd 2005, 1:30pm

by Sam Chen


Thanks for the advice! I will check with the City Water Supply. The house is pretty new. It was build in 2000.

Sunday, May 22nd 2005, 8:57pm

by CPFox


I would troubleshoot the entire system from the water source all the way to the zone heads. If the system is hooked-up to a municipal water system, I would call the city and have it flow checked at the meter for starters.

This is a strange but true story of what happened to me several years ago:

I installed a system for a customer and designed the entire system with a hydraulic software program I built for computing PSI, water velocity, etc (before the days you could commercially buy a software design program). Anyway, I hooked the system up to an existing 3/4" meter, built the entire system, and fired it up - nothing but little spurts of water came out of the heads!! After hours of me being "firmly insistent" with our municipal water provider, I finally convinced a city supervisor to cut the street and check the tap on the water main. I was able to troubleshoot that either I had a very big rock in the sprinkler supply main (which I didn't believe was true), or the tap under the street was bad. Sure enough, a 1" "molycock" tap had corroded down to about 5% of the original opening 8' under the street. The city fixed it at no charge...

Some cities used "molycocks" back in the 1960's and early 1970's because they were cheaper than pure-copper cocks. If your home is a 60's or 70's vintage, I would find out from the city if molycocks were ever used.

Now the funny part was - the tap restriction was not bad enough to be noticed in the shower, washing machine, kitchen, etc, but a sprinkler system flowing at 15GPM overwhelmed its very limited capacity and exposed the problem.

Something to think about...

Monday, May 16th 2005, 8:36am

by Sam Chen

The main water supply is turned ON. In fact, I try to turn it off and failed to do so since it was so tight and rusty. From the terminal of Controller, there is a MV terminal. I have talked to the Irritrol system. Looks like I have a blockage somewhere down the line. I opended up a couple of water valves the past weekend. I saw very little water, slowly come up. Please give me a hint how to diagnose and fix a blockage. Thank you.



Thursday, May 5th 2005, 3:46pm

by water miser

is the main water supply turned on?if you don't know if there is a master valve check the terminals of the controller,there should be a terminal mv if there is a wire hooked up to it ,it should be a master valve,then you know you have one somewhere.

Monday, May 2nd 2005, 7:40am

by Sam Chen

Sprinkler System NOT Working/Spraying

Hi, All:

My name is Sam. I am new to this nice forum.

I have purchased a house with a sprinkler system. Initially, the zone 1 and 3 were not working. The previous owner called service and fix them. Now it does not work at all, i.e., none of the zone is working by program or mannual operation.

I have an Irritrol RD-900 Indoor controller with 9 zones. I have checked the voltage from the power supply. It reads 24V. While set manually to zone 1, 2 for example, the MV and zone 1 and 2 also reads 24V. When I turn out the Solenoid from one of the valves, it got very little water comes out of it. First, I thought there was a master water valve turned off. I could not find it, and I have talked with the previous owner. He did not realize there was one. He could not figure out what is wrong with the system either. [8)]

Please help me out. Thank you very much!