Shared Bores and Strange Problems in Yanchep

Posted on 27th September 2015 in bore, What's Going on There?


This week I had an early morning phone call from a regular client who lives at the top of our street.


‘Andrew – my retic is on and it won’t go off. I’ve turned the controller off but it keeps running…’


If this were a system running off the mains then we would naturally presume a faulty master and station solenoid but this was a bore. I told him to turn the bore off at the mains and that stopped the flow.


Assuming it was the electrical contactor failing I told him to get the electrician out to check it out and replace it.


So the electrician attended and couldn’t see a problem, apart from the faulty station solenoid.


So the client rang again and we discussed it some more.


It didn’t make sense. It had to be an intermittent problem. Then 3 days later he called again to say it had happened again.


Odd… I told him to get the sparky back because pumps don’t just come on of their own accord


The electrician went back and could find no fault with the contactor. Really?…


I was at home having a coffee so I headed up the street to see if we could resolve this somehow.


Sure enough it all worked perfectly, except for the faulty solenoid. I was hesitant to fix the solenoid until we had resolved the intermittent pump issue otherwise we would risk the pump coming on with nowhere for the water to go and possibly burn it out.


It was a puzzle… and it was also a shared bore…


So I guessed that perhaps the other person’s contactor had failed. Now we were getting warm. The contactor was fine, but then it dawned on me to check the settings on their controller.


Sure enough the times my client had noticed his retic running when it shouldn’t have corresponded to the times that the neighbour’s retic was running.


Problem solved and now we just need to replace a solenoid.

Shared bores can present some unusual issues so give us a call if you get stuck and need to troubleshoot

Add a Station Incompatible with Controller?

Posted on 19th September 2015 in What's Going on There?


I’ve been using ‘Add a stations’ for a while now as they are great for turning one power wire into two and solving the problem of having to run a new cable.

This week I arrived at a job in Ocean Reef where a 5 year old device appeared to have failed. One station would run via the ‘Add a Station’, but not the other. A couple of solenoids were also old and dodgy and in need of replacement.

So I did the job, installed the new Add a Station, ran several tests and all seemed to be ok.

Then I got a call back a few days later that the problem has come back.

I arrived and checked the Add a Station to see if it was working. There was power to the blue wire, but not the brown wire. I changed it for another new Add a Station and the result was the same.

I tested the controller which was working fine and operating the solenoids perfectly. I tested the wiring by running new cable from the controller to the solenoids and again it didn’t work.

So it was a complete mystery as to why things were failing

It seemed like a bad batch of Add a Stations perhaps?…


Then I got home and tested the Add a Stations on a brand new Hunter X Core and both worked perfectly. So the only conclusion is that the controller is failing to operate as intended. It was an Irritrol Raindial and functioning fine in every other way.

I haven’t tested the system with a new controller yet as the client is obviously reluctant to spend more money, but it seems this may be the only solution…


Irrigation and Turf Installation in Carramar

Posted on 4th June 2015 in What's Going on There?

This was last week


The client had started the work, dug out some of the old reticulation and was hoping to dig out the old turf and replace with Sir Walter buffalo. Then he decided to call us and this is the result


Bobcat on Tuesday

Reticulation on Wednesday

Turf laid today

Its an instant transformation and a much better look.

Its Sir Walter Buffalo with MP rotators for sprinklers


My Retic Won’t Shut Off


For people with Hunter X Core Controllers this is one of the most common issues and it arises because the controller is incorrectly programmed.

What happens is the system comes on at 5.00am (or whenever you have set it for) runs thru the whole cycle and then does it again… and again… and again…

The problem is more than one identical start time being set.

By that I mean that start time 1 is 5.00am, start time 2 is 5.00am and then start time 3 is 5.00am. For some reason this confuses the machine and causes it behave in this way.

The reality is you only need one start time to run a program, so if you have this issue then ensure you only have one time set.

When Retic Won’t Switch Off

Posted on 20th November 2013 in solenoids, What's Going on There?


There can be a few causes of this, but its rare that it happens.

Typically when a system doesn’t have a master valve any time a solenoid fails the retic will leak, but its very unusual when there is a master valve.

I was at a property this week where the retic ‘wouldn’t shut off’.

When I got there the ball valve that isolates the retic had been closed because it wouldn’t stop running on station 1. I opened the ball valve and nothing happened… So obviously it had shut off…

I checked the controller and it was an X Core with some a dodgy dial that wouldn’t do what it was supposed to. So I replaced it, thinking that this was the source of the problem. It needed replacing anyway and when I tested it, all worked well.

Then I got a call that night telling me the retic was stuck on again…


So I dropped in and checked the new controller and it was working fine – BUT – the retic was definitely stuck on station 1.

I had to do another job so I turned it off at the ball valve and went away for a few hours. When I returned and turned it on the water flow had stopped.

The only thing that could cause this was a faulty solenoid both on 1 and the master – perhaps solenoids that were slow closing or remaining partially open. I located solenoid 1, a Rainbird, and noticed that the bleed screw was just a little loose, so I tightened it and that fixed that. I went to the master and the bleed screw was loose on there as well.


I have no idea how these screw get loose, but its worth knowing that this happened without any interference. No one messed with them.

If your retic won’t shut off and you have a master valve then check your bleed screws.

Hopefully tonight all will be well

Days Like These…

Posted on 20th August 2013 in Just For Fun, What's Going on There?

Just for fun…

Most days I enjoy retic and turf but then there was Thursday last week…

It rained pretty much all day, which is never fun and from the very start of the day things didn’t go to plan. We arrived to dig some dirt out of a backyard and lay some lawn. As we arrived the tyre on the trailer was clearly going flat and needing pumped up. Bummer because we were out the back of Banksia Grove and the nearest servo was 15 minutes drive.

Anyway we weren’t going anywhere with a tyre like that and we couldn’t load up the dirt we needed to tip so I took off and got the tyre pumped back up. Half an hour gone and by the time I got back it had started to go down again… Waste of time…

I continued digging out the yard and instead of removing about a third of a cube we finished up with just over a cubic metre – a pretty big load for my trailer and technically overloaded.

I decided to change the tyre over and use the spare, so I loosened the wheel nuts on the faulty tyre and then tried to get the spare off – but it wouldn’t come easily and then it started to pour so we took shelter in the client’s carport. We chatted for a bit and realised the weather wasn’t going to change so it was decided we would drive down to Wanneroo, get a tube put in the tyre and then head down town for our city jobs before coming back to finish off.

Remember the loosened wheel nuts?

Hmmm… we didn’t… so halfway down Pinjar rd the wheel came off the trailer… Fortunately there was no major drama other than having to dump the trailer and take the wheel to the tyre shop to get a new rim, some new wheel nuts AND a tyre… This day wasn’t going well.

We managed to get a good turn around on the tyre and went back and fitted it on the trailer. Knowing we still had work to do we headed back to move the big pile of dirt. But as we arrived the rain set in again – heavy, dense, unrelenting. So… we turned the car around and again headed for the city.

It rained non stop down there and we couldn’t do two of the jobs we had driven down to do. Annoying.

So we drove back to finish off the turf laying and get that pile of dirt to the tip. The rain eased a little and we shovelled all of the dirt into the trailer. It was well loaded.

And we headed for the tip… And all was going well until we hit that bump on the way in and the axel snapped on the trailer… It was the last thing we needed… The leaf springs held the wheels in place so we managed to drag it down to the dumping area and unload in the pouring rain before calling a friend who allowed us to borrow his trailer to go back to the client’s house and get the rest of our gear.

So we dumped our trailer at the tip and ended a disaster of a day by loading up on a mate’s rig and heading for home. Its been 7 years of retic and never a day like that one…

And never again…



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My Controller Looks Like Its Working But Nothing is Coming on

Posted on 26th May 2013 in Controllers, General, solenoids, What's Going on There?

So you set your controller running and everything looks right on the digital panel, but there is no water?…

What’s going on?…

Well if you are running your retic off the mains then its most likely that there is a problem with your master solenoid. If it isn’t working then you won’t get any water to the different stations.

You can test if this is the issue by locating it, turning it on manually (usually you need to turn the coil a quarter turn anti-clockwise) and then running the system as usual. If everything works with the master valve open then you have found your problem.

If not then the problem may well be the controller itself.


Rain Sensor Wet or Dry?…

Posted on 26th May 2013 in Controllers, What's Going on There?, wiring


If you have a Holman 4/6/9 controller and the display looks ok, but it doesn’t seem to be working then the first thing to check out is whether the rain sensor display says ‘rain sensor wet’ or ‘rain sensor dry’.

If it displays a ‘wet’ message then it means that there is no 24v power going to the controller and therefore no power to operate solenoids.

There are a few things that could cause this:

1) check your RCDs in your meter box as if one of these has tripped then you won’t have power to the box.

2) check your fuse. Most likely a fault will have blown the fuse.

3) It may be that the transformer that converts 240V to 24V has died. Not much you can do here but replace the unit.

But before you call someone out do the ‘wet/dry’ check first!

Only One Station Comes on?

Posted on 5th April 2013 in What's Going on There?


x core


This week I went to a property where there were 5 retic stations wired up, but only station 3 would come on.

As with all these problems it is important to begin at the controller and follow wiring and piping from there. I put the controller on station 1 and tested for voltage. There were no volts coming from terminal 1, but one station was definitely on as I was getting wet.

I did the same for station 2 – no volts, but the same station was stuck on.

Station 3 had volts and water from the same sprinklers

Station 4 & 5 had the same watering pattern but no volts.

My conclusion was that something had gone awry in the control box and it wasn’t sending power to the other stations to enable them to open. For some reason it was only powering up station 3.

So I switched the boxes over, ran a test and all was good as new.

Had we begun by chasing solenoids we would have spent a lot of time and gained nothing as the problem was located in the controller itself.

comments: 1 »

How Many Volts Does My Retic Need?

Wire Roll (1)

I was working on a friend’s place recently with a strange fault that was proving difficult to track down.

The solenoid would come on and off intermitently. It would work 10 times in a row and then fail. There was power (27V) coming from the control box but at the solenoid the power varied between 22-26v according to my multimeter.

The power wire to the solenoid had been joined several times before it reached the solenoid and after eliminating any other possibilities (faulty coil/controller) I could only conclude that there was a problem with the wire run.

I ran a fresh wire to the solenoid and tested it around 20 times with no failure. It seemed that the wire was flawed somewhere between the controller and the solenoid. There were numerous connections and it wasn’t easy to find where the problem was so I simply ended up running a new wire.

So far so good…