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Senior Member


Friday, August 1st 2008, 2:26pm

Valve Wiring, Parallel vs. Serial

Hi there,

I'm about to start my sprinkler installation at the end of this month and I was hoping for a little wiring advice for the "common" connection between valves. The diagrams, explanations, and installation instructions say that this is a "daisy-chained" (a.k.a. serial) connection between valves. In my installation I have two valve boxes (each with three valves) pretty far apart, so in order to daisy-chain this exactly as in the installation instructions for the controller, I would need to run a single conductor wire between the valve boxes, from valve 3 to valve 4. Please reference the following diagram to see what I mean (this will look exactly like the diagram from any controller installation manual):

However it's pretty inconvenient to do this as I'm sure you all agree. I was wondering if I can wire each valve box in parallel, and serially between valves in the same box? Please reference this diagram to see what I mean:

So can I do this, or will something go wrong with the installation? I'm sure many people have encountered the problem of multiple valve boxes in distant locations. Even if you had two valve boxes side by side it seems sloppy to route a single wire between them to continue the serial "common" connection. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance for your help.


Supreme Member


Friday, August 1st 2008, 2:47pm

You can wire the valve either way. Electrically speaking, they are both the same configuration.


Advanced Member

Posts: 88

Location: Seattle Area


Friday, August 1st 2008, 3:01pm


I have trouble seeing your very well done diagrams on my screen. Seems easiest thing would run at LEAST 4 lead (I always run at least 2 more wires than there are manifolds for further expansion, or as insurance if I encouinter a bad lead) to each box. Make white my common, and attach them together back at the controller.

Sorry if his is an oversimflication of what has been suggested. Jeff


Senior Member


Friday, August 1st 2008, 3:08pm

Wonderful. Sounds like everyone (at least of the two responses) is on the same page. I wasn't sure exactly what is happening inside the controller with that connection versus the other connections (I haven't looked at a controller or valve internal wiring diagram) so I figured it was better safe than sorry. I plan to run the 2 x 4-Strand bundles to wire up all six valves as shown, plus an additional 4-Strand bundle to each valve box in case I ever need to double my capacity. This is probably overkill because with the current six valves almost every square foot of my yard will be watered by sprinklers or drip irrigation, but you never know, and it is much easier to put the extra wire in now rather than down the road. Thanks for the quick help!

P.S. Lowvolumejeff, I think if you click on the images you'll get a bigger view. The forum sizes them down to fit on the page but the link goes to the full version.


Supreme Member

Posts: 5,292

Location: Metro NYC


Saturday, August 2nd 2008, 9:46am

One common wire is all you need, unless your mainline is branched, and you want to run a multi-conductor cable from each valve box directly back to the controller. Pros buy 10-conductor cable, and larger, and use the valve boxes to splice in a smaller cable to lead to the next box. That way, the wires at the controller will be color-coded, and confusion minimized. Use marking tape on your wires, if you have multiples of the same color.

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