My sprinkler system station stopped working

holia123August 18, 2010

Hello!

I have a problem with my sprinkler system. One station (#4) suddenly stopped working. It doesn't turn on at all while the other 3 stations work just fine.

My controller is Rain Bird E-6c. I checked the wires around the controller and they are all attached. The wires in the valve look fine too, with the caps on them. I tried to reset the controller like the manual says - I unplugged the adapter for 10 minutes, plugged it back in, set up all the settings, but that didn't help. ;(

Another problem I noticed when it comes to the station #4, the controller display fades away and even stops showing anything.

The whole back yard doesn't get any water and the grass is dying.

Unfortunately, I can't afford to have it fixed by a professional. I have

to fix it myself with my bare 27 year-old hands! ^^

I would really appreciate any suggestions how to get my station #4 back to life! Thank you in advance for your help and assistance! :love:

Olia

PS: I have pictures of my controller and valve but I'm not sure if I can post them. I was told that I need to replace solenoid (probably), but I don't even know what that is! I Googled it, but they look so different, so I'm not sure what I need to buy.

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lehua49

Olia,

Answer to a couple of questions please. How old is your controller? Was it installed by a professional? Was it installed at the same time as your entire system? Are you using only 4 of the 6 stations of the controller?

The wires at the automatic station valves are from the solenoid. A small black plastic coated cylinder that is screwed on top of the station valves. If you partially turn the solenoid cylinder counterclockwise the zone will commence irrigation. You can give Zone four manual watering until you solve your problem. When you are done watering zone 4 turn the solenoid clockwise(do not over tighten) until the zone stops watering. Check the wiring from the solenoid to the wire screw connection cap. Pull on the each wire lightly to make sure it is snugly screwed in with the wire that goes to the controller. Do the same with the wiring in the controller. You have to take off the small hatch to get at the terminal connections. Again lightly tug the wires to make sure they are not loosely attached.

Let us know what you have found. Be very careful around the controller terminal even though this is a low voltage system it has a 120v voltage side. Read the manual on how to enter the controller and where the higher voltage is located. Just tug on the wires without touching the metal terminal. GL Aloha

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 8:05PM
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holia123

Thank you so much!
I believe the controller is as old as the house (~6 years old) and it was installed by a professional - that's my guess because everything was installed when we bought the house a year ago. Yes, we use only 4 of the 6 stations of the controller.

I'll try to put a link to my pictures of the controller and the valve. And I'm definitely going to try to water my yard manually, at least, first thing tomorrow morning until I figure out what's wrong and what needs to be done. Thank you again for your help!

Here is a link that might be useful: picasa

    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 12:50AM
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lehua49

Holia,

Well I guess you can't go for the manufacturer's warranty or the installer. Let us know how it goes. Aloha

    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 7:34PM
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holia123

I tried to turn the solenoid, but couldn't do it by hand (it doesn't have a handle), but I could turn the bleeder screw and the back yard station came on, I got so excited!!! I had to water it with a hose, and couldn't spend much time doing it. Thank you so much for your help! I'll try to check the wires on weekend.

BTW, what's diaphragm? I heard that it could be the problem and it also could be easily replaced.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 12:37PM
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lehua49

Holia,

The solenoid is not meant to be turned on for automatic valves but it can. Just turn the black cylinder piece(there is no handle). It might be over tight and not working. Turn it enough counter-clockwise for the water to come on and then turn it just enough clockwise to turn off the zone. It should not be too hard to do.

The diaphragm is inside the auto-valve itself and you need to unscrew all the mounting screws on the top of the valve. You purchase a valve repair kit to replace all the internal parts for the valve including the rubber diaphragm. Not an easy thing to do and people not familiar with doing this are prone to not putting all the parts back in especially the small o-ring. An electric signal is sent to the solenoid which moves it's metal plunger and allows the diaphragm to equalize the pressure between front and back of the valve and this opens the valve to start irrigation. The controller sends a low voltage signal to the solenoid again when it is time to shut off the valve. You can try replacing the diaphragm and see if it fixes your problem but be very careful in doing it.

You have never mentioned that you checked the wiring as I suggested. Do one thing at a time before trying the next step. I am giving you the easiest solutions first and sounds like you are in the manual mode to get water to your lawn but try the solenoid fix next before the diaphragm replacement. With your controller display fading, I don't believe that the diaphragm fix will do the trick but you never know. JMHO Aloha

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 8:03PM
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holia123

The whole controller stopped working now :-((
Yesterday the sprinkler system didn't turn on at all as it was supposed to and I tried to "test" each station for 10 minutes. It didn't work out. The controller display faded away and turned completely off every time I tried to turn any station in auto, manual or test mode. I reset the controller and it seemed to be working till my next try. I tried probably 7 times and it never worked. Every time the display would shut down. I still can water my back yard by turning the solenoid, but the other 3 stations don't work now and I'm not sure how to turn them.

PS: Lehua13, thank you so much for your help! I'm going to try to turn the cylinder instead of solenoid the next time. I already tried but it didn't turn, however I'm going to try again.

Could you please tell me what can I do with this valve (Photo 4) to make the other 3 stations work? To me it looks like it has 2 cylinders, but 4 solenoids???? and the main switch off (blue).

Do you think I need to buy a new controller?

Here is a link that might be useful: Valve, Photo 4

    Bookmark   August 24, 2010 at 4:30PM
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lehua49

Holia,

That is not a automatic irrigation valve but a double check valve. It allows the water to move only in one direction. There is a small valve with the handle as a shut off. The position it is in now (parallel to the pipe) is ON and 90 degrees to the pipe is OFF. Look for a rounded type fitting with a shiny black cylinder on top. The cylinder has wire(usually Black) coming from it. Take a picture of that valve. The black cylinder is the solenoid. Here is a link to show you what to look for:

http://www.irrigationtutorials.com/faq/repair-valve.htm

Let me know you have located that type of fittings. Usually in irrigation box or they could be above ground.

Aloha

    Bookmark   August 24, 2010 at 9:46PM
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holia123

Ohhh, OK! So, from the picture from your link I finally understood what a solenoid is!!!! (Thank you, thank you!!). The part with the wires. All right. So, in other words, I turn another little black cylinder (a tiny one) in order to irrigate my back yard manually. Now I have to find the other 3 valves for the other 3 stations...

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 2:40PM
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lehua49

Holia,

That is correct. reread my comments and read fully the link that I provided and decide what you want to do. You have one of these valves from each zone and the solenoid wire run back and are connected in the controller electrical compartment. Let us know what you do and find. Aloha

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 5:47PM
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holia123

I can not find the other 3 valves in order to operate the irrigation manually :-(
Can I use the "double check valve" for anything other than switching it completely off/on???

    Bookmark   August 27, 2010 at 11:37PM
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holia123

I can not find the other 3 valves in order to operate the irrigation manually :-(
Can I use the "double check valve" for anything other than switching it completely off/on???

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 12:46AM
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lehua49

Holia,

No. Do you have anybody you know that is familiar with irrigation systems? You are looking for a green plastic box lid approximately 18" x 14" flush with the ground. Inside the box are the valves. All four should be on a manifold inside the box. The box should be close by the double check backflow preventer and shutoff valve and in-line with it. It could be covered with dirt or grass. Take a shovel and probe around for a hard surface. GL Aloha

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 12:36PM
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holia123

Hmmm. I didn't find anything, besides the valve #4 on the back yard (the one that stopped working first and now I turn it on manually) and the double check valve that is on the front yard, close to the curb and the water system meter / shut off box. Unless the grass is growing on top of it, but I can see the one on the back yard clearly.

You think it could be close to the house, under the bushes (landscaping), covered with mulch? That's the only place I can think of, but I can't even get under those bushes, because they are covering the ground. :-(

    Bookmark   August 30, 2010 at 1:54AM
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lehua49

Holia,

This will be tough to figure out without seeing your yard sprinkler layout. Some questions then:

If the double check valve is just after your meter, is this the main line to your the house? If you turn off the DCV valve will it shut your whole house off?

Take a piece of paper and map out your yard in relation to your house. Use a scale of 1" =20 feet. Then locate all your sprinkler heads on this plan. You can do this roughly by pacing off the distances which would be good enough for this purpose. One normal step is 2.5 ft. One long stride is 3 feet. This is the same for everyone no matter how tall or short. Can you do this?

Does any part of your irrigation system come off a hose faucet?

Do you know how to post picture or drawing here on the forum?

Aloha

    Bookmark   August 30, 2010 at 9:32PM
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holia123

The photo #4 that I posted earlier is the box that says on top "irrigation control system". there is a blue shut off switch that cuts off only the sprinkler system water. Right close to that box there is another box in the ground that shuts off the whole house water (I have to use a special tool to turn it off), plus, there is a water meter in the same box.
There is not a hose faucet as a part of irrigation system.

Today I called a handy man I know and described my situation. He said since the controller fades away there is no proper power to it. He thinks I need to check the plug, adapter and change the battery. I plugged it to a different plug and tried to run my sprinkler system through the manual cycle. Only 1 station (#3) turned on and ran the full time I set up. Weird.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2010 at 3:01AM
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lehua49

Holia,

Are you willing to try testing the plug yourself? Pretty easy to do. You need to do this anyway before buying a new controller. Your controller is about $50(not too expensive). How old is the controller. Can your handyman replace the controller?

Is the box in the backyard close to the house or the backdoor?
Your irrigation system is off the mainline to your house which means it is higher pressure than the house. The first box is probably in line with DCV but close to the house. close to your controller. Is your controller in the garage or house or on the outside of your house? The automatic valves will be close to the controller. JMHO aloha

    Bookmark   August 31, 2010 at 9:23PM
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kentsw34

I just installed (3)new jtv/as-075 rainbird anti-siphon valves. 2 work fine, however 1 does not. There is no water going to the sprinkers. I turned the other valves on and felt the lines for vibration of water flow, they are fine, but 1 valve seems to have a "very" reduced flow. I cut line from out flow and have water flowing, but not what I'd expect. I assume it's the valve or blockage of some king..any help?

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 5:50PM
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lehua49

Ksw,

Switch the low flow ASV with one of the others and see if the low flow is caused by the mainline upstream of the ASVs. If this is the case check any mainline valves that control the mainline flow to the ASVs. Did you have three old valves in place before you installed your new ones and the flow was fine? And the line that is low flow still low flow after you switch the ASVs then the restriction is upstream somewhere. If the three valves are new because you have added another zone or two then the mainline flow may be not enough to feed all demand required from the newly added zone or zones. As you can discern from the comments more system description and information is needed.
Aloha

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 10:47PM
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kentsw34

the valves control no other new areas. I had a pipe burst under the house. I removed the old valves (15yrs) to dig down to main incoming line to the house. I didn't break any lines with shovel, I cut and capped. The irrigation line (1") comes in from the street to a pvc ball valve. It tees off and follows the front of the house thru a copper ball valve, into a pressure regulator and into the house. I have approx. 80-85# pressure from main line. The 1st station in line works fine, the 2nd station doesn't work at all, the 3rd station works fine..what am I missing

    Bookmark   February 19, 2012 at 1:04AM
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trkpoker(10b)

My guess would be you got some glue or pvc cutting in the valve. Shut off your ball valve supplying the sprinkler system. Take out the stainless screws holding the valve together. CAREFULLY take apart the valve. There will be a spring in there and it needs to go back. There are small holes in the diaphram and valve body, these need to be clear to allow the valve to work properly. Once the valve is apart open your PVC ball valve and flush the pipe/valve for a min or 2. Reassemble the valve and most likely you will be fine. It is very easy to get glue in the pipe when installing new valves. Once this glue hits water (before it is dry) it turns into a web of glue that expands and can get in just about anything.

One other thing that can be wrong I discounted but just in case. Your wire connections could be bad/poor. This is not likely because you said the valve has reduced flow and I assume you mean when you turn the zone on from the clock which would indicate power is getting to the valve.

Good luck,
Tom

PS: Check the flow control on the valve before doing anything. The valve may have a flow control handle which is located in the middle of valve on top. Basically it is a handle that needs to be opened up all the way then turned down 4-6 turns. Don't leave this open all the way but make sure it is open.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2012 at 7:06AM
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kentsw34

sure glad no one knows who I am...I had cut a line and capped it off, but I forgot that I'd done so( I'm getting old)it had been a couple weeks..in the meantime I had dug out some dirt for new valve lines and unknowingly buried that line. After hours of frustration I pulled a sprinkler head off of the "problem station" and hooked a high pressure nozzle to it. The opposite water flow found the pipe for me. I did want to thank you for your time.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2012 at 10:36PM
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trkpoker(10b)

Hey it happens to everyone even us who do this daily. Been doing this for well over 20 years and the other day I put a check valve in backwards. It happends. Glad you figured it out.

Good luck,
Tom

    Bookmark   February 20, 2012 at 6:45AM
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Glenn64

I recently had a similar issue. One of my stations stopped working after I replaced another station. So I just changed the current sprinkler value that was not working thinking it was the solenoid or value, but after replacing it, it still does not work. I then took new valve and attached it to another stations wires and it works. So now the cause seems to be wire related, but the wires don't seem damaged and wires are connected at base. I assume I need to check if wire has juice which i have not checked yet. I don't have a tester to do this? Thoughts on how a wire could just go faulty.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 2:07AM
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lehua49

Glenn,

Move the wires from the bad valve station to a valve you know has worked from another station and run it from the controller. Then you know it could be a broken wire or the controller station itself. My $0.02 is that you need to redo connections at the controller and the solenoids and any splices in between. Redo any of the screw on caps with the waterproof type that have the gel inside them. Let us know what happens. Aloha

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 6:12PM
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Papo

I had an issue that may help to diagnose one or some of the issues posted here. I have a controller with 12 stations. After a while, the controller would skip stations 6 and 7 when on "AUTO", but would turn them on when on "MANUAL". Both of these stations' valves are next to each other and use the same ground wire.

At first, I suspected the controller because both of the valves' solenoids operated perfectly when the controller was placed on "MANUAL" mode, indicating current was flowing through each circuit and to each solenoid. However, before messing around with the controller I decided to check the ground wire, which was the only common connection shared between the two stations.

A short ground wire went from station 6 solenoid and then was spliced along with station 7 to the ground wire leading to the controller. Sure enough, the short ground wire coming from station six was corroded and barely making a complete ground. I replaced the wire and that solved the issue.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 8:15PM
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saxpup

Hello. My sprinkler station stopped working. I changed the batteries and checked the fuse. The controller won't light up at all. The system is 10 years old. I need to repair myself. Should I just replace the station? Thank you for any help

    Bookmark   June 29, 2014 at 5:01PM
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irrigirl

When you say station do you mean the timer/controller? Need to check your power to the circuit board. Most timers are 24v. Your transformer may have gone out.

But if you changed the batteries and cant get a display you may be SOL

Please give the model and brand of your timer... Maybe can help

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 1:59AM
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hcmoller1

i don't want to comment - i have a new question: i have 12 stations in my garden. when i program the watering times, it allows only 4 stations and then goes back to station number 1.

what am i doing wrong, and what can i do right?

please advise.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2015 at 8:14AM
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irrigirl2
Sounds like you are programming wrong. You at least have more than one start time, which would cause the cycle to repeat. Your garden must be huge! Have you set a run time for each of the 12 stations? Which four stations does it allow? What's the name of your controller?
    Bookmark   February 18, 2015 at 6:50AM
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