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New Member


Thursday, May 28th 2009, 11:45am

Valve Mystery

Okay, here goes.

Five years ago we bought a house w/ a 3-zone Richdel system. The analog controller is so old I think it was once used by Moses.

We turned the system off when we bought the place and waited until we could turn our attention to the back yard landscaping (after 5 years of interior refurb...another story).

In first attempts to re-start, 2 of the three zones are fine.

The third is not working. I don't have a tester, but I rigged a cheap-o activator w/ 3 9-volt batteries. Nothing. Just a kind of rushing sound, like water through a nozzle. (Not really an electrical "buzz" as I've heard described elsewhere.) But no water from the sprinklers.

I did notice that the pop-up heads in that zone were leaking a small bit, and I unscrewed the collar a bit to see that there was at least some water pressure. I cleaned and reassembled that head. Still nothing but a tiny leak. Obviously low pressure.

I even swapped the wiring from another valve. Nada. I even changed the solenoid. Still nothing. Just the rushing sound. I've left the zone running for an hour hoping to find a broken line to explain this, but all I have is the dribble from the heads and a few drops of water on the top of the solenoid and the valve. I thought that might suggest a clog in the valve. However, once I'd disassembled, cleaned and re-assembled the valve, I'm having the same results: whooshing noise, dribble at the heads and tiny leak at the solenoid.

Any ideas? Should I just replace the valve? (While I'm at it, should I chuck this antique controller?) Or is this likely an underground broken pipe that I just haven't found yet? Is it time to call a professional?

Thanks y'all.

This post has been edited 3 times, last edit by "zendog13" (May 28th 2009, 1:13pm)


Supreme Member

Posts: 5,298

Location: Metro NYC


Friday, May 29th 2009, 6:36am

Look for a break. Valves can always be opened manually, without using the controller. For advice on valves bring back some photos of the problem valve.


New Member


Friday, May 29th 2009, 11:33am

Gimme a Break

A break is what my logic is telling me as well. After hours of running, I've yet to find the
location, but the tragedy is that the likely place is under a newly
installed stone patio! (How screwed will I be then!)

One question though: what about the "whooshing" sound at the valve?

None of the others do that. Is that something that would be caused by a break further down the line?

Here's a picture of the valve. Like I said, Richdel 3/4". I don't see a model number anywhere. I don't know if you can see it, but there are a few drops on top of the solenoid that just appeared after start-up. The noise is pretty fierce. Wish I could upload audio.

This post has been edited 1 times, last edit by "zendog13" (May 29th 2009, 12:07pm)



Posts: 2,324

Location: USA


Friday, May 29th 2009, 2:31pm


Hey Zen, I don't know exactly what whooshing is so if you can't find a break I suspect the diaphragm. When the diaphragm goes bad the valve sounds different. You could unscrew the cap, the part on the right in your picture and turn the valve on to see if water gushes out like it should or just trickling before you buy parts. You might want to just buy an inline 205 and swap out bonnets if you don't want to cut and glue replacing the whole valve.


New Member


Friday, May 29th 2009, 2:56pm

Getting Closer

Thanks for the tip!

So the water is NOT gushing.

So, can I replace the diaphragm on this model? Does anyone know? Should I try swapping out the solenoid again just for kicks?

What's the smartest move here for the long run?


Supreme Member

Posts: 5,298

Location: Metro NYC


Friday, May 29th 2009, 4:38pm

You might just want to buy a new valve , and get a diaphragm assembly along with the bonnet and solenoid. The little grey/black 'button' is the manual bleed. Gently unscrew it, and water will escape and allow the valve to open manually, assuming the diaphragm assembly is in good shape.


New Member


Friday, May 29th 2009, 7:32pm

Faulty Diaphragm

Used the bleed screw test. Other two worked fine. So that's the culprit.

Since I'm on a budget, I need to do this on the cheap. If I can simply buy a new diaphragm and swap it out, that's for me.

Question is, where do I find these parts? Is this a big-box item or a specialty store. I'm in LA, so there's plenty of both.

Finally, if I take this route, am I in any way asking for trouble down the line? (In other words, am I being too cheap?) Would a whole new valve assembly be the way to go?

And thanks to everyone that's helped me figure this out. You guys are the best.

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