Sprinkler Doc

The Blogging Plumber from Boise

Weird Valves

Posted by Retired Geezer on July 28, 2006

Customer called me with a problem. Couldn’t find the valves.

Here’s where we started looking.

Notice the broken PVC, victim of overenthusiastic Weed Whipping.

In my youth and inexperience, I didn’t recognize these little beauties.

They are Electro-Hydraulic valves. The solenoid opens a little valve and allows water to shoot through and open The Big Valve.

All the Valve Finder tool does is vibrate the solenoids. That doesn’t help locate the actual valves.

I told the customer that I was unable to locate them without digging up the yard.

Does anybody else know a different way?

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11 Responses to “Weird Valves”

  1. Rivrdog said

    According to my sprinkler guy, most installers run the wires along the same Ditchwitch trench as the pipe, so with a Squawker, you can trace the wires AND the pipe, and check for the valves with an ordinary metal detector, since most have bronze parts in them. You tune in the metal detector by working it over a KNOWN valve.

    We found em all in my yard (6 zones) in about 30 minutes.

  2. Your sprinkler guy is correct, it’s usually a lot easier to just drop the wires into the existing trench but these valves don’t have wires running to them. The wires only run to the solenoids which are separate from the valves. The guys at the sprinkler supply place told me that old-time installers would make maps showing the location of the valves so that they would be guaranteed the call-backs.

    You inspired me to look up ‘Toro Electric Hydraulic Valve’, and I found this discussion:
    Sprinkler Talk.
    One estimate was about $300 to replace those controllers with electric ones.

  3. I should have made it plainer that the solenoids could be 100 feet away from the valves.
    I have a Rainbird Valve Finding Tool that I have used many times with great success. It paid for itself the first time I used it.

  4. Tools said

    They make a tool, you hook it to the wires in the box and it sends out a sound on the line. then you use the other tool that comes with it and follow the wires to the location. All good sprinkler repairmen have one

  5. Thanks for the comment, Tools.
    You might not have noticed the part above where it says: “these valves don’t have wires running to them”.
    I’m thinking the ‘Wire Sniffer’ tool costs about $1000.
    I’ve never had a job that I needed it. The Rainbird valve vibrating tool has worked just fine.
    I guess there’s a reason they don’t make those decroded piece of crap Toro hydraulic valves anymore.

  6. skinbad said

    Is there anything else you’re missing that “all good sprinkler repairmen” have?

    Just curious 🙂

  7. Craig said

    Less than $500 http://www.BetterValveLocator.com

  8. […] run the wires along the same … You inspired me to look up ???Toro Electric hydraulic Valve??™, …https://sprinklerdoc.wordpress.com/2006/07/28/weird-valves/LAWN SPRINKLERS, SPRINKLERS, LAWN SPRINKLER PARTS, LAWNSPRINKLERS, …Water Works Irrigation & […]

  9. Michael said

    I am troubleshooting an issue and can’t seem to find out what those little plastic tubes are called that the wires are going into. Looks like little clear tubes or toothpaste. Any idea? The problem is that one zone will not turn on. I am new at this and am trying to put the pieces together.

    Thanks.

  10. I think you will have to go to the Toro website. I’ve only seen this type valve at one house and I don’t know anything about them.

  11. The unit pictured is a conversion device produced by the Toro company, usually in commercial applications. The purpose is to link the superior hydraulic valves already installed to the updated and more versatile modern controllers. The problem is as stated that the valve could still be up to 100 feet away. Generally these valves (and their tubing that supplies water pressure to turn them on or off) are along the main and centered or at the near end of the zone they supply. If you’ve dug up the pipe be sure you leave no leaking tubes at your repair point. I can answer any other questions you might have about hydraulics at this address danielssprinklersolutions@gmail.com

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