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Monday, May 24th 2004, 4:53am

finding lost solenoid valves

Is there a way to find the lost stuck open solenoid valves that the homeowner does not know where they are?
Without spending a lot of money for the tool. Is there a cheaper version of a locator tool? Would a metal detector work to find the valves?


Advanced Member


Monday, May 24th 2004, 8:25am

You could crawl around on your hands and knees listening for running water.... you could take "educated guess stabs" with a screwdriver to try to find a valve box... i'd buy a wire locator... it can save you time and time again..


Wednesday, August 18th 2004, 5:56pm

have someone touch the valve wire to the hot post on the clock, touching it intermittently while another person does the hands and knees crawl around the usual valve locations... you'll the valve solenoid clicking as the wire is touched to the hot post, even buried it can be quite audible.


Active Member


Friday, August 20th 2004, 10:31am

you can also rent a locator that will allow you to follow the wires to each valve. Check tool rental places.


Advanced Member

Posts: 110

Location: USA


Sunday, October 31st 2004, 1:43pm

Rent a locater or call a professional it could be anywhere in your yard ,you will pull out your hair before you find it ,there are many tricks to using the locater as well.

Vincent Nestor
Nestor's Sprinklers & Lighting


Thursday, May 5th 2005, 6:06pm

If you carefully look at what you do know (location of other valves, wiring run from valve to valve or directly from box to each valve, etc) you can usually narrow down the possible locations. I was able to locate a box that was lost with a makeshift TDR (Time Domain Reflectometer). A cable locator is probably cheaper but I work in electronics and had access to a pulse generator and oscilloscope. By timing the echo of a pulse sent down the line I was able to determine the cable lengths to the different valves. Turned out the distance to the lost valve was the same as to a valve that had a known location. A little poking around the box of the known valve revealed another box covered with mulch with the lost valve. My friend had spent quite a bit of time trying to locate the leaky valve and was amazed how I was able to find it in 20 minutes of 'fiddling' with the electronics and about 20 seconds of poking around with a screwdriver. A couple of links (to the same basic info):
The TDR is an excellent method for finding breaks and shorts in wires too.

This isn't the only way to do it. Just one way that might give you ideas of other ways to do it with what you have available to you.

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