Faulty Sprinkler Valves?


My sprinkler heads only spray about half the required distance, too little water pressure for head-to-head coverage, despite careful caluclations during the design phase. However, when I loosen the solenoid on these old valves, voila! Works just as it should! Is this an indication of faulty valves? Would replacing the entire valve likely solve the problem? Perhaps just the solenoid?
BTW, if I leave the solenoid loose, the valve doesn't shut off, so that's not an option. :/
-Fleemo
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snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net wrote:

Yup, common problem. Replace the whole thing and then plan on doing it again in not too many years. All of the major manufacturers appear to have cost-reduced these things to the point of making them total crap.
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You could have crud in the valve. If you are going to replace them anyway, it couldn't hurt to takew one apart and clean out whatever crud you find.
Bob
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Thank you both for your input. Perhaps I'll try taking the valve apart and seeing if I find a crud deposit. Otherwise, it's new valves for me.
I agree with the statement that these valves are pretty crappy. I bought Orbit valves because they came in a three-valve assembly and that's just what I needed. I don't think I'll purchase any more Orbit in my lifetime. Hopefully Rainbird is of a higher quality.
Best regards,
-Fleemo
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If you just installed this, you could have chips from cutting the pipe and glue chunks messing up the valve. It might not be the valves' problem at all.
Bob
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Rainbird is (or at least was), but Orbit did a real good job at displacing them from the Borg.

It sounded as if he was manually operating the solenoids, rather than letting the electronics do it. The most recent orbits have had real crappy manual levers, some of them literally break off the first time you touch them. One of my orbits has also gotten to the point where the manual lever, while unbroken, only slightly (if at all) activates the valve (old style has a metal pin in it that's supposed to be friction fit at one place, but it slips). Yet, they all work just perfectly via electronics.
I'd recheck the calculations. It's _really_ tricky to get right sometimes, and DIYers can be way too optimistic. Eg: not taking into account pressure-versus-flow rate. Just because you read 60PSI attaching a guage to a faucet valve, doesn't mean you can pull 15gpm at 60PSI.
Orbit's saving grace is if something breaks, they'll send you a replacement free. Apparently forever. Sometimes considerably more than you ask for. I had a solenoid that stripped the threads (frozen) and two broken manual valve levers. They sent me three almost complete valve assemblies (missing only the main body), and six levers.
When the controller died - a year past formal warrantee, they sent me a new one no questions asked.
The only _truly_ annoying part is that they seem to have changed the valve design three times over the past 10 years or so and replacing these valves to swap in a whole new one (even if you got it as a free replacement) can be a PITA in terms of disassembling the plumbing.
[I've got 8 valves. First 3, around 10 years old, have one that doesn't work right manually, but is otherwise fine. Second 3, about 8 years old, are working perfectly. The last 2, about 3 years old have been where I've had problems. Partially my fault, because blowing out the lines on this particular setup is difficult and I get lazy sometimes.]
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