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Frustrated in Texas



Saturday, November 1st 2008, 2:02pm

how to trace sprinkler wires?

I am having a rough time with my system. I added a big addition to my house last summer, and had to modify the sprinkler system pretty drastically. The previous owner installed the system in 1998.

I have 13 zones now. I have all 13 wires (plus the neutrals) in the garage. I can access all the wires in the yard in various places, but I cannot figure out how to identify which wires in the garage go to which wires in the yard.

Of the 13 zones, 11 work fine. Zones 3 and 4 don't work right, but I cannot find the valve boxes in the yard. I have found the main trunk line of wires leading to the zones, but I cannot seem to map where they go to.

p.s. the wiring the last guy used is not color-coordinated, so I am having a hard time keeping track.

I don't want to dig up my entire yard to manually track the wires.

I have tried 2 things unsuccessfully:
1) I connected a tone wire to the first zone's wire, but the noise came through on ALL wires. This seems odd since 11 zones work fine. Why can I hear the tone on all wires?
2) I have connected my radio's speaker (plack and red) to 2 wires in the sprinkler system. Then I have taken headphones (with stripped ends) and connected it to loose wires in the yard. No matter what wire I touch with the headphones, I hear the music. Again, this doesn't make sense since 11 zones work fine.

So what is a fail-safe way to identify which wires in my garage are connected to the wires in the yard?


Supreme Member

Posts: 482

Location: Houston, Texas


Saturday, November 1st 2008, 4:57pm

Multimeter the wires in the garage to indicate which 2 are not working. Find those valves with a valve locator like a
progressive 521. Once you understand where the valves are you will get a better understanding of a bad wire
connection or cut wires.
You may need to hire a pro. If they don't have a 521 and a multimeter you don't want them in your yard for this project.

Good luck.
If you are near Houston give me a shout! :thumbsup:
:thumbup: :thumbsup:
LI0006121, BPAT0011021, CI0009500

Posts: 33

Location: Southampton, NY


Friday, February 27th 2009, 12:25pm

you need a wire toner

Get one or hire a professional contractor to find them for you.

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