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Help! My sprinklers have a mind of their own...

Posted by Bustergordon CA (My Page) on
Mon, Feb 28, 05 at 12:44

Hi everyone. I have sprinklers with a mind of their own. I have 9 valves running using an Irritrol RD-900 controller. My sprinklers go on and off even when the controller is set to off. The control board looked fried (it kept showing weird things on the screen), so I replaced it with another RD-900. Unfortunately, that hasn't solved the problem. Our sprinklers keep coming on, even when the controller is set to off.

Any thoughts? Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. If this isn't a DIY, how can I find a reputable irrigation specialist?



Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Help! My sprinklers have a mind of their own...

Standard troubleshooting practices would dictate removing all power from the controller first, including the battery, to reboot the controller. Leave the power off for about 5 minutes, and then power the controller back up and see what happens.
If that doesn't work, I'd call an irrigation supplier in your area and ask them for references for a reputable repair contractor.
Good Luck!

All Wet
Texas Licensed Irrigator #1897 since 1984

RE: Help! My sprinklers have a mind of their own...


It would seem likely that lightning, or other electrical surge, damaged your controller (which you replaced) correcting the display issue on the controller(?), but did not fix the sprinkler issue.

The remaining issue(s) are actually (more than likely) a valve issue resulting from the same electrical surge (it could be a field wiring issue, but this is less likely, IMO).

Each valve has a certain number of sprinkler heads associated with it and these (valve + piping + heads) comprise a zone and you have 9 zones. My question is are the "heads with minds of their own" on one zone, or more?

If they are all on one zone, it may be as simple as replacing the solenoid (the cylindrical do-dad with wires coming out) on that single valve; this is very simple and relatively cheap, locally <$20. If there are more than one affected zone more solenoids may need replacement.

I can provide any/all additional information necessary for this type of repair if you wish, simply post to that effect and I will respond. Note that some slightly more advanced troubleshooting techniques that may be necessary involve use of a volt meter to ascertain voltage output from the clock (24V and not generally considered dangerous) and continuity in the field wiring as well as resistance through the coil (solenoid). This is actually quite simple.

Previous poster (All Wet) indicated resetting the controller, you replaced it, as such the "old" controller may or may not actually be burned out. If you would like to check this "old" clock out, which may allow you to reinstall it and return the new one, I can assist you in this as well.

Good Luck

One last item I thought of and should have addressed up front is how you replaced the controller. Did you remove the entire piece from the wall, which entailed removing wires from the terminal strip, and reinstall a new one OR did you simply remove the "face plate", unplug the ribbon cable and replace this piece. IF you did the latter, it is possible the problem is within the portion of the controller that was not replaced. If you are still trying to figure this out, and respond as such, I can have a look at the schematic for this controller and determine if components on the board could be bad.

RE: Help! My sprinklers have a mind of their own...

Thanks More! It finally stopped raining and I went outside to take a look at the valves and solenoids - what a mess of wires! I'm honestly not sure what I'm looking at...they are Irritrol solenoids & valves. I posted a link to a picture of what they kind of look like (although not exactly). Unlike the other ones, one of the solenoids was set half way between 'on' and 'off,' so I twisted it to be in the same position as the others. Other than that, I didn't do anything else because I wasn't quite sure what to do with them!

As to the controller, we only replaced the face plate. We didn't replace the rest of the controller, because we couldn't get it unhooked from whatever it was attached to at the bottom. There's no instruction in the manual on how to install or remove it once it's been coupled to something and we are slow and just couldn't figure it out.

Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated! Many thanks!!!!

Here is a link that might be useful: Solenoid & Valve

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