Is sprinkler plumbing normally this complicated (see pictures attached)

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I bought a house that had a bunch of broken sprinklers, as evidenced by puddles of water. When I dig down more than a foot for each one, I find they all have this horribly complicated plumbing arrangement. http://picturepush.com/public/7728890
It's easy enough to repair, as I can simply match parts at Home Depot, but I was wondering WHY there are six or seven couplings where just two or three would work just fine (seems to me).
Maybe I'm missing something important.
Is it normal for typical lawn sprinklers to look like this? http://picturepush.com/public/7728891
Why?
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On Tue, 06 Mar 2012 05:55:26 +0000, alpha male wrote:

Here's the correct picture (something went wrong with the last upload): http://picturepush.com/public/7728911
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On 3/6/2012 1:01 AM, alpha male wrote:

The bunch of odd fittings may just be old repairs using what was in the workshop, rather than making a trip to the store for "prettier" stuff. It may also have been rigged to avoid some landscaping feature. Sometimes longer offsets are installed so that if a head is run over by the mower the pressure isn't directed straight down onto the line; there is also flex pipe for that purpose that will help avoid broken lines.
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On Tue, 06 Mar 2012 10:24:28 -0800, SMS wrote:

As shown in this picture below, I must agree that all the swing fittings allow for the final location to be in a wide 1 foot arc around the main (white) irrigation line output. http://picturepush.com/public/7734851
Since all the sprinklers appear to be built this way, I'm gonna assume they did it on purpose.
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On Tue, 06 Mar 2012 14:28:04 -0800, Oren wrote:

pipe. I had to unscrew the broken part from the white pipe and screw it on in the mud (which is amazing that it worked because it can't possibly have been clean). http://picturepush.com/public/7734851
Using the keywords Oren provided, I was able to find this tutorial: http://www.irrigationtutorials.com/instal06.htm
Unfortunately, I think that tutorial implies that the white elbow MUST be pointed UP and not to the side like mine is. I'm not sure why though but it says so in the diagram titled "Drawing of a Rigid Quadruple Swing Riser" on that web page.
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thats definitely presidentionally engineered, get rid of it and just use schedule 40 PVC
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On Tue, 6 Mar 2012 05:55:26 +0000 (UTC), alpha male

You can't hook the sprinkler to the pipe or it would not reach the grass. You could use less couplings with a rubber hose as a riser. That's what some outfits are doing where I live.
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Maybe someone was trying to get rid of all their small "scrap" pieces of piping.
Sonny
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They might have done it thinking that with all the elbows it gives more freedom to get the head located exactly where they wanted it. But it's not normally done that way. Around here, NJ, they typically don't install it 12" deep either. About 7 inches is more typical and they use black poly pipe that can be pulled without trenching and is easier to work with, no glueing, can curve it, etc.
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On Tue, 06 Mar 2012 05:48:22 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Hi Trader4,
That's interesting because I'm in the Santa Cruz Mountains which never (almost never) get to freezing whereas you're in NJ where it does freeze every year.
Mine is easily more than a foot deep to the main irrigation line. I'm not sure why I'm deeper than you in NJ since the weather is so mild here.
Maybe because we never shut off our water in the winter and you probably do?
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wrote:

Right. If he meant to a new piece of pipe, then yes, he could do that but I wouldn't. I read his message as if he could just connect to the old pipe but that was before I had my coffee. Of course that doesn't make sense.
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alpha male wrote:

To provide the possibility of rotation in case the upper part gets whacked. The original can rotate in two planes; your repair can rotate in only one plane.
If the soil is clay and gets rock hard, the ability to move won't mean much; if the soil is sandy, it can mean the difference between broken and unbroken.
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On Tue, 06 Mar 2012 08:12:26 -0800, Oren wrote:

Hi Oren,
Thanks again for helping me out!
That must be what it is, i.e., a home-made Swing Pipe Assembly.
Here's a picture of the final assembly before I covered it in the mucky clay soil (which will set around it like concrete). http://picturepush.com/public/7734851
Many of the sprinklers are broken but all that I've dug up used a similar contraption. The only thing different is the length of the sprinkler bodies themselves. They all had the same number of elbows.
As Oren suggested, I can see that the Swing Pipe Assembly allows me to position the head within a foot or so of the pipe in any direction, and it allows me to level it with the soil.
I guess it also allows some protection (as Oren also stated) since it can move - but once that clay sets, it won't move much.
I don't at all see how it can do the other things advertised: a) Allows to minimize overall system depth underground I have no idea what that means or implies as the pipe is more than a foot underground at all places whether or not this contraption is attached.
b) Allows easy parallel connection of sprinkler heads to main irrigation line. I don't see how all the extra fittings make the connection to the main line any easier or harder?
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On Tue, 6 Mar 2012 22:09:56 +0000 (UTC), alpha male

I like the rubber hose that the pros use around here instead. Easier to manipulate in any direction and easier to dismantle too. I'm in west Houston and we also bury pvc pipes about a foot below. We do get an occasion freeze but usually in worst cases, 2 to 3 days but this is not common.
I wonder what pipe material they use in NJ nowadays? When I was a kid, a neighbor across the street from us had a underground sprinkler and I believe his was using copper pipe but I can't swear to that. Not sure if this makes sense tho because this was in Long Island, NY and there they do have extended freezing temps. Can anyone tell me if this would make sense in the late 50s or early 60s ? I remember tho he had a nice lawn <grin>. He was the only one I ever knew in our area with an underground system (we just lived in a average neighborhood... not upscale).
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On Tue, 06 Mar 2012 16:54:10 -0600, Doug wrote:

It's interesting that the tutorial I found based on Oren's keywords: http://www.irrigationtutorials.com/instal06.htm
Says the following about materials: "A typical rigid swing riser is constructed using a 12 inch long SCH 80 PVC nipple for the rigid arm (generally SCH 80 is gray colored) and high density polyethylene street ells (see photo of a street ell above.) High density polyethylene is typically referred to as "Marlex". Marlex is black in color, softer than PVC, and works better for swing risers than PVC because it has a naturally oily surface. Do not use standard threaded white or gray PVC ells on swing risers! The threads on standard PVC ells tend to stick to each other and keep the swing riser arm from moving as it should. I recommend that you use a small amount of Teflon tape on the male threads, even when using Marlex street ells. By the way, the black plastic used for the Funny Pipe ® risers mentioned earlier are not Marlex! If you can't scratch it with your fingernail, it is not Marlex."
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On Tue, 6 Mar 2012 23:04:50 +0000 (UTC), alpha male

Good info... thanks.
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On Tue, 06 Mar 2012 08:48:13 -0500, dadiOH wrote:

Hi DadiOH,
I may have misunderstood how to install it.
I exactly replaced, one to one, the elbow that had broken (you can see the tag on the bottom-most elbow which is the new part in this picture): http://picturepush.com/public/7734851
I've since filled it with the mucky clay so it's done - but do you think that last picture has the three planes of rotation still in effect?
If not, I guess the actual position you put the thing can determine the planes of rotation since you can position it about a foot either way of the actual location of the main (white) irrigation line.

The soil will be like concrete in just a few weeks!
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On Tue, 06 Mar 2012 08:15:02 -0800, Oren wrote:

I also found a video of them being used here, thanks to your keywords:
http://www.rainbird.com/landscape/products/accessories/ SAseriesSwingAssemblies.htm
What scares me though, is the guy in the video is installing one on a pipe that is above ground as he swings the foot-long thing in a wide circle to attach it to the white lateral pipe.
Problem is, for a repair, you're not going to have a two-foot diameter hole to swing the preassembled ones in. So, I guess that's one argument for the home-made triple swing riser and quadruple swing riser.
BTW, after reading the tutorial I found based on Oren's keywords, I think mine is properly called the triple swing riser (whereas, for a dollar more, had I known, I could have created a quadruple swing riser which has freedom of direction).
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On 3/5/2012 11:55 PM, alpha male wrote:

It is actually a better installation. It is meant to be easier to adjust height and much easier to repair heads.
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On Tue, 06 Mar 2012 18:04:51 -0600, DanG wrote:

It's certainly easier to adjust height ... but I'd have to think how the triple rigid swing riser makes it easier to repair heads.
I guess it's because the bottom of the sprinkler head is about half a foot less deep into the ground?
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