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Starting Member

Posts: 1

Location: USA


Friday, September 21st 2007, 10:37am

Controller not turning the valves on...

The system stopped operating last month. We rechecked the one location where we had dug recently, and confirmed that the control wire was not damaged. We haven't had any unsually electrical activity, and the controller appears to be working correctly. We did pull the power and battery, and reprogrammed it just to be sure.

General info that I do know.
Controller: Rainbird ESP 8SI
Municiple water supply. I can manually operate the valves and each zone works.

Using a multimeter, Each zone reads 27 volts at the controller contacts when the controller turns them on. They read between 24.5 and 26 volts at each of the valves when activiated.

Would I get a good voltage reading at the valve if the common line was broken somewhere?

I removed the rain sensor for testing to make sure it wasn't somehow causing a problem.

I can't imagine that all 8 solenoids crapped out at the same time. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.



Supreme Member

Posts: 5,292

Location: Metro NYC


Friday, September 21st 2007, 1:30pm

Do resistance testing on the wiring. Are you connecting your multimeter to the solenoid wires out in the field?

Bill Painter

Advanced Member

Posts: 59

Location: Phoenix Az USA


Friday, September 21st 2007, 9:55pm

Sometimes electrical nuances are tricky. When you test the resistance to the valves from the clock as Wet Boots suggested, be sure it's 20 Ohms or more on each valve solenoid. Different solenoids (brands) have different resistances. Most are 24-25, 45 more or less, and Toro is generally 55 Ohms per.... Wire lengths can add an Ohm or two depending on distance from the clock.
Check continuity across from 1 to 2, 1 to 3, 1 to 4 and so on. Each should read twice what the common to valve resistance is. This would tell you the HOT connectons to the valves are OK or not. If they are all in the same ballpark, I would seriously consider re-doing ALL OF THE COMMON CONNECTIONS in the circuitry.
One last thing... when testing the solenoids and valves, defeat the rain sensor by jumping the terminals.. it might be shot.
The Irrigation Specialist Mfg' Az.
Please check my website and you'll find what I do and the unique tools I make and market.
Real timesavers, especially the Suck-Tube and Krik-It.


Advanced Member

Posts: 106

Location: USA


Saturday, October 13th 2007, 3:18pm

1st check voltage at each valve,if you have 27 volts then your selenoid is bad,if not then you have a bad wire to valve.

Vincent Nestor
Nestor's Sprinklers & Lighting


Supreme Member

Posts: 5,292

Location: Metro NYC


Sunday, October 14th 2007, 10:00am

One could still get a full voltage reading at the valve box with faulty wiring. Current and resistance measuring takes longer, but reveals more.

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