Question for the irrigation guys

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Old 06-05-12, 05:50 AM
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Question for the irrigation guys

Over the past couple years I have been building an irrigation system to keep my gardens fresh and vegetables growing. It isn't for the lawn - I think lawn irrigation is such a waste, but the gardens do need it.

So anyways, it is a mostly drip/soaker/mist system, using a 6 zone Orbit controller and five Toro mini valves (the ones with the square body and non-removable solenoid). I haven't had any issues until I added a 6th zone. Since Home Depot doesn't carry the mini valves anymore, I was forced to use an Orbit valve because that's all they had in 3/4".

This thing has been nothing but trouble. Once the zone is activated, it refuses to shut off. I have to flip the manual-on lever on then off, and then it'll eventually shut (mostly) off. I have opened it and flushed the diaphragm, with no success.

The only thing I can think of is do these things need a specific minimum flow in order to shut off? For the moment, this zone only has a 1gpm spray head and a length of 1-ish gpm soaker hose. Once my bushes come in there will be 6 more 1gpm shrub heads but for now the pipes are capped off. A couple of the other zones have similar flow characteristics (using 1-2gpH drippers and lengths of soaker hose) and they shut off fine.

The other thing I noticed is that there is very slow but continuous flow from the soaker hose - it is constantly wet, indicating that the valve is not closing completely. Did I just get a bad valve or is there really that big a difference between this valve and the ones I already have?
 
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Old 06-06-12, 07:31 PM
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It sounds like your system pressure is too low for a full size valve. Most valves need at least 15psi to fully close. If your pressure is good then it is possible that you got a bad valve because that has happend to me even with a commercial valve.
 
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Old 06-07-12, 06:40 AM
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Irrigation system valves are a servo type meaning they rely on the water pressure to open and close the valve. Without proper water pressure there is not enough pressure to close the valve and keep it securely closed to prevent leakage. So, those type of valves do not work well on gravity fed systems which tend to have low water pressure.
 
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Old 06-07-12, 10:24 PM
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Dane it's not gravity fed, they have a 3/4" feed running off the 1" house main @ 45psi. When I say 'drip', I mean pressurized metered drippers (Toro Blue Stripe and DiG), not gravity drip.

Mike, I don't know if you're following me when I say 'mini valve'. It's still a 3/4" valve, it just has a compact housing and a non-removable solenoid. I used those because I got them really cheap on clearance and they work great.




I'm just going to exchange it because I took it apart/cleaned/flushed it again and it's still not working right. I just didn't want to make a special trip to Home Depot because it's a half hour away.
 
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Old 06-15-12, 07:15 PM
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Update: finally got to HD to swap the valves and now it shuts off properly. So it was definitely a bad valve..
 
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Old 06-24-12, 05:47 PM
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will the pressure gauage stop the motor from running if it is stuck on full
 
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Old 06-24-12, 07:02 PM
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A pressure gauge is a gauge so it only indicates the pressure in the system. It does not control anything. The pressure switch is what turns the pump on/off. They both sense the pressure in the system but have different jobs. One controls the pump to keep the pressure within a set range and the other displays the pressure.
 
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