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Tuesday, May 8th 2012, 11:14pm

An elusive problem... front yard is always on...

Hello all,

First i'd let to preface my cry for help by saying thanks to all who take time to read this, and please know that i have lurked this website and others attempting to fix my own problem(s) but have had no luck.

4 years ago, i bought a foreclosed home. i have fully remodeled the interior and exterior. now, the only other thing to do is work on the yard. this house has a sprinkler system. last summer, i attempted to get it running without luck. while fiddling with it last summer, the front yard sprinklers were ALWAYS on if the master valve was on. i attempted to cycle through the 3 sprinkler areas with the control panel, but no matter what area was "on" (per the control panel) the front yard was always running. eventually i unplugged the control panel, and the front yard was still long (as long as it had water from the master valve).

spring is here, and i decided to get more ambitious. let me explain the layout of my house really quick:

my front yard is on the north end of the house. i believe this is one sprinkler area. In the front yard is a "control valve box" (has a green lid and is labeled as such). here, there are three valves.

i believe the other two sprinkler areas are the west side of my house, and then the backyard/south side of the house.

so, knowing that that my problem with the front yard always being on was a valve or solenoid, i went to the box in the front yard. i didnt feel like "buying" anything right now, because i was in the troubleshooting stage.

i have troubleshooted by performing a "3 way trade" with all valves and solenoids. no matter what combination i have, the front yard is ALWAYS on.

there IS a fourth valve at the southeast corner of my house, but i am almost 100% positive that this valve just controls a planting area which is a few feet way from this mysterious fourth valve.

SO, wtf? i have no leads, no idea what i can do to test things out now. i guess i could fiddle with the control panel, but that is an issue within it's own, because i have no schematic, and i can't even tell what brand the control panel is.

help :)




Tuesday, May 8th 2012, 11:58pm

RE: An elusive problem... front yard is always on...

i should clarify when i said i performed a "3 way swap" with the valves and solenoids...

i did a 3 way swap with "top half" of the valves (which can be unscrewed from the base) and the solenoids. the bottom half of the valves stayed where they were because they are not "quick disconnect" and would require a saw or grinder or something to remove/replace.


Wednesday, May 9th 2012, 8:16am

Well, you've eliminated solenoids and diaphragms.
And I'm assuming that the bleed screws are turned down, as the parts you brought from the back area didn't have a problem.
How did the master valve stay on if you unplugged the controller?
I'd start at the controller.
If you don't have any diagnostic tools like a multimeter or Pro-48 then start swapping wires on the controller.
See if any pattern develops.
Personally, lacking patience, I'd disconnect every wire and reconnect one at a time.




Wednesday, May 9th 2012, 9:36am

hey gator guy,

my master valve is a manual one. and i don't have bleed screws. this appears to be my valve:

i didn't think it was a wiring issue as my control panel was unplugged and had no power.

i DO have a voltmeter. AND i think i figure outed what my control panel is (my control panel was missing half of it's face plate, the half that i usually labeled with a brand).

i just woke up (on the west coast) and what i'll do is try and see if there's anything wrong with the common wire and unplug all wires at the control panel and see what happens.

if you have any recommendations let me know. i will also look at that fourth valve just in case i may be missing something


Wednesday, May 9th 2012, 9:41am

"i didn't think it was a wiring issue as my control panel was unplugged and had no power."

That's what throws me.
If you have a manual master valve, no bleed screws, the solenoids are turned down snug, that leaves you with...

At this point I'm hoping some of the real wizards will have time to check in on this one.




Wednesday, May 9th 2012, 9:44am

i wonder if that fourth valve is my issue... .HA. I'll check it out here in a second, gotta get some grub in the stomach.

i dont think it's that fourth valve though, structurally it's location makes no sense to be controlling the front yard.




Wednesday, May 9th 2012, 10:39am

well, i physically disconnected the non-common wires AND the common wires from the control panel. control panel STILL is without power.

turn my master valve on and i still have the front yard sprinklers on.

i'm absolutely a noob, but i dont think it's the control panel


Wednesday, May 9th 2012, 10:48am

Nope, not the controller.
Now grasping at straws:
If the zones are on and you go to an area valve can you feel/hear water going through that valve?
Are you sure the master valve isn't THE valve for those sprinklers?
For a valve to stay on all the time either a bleed screw or solenoid is backed out (you verified), trash is holding the diaphragm open (you rebuilt all 3 so that's eliminated) or the assembly has just failed (again you rebuilt...).
I'm down to either the master valve is really the area valve or ghosts/gremlins.

Still waiting on the genius bunch to join in and rescue us.




Wednesday, May 9th 2012, 11:21am

i think i have my terminology mixed up. my "main valve" isn't really a valve. it's like a water supply outlet thing.

here are photos of my setup:

this is my control box. of course i have no manuals for it. i have determined that it is an old rainbird esp.

this is what i call my "master valve". without turning this on, sprinkler system has no water.

here is my main valve box.

here is my fourth valve which is at the SE corner of the house. this HAS bleed screw. by turning fully counter clockwise i figured out what sprinklers it controls and it's not the front yard ones that are always on.

hopefully this helps you guys help me :P




Wednesday, May 9th 2012, 11:22am

OH, and to answer your question about "hearing running water" - the valve box is right next to one of the sprinkler heads that's always on. so all i can hear is the sprinkler running :(

i tried to "feel" each valve and i couldnt really feel anything either.

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