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njitgrad

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1

Tuesday, November 6th 2012, 4:49pm

replacing an Imperial Valet timer

I think its time to replace my relic Imperial Valet timer. My irrigation guy told me he could install a digital timer in the spring for $150 using the existing wiring.



Is this a DIY job? If so, what kind of timer would be compatible with the existing wiring?

Wet_Boots

Supreme Member

Posts: 4,076

Location: Metro NYC

2

Tuesday, November 6th 2012, 8:44pm

Does your system have Imperial brass zone valves? If the answer is "yes" then you don't get a new controller for $150.

njitgrad

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3

Wednesday, November 7th 2012, 10:16am

Does your system have Imperial brass zone valves? If the answer is "yes" then you don't get a new controller for $150.
I have no idea. Can you elaborate?

Wet_Boots

Supreme Member

Posts: 4,076

Location: Metro NYC

4

Wednesday, November 7th 2012, 2:22pm

It has to do with whether or not the zone valves on the sprinkler system are compatible with modern controllers. Imperial made good valves, with solenoids that happened to draw about three times as much power as a standard solenoid of today. Nearly all modern controllers will perceive a perfectly good Imperial solenoid as being a short circuit, and will shut down the zone, giving you an error message on the controller display.

So, if you have no idea of where the zone valves are, to check on this, you get technical, like any good NCE alumnus would. You get a multimeter capable of reading AC current, and see what the solenoids in your system are actually drawing.

njitgrad

Unregistered

5

Thursday, November 8th 2012, 1:56pm

So, if you have no idea of where the zone valves are, to check on this, you get technical, like any good NCE alumnus would. You get a multimeter capable of reading AC current, and see what the solenoids in your system are actually drawing.

That's funny. Unfortunately I only took enough EE courses to meet the graduation reqmts for my curriculum. And we're talking over 20 years ago. I'm thinking at this point that this is definitely not a DIY job for someone like me. 8)

Wet_Boots

Supreme Member

Posts: 4,076

Location: Metro NYC

6

Thursday, November 8th 2012, 6:04pm

You could get a clamp-around ammeter (#95683 - not the cheaper one) at a Harbor Freight store and see what you can read for current draw.

This is still assuming you can't find any of the valve boxes so you can bring back a valve photo.

njitgrad

Unregistered

7

Thursday, May 30th 2013, 8:44am

So I'm finally getting back around to this, but as a first measure (replacing the timer would be the last), I was hoping that I could get some advice on rewiring my zones.

I have 5 zones (out of 6) in use on my Imperial Valet. I took apart the timer and all the wiring yesterday (labeling each wire) and drew a block diagram (which I've posted below) to help me formulate my question.

In the diagram (I omitted the power cable coming into the panel) I have two sets of zone cables, each containing 4 wires in use (out of 6). The wire colors in the diagram represent the actual colors of the wires being used.

In the first set I see a wire connected to Zone 1, Zone 2, Master Controller, and Common (tied in with Common from second set).

In the second set I see a wire connected to Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5, and Common (tied in with Common from first set).

My 1st question is....can I swap Zone 1 with Zone 5, and Zone 2 with Zone 4? I'd prefer my backyard to get wet first, then my front yard, not the opposite which is currently what it is. Or is this not possible because of the master valve? Please forgive me, I don't understand the concept of a master valve, nor why I have a connection to it via the same cable set that controls Zone 1 and Zone 2.

My 2nd question is a followup to my earlier posts in November. Now that I have all the wiring exposed, can anyone tell me the simplest way to determine what current my solenoids are drawing. I have a multimeter, and I know how to use basic functions on it, just need to know what specifically I need to do measure the current. Or do I need to get the clamp-around ammeter that was suggested?




Wet_Boots

Supreme Member

Posts: 4,076

Location: Metro NYC

8

Thursday, May 30th 2013, 3:21pm

Nice diagram. Zones can be rearranged however you see fit.

Current is read by an AC ammeter. It happens that AC amps is not a function found on cheaper multimeters. Old-time equipment from the days of vacuum tubes will read AC amps, in case you have access to same.

njitgrad

Unregistered

9

Thursday, May 30th 2013, 3:37pm

Thanks again for the info. At least I know I can move my zones around.

Why is it that I have two zone cables and not one? Is it because there weren't enough wires in one cable? If there is only one master valve and five zone valves, I have to believe that those five zone valves are connected to the master value in a single underground box, and therefore both of those cables run to the same location underground. I can't possibly imagine where on my property this box would be located.

Regarding the ammeter, how would I measure the current? Would I connect the ammeter leads in series (with one lead connected to the zone wire from outside and the other lead connected to the zone wire from the timer, effectively completing the circuit when the zone is activated via the dial)? What am I looking for in terms of a reading?

njitgrad

Unregistered

10

Thursday, May 30th 2013, 3:40pm

Oh, and I just realized that you said AC ammeter, not DC. Don't the solenoid valves operate on DC?

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