From hunter controller. Everything worked great for a while now getting master valve fault and resistance is low

Rachio 3. Got it all wired up and it worked great through testing all zones then on first full run it started faulting after about an hour. Reporting master valve may have wiring issue. I can test the resistance and it is low. I redid all the water proof wire nuts on the master valve and resistance tested good. Again it worked for about an hour then same thing happened. I’m thinking a bad solenoid now as it sat for a few weeks before I redid it. My master valve is weird. There are two valves wired in parallel. I’m guessing for front and back yard? Also what is the thing above the one valve on the left? Thanks in advance!!

OK I think I figured out what the thing behind on the left is…pressure regulator?

@Coralcaves - if you have the reduce water hammer option enabled try disabling that option and see if the system will run without a fault issue. This option keeps the current solenoid open as Rachio opens the next solenoid. In this case that would be four solenoids open at once that may be more than Rachio can supply current to.

What was the resistivity reading down the Master valve line?

Is the fault message always when the same zone is running? If so, it could be that zone as Rachio can’t determine if it is a Master valve or zone valve that is causing the issue when running.

I don’t have the reduce water hammer option enabled…but very good to know exactly what it does.

So I’m not sure what it was reading prior to the initial problems. Like I said everything worked fine during testing and for about the first hour. When I unhooked everything it was then reading about 11 ohms to the master. (by the way when it stops working NO zone will work) After re-doing the wire nuts at the master it read around 41 ohms. Again it worked for about an hour with multiple zones. No zones will work again and it is reading around 5 ohms this time. I went back there right away when it stopped working and the solenoid on the left with the pressure valve in front of it was warm to the touch. I haven’t thought to measure resistance right there…let me go do that real quick. I suppose it could also be that once some wires get wet it causes the problem. That would really suck.

So even though the box with the master is in my back yard and none of my zones are in the back yard (it is pre-piped for irrigation but nothing installed yet) I’m now thinking that the right side in that picture is the zone on the side of my house. because the common is wired together with the master I’m getting the same resistance I get for that zone. I’m going to fire that zone and see what I get…then maybe just unwire everything and go from there. But I’m now 90% certain that solenoid has gone bad. I had sprinkler people out here a year ago and they replaced the valve completely as you can tell it’s newer than the rest…guessing it just failed. I certainly like doing all this myself a hell of a lot more. I just need to figure out how to find the location of all my other valves/valve boxes as they are all covered with dirt/grass. Also I have bubblers in the front part of the yard that are completely underground…is that normal? how can I check on them or is there anything I can do to insure they are working efficiently etc.? (I’ll make new posts for these but figured since I already have Dlane who seems like such an expert I’d drop this in here too) Thanks in advance!!

@Coralcaves - are water proof wire nuts (available at HD or Lowe’s) being used? If not, that may be the reason why the resistivity changes.

Solenoids are easy to replace. Turn off the water (when doing the master valve), unscrew the solenoid and replace. They should be fairly inexpensive. Be sure to get 24 VAC versions and not DC versions. The cost around $11.

The reading of 5 ohms seems low, which would cause more current to flow.

Without seeing the full connections to the two valves in the top picture, I was thinking that the right valve might be to a zone - as it would be strange to have two master valves located side by side.

Do you mean sub surface emitter tubing or bubblers? Such as →

I think true bubblers would be above ground →

I am using water proof wire nuts…sadly after testing at the solenoid after undoing all the wiring and getting 24 ohms I don’t think it is the solenoid any longer. Strangely at the panel my master wire is black but at the master valve it is also red so I am guessing an issue elsewhere with a connection…but I have no idea where these other connections are. Any tips on how to find them? I have a toner but gotta be pretty close to the wire to hear anything.

The other valve does have another red wire coming in that goes directly to it then the other wire joins up with the other side of the master and two common whites in a water proof wire nut.

I have no idea what is underground there…all I know is one very small little area is all that seems to get wet…about the a 3 feet circle…so something is wrong as it is a whole strip in front of the sidewalk. We aren’t aloud to have a sprayer there…but maybe one of those subsurface emitter tubing things that is broken? I guess I need to dig…the stupid sprinkler people didn’t seem to think it was a problem but nothing but weeds grow there.

I do also have some true bubblers in my bushes and such.

Strangely I can turn the master a quarter and no water goes through still…in fact without turning off the water I can remove the solenoid…and this thing…whatever it is.

I thought it was a pressure controller but it doesn’t seem to have any way to adjust…and does have a screen thing in the middle so I assume it is a filter of some kind. but again…no water when the valve is turned to what should be the on position. Makes me wonder if the problem is elsewhere and because there is no water does the resistance change maybe somewhere…as this valve does try to flip no matter what zone I run I am assuming it is the master but maybe it isn’t?

@Coralcaves - It may not be the master valve. Either take off one of the wire nuts and then test the resistivity down each zone and master line back to the common to find the one that has infinite resistivity and that is the zone this solenoid controls (this can also be done for the second solenoid in that box). Or activate the zones remotely using the Rachio app and see which zone is run when you hear the solenoid actuate or water run through the valve.

If the solenoid was removed and no water came out, then I don’t think this is the master valve. It may be just another zone valve. The other device may be a pressure regulator and it could be at a fixed pressure.

The master valve will be the first valve on the sprinkler system after the double check or backflow preventer. I’d start by the water meter and work out from there to find the master valve.

Sprinkler wiring is typically laid out in right angles in the piping trench. Run the system and flag all working sprinkler heads. Then look in areas that are in line with the sprinkler heads for the other valve boxes.

im not sure why its so far away from the backflow preventer…but I was 95% sure the sprinkler guy that came out a year or so ago showed me this box and told me it was odd that the master was in the back yard and it took him a bit to find it. I’d tested and that was the master for sure…something was wrong along the line. Luckily there were two additional wires running from the box to that yard box…I’m guessing for installation of the backyard zones when needed. There is already a pipe in that box ready for a valve…but only one…so I may be ok long term too. I was able to tone it out. I had 4 total additional red cables not in use and found the one needed…hooked it up…and the solenoid is now working as expected however along the way I have done something to prevent water flow as discussed. Figuring that out now. To be clear that zone does fire for each and every other zone…and was the one hooked into the master. Like I said it was working fine for like an hour…then just stopped. Now that I think about it it stops when the zone runs that would get the wiring running back to it wet. The problem lies there somewhere but I’m not finding it now or ever most likely if I don’t have to :wink:

Thanks for the tip on finding the other zone boxes…that will be very very helpful…I can use a poker and trace the lines until it hits something!

1 Like

so you were right…turns out either there are two master zones or the sprinkler company people were idiots…there is another master zone right up next to the backflow valve that is causing the water issues…it is wired in series to the zone I was working on so I’d removed it completely by bypassing it…only had time to find all my valves…which I have not completely yet…still missing one…so it makes sense these people were simply wrong…that might also explain why that front zone ends up SUPER soaked…or did prior to getting the Rachio. Anyway…pretty sure I can fix it all up now…really appreciate the tips…they helped for sure! Oh I do need to get my rain sensor wired up…it was set up with two black wires…I think one goes to 24v+ I just need to read up on that a bit and I’ll figure it out easily I’m sure too. Oh and actually fix whatever is wrong with the actual master and determine what what weird wiring it has going on too. I quickly redid the nuts and it dropped to zero so I know I did something wrong but it was then dark so…

1 Like

@DLane to make matters more interesting the one right in front of the backflow valve is a Rain Bird 100DVF…the rest of my system is hunter…I’m guessing that’s the reason for two maybe…maybe…still seems really dumb.

That thing you are seeing is a pressure regulator/filter combo (not adjustable), almost always used on drip irrigation, so that is most likely running to your drip/bubbler zone.

1 Like

Thank you @tmcgahey I found that part actually…I’ve got it all figured out now and working great! The ultimate problem was with the rainbird solenoid on the real master that was exactly where @DLane said it would be…I checked my invoice from the guys I hired a year ago…they billed me to replace the MASTER valve…and as you can see from the pic…the valve on the drip is new(er) and when I did finally find the real master it was clear no one had been in there in a LONG LONG time. So they had in fact instructed me that the box in the back was the master…as the actually master was working intermittently I’m guessing they replaced that drip line valve then the other master decided to work so they figured all was good. I just can’t understand how they were so incompetent. I also did find…as I was expecting…that the drip line was completely separated at one junction point on one side of the yard…why I was always getting a massive wet spot in one location and the other side was not getting anything at all…fixed that too. I’m going to start my own sprinkler repair now!

Anyway…thanks for the help and this community…'tis fantastic!