Single zone won't shut off unless I shut off irrigation water main

Irrigation systems, sprinklers & other watering topics
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NewHomeOwner2020
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Single zone won't shut off unless I shut off irrigation water main

Post by NewHomeOwner2020 »

Hi all. Been stressed about this for a week now, so would really appreciate if someone can please lend some insight.

Have a smart controller, RainMachine HD-16. Worked fine last year.
Have 13 zones with 4-5 sprinklers a piece. 6 zones in front of the house, 7 zones in back.
Have a valve controller box (outdoor) with just 3 Hunter SRV valves in them in the backyard, where all the wires from the irrigation controller (indoors) are wired to. Not sure if 3 sprinkler valves are enough for my property, but its the only box in the ground I've seen anywhere (prior owner doesn't know if there are others).

When opening the sprinklers this year, there is one zone in the backyard that is stuck on and won't shut off. They remain on in conjunction with any other zones that are selected.

I checked the 3 irrigation valve controllers, and cleaned them all up. No diaphragms broken. Tightened all the solenoids. Even unplugged power to the Rainmachine irrigation controller. Problem persisted. The only way I could shut off the sprinkler was by cutting the main water source.

Today, I opened up the water again, and tried switching to a zone in front of the house, and now a zone in the front yard is stuck open. The one in the back that was stuck before, now starts and stops fine. The only way I could shut off the sprinkler again, was to cut off via the irrigation water main.

Any ideas? I wonder why just a single zone is stuck open and not every other zone on that same irrigation controller?
Also, it's very odd that a zone in the backyard is stuck, and now the problem has moved to the front, at least 100 yards away.

ONE other note, my wife had a landscaper move some plants a few weeks ago. 3 poly irrigation pipes broke as a result. I repaired them, but found that a thick gauged wire has had the outer jacket/shielding cut a bit, likely from their shovel. The wires underneath don't look damaged though.

Thanks to anyone who can help! :?


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jht3
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Re: Single zone won't shut off unless I shut off irrigation water main

Post by jht3 »

Well first off, you will have a valve for every zone. Since you only know where 3 are, you need to go exploring to find the others.

Are you sure you have 13 zones? In your picture I count 15 zones wired.

Do you have a master valve?

Topic Author
NewHomeOwner2020
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed May 20, 2020 10:11 am
Location: Westport, CT
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Re: Single zone won't shut off unless I shut off irrigation water main

Post by NewHomeOwner2020 »

Thanks for your reply. 2 of those are common wires for the RainMachine. There’s a box with just those three zone valves. I’ve not seen any others on the property nor have I seen a master valve anyway either. The home and irrigation system is circa 1999.

Any chance that those three can serve all 13 zones? I did try an old network cable toner and put it up on one of the problematic wires at the controller and heard the tone from the wires that were severed by the gardeners shovel. Thank you.

jht3
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Re: Single zone won't shut off unless I shut off irrigation water main

Post by jht3 »

I accounted for that. You have 17 wires connected to the controller. If 2 are common (green wires) then that actually leaves 15 wires connected to valves. Either zone valves, a master valve, pump valve, etc.

I find it difficult to believe you have only 3 valves for 13-15 zones. I found 2 under mulch under an azalea. Still can't find one 8 years running now!

With a basic multimeter you can test continuity from the valves you have back to the controller. Your toner works in a similar manner actually. However a multimeter also allows you to test both the resistance of the valve and the resistance at the controller, to check if the wiring is any good. Also if 24v is making to it to valve.

Topic Author
NewHomeOwner2020
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed May 20, 2020 10:11 am
Location: Westport, CT
Grass Type: Fine Fescue, Bluegrass mix
Lawn Size: 1 Acre
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Re: Single zone won't shut off unless I shut off irrigation water main

Post by NewHomeOwner2020 »

Ok, had no choice but to call someone in today. @jht3, you were absolutely right that there are many other zones throughout my yard. Finding them is the time that you pay for these guys to walk around my 1 acre.

Luckily, the irrigation guys found a valve controller near a garden bed, and that was the one that was stuck. He opened the valve, the rock or pebble etc blew out, and problem solved.

While they were here, they also addressed the wiring issue, by using simple electrical tape around each of the wires that had shielding severed by the landscapers' shovel.

All in all, a simple fix I could have done myself, but alas, I did not know where to find those valve boxes buried randomly around the yard in no boxes that are visible...

Thanks all.

jht3
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Re: Single zone won't shut off unless I shut off irrigation water main

Post by jht3 »

In my case, my valves are near the heads the control. That might help locate some of the rest. If my missing valve ever acts up I'll have to resort to paying my service company to locate it.

Slim 1938
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Re: Single zone won't shut off unless I shut off irrigation water main

Post by Slim 1938 »

Great that you got it resolved. Make sure you draw yourself a map and measurements of where the valves are located for future reference.

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