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!
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!
Its been a busy summer and a hot one too – in fact the hottest one Perth has ever known which would explain why by this time of year we are a little weary!
If you are considering installing some turf then now is a fantastic time to do it, but I’d move quick before winter hits and we enter the season where lawn goes dormant.
We are still busy but have definitely noticed the slow down with the cooling weather.
Look forward to hearing from you
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.
One of the most common service calls I do is to respond to the ‘fuse’ message on the Irritrol Kwikdial controllers.
The fuse message can be a frustrating one because it isn’t always clear if its the solenoid coil that is giving the problem, or if its the controller itself. And the the error can also be intermittent making it even harder to trace.
Obviously the place to begin is with the faulty solenoid coil as this is the cheaper of the two solutions. If replacing the coil (once you have determined which solenoid is sending the fault) removes the message then all good.
If not then chances are its the controller itself that is in the death throes.
Just last week I encountered one of these in Butler where the controller displayed ‘fuse’ intermittently. It failed often enough on station 1 for me to deduce that it was the coil that was at fault. I located it and replaced it and after 7 or 8 tests there were no problems.
However this week I had a call saying it was ‘doing it again’. If a brand new coil is giving the same result then we have either been extremely unlucky and hit a bad coil or the control box itself is faulty. I have replaced a few faulty control boxes showing this message with a good result.
So there you have it… there are two possibilities and while usually its the coil it might also be your controller.
Easy to do!
If you have recently moved and are wondering if this is a worthwhile option then my tip is to do it straight away. After 5 years in our last home we began debating the merits of a bore, but knowing we may not stay much longer than another year or two we decided against it.
But when we moved to Yanchep, to a home with no retic it was the first thing on the agenda. And there have been no regrets.
With a bore you get:
- ‘free’ water in the sense that it is not part of your regular watering bill
- 3 watering days instead of two
- a significant capital investment in your home. With water prices rising and 50% of our water being thrown on the lawn and gardens to have a bore is a very smart move.
It does certainly cost you more upfront, but if you are on a decent sized block (say 550sqm +) and intend to stay there for 4-5 years then chances are you will easily recover your costs and finish up with a fantastic looking lawn and garden to boot.
To covert from mains to a bore is a simple process of
a) running the main line from the bore to the existing solenoids
b) wiring the MV/pump to the bore pump rather than the master valve
c) cutting and capping the master valve pipe (or just isolating the retic at the check valve)
d) making sure your system can handle the extra water flow and pressure a bore produces. You may need to join two stations together.
If you would like to change to a bore or if you would like a quote on having a bore installed then give us a call and we can get things moving for you.
If you live in the far northern suburbs – think Quinns Rocks, Merriwa, Butler, Clarkson and Mindarie then be sure to give us a call to service your retic.
We are in these suburbs every day and can usually fit you in the same week you call.
Its about to get hot again and its important to have your retic in good working order for another hot summer. We do a spring system check for $85.00 that includes up to 30 minutes labour, 3 Toro nozzles replaced, 3 micosprays and a new battery in your control box if required. We will check everything, set your control box and make sure you are good to go for the coming summer.
If you need other work done then we can do it while we are there or we can make a time to come back and get it sorted. All work is guaranteed.
Call now to make an appointment!
I went to a job today where the client told me that they were on a shared bore and that only one of their stations would come on. The pump would come on when the rear lawn was running but not on the other 3 stations… strange…
What was going on?
When I got there I also discovered that he had installed a new control box and wired it up himself. I assumed all this was done correctly, but after half an hour of testing various things it dawned on me that what he had done was wire the master/pump wire incorrectly.
He had mistakenly put the pump wire in station 4 and station 4 wire in the pump terminal thus meaning only one station would work. Once we reversed the wires everything worked as it should have.
The learning here is:
- always get the wires back in the right place
- if in doubt make sure you get the pump/MV and common correct. The rest is easy.
And if you ever re-wire your own control box and have just one station come on then consider that you have got the MV/pump wire in the wrong terminal.
Its easy to do!
I have one customer whose home I have been to twice now to try and resolve a ‘fuse’ issue with his Irritrol controller.
When a kwikdial shows a ‘fuse’ message it generally means either box is playing up or one of the coils is playing up. When it does it intermittently then its hard to know which is the source of the problem – coil or controller.
Today I went back again and we decided to try option A which was to replace all coils on the master and 2 station valves. This was the cheapest option and it looks like it may have worked.
If this doesn’t work then the next option will be to replace the control box.
Let’s home he has a win here.