On Friday I had a call from a client in Yanchep who had installed a solenoid, but was having problems. The two stations in the back were coming on together.
So I went out to see what was going on.
What was odd was that the two rear stations came on together but they didn’t come on when the front retic station was running. Normally if a solenoid fails open it stays on with every other station.
But in this case station one came on, then station two and three together.
So I checked:
- The direction of flow on the solenoid he had installed. It was correct.
- The wiring and the voltage at the solenoid. It was all perfect.
- Whether the solenoid was clogged with glue or dirt, but both were fine.
- Whether the controller had failed and was sending voltage on both stations rather than individually. It wasn’t…
There was no apparent reason and I was running out of options as all of the logical solutions were coming up blank.
Finally I decided to check whether a different controller would get a different result so we wired one up to test it. As I was doing this I asked the client why he replaced the solenoid.
He told me ‘I didn’t replace it – I added it to split the rear yard in two.’ And as he said that, it dawned on me what had happened. What was once a complete station had been divided in two – but not completely. Somewhere there was still a connection underground. It was the only explanation left for why both stations came on simultaneously.
When we discussed it he agreed and I left him to dig some holes and find that elusive connection.
There is always a logical solution to retic problems, but sometimes you need to gather all the information to make sense of it.
When it comes to retic in Two Rocks, especially on an established property, you need to be ready for some serious digging and some hard yakka. As the suburb name suggests there is a lot of rock up there and sometimes you just have to go around what you can’t go through.
I did this job last week, installing a whole retic system – 200m of PVC – to an established property. There were lots of roots and rocks to contend with but also some nice long sandy patches. Thankfully the faithful trencher didn’t let me down and I managed to get it all done in the day.
Without the trencher there would be 2-3 days of work in this one. I used a combination of MP rotators and precision nozzles to get it all done on 3 stations.
Spring is almost upon us and its time to get your reticulation system back in order.
Don’t wait until the first hot day and then turn it back on only to discover its not up to the job. Call us and we will make sure everything from control box to nozzles are working perfectly!
In case you weren’t aware all reticulation needs to be switched off as of June 1st and until Aug 31st.
For most controllers it is a simple matter of turning the dial to ‘off’ and ensuring the sprinklers don’t run. If you continue to run your retic over winter then you will get fined around $150.00
If you aren’t sure how to switch the system off then give us a call and we’ll try and talk you thru it over the phone.
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.
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.
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!
Sometimes it can be difficult to install a system when there is no way of running wire from the control box to the solenoids. Maybe the liquid limestone went in too quickly and people hadn’t considered the future problems.
It may not be all over…
There are a couple of battery powered solenoids models available that require w ater supply, but do not need a control box positioned on the wall. We prefer to use the Hunter Node for reliability and ease of use. It functions in much the same way as the X Core controller and had the option of installing multiple solenoids, so even if you can’t access your water meter or get power to your solenoids the ‘Node’ may still allow you have a functioning retic system
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:
Its that time of year when you switch reticulation back on so its likely you’ll be looking for someone to service your sprinklers and get it all up to speed for what looks like being a long hot summer.
So give us a call on 0400044236 and we will book a time to get everything working as it should be, set your controller and ensure you are ready for summer.