Sprinkler system questions


Old 08-15-06, 12:46 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Texas
Posts: 32
Sprinkler system questions

I am fairly new to this forum. Our home was built in the late 1950s and we have a sprinkler system that was installed sometime around 1990. When we moved into the house 3 years ago, it was not working. The "last inspection date" sticker on the main control box was dated 1992. We had some work done on it last year and it worked great. During the winter, the system would occasionally come on at odd times, on its own. We attributed this to the age (and lack of user-friendliness!) of the control box. So, we unplugged the main control box. We had the system turned off and unplugged for several months. Plugged it back in, and now it isn't working. The box runs through each zone like normal, but the sprinklers themselves do not come on. Out of 8 zones, only 6 and 7 come on and run normally.

My husband says he sees wet areas around some of the sprinkler heads in other zones (I have not seen or confirmed this. He also says that inside the main control area he saw a very old set of 9 volt batteries that he is planning to replace. I assume these are probably just backup batteries. I know there are several containers buried throughout the yard as well. At one point, the previous homeowner told us to check those and pull something up in them. Forgive my ignorance in terminology, but I'm new to this!

Any suggestions what we should check?
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Old 08-16-06, 09:11 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Texas
Posts: 32
Well, he replaced the batteries inside the control box last night, but nothing changed. Also, while replacing them, he noticed that the components inside the box were blazing hot - too hot to touch.
Old 08-16-06, 06:31 PM
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Lake Murray, SC USA
Posts: 1,461
The "containers" buried in the yard are the zone valves. I am not sure what the previous homeowner was referrring to, but, I would check the wiring at each zone valve.

You did not state what brand of sprinkler system you have, but both Rainbird and Toro have good troubleshooting websites, and 800 numbers for customer support. These may provide more information, but before calling, know as much as you can about your current system, e.g. controller model number, zone valve model numbers, etc.
Old 08-17-06, 05:20 AM
gsr is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: SE Minnesota
Posts: 170

What part of the country do you live in? You said the system came on a few times during the winter - if you live somewhere the temps get below freezing for the winter and you didn't have the system blown out there's a good chance the water froze and broke the pipes or sprinkler heads. If it doesn't get below freezing that wouldn't be a problem.

I'd suggest having a trained technician come look at it again, sounds like the system has been neglected for a long time and might have a number of problems with it.

If the controller is getting that hot I'd look at having it switched out for a new one that is more user friendly.

Good luck!

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