X10 Community Forum

🔌General Home Automation => Automating Your House => Topic started by: Brandt on February 13, 2010, 11:49:07 PM

Title: Rainbird sprinkler timer replacement
Post by: Brandt on February 13, 2010, 11:49:07 PM
This house has some old Rainbird timer that is not even listed on the website anymore
http://www.rainbird.com/homeowner/products/timers/index.htm

It seems to have some sort of control cable that goes out to some sprinkler mechanisms in the front yard.

Could this cable be unhooked and somehow be ported into the computer for use with x10 timers?
Title: Re: Rainbird sprinkler timer replacement
Post by: dbemowsk on February 14, 2010, 12:23:07 AM
Can you at least give us the model number.  Even if it is not listed, we can probably do some searching to find information that may help.

Dan
Title: Re: Rainbird sprinkler timer replacement
Post by: hawk1 on February 14, 2010, 01:17:45 AM
Maybe talk to these guys.  I don't know if this is what your talking about.  But look at this link.  http://www.wgldesigns.com/rain8.html   ;)
Title: Re: Rainbird sprinkler timer replacement
Post by: Brian H on February 14, 2010, 06:50:10 AM
The mentioned the Rain8 maybe an answer.

I looked at some of the present Rainbird Interfaces and it seems they are using 24 volts AC with each valve connected to a common power and the other lead to a individual control output. I believe the Rain8 is connected that way also. It is X10 controlled.

Do you know if the original has any of the fancy additions? Like moisture sensor so it didn't water if it had recently rained.
Title: Re: Rainbird sprinkler timer replacement
Post by: Brandt on April 19, 2010, 03:34:17 PM
I took some photos of the valves....The ones in the backyard are manual, so I'd have to replace them with electrical ones I assume. I'm not to familiar with sprinkler systems...

(http://i40.tinypic.com/1jowf5.jpg)

(http://i44.tinypic.com/wb812w.jpg)
Title: Re: Rainbird sprinkler timer replacement
Post by: dave w on April 19, 2010, 03:48:10 PM
This house has some old Rainbird timer that is not even listed on the website anymore
http://www.rainbird.com/homeowner/products/timers/index.htm

It seems to have some sort of control cable that goes out to some sprinkler mechanisms in the front yard.

Could this cable be unhooked and somehow be ported into the computer for use with x10 timers?
Piggy backing on to Brians response, I worked at a place that had some Rainbird and Toro zoned sprinklers and both used 24V AC to run the valves. May be some kind of a standard.
Title: Re: Rainbird sprinkler timer replacement
Post by: Brandt on April 19, 2010, 04:21:01 PM
Whats that black valve on the top left photo?
Title: Re: Rainbird sprinkler timer replacement
Post by: Brian H on April 19, 2010, 04:28:59 PM
Guess here.
Maybe an older version of this: http://www.rainbird.com/homeowner/products/valves/DV-DVF.htm

It maybe the master valve that turns on water to the system. It also seems to have a vacuum breaker feature that would not allow water to back flow into your drinking water. You know don't suck any fertilizer back into the drinking water.  rofl
Title: Re: Rainbird sprinkler timer replacement
Post by: dbemowsk on April 19, 2010, 07:31:48 PM
I do think that 24 VAC is the standard for sprinkler valves.  I have heard of systems that have a main valve and some that use what is called a pump start relay, but any system should have one or the other.  The pump start relay would be used in a system that has a separate irrigation pump for the system which is the type that I have.  The pump start relay is controlled much like the master valve in that they both accept a 24 VAC signal to turn them on.

If the black one is acting as a main valve, it may be larger to allow more than one zone valve to be opened at a time.  This might explain why it looks different. 

The bad part about the way your system is buried in the dirt is that if you needed to change a valve, you would have to dig up the pipes and risk breaking a pipe in the process and making the problem worse.  When I added my valves, I dug a big hole and made a pressure treated plywood box with a cover to house everything for easy access if I had to do work on the system. 

But getting back to your setup, what I would try is to see if you can trace the wires to all your valves and mark them.  I would then try applying 24 VAC to your larger black valve and also to your other valves one at a time.  This should tell you weather or not the black one is a master valve or not.  If it is, take it from there to figure out what sprinkler heads each of your zone valves control.  If the black is not the master, then I would try different combinations of valves until you get a combination that works and deduce which one is your master from there.

hope that helps a bit.
Title: Re: Rainbird sprinkler timer replacement
Post by: Brandt on April 19, 2010, 11:24:27 PM
The wires go into the wall behind it which is the garage, from in there it goes to the Rainbird EZ timer

Title: Re: Rainbird sprinkler timer replacement
Post by: Brian H on April 20, 2010, 06:01:04 AM
You maybe able to look at the timer and see what wire goes to what. I would expect one wire from each valve goes to a common and then each valves other control wire to a individual output on the timer.

Though your timer may no longer be in production. You may find its manual on the Rainbird site or you maybe able to download the manuals for newer ones to see how they connect to the valves.
Title: Re: Rainbird sprinkler timer replacement
Post by: Brandt on April 20, 2010, 11:46:24 AM
since the backyard valves are manual at this point, I would have to replace the valves and run a cable from the backyard to the garage in the front of the house. At this point It looks like I only have 2 (or 3) valves that are on the timer and that does not seem like enough to invest in a Rain8. Can a regular relay type module be used? Or would I need three of them such as the Uni Mod?
Title: Re: Rainbird sprinkler timer replacement
Post by: Brian H on April 20, 2010, 12:40:19 PM
If you went with a relay type appliance module that switches 120 volts. You would probably have to have a 24 volt AC wall wart or transformer to power each valve.

If you use three Universal Modules. You could use one transformer that has enough power to pull in all the valves. In case all three are on at the same time.

One other thought is if you only want all three on at the sametime. Then a appliance module controlling the transformer or universal module  controlling the 24 volts to the valves; could control all three.

Yesterday I did see an X10 special of six three pin appliance modules for $29.99. Unreal. I thought the $39.99 for six appliance modules and we through in a stick-a-switch and transceiver was a good deal.
Title: Re: Rainbird sprinkler timer replacement
Post by: JeffVolp on April 20, 2010, 02:04:19 PM

The Rain8 has a nice feature where you can program the max run length.  So then if anything corrupts the command, it will automatically turn off by itself when it reaches that timeout.

With Rain8, you can actuate the valves individually through X10 commands, or initiate either of two program cycles that will run through a pre-programmed sequence.

While you can do all of this with individual appliance modules feeding 24VAC "wall warts", I think the Rain8 is worth the extra cost.

Jeff
Title: Re: Rainbird sprinkler timer replacement
Post by: Brandt on April 20, 2010, 04:26:28 PM
yes, the rain8II is on my wishlist, but the costs keep adding up...

I'd have to replace the manual backyard valves, run cable, build some sort of enclosure on the backyard valves, etc, etc...

ho-hum-maybe another paycheck  :'
Title: Re: Rainbird sprinkler timer replacement
Post by: Brandt on May 13, 2010, 10:44:59 PM
(http://i39.tinypic.com/v7b39x.jpg)
Title: Re: Rainbird sprinkler timer replacement
Post by: Brian H on May 14, 2010, 06:21:03 AM
From the photo.
On the left side of the housing. The AC comes up from the electrical box below it. Through the BX cable. Into the white assembly with the screw holding the cover on it. The transformer and AC Line wiring are most likely inside that white assembly.

With the power off. If you unscrew the cover mounting screw. You will probably see the transformer and wiring.
Title: Re: Rainbird sprinkler timer replacement
Post by: Brandt on July 06, 2010, 02:47:10 PM
yes, the rain8II is on my wishlist, but the costs keep adding up...

I'd have to replace the manual backyard valves, run cable, build some sort of enclosure on the backyard valves, etc, etc...

ho-hum-maybe another paycheck  :'

and another paycheck....i replaced the leaky slip joint and two manual valves in the backyard with automatic valves.....now I have to track down some 100' of 18/3 irrigation wire to run to the garage at the front of the house to the old rainbird timer.....and maybe next paycheck the Rain8II  ;D
Title: Re: Rainbird sprinkler timer replacement
Post by: Brian H on July 06, 2010, 02:56:28 PM
Sounds like things are progressing.
Thanks for the update on your progress.
Title: Re: Rainbird sprinkler timer replacement
Post by: Brandt on July 14, 2010, 12:46:24 PM
Usually the gardeners do minor repairs or adjustments to the sprinkler system and they will need to be able to turn on each valve manually from outside the house (the timer is located in the garage). The current RainBird controller has a manual advance button. I've also replaced two manual valves in the backyard with automatic valves
(http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId=10051&productId=100013941&langId=-1&catalogId=10053&ci_src=14110944&ci_sku=100013941&cm_mmc=shopping-_-googlebase-_-D26X-_-100013941&locStoreNum=603&marketID=48 (http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId=10051&productId=100013941&langId=-1&catalogId=10053&ci_src=14110944&ci_sku=100013941&cm_mmc=shopping-_-googlebase-_-D26X-_-100013941&locStoreNum=603&marketID=48)).

Is there a way to manually turn on valves from the Rain8II without having to get on the computer? Or are there automatic valves you recommend that also have manual on/off functionality?

Title: Re: Rainbird sprinkler timer replacement
Post by: JeffVolp on July 14, 2010, 12:49:46 PM
Is there a way to manually turn on valves from the Rain8II without having to get on the computer? Or are there automatic valves you recommend that also have manual on/off functionality?

I use a TM751 set to the Rain8 housecode, and take a PalmPad outside with me.

Jeff
Title: Re: Rainbird sprinkler timer replacement
Post by: Brandt on July 14, 2010, 02:17:00 PM
Oh thats a good idea! I actually have a w800usb, so I would just need a palmpad set to the rain8 housecode then!   :)%

Is there a way to manually turn on valves from the Rain8II without having to get on the computer? Or are there automatic valves you recommend that also have manual on/off functionality?

I use a TM751 set to the Rain8 housecode, and take a PalmPad outside with me.

Jeff
Title: Re: Rainbird sprinkler timer replacement
Post by: Brandt on July 15, 2010, 01:57:17 AM
I ended up purchasing a Rain8II today ( I work down the street from the Smarthome store, I can just walk in and buy things anytime  :P  )   

I would like to repurpose the old Rainbird enclosure and transformer for my Rain8II. I would just remove the old circuit board and display.


Here is the manual so you can see the wiring toward the bottom. The transformer has a common, 9.5v, and 24.5v output:
http://www.rainbird.com/pdf/diy/man_EZ1D.pdf


The instructions that came with the Rain8II say to hook up the two connections on the provided transformer to the two terminal connections marked '24 vac in' and all the commons from the valves to the common terminal.

Are both of the outputs from the transformer 24vac? Where is the common output? Do I wire the common output from the old transformer to the common terminal on the Rain8II? Do I jumper the two 24vac inputs when using the one 24.5vac output from the old transformer?

thanks in advance  >!
Title: Re: Rainbird sprinkler timer replacement
Post by: Brian H on July 15, 2010, 06:08:23 AM
No both outputs of the original transformer are not 24 volts.
Look at page 6 of the manual.
Yellow is the common terminal for both voltages.
Red is the 9.5 Volt Hot.
Blue is the 24.5 Volt Hot.
So for the 24.5 volts. Use the Yellow Common and the Blue 24.5 Volts Hot.
The Red 9.5 Volts Hot is not used. Tape it up so it doesn't touch something and short out.

The Rain8II manual 30004 {I looked at the expansion set module kit} shows the 24 volts on terminals 11 and 12. So connect the transformer there.
The 30005 starter kit manual doesn't call out the 11 and 12 but it should be the same.  ;D

The Common terminals on the Rain8II are for one side of every valve in use.

Don't connect the transformer to one of the common Rain8II terminals.
Use 11 and 12 for the 24 volts. Your choice on colors. Just get the Yellow and Blue wires connected to 11 and 12 of the Rain8II.
Title: Re: Rainbird sprinkler timer replacement
Post by: Brandt on July 15, 2010, 11:42:21 AM
No both outputs of the original transformer are not 24 volts.
Look at page 6 of the manual.
Yellow is the common terminal for both voltages.
Red is the 9.5 Volt Hot.
Blue is the 24.5 Volt Hot.
So for the 24.5 volts. Use the Yellow Common and the Blue 24.5 Volts Hot.
The Red 9.5 Volts Hot is not used. Tape it up so it doesn't touch something and short out.

The Rain8II manual 30004 {I looked at the expansion set module kit} shows the 24 volts on terminals 11 and 12. So connect the transformer there.
The 30005 starter kit manual doesn't call out the 11 and 12 but it should be the same.  ;D

The Common terminals on the Rain8II are for one side of every valve in use.

Don't connect the transformer to one of the common Rain8II terminals.
Use 11 and 12 for the 24 volts. Your choice on colors. Just get the Yellow and Blue wires connected to 11 and 12 of the Rain8II.


I was referring to the transformer that came with the Rain8II when I asked if both outputs were 24vac.The reason I asked is because the outputs are not individually labeled on the transformer and on terminal 11 and 12 on the Rain8II they both say '24 vac in'. I was under the impression that one of those was to power the Rain8II and one of those was voltage for the valves. That is why there are two voltage outputs on the RainBird; the 9.5vac powers the controller (as well as a 9v backup battery), and the 24.5vac is for the valves. On terminal 11 and 12 on the Rain8II, which one is common and which one is vac in?

The manual that came with my kit is 30006
Title: Re: Rainbird sprinkler timer replacement
Post by: Brian H on July 15, 2010, 12:40:48 PM
Well the RainBird had two voltage so the electronics could be powered by a lower voltage.
I don't think the Rain8II is the same.

Unfortunately the manual I found for kit 30006 does not show details on the transformer.
It only shows the 24 volts going to 11 and 12 as it should power both the electronics and valves through 11 and 12.
You may have to ask WGL Support for more details or Smarthome Support where you bought the kit.
The transformer is a wall wart isn't it?
Title: Re: Rainbird sprinkler timer replacement
Post by: Brandt on July 15, 2010, 12:43:26 PM
Well the RainBird had two voltage so the electronics could be powered by a lower voltage.
I don't think the Rain8II is the same.

Unfortunately the manual I found for kit 30006 does not show details on the transformer.
It only shows the 24 volts going to 11 and 12 as it should power both the electronics and valves through 11 and 12.
You may have to ask WGL Support for more details or Smarthome Support where you bought the kit.
The transformer is a wall wart isn't it?

Yes the transformer that came with the kit is a wall wart and that has two screw terminals on it which are not individually labeled. The instructions just say to take 2-conductor wire and run it to terminal 11 & 12 on the Rain8II.
Title: Re: Rainbird sprinkler timer replacement
Post by: Brian H on July 15, 2010, 12:49:18 PM
OK. Then all you have to do is connect the terminals on the wall transformer to 11 and 12 of the Rain8II.
Strictly AC and not polarized.

I reread the 30006 instructions and did in fact see the connect the transformer terminals to the 24 volt connectors on the Rain8II with 2 wires. Old age on my part I guess as I did miss it the first time.  ???

The only thing you would have to watch is if you used an expansion Rain8II. The power wires jumping the master to the salve would have to be 11 to 11 and 12 to 12.

Title: Re: Rainbird sprinkler timer replacement
Post by: Brandt on July 15, 2010, 12:52:47 PM
OK. Then all you have to do is connect the terminals on the wall transformer to 11 and 12 of the Rain8II.
Strictly AC and not polarized.

The only thing you would have to watch is if you used an expansion Rain8II. The power wires jumping the master to the salve would have to be 11 to 11 and 12 to 12.

That is correct there is no polarization or ground on the wall wart.
Title: Re: Rainbird sprinkler timer replacement
Post by: Brandt on July 15, 2010, 01:44:17 PM
Warren got back to me:

Quote
Hi Brandt,

 There is a possibility that the built in transformer has one side of the 24vac transformer connected to ground.  This will cause some problems as your Rain8II is expecting a floating power supply.  You can see if this is case by using a voltmeter and measuring from ground  to both the 24vac terminal and the common terminal.  If you measure any voltage at all donít use it.

 The safe way is to just use the transformer that came with your kit.

Warren
Title: Re: Rainbird sprinkler timer replacement
Post by: Brian H on July 15, 2010, 01:54:03 PM
OK Maybe I was confused.
Didn't you originally want to use the old transformer in the cabinet?

If you have a new one in the kit. I would also say it is the safest to use the new one.
Title: Re: Rainbird sprinkler timer replacement
Post by: Brandt on July 15, 2010, 02:08:43 PM
Yes i want to use the old transformer as it is neatly contained within the enclosure. Using the new transformer along with the tw523 would be an ugly install. I have to figure out how to neatly install everything in the old enclosure (these weatherproof enclosures are expensive! trying to save money!)
Title: Re: Rainbird sprinkler timer replacement
Post by: Brian H on July 15, 2010, 02:25:36 PM
Well if you have a meter and can confirm you get 24.5 volts AC between the Yellow and Blue wire and no voltage between any of the three Yellow; Blue or Red to ground or the mounting frame. It may work.

Yes weather proof or weather resistant and cost seem to go hand in hand.
Title: Re: Rainbird sprinkler timer replacement
Post by: Brandt on July 16, 2010, 01:34:49 AM
The old transformer in the rainbird enclosure tested out fine. here is a pic of the install:

(http://i26.tinypic.com/zuk2uh.jpg)
Title: Re: Rainbird sprinkler timer replacement
Post by: Brian H on July 16, 2010, 06:18:10 AM
Very good.
Thanks for showing us the finished project.
Title: Re: Rainbird sprinkler timer replacement
Post by: Brandt on August 27, 2010, 09:03:00 PM
I am hoping you guys know more about sprinklers than I do.

I emailed Warren saying that the valve #4 (backyard) does not shutoff at the scheduled time. It even continues to stay on past the 15 minute kill time that I programmed into the Rain8II. Using my XTBM I've found that the StatusOff for Valve #4 is OFF so it is not the Rain8II.

When it stays on, I've had to shutoff the manual water supply valve. I am thinking this new cheap (~$15) valve has gone bad already as it fails to close. Recently I noticed there was some flooding in the backyard and found a leak in the pipes near a sprinkler head (I have yet to fix). Would the leak in the pipes cause a loss of back pressure which would prevent the valve #4 from closing?


EDIT: I figured it out. It seems these valves do need a certain amount of pressure to close. I fixed the leak..it was just a cracked riser luckily. I also adjusted the flow pressure at the valve and everything worked perfectly tonight. So I am going to assume it is fixed.  >!