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.
Any time lay lawn we will set your retic control box for you, but after that its up to you to make sure it is actually working.
Different controllers respond differently to power outages and occasionally controllers can ‘die’, leaving you with no water. A recent turf installation we did in Brighton came close to tragedy.
The house was uninhabited and the person responsible for it lived in the country. After laying the turf we set the control box and left, only to discover two weeks later that the control box had faulted and the lawn hadn’t been watered as needed. It was close to dead and was going to need some intense watering to bring it back to life.
At last inspection it seemed that the lawn had a chance of making it, which is very fortunate. A dead lawn doesn’t just cost money to replace. It costs to remove and tip, so in the end the exercise costs even more than double.
So please please please – check that your lawn is getting watered as it should be. And if its not then call us straight away so we can help you sort it out!
If you have set your retic to come on automatically but find that it doesn’t switch off then chances are you have set it incorrectly.
The most common cause of this issue is setting an identical start time for each station.
When you set your retic you generally only need one start time to get it rolling. Let’s assume that is 6.00am. Set start no 1 to 6.00 am and do not set any more start times!
What I have seen people do is set several start times (all 6.00am) and this seems to confuse the old retic box… If you have 3 stations or 10 stations you only need one start time, so if you are having this problem first check and see if you have set a number of start times all for the same time.
If you have a Hunter X Core Controller and it doesn’t come on as it should when operating manually the you could have a dodgy switch issue.
Normally to run an individual station you turn the dial anti-clockwise to the ‘run single station’ indicator, then select the station an return the dial to auto-run.
If it doesn’t come on (and you will know its on by the presence of a little sprinkler symbol) then you may need to jiggle the switch a bit and see if you can get it to fire up.
Usually if this is a problem then the dial will not move between the various modes easily. Unfortunately the only solution is to get anew control box as the dial and switches are a complete unit
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
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.
If your control box is in an awkward spot or if you have a bigger property then testing the retic can be a real pain in the proverbial.
Running back and forward to the box to test, flush re-test takes time and the solution is a simple remote control that will save you that annoyance.
Finally, you don’t need to walk back to the controller to stop and start a manual watering cycle.
The ROAM Remote lets you do just that: Roam wire-free for simple remote operation. The mid-range solution for residential and commercial applications, the ROAM will operate up to a 300 metre range.
For use with Hunter controllers SRC, XC, X-CORE, PRO-C, ICC, I-CORE & ACC, the ROAM offers features other remotes cannot, at a price we all like. With a large LCD and simple push button operation, this remote is tough enough for anything with its sturdy ABS construction, but small enough to fit in your pocket.