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Irrigation/Orbit automatic sprinkler system


QUESTION: I had a RainBird system with 2 zones and recently upgraded to an Orbit system so i could have program longer intervals between waterings.  When i wired the new system, Zone 2 would not come on.  When i unplugged Zone 2 and plugged it into other slots, it still would not work.  Zone 1 would work wherever I plugged it in.  I bought a new different Orbit system just to be sure and, sure enough, same problem.  No matter where i plug it in, Zone 2 will not turn on.  Weird thing is, when i plug these 2 wires back into the old RainBird system, both zones work fine.  What could be the problem here??  Both my and my irrigation installer are stumped!

ANSWER: Hey William, it sounds like a wiring issue to me. You should have a common wire, that normally would go to both valves, and then 2 hot wires, one would go to one valve, and the other would go to the other valve. First hook up the common wire, and make sure the common wire is hooked to one side of the solenoid wire on both valves. Then make sure the hot wires are hooked to the other lead from the solenoid for each valve. It sound like you  did not hook the common wire up to the common terminal, and hooked it to one of the hot terminals. When you changed the controllers, you need to mark the wires you took off as C (common) #1,#2 etc. Try switching the wire from #1 terminal to the common terminal, and the common terminal to the #1 termianl. Good luck and have a great day.

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QUESTION: Shoot - I wish that was it!  But i clearly marked the wires as white-common, blue-zone1 and green zone 2.  It's confounded us because the zone 2 wire works fine ONLY when plugged into the original timer - but it will not work with either of the new ones.   One has the push-in type of connection terminal and the other has the push-and-screw type (just like the original one) but still it works with neither.    Any other ideas?    I'm at wit's end - and might just have to stick with the old timer just so i can have that Zone 2 functional.  Thanks again

Hey william, what you need to do, is first test the voltage coming out of the controller  between the common terminal, and the #2 zone, and make sure you are getting between 22 and 26 volts. Then if you are getting the correct reading, hook up the wires, go to the solenoid on valve #2, and check your voltage at the valve (with the solenoid disconnected). If you are getting the correct reading at the valve, then it is either the solenoid or diaphram in the valve. If you are not getting the correct reading at the valve, then you have a problem with your wires, and you need to either repair or replace the wires. It could be that your new controllers are putting out slightly less voltage then the Rainbird controller, and if you have a problem with the wires or valve, the slightly more voltage is allowing it to open. I would suspect that the #2 hot wire is either damaged but not completely cut, or the solenoid is defective. Good luck and have a great day.


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Jim Schaefer


Any question regarding sprinking systems,installation,repair, and trouble shooting.


I have been installing and repairing sprinkling systems since I was 15 years old. Have owned my own sprinkler system contracting business for over 26 years. It is basically the only job I've ever done, except for being a paper boy when I was young.

High School diploma and 3 years college credits.

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