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Tuesday, November 20th 2018, 6:14pm

Zone runs briefly and then shuts off, over and over again


I'm having some trouble with one of my zones. I've got a Rainbird ESP
24-LX Plus controller. Until recently, everything worked just fine. I
recently had some heads added to a zone (a different one than the one
I'm having trouble with) and now am experiencing one particular zone
that, when it is scheduled to run at the clock, will turn on momentarily
and then shut off, then on again momentarily, and then off. It does
this (on-off-on-off-etc.) throughout the duration of the time is it set
to run on my controller. When this particular zone activates according
to schedule, the "Fault" light at the top left hand side of the
controller begins blinking and the display reads "11 Fault". Obviously
that means that it is zone 11 that I'm having trouble with, and that
there is a short or something between the controller and the particular
valve wiring in the irrigation box. I've checked the wiring at the
particular valve and don't see any obvious nicked wires/disconnected
wires, etc. (note: i have yet to test the voltage at the solenoid using
my multi meter, but that is something that I'll be doing here shortly).
Oh and one other thing, I am unable to manually run this particular zone
at the controller. Like I said, it will turn on-off-on-off-etc. just
fine when it runs through its normal programming schedule, but I cannot
get it to turn on at all when I try to do so manually at the controller
(I have no problem opening that particular valve manually at the valve
itself though). The fact that this valve cannot manually be opened at
the controller, but CAN open and close, open and close, repeatedly,
during the scheduled run time is perhaps what perplexes me the most.

Anyone have any advice for what to check next? What would cause
something like this? I'm not a total novice when it comes to this kind
of thing, but for the life of me I cannot figure out how the controller
can open and close that valve (albeit sporadically) just fine when set
to "Auto" mode but cannot even open it at all when I try to do so
manually at the controller. Any and all suggestions are much
appreciated! ?(
P.S. all of my other 23 zones/valves are working just fine despite the
issue I'm having with this one particular zone/valve.



Posts: 2,428

Location: USA


Tuesday, November 20th 2018, 7:42pm

I ran across this just last week on a Rainbird valve. The solenoid was bad. I hadn't seen the pulsating like this before due to a solenoid. On off on off on off. Try disconnecting the wires from the solenoid of valve 11 then running it manually from the controller. Do you still get the fault? If not, change the solenoid.


Tuesday, November 20th 2018, 8:13pm

Thanks Mr fix it!

I will try that. I assume that you’re saying that if I disconnect the solenoid wiring, run that station manually at the clock, and still get the fault message then it is likely an issue with the controller? If that’s the case then it would be even more puzzling why all of the other 23 zones are working fine.

I forgot to mention one other thing and that is that I do have a pretty decent sized leak on the (non pressure side) of another area of the yard (not at a particular head, but in between heads). It’s probably not at all related to the issue I’m having with zone 11 but since both issues sorta popped up at or around the same time I can’t help but wonder if a fairly large leak could somehow be responsible for the short I’m having. The yard is fairly large and I inhereted the sprinkler system/layout/wiring paths so I can’t say whether the leak is in the area where zone 11’s wiring runs through.

Any thoughts on whether this is possible?

Thanks again, I really appreciate your expertise.



Posts: 2,428

Location: USA


Tuesday, November 20th 2018, 10:46pm

The water isn't causing the pulsing.
So it floods when the sprinklers are running?


Monday, November 26th 2018, 3:18pm

Sorry for the delay in getting back to this, the holidays were a lot busier than I thought.

To answer your question, yes it floods that particular area of the yard, but mind you the flooded area is probably about 200 ft from the valve that I'm referring to that's pulsing.

I actually did some basic clean up on that valve, which included recutting/restripping the solenoid wires and reconnected them (just to be sure). Turns out that that resolved the pulsing issue with that valve. hooray!

I've still got the big underground leak (I've turned that zone off for the time being and am hand watering it) that I will have to dig around to try and diagnose, but I'll save that question for another post once I have more info.
Anyway, thanks again for your expert (and free!) advice. I appreciate it!

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