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
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!
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.
This week I went back to a job I first looked at a couple of months back.
I stopped in on my way home to see why this particular system wasn’t working. It was late in the afternoon and more than I had time for so I declined to take the job on right then.
So when we got back yesterday I knew what we were doing.
I had already tested for power at the Master Valve and there was nothing there. However what was really odd was that there was intermittent power. I know because I brushed the fleshy side of my forearm across the wires and got a small boot. The power wouldn’t register on the multi-meter, although it did shoot up to 28v on one occasion before dying again and making me wonder if i was dreaming…
So the logical conclusion was that a common wire had been broken somewhere. Even when the master valve was turned on manually there was still no water going thru the system. We began at the controller and traced the wires thru a series of 4 different joins and eventually discovered a sliced cable about 30ml underground alongside the driveway. It looked like the edger had given it a beating.
The wire were joining occasionally hence the odd readings, but once it was all tidied up and rejoined the system was working perfectly again.
I managed to get a hold of one of these babies for home the other day. On a quarter acre block it’s a bit of a pain running back and forth to test the stations so a remote comes in handy – and its even better when you need to change a nozzle.
Now its no longer a case of unscrew, flush, test while running back to the control box each time. Now you can operate the controller while standing next to the sprinkler. Much easier!
The remote allows you to operate your stations for a run time that you choose. Its really simple to install and use.
For some reason my first attempt at installation resulted in some bizarre error messages and strange behaviour by the system. The controller worked fine without the remote attached, however when I wired it up I discovered that 3 stations were coming on at once. There was power (23v) coming from pump, the actual terminal in use and two others.
It was a mysterious problem and I thought the controller was at fault, but I disconnected the remote wires and reconnected… and then all worked fine. I’m not sure what the issue was but its sorted now.
This is the control box you would use if you have no access to mains power. It is totally battery operated and does not require a 240v supply.
I came across one of these in Butler this week and only realised when we arrived that it was a hybrid. The trick here is that none of your regular 24v solenoids will work with it, so because we were laying retic and turf that day it meant a frantic search to locate some DC latching solenoids.
In the end Total Eden in Balcatta had 3 we needed so it was long drive there and back to make it work. I’m not sure why anyone would use one of these in Suburbia where power is not an issue. The other thing to remember with these controllers is that the solenoids are expensive. You will pay $80.00 for each solenoid rather than the regular $30.00 so it adds to the cost of the job.
I believe you can use regular Hunter valves and simply change the coil to DC latching, but I haven’t tested that method.
Next time I’ll be making a note of whether the controller is AC or DC!
Check this out!
Today we did a job on an old bore in Yokine. It involved removing the elbow from the top of the bore and as I inspected it this is what I saw.
The mineral deposits from the water have formed a crusty inner skin that looks a bit like coconut inside the pipe. Obviously this has happened over a number of years, but its good to see what can form from bore water.
It is about 5ml thick all round
On September 1 we can all switch our retic back on.
Inevitably that is the time when you discover that it isn’t working quite the way you hope it should. If that is the case and your retic needs servicing then give us a call on 0400044236 and we can book you in.
The spring and early summer months are always flat out so beat the rush and get in asap!
I have a friend who lives in Quinns Rocks and is on a shared bore. In the last year we have replaced 3 solenoid coils on the same valve because they have corroded and become stuck open.
I haven’t seen this happen before, but it seems that the minerals in the water (or perhaps the salt) may be corroding the solenoid piston and causing it to fail.
At the moment I don’t have a suitable solution, but it may be that we need to find a solenoid that does not have any metallic parts. You obviously can’t change coils every few months so there must be a better way to hit the problem.
If you have had any similar problems then I’d love to hear about it