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Sunday, July 5th 2015, 11:14am

The multimeter says it should work, but it doesn't

I have a "working" system in that the valves run when turned on manually. I freshly wired new solenoids to a new control box, and when I use my multimeter, all readings are as they should be (correct voltage, no breaks in the system, etc.). However, when I try to run the lines via the control box...nothing happens.

Is there anything I can try? I'm out of ideas. Thanks!


Supreme Member

Posts: 5,288

Location: Metro NYC


Sunday, July 5th 2015, 3:44pm

You need to verify electrical continuity by way of resistance measurements.


Sunday, July 5th 2015, 4:39pm

The resistance measurements are in the correct zone according to this website:


Supreme Member

Posts: 5,288

Location: Metro NYC


Sunday, July 5th 2015, 6:32pm

Why did you replace all the solenoids and the controller? This isn't usually done on a whim.


Sunday, July 5th 2015, 7:24pm

It's been a long journey with this sprinkler system. We bought a foreclosed home, and the original system would sometimes work, sometimes not. So after a lot of trial and error, I started poking around and found faulty wiring (visible breaks) at the point where the wire enters the solenoid. So that's why the solenoids are new ones--there wasn't any way to repair the old ones.

The solenoids I used as replacements work fine manually; they're Signature ones. It's weird because I've run the multimeter all over the system, and the only weird thing is that when a station is active on the control panel, the voltage on that line will start normal then drop way down. The resistance in that same circuit measures normally, though...


Supreme Member

Posts: 5,288

Location: Metro NYC


Monday, July 6th 2015, 8:53am

You may have intermittent wiring fault(s) that allow a normal-looking resistance reading, but won't pass the current that is needed to activate solenoids. Strictly for the money, it's easier to just replace the wire, than it is to address multiple possible faults.

Prior to going to that extreme step, bring a solenoid to the controller and confirm that it indeed can supply the needed power for operation.

If there are any extra wires in the cable leading to the valve box, try using them, especially as another common.

Also, make sure a rain detector isn't messing things up. (bridge a wire around it)


Tuesday, July 7th 2015, 2:08pm

Thanks, I'll give it a try.

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