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New Member


Sunday, August 16th 2015, 3:07pm

Valve running on every zone


I bought my house 2 years go and the irrigation system was already installed. It wasn't until this year that I started playing closer attention to which zones were running and when. I created the image below to show how my zones are laid out, and the control wire configuration. The problem valve (shown in RED) is running on every zone. This is totally not needed as this small area is a hill and receives shade about 90% of the day. Tons of water is being wasted here.

I thought the valve might be just wired up to each zone, but when I opened up the control box the wiring looks good to me. Is it possible that the installation guys wired this valve up to the Master Valve (MV), so it is triggered on every zone? If so, is this legit?....seems like a sloppy hack to me.

My system uses the Rain Bird ESP Modular Controller.

Prior to going to college I worked as a apprentice electrician for a year, and then during college I worked for an irrigation company installing irrigation systems - I just never hooked up / terminated the controller wires. Point being: I feel comfortable working with this stuff, I just need an experts advice as I feel a bit lost on this issue.

Thank you for your time.

Central Irrigation

Supreme Member

Posts: 371

Location: Central Minnesota


Sunday, August 16th 2015, 3:59pm

Start disconnecting wires in the controller. If you disconnect the wire on the MV post and lose all control of system, then it is for an actual master valve and must be reconnected. It appears as though you have many more valves in your yard than 5 zones. The double tap on zones 2 and 3 is a clear indication.

Test the resistance all zone wires individually to determine if they in fact control separate zone valves.

It is possible they are using the MV terminal for a zone valve as it appears they were too cheap to add another module to the controller in order to separate zones.


New Member


Sunday, August 16th 2015, 7:29pm

Ok, I started unhooking wires and testing.


- Red Wire (MW): No zones turn on, so this appears to be an actual Master Valve

- White Wire (com): No zones turn on

- Gray Wire (Z1): Both zone #1 and trouble area do not turn on

- Green (Z2): Zone #2 does not turn on, but trouble area does turn on.

- Dark Blue Wire(Z2): Both zone #2 and trouble area do not turn on

- Brown or Yellow: Unhooking either one prevents zone #3 and trouble area from turning on. Interestingly, if the Green wire is unhooked, then zone #3 will not start, even if both Brown and Yellow are terminated. So zone 3# relies on the Green wire terminated into zone #2.

- Purple: Both zone #4 and trouble area do not turn on.

So it looks like I have a mess on my hands......

Central Irrigation

Supreme Member

Posts: 371

Location: Central Minnesota


Sunday, August 16th 2015, 10:55pm

Time to start opening valve boxes and mapping color to color connections.

You need to find all valves, which in your case should be 6. 5 zones and a master valve. Of course I'm assuming this is run off city water, not a pump.

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