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FishNoGeek

New Member

Posts: 4

Location: Houston, TX

1

Sunday, April 4th 2010, 6:50pm

Rainbird Valves: some zones won't start electronically

I've been hacking at this problem for over two years now, and I've been lurking on this forum for a couple weeks. I keep thinking it's just a simple clogging issue with my solenoids, and I keep poking at them, and it still isn't working.

Finally got around to drawing up a rough schem of my valve setup -- see the PDF attached. It was much prettier before I had to shrink the quality to get it under 20KB, but you get the idea.

Here's the problem: Zones 1 & 2 won't come on via the electronic controls. Zone 3 works sometimes. Zone 4 works all the time.

It's all Rainbird, here are the specifics on the manifold valves:
  • Zone 1: APAS 075 - clicks and hums, releases water, sprinklers won't start; manual start only
  • Zone 2: APAS 075 - clicks and hums, releases water, sprinklers won't start; manual start only
  • Zone 3: APAS 075 - clicks and hums, releases water, sprinklers start slowly and unreliably
  • Zone 4: ASVF 100 - works every time

I think the wires are working -- nothing's dead. I've messed around with the flow rings on the APAS valves until I can't see straight. I've flushed and re-flushed. I've swapped the solenoids for zones 1, 2 and 3 (the wires aren't long enough to swap #4), but that hasn't helped. I've replaced the solenoid for #1.

This was a custom install by the original owners of the house, and they were idiots. Almost all the zones mix flowers with shooters, so half the lawn stays thirsty while other parts flood. For coverage reasons (and in hopes of somehow fixing the flows) I've replaced all the old impact shooters with gear-driven rotors. It's tolerable now, but I still can't get the stinking thing to turn on from the control panel, and I'm getting tired of crawling through the holly to turn them on and off manually. Doesn't work so well when we're away from the house, either.

Anybody got a silver bullet? Pleeeeze? Thanks!
FishNoGeek has attached the following file:

mrfixit

Moderator

Posts: 1,450

Location: USA

2

Monday, April 5th 2010, 1:29pm

Excuse me if I have an attitude here. Rainbird with this product tricked the consumer

strictly with their reputation

into buying one of the worst valves ever made. It angers me everytime I see one.

There's a yellow plastic ring inside that valve which breaks. I've seen them break the very

first time they're used. I bet you have a problem sometimes with the valve shutting

off once you've turned it on manually. Do yourself a favor and get rid of all four valves.

The valve with the same width from port to port is the Irritrol 311A. You wont have to move pipes around.
Or an easy quick fix is to remove the part of the valve under the solenoid and
replace with an Irritrol 300 valve adapter. It fits like a glove. You'll need a 1" valve adapter for all four valves.
Even the 3/4 inch ones.



Good luck!

FishNoGeek

New Member

Posts: 4

Location: Houston, TX

3

Monday, April 5th 2010, 4:38pm

Consider yourself most kindly excused. I have nothing nice to say about these valves, and it's nice to hear that I might not be a completely inept fool.

Yes, you're right -- they don't shut off reliably either. I didn't mention that in the original post because A) it seemed like I'd already covered enough ground, and B) after turning them on manually I'm never quite sure whether I've screwed them back into the right place where they'd be able to shut off automatically. Sometimes I've even really got to crank down on them manually to get them to shut down, and I usually have to open them up almost all the way to get them to turn on as well.

Is there an easy way to verify the 'broken yellow ring' theory? Not that I'm doubting you....

I love your quick fix solution, especially since I'm leaving later this week to travel. Do you mind recommending your favorite on-line retailer?

Wet_Boots

Supreme Member

Posts: 4,025

Location: Metro NYC

4

Monday, April 5th 2010, 5:12pm

Sounds like you'd be happy with three more ASVF-100's ~ Or even the 3/4 inch model, if those are a better fit.

http://www.sprinklerwarehouse.com/Rain-Bird-ASVF-Series-Valves-s/445.htm

mrfixit

Moderator

Posts: 1,450

Location: USA

5

Monday, April 5th 2010, 10:15pm

There's one thing I forgot to mention. If you go with the Irritrol valves you need to make sure there's room
between valves. You'll need approx 5" between the valves for them to fit.

My favorite online store is sprinklerwarehouse. Boots has the link in his post.

Just unscrew the whole unit from the valve. The back part of the valve. You'll see a clear yellowish brown plastic ring.
You can't miss it. I'll bet you a nickel it's cracked.

I didn't notice the valve that works is a different model. What I said only applys to the other 3.

The valve that works is an excellent valve.

This post has been edited 1 times, last edit by "mrfixit" (Apr 5th 2010, 11:41pm)


FishNoGeek

New Member

Posts: 4

Location: Houston, TX

6

Tuesday, April 6th 2010, 8:54am

Many thanks, guys. I don't have 5 inches between the existing valves, and that ASVF has been reliable. I think I'll grab three more of those. I've been using that ASVF valve as the 'control' in my experiments (at least to the extent that the wires will reach), and it's been consistently reliable. I'm glad to hear the vote of confidence in that one.

Mr. Fixit, you are at least one nickel richer. I'll put it into the mail, along with my check... <grin> I only had a few minutes before dark last night, but I yanked out the #1 valve that's given me the most fits. The ring is broken, just as you thought. Honestly, I can't see how it was ever expected to hold the tension it's supposed to be keeping under wraps. Interesting design....but not in a good way.

One more question: I'm incredibly short on yard time this week so I called a couple local sprinkler guys to see if they'd be able to swap these valves for a reasonable price. One of the guys sorta railed me for not wanting to immediately rip out the entire manifold and replace it with proper anti-backflow valves that are 'up to code'. He intimated that any other choice would be irresponsible and would surely result in my entire family suffering from toxicity poisons in the drinking water every time we fertilize or the neighbor's dog craps near a sprinkler head.

I had the idea that all of the valves I had and am considering (now the ASVF) did offer backflow prevention, and I don't have any idea what the local code requires. I've surfed on it some, and it doesn't seem well-published. Are those just scare tactics, or should I be seriously considering a complete overhaul of the valves?

Wet_Boots

Supreme Member

Posts: 4,025

Location: Metro NYC

7

Tuesday, April 6th 2010, 10:16am

Now you know why there's a place to supply your location. Without it, no one has a clue as to what rules apply. If the antisyphon valves are code-compliant in your location, then stay with them, as they have simplicity in their favor. They do have to be at a higher elevation than any head or line that they feed.

-

Rebuilding a manifold from scratch is often easier than trying to shoehorn valves into an existing manifold.

FishNoGeek

New Member

Posts: 4

Location: Houston, TX

8

Tuesday, April 6th 2010, 10:44am

Ah, well said. I've just populated that location field: Houston. And it turns out that I live quite close to Sprinkler Warehouse, so I'll be headed over there physically today or tomorrow to grab those valves. They're like 80% cheaper than Lowes. Impressive.

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