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cthielen

New Member

1

Sunday, July 17th 2016, 1:50pm

Pressure to solenoid not enough?

Hi all,

I bought a house with an automatic, five-zone irrigation system about a year ago.

I noticed about six months ago that one of the automatic valves had somehow become detached from the outlet pipe leading to the system, causing water to spray all over the valve. I have no idea how this happened. The house (and presumably valves) are about 15 years old.

I placed the pipe and valve back together and primed+glued it.

But, my automatic timer wouldn't work to turn the system on. Only opening the bleeder would cause that zone to activate correctly.

I first suspected the solenoid but I tested it and it opened and closed correctly when given current. I checked that the controller is sending a 24 V signal. I bought a replacement solenoid just in case. Nothing.

I then took apart another valve and swapped it with the bad one, everything from the diaphragm on up (diaphragm, valve head with bleeder screw, and solenoid). Despite all these parts being swapped between a good and bad valve, the bad valve was still the bad valve and the good valve was still the good valve.

I noticed when I leave the solenoid off both a good valve and the bad one, when receiving water pressure, the good valve shoots up water in a clean line like a squirt gun. The bad valve never does more than puddle up water profusely.

Turning the water on after removing everything from the diaphragm up on both a good valve and the bad valve, the water pressure _looks_ to be the same: both gush out like a broken fire hydrant.

So at this point, I'm almost at a loss for ideas. Like I said, I've swapped the diaphragm on up between a working valve and a bad one and it doesn't seem to have an effect. But the bleeder _does_ work on the bad valve, and the water pressure to the solenoid looks low despite the water pressure to the entire valve appearing fine.

So my guess is that the water pressure is off on the bad valve but not noticeable to the eye, and that maybe the original episode of this valve having come apart caused a fracture somewhere in the inlet that I'm not seeing?

Any ideas?

mrfixit

Moderator

Posts: 2,307

Location: USA

2

Sunday, July 17th 2016, 3:00pm

It could be a clogged port in the body of the valve. So even if you installed all new parts on the top half of the valve it still wouldn't work. Do you know that model of the valve? Or can you post a picture of the valve?

cthielen

New Member

3

Monday, July 18th 2016, 12:08pm

It could be a clogged port in the body of the valve. So even if you installed all new parts on the top half of the valve it still wouldn't work. Do you know that model of the valve? Or can you post a picture of the valve?


Sure. Here is the whole system:



Here is the top of the outlet (Irritol, I believe):



Here's a side view of the valve in question:



And here's what one looks like with everything I took off (except the diaphragm is still on in this photo):


mrfixit

Moderator

Posts: 2,307

Location: USA

4

Monday, July 18th 2016, 1:47pm

Take the diaphragm back out then pull that pin out that's running through the middle of the diaphragm. Well you don't have to pull it out. It might be clogged. Run some wire through it.

You might want to clean the filter while you're at it. It's that thing in front of the valve pointing at the ground. Unscrew it and clean the filter.

cthielen

New Member

5

Monday, July 18th 2016, 3:44pm

Take the diaphragm back out then pull that pin out that's running through the middle of the diaphragm. Well you don't have to pull it out. It might be clogged. Run some wire through it.

You might want to clean the filter while you're at it. It's that thing in front of the valve pointing at the ground. Unscrew it and clean the filter.


I pulled the pin out. It's only about an inch and a half long. There's nothing clogging it. I cannot, however, push a bent paperclip all the way through the opening it came from. My guess is that opening forms an L shape leading to the outlet?

Here's what I see when I open the top of the filter, it doesn't look dirty. I tried removing the actual bit pointing to the ground but it doesn't seem designed to come off:



Here's a close up of where the pin came out:



Not sure if it's relevant but the pin itself was a little hard to pull out. Is it supposed to move or just hold the diaphragm?

What do you think?

This post has been edited 1 times, last edit by "cthielen" (Jul 18th 2016, 3:53pm)


cthielen

New Member

6

Monday, July 18th 2016, 4:45pm

The main behavioral difference I see is that, with the solenoid removed, a good valve shoots water into the air, and the bad valve just puddles water.

My guess is this means the solenoid does not have enough water pressure to open the diaphragm, not that the pin leading to below the diaphragm is blocked.

My only issue with this is that, since I replaced the diaphragm and everything above it, I'm not sure _how_ the water pressure to the solenoid could be different.

(Here's a picture of the difference in pressure between the two, with the non-working one on the right:)


Seems to me that water should be shooting through the metal pin but it isn't, despite the pin not having any blockages in it.

This post has been edited 1 times, last edit by "cthielen" (Jul 18th 2016, 6:45pm)


mrfixit

Moderator

Posts: 2,307

Location: USA

7

Tuesday, July 19th 2016, 12:05am

You must not have the water on very much because those diaphragms would come flying off. At least one of them would. Or is that just drainage? Speaking of diaphragms those look pretty crappy. There's gung all over them.

What happens when you put your finger over the one tube with water coming out of it?

There has to be an opening somewhere under where that tube connects for water to get to the tube. I haven't taken one of those tubes out for 15 years so off the top of my head I can't picture it.

Put the bonnets back on, then take the solenoids off. Now turn the water back on. Are they both shooting up into the air now?

cthielen

New Member

8

Monday, August 1st 2016, 11:54am

You must not have the water on very much because those diaphragms would come flying off. At least one of them would. Or is that just drainage? Speaking of diaphragms those look pretty crappy. There's gung all over them.

What happens when you put your finger over the one tube with water coming out of it?

There has to be an opening somewhere under where that tube connects for water to get to the tube. I haven't taken one of those tubes out for 15 years so off the top of my head I can't picture it.

Put the bonnets back on, then take the solenoids off. Now turn the water back on. Are they both shooting up into the air now?


The small tubes with water shooting out turned out to be the single water delivery mechanism for the solenoid plunger. It being blocked explained why the bleeder valve worked to open the diaphragm while the solenoid failed to work.

What turned out to have happened is that when I glued the inlet and outlet of the valve back together, a small amount of glue found its way into that tiny port's intake, blocking it. I was able to use wire cutters to cut off a small piece of the port's intake to restore proper water pressure to the solenoid and everything works now.

Thanks again!

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