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.

holman-pro-469-controller1

Why Are My Sprinklers Just Dribbling?

Posted on 18th January 2013 in solenoids, What's Going on There?

wiring a solenoid perth reticulation

I went to look at a job this week where the sprinklers were working, but barely so.

Each station would dribble a small amount of water, but there was nowhere near enough to run the system. What was going on?…

I guess the logical cause had to be the master solenoid being stuck and thereby reducing pressure all round. However I have changed these over before only to see no change in the performance so I was cautious, even moreso because the master was buried 600ml deep, encased in bricks and covered in rocks and rubble. Not fun to get to!

The first check is always to make sure the water meter is fully on and operating properly – which it was. Then to begin digging…

When I finally uncovered the MV I discovered it was a jar top Richdel, and that was encouraging because often you can just screw the stop off, replace the guts and be done.

So I unscrewed the top section and removed it. The diaphragm was stuck to the lower section of the solenoid body and as I peeled it away the centre spindle came with it.

That hasn’t happened before and I didn’t like where this was going…

My hunch was that the diaphragm was no longer opening sufficiently to let water thru and with the spindle now removed it was never going to work properly.

I screwed it all back together with a new diaphragm to see what would happen. Nothing changed.

So I cut the main pipe just after the MV to see what kind of water flow was coming thru. It was lousy, obviously restricted, so the only option was to dig it all up and replace it. A little while later a new master valve proved to be the answer and one very happy homeowner had his sprinklers operating again.

Most retic is a logical process of elimination, as well as the occasional bit of trial and error!

Hunter Solenoid Valves

Posted on 15th September 2012 in solenoids

Personally I prefer to use the Richdel as they are more common around Perth and easily interchangeable, but in this clip Hunter show you the rigorous process their valves go thru before making it to you.

Pretty impressive

Why Can’t I Turn My Retic Off?

Posted on 14th March 2012 in General, solenoids

I went to a house today with this problem. Fortunately they were able to locate the ball valve to isolate the retic and didn’t have to keep turning their water meter on and off as some people have had to.

If your retic keeps running even when the control box is off then its as simple as a faulty solenoid. If you have a master solenoid and you still have this problem then its as simple as two faulty solenoids!

At the place I went to today station one was stuck on and there as a master valve to supposedly prevent this occurring. It turned out that the master valve had been left ‘on’ manually, so a simple turn of the coil solved that issue. Then I located the station valve and discovered a piece of gluey limestone stuck in it holding the diaprhagm open.

Once this was resolved everything was back to normal.

The Sprinkler Police Will Get You

Posted on 24th January 2012 in Controllers, Local Knowledge

Seems the water authority have been sending out their inspectors pre dawn and in the evening so if you are watering when you shouldn’t be then you might want to think twice. Its a hefty fine…

If you aren’t sure how to set your control then just give me a call.

Here’s the story

Orbit Controllers ‘Off Power’ symbol

Posted on 15th January 2012 in Controllers, solenoids, wiring

 

I got a call to look at this retic system where the control box was displaying the ‘off power’ water droplet symbol. (see the left side of the display)

I wasn’t sure what it meant or how it got there and the manual didn’t mention it. A brief google search suggested it may be the  box blowing a fuse and protecting itself against a faulty solenoid coil.

I called Scott at Total Eden and then he put me on to the tech heads at HR who weren’t totally sure either.

So I began to test it and discovered there was no voltage coming from any of the terminals. The fuse was intact and the battery was ok but the box just would not operate.

I attached a new control box as a test and it worked first time. The problem was in the box and whatever the source of the problem was, it had fried the whole box.

When the new one was installed I ran it thru the stations and it worked well on 1 & 2 but blew the fuse on station 3. Obviously this was the source of the previous problems and the coil needed replacing. As it turned out the whole solenoid was cactus and had to be replaced.

I repowered the Orbit box to see if the symbol might disappear but it was definitely a throwaway. So if you happen to see that symbol and your retic won’t work then chances are you will be looking for a new control box

 

Yanchep Capricorn Estate Reticulation

I don’t know how many people have checked their water pressure in the Capricorn estate in Yanchep, but after working on a job today I was shocked at how poor the water pressure is.

In a backyard of 5m x 11m we would normally use one station of MP Rotators evenly spaced and have heaps of water pressure to spare, but today we needed 3 separate stations of Toro precision nozzles for that one small area. That’s the only option when the pressure is lousy and the flow rate is 10l/min. We tried putting 3 MP 2000′s on a line but there wasn’t enough grunt to make then get up.

The bigger drama was that the solenoids refused to seal because of the ultra-low pressure. We tried about 15 different Richdels and none of them would seal and ended up having to head down to the shop and grab some Hunters. Solenoids need a certain amount of water pressure to create the seal and this was so low that we couldn’t get that seal. It was almost a give up and call it a day scenario.

Persistence and a very gracious client made a hot, windy, difficult day a much better experience than it could have been. So if you live in Capricorn I’d be interested to hear if you have also had water pressure problems. I was due to do another backyard install in Capricorn tomorrow, but I have postponed it until we can find a way around these nasty water pressure issues.

 

Reticulation Warranties

Posted on 18th November 2011 in General, Installations

So what’s a reasonable warranty on a reticulation installation. With some operators the minute they leave the retic is your problem and that is not what you want.

We believe our warranties are the best you will find.

  • On control boxes we give 5 years. If the box fails in that time just give us a call and we will replace it at no cost to you whatsoever. Some people will charge a labour fee as they believe that if just the box is faulty they should not be responsible. We have chosen to use Rainmaster control boxes and we will not charge you if our decision proves faulty.
  • On solenoids the normal is 1 year but we give a 5 year warranty on solenoids. If your solenoid fails at any time in that period then just call us and we will be there to fix it up or change it over.
  • Sprinklers are subject to wear and tear and require some level of owner maintenance, but we believe that even with complete neglect, the quality Toro sprinklers we use will last 12 months so that is the warranty we give on them. This covers them failing to pop-up or retract or the seals to break.
  • Nozzles are the trickier one. While we flush all lines while onsite we cannot control what is in your water supply. If you have sand/grit or dirt in your water and your nozzles get blocked then we cannot cover that one. We do give 3 months coverage on nozzles but beyond that we cannot promise what will happen.

Obviously we do not warrant equipment against physical damage by a third party and warranties on controllers will not apply if the door to the control box is left open and it gets water damaged.

At the end of the day we will do our best to make sure you are looked after with the highest level of service possible.

 

 

 

Why Does My Solenoid Stay Open?

Posted on 22nd October 2011 in solenoids

If you have a solenoid that stays on with all of the other stations then 9 times out of 10 it is your diaphragm that is playing up. First check that you haven’t accidentally placed it in the ‘on’ position, then check that the small screw for flushing is done up tight. If these are all ok and there are no visible leaks then its usually the diaphragm.

This is the rubber piece in the middle of the solenoid and allows water to flow or blocks its flow. For some solenoids eg Richdel you can probably head down to your local retic shop, grab a new diaphragm and change it over. Other solenoids aren’t quite so easy and you may need to replace the whole unit.

If you are buying a solenoid then I recommend the jar top variety which you can screw on and off rather than the solenoids where stainless screws are used to join the two halves together. In my experience the solenoids that are screwed together are harder to separate and rejoin. Bits of dirt can get in between the surfaces, the gasket can break and it can just be  messier getting it all to line up again.

 

 

Locating Solenoids in Reticulation Systems

Posted on 21st October 2011 in Installations, solenoids

This can be one of the most time consuming and frustrating parts of the retic work.

But, assuming the person installing has been thinking logically you should be able to track them down.

Master Solenoid – this is invariably next to the water meter and usually within a meter of it. If is isn’t there then look near the control box as sometimes plumbers cut into the mains further up the line, especially if the driveway has been concreted and space is at a premium.

 

 

Station Valves Front – usually these will be near the master solenoid. Poke around with a screwdriver or sharp object to try and find them. Older properties had them dotted all around the place but in the last 10 years or so most retic blokes make a ‘manifold’ of 3 or 4 valves and locate them together for ease of location and repair. Above you can see the dual check valve going into the master valve and then the two station valves.

 

Station Valves Rear – The big tip here is that these should be on the same side of the house as the water meter on most properties. Simply go to the end of the paving down the side of the house and look in the garden bed or lawn. This is the most likely location. Hopefully they haven’t been paved over.

It may take some hunting around, but most valves can be found fairly easily. If that fails then call us and we can bring out the valve locator and find them for you.