How To Repair Broken Stormwater Pipes

Posted on 5th June 2014 in General, Repairs

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One of the occupational hazards of doing retic and using a mechanical trencher is that we sometimes hit other pipes under the ground. Some are easier to fix than others and some require a plumber. Where we can we will fix the pipes on the spot, but it isn’t always possible.

Yesterday I accidentally cut thru a stormwater pipe thinking it was the conduit supplied for retic under a driveway. I was half way thru the cut (trimming what I thought was excess) when I realised what I had done… Oops… The pipe I wanted was further down the drive, but now I was left with the job of repairing my mistake.

Sometimes when stormwater pipe is chipped or cracked we can fix it by using another piece of stormwater, cutting it lengthways and using it a a sleeve. You slip it over, glue it and usually that’s all good.

In this case I needed to actually rejoin the two pipes – tricky when neither of them are flexible. It was a clean cut but it was all the way thru so a sleeve wasn’t going to work.

The solution?

Get a 90ml coupling, lift the most ‘movable’ piece of pipe above the other and slip the coupling over  it. Slide it right along, then realign the pipes and pull the coupling back over the other piece of pipe. When you are sure you have it lined up slide it up again and use some glue. You need to be sure not to get sand in between the pipes or they won’t slide.

If you have a whole section of pipe that needs replacing, or if it is impossible to lift the pipe up then simply use two couplings and do the same thing but insert a new piece of pipe where the damaged section was.

 

 

Reticulation Rocket Launcher Anyone?

Posted on 14th April 2014 in Just For Fun

My son discovered this video on Youtube today and is pretty keen to make one… Luckily we have all the parts we need in the back of the Cruiser!

How to Progam a Hunter X Core

Posted on 2nd April 2014 in Controllers

This is the most common controller we use so for those who would like some easy to follow instructions here they are courtesy of Hunter

Part 2 – some more advanced programming:

My Retic Won’t Shut Off

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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?

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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…

Odd.

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.

Weird…

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

Switch Off Day For Retic

Posted on 31st May 2013 in General, Local Knowledge

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If you live in Western Australia then June 1st is the day when all sprinklers get switched off for the next 3 months. Simply turn the dial on your controller to ‘off’ and come back in September to turn it on again. Between now and then there should be enough rain to see you through and keep your lawn and garden healthy.

This restriction doesn’t apply to new lawns which can still receive a watering exemption while they are being established.

If you aren’t sure what to do just give me a call and I’ll help you out – no cost

 

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.

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Rain Sensor Wet or Dry?…

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

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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!

How to Join PVC Pipes in Very Tight Spaces

Posted on 18th April 2013 in Repairs

Occasionally I pick up a job where I need to remove a solenoid and replace with another, but once the ground is excavated we discover a series of closely joined PVC fittings with nowhere to cut into. A tight series of elbows and tees can be a challenge to remove and refit.

A recent job saw solenoids lined up against a concrete driveway on one side and then dense roots on the other and this morning I needed to replace 5 solenoids all in a very tight confined space.

So if you need to do this what are you looking for?

The biggest thing to remember is that you want to plan what you do before you start.

- Solenoids that have an outlet onto black poly will be the easiest to work with because of the flex in the pipe.

- If there isn’t room to use a slip fix (telescopic fitting) to join pipes then you need to rely on there being some lateral movement in the pipes themselves. Always join the least movable parts first and save the moveable ones until you need to make a final join.

- Cut precisely and check your measurements. Sometimes – when you need to join PVC fittings side by side if you don’t get it perfectly right you can end up having to disassemble everything and starting over.

At the end of the day the goal is to get things joined up and working so if you need to get creative and run some pipe and fittings around a bit to get a join then that is better than not being able to make it work.

I don’t have any pics, but this is one of those jobs where it almost always pays to get someone in to do it. It will probably save you a lot of headaches!

 

There is Always a Way

Posted on 5th April 2013 in Never Seen That One Before

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This week I went to do a job that involved connecting the rear retic (running off a tap) to the main system at the front. In doing the quote I noticed a thin 70ml channel down the side of the house where liquid limestone ended and the fence began.

I figured that with a thin trenching shovel we could get enough dirt out to lay pipe and wire…

That all made sense but I forgot to take into account the fence post right smack bang in the middle of that 70ml channel. I was about to go and see the client and apologise for an embarrassing mistake on my part, when I had another thought…

I learnt a while back that you can dig under anything if you are prepared to dig for long enough so I thought this looked like a chance to test that theory. Surely 600-700ml down the concrete for the fence post would end and I would be able to get under it?…

Sure enough after some careful digging with a shovel that only just fitted I was able to poke a piece of PVC thru and make a connection. Saved my butt and saved my client having to run her retic off the tap any longer.