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Naked Conversations July 30, 2006

Posted by Retired Geezer in Personal Experiences, Websites.

If you go to wordpress.com and check out the Top Blogs, you will see the Scobleizer. He and his partner wrote a book about Blogging called Naked Conversations.

In that book, they lamented the fact that there were no Blogging Plumbers.

I attempted to fill that need.

The problem is that the Sprinkler business has taken off and I have little time left for Fun. You know… commenting *here*, posting at AoSHQ and at my other blogs.

I offer the following as an excuse for Light Posting.

Blogging Plumber.

You’ll see:

Weird Plumbing.

Mrs. Geezers foot.

My friend in a big hole.

Idaho Sea Shells.


1. Michael - July 30, 2006

I know I can manually start a station at the valve weel by doing something to trip the solenoid, but I’m not sure what to do. I used to do this in Texas, and just don’t remember the trick. There’s a plastic piece that sticks out of the housing, but I don’t know if I should pull it, push it, twist it, raise or lower it, etc. Nothing I tried worked with light pressure, and I didn’t want to break it by using too much force.

BTW, I recently had a station crap out and paid $77 to get the solenoid replaced. (I thought a wire had been cut due to some other work being done.) Is solenoid replacement something I can easily do for myself?

2. John - July 30, 2006

What the hell? Is this Home Depot’s other site? Pools, sprinklers …

I’ll talk to you guys about deck building later.

3. Michael - July 30, 2006

Good idea, John. I got some serious wood rot on the support posts to deal with.

4. Mrs. Geezer - July 30, 2006

Norman, you old poop! Get this insect off my face!

5. Retired Geezer - July 30, 2006

Michael, yep it’s pretty easy to replace a solenoid.
Make sure the water supply is off.
Clip the two wires coming from the solenoid, about 6″ long.
(I use this method instead of going back to the original wirenuts and removing them, much quicker)
Unscrew the solenoid, being careful not to lose any spring-loaded plungers or O-rings.
Screw in the new solenoid and attach the 2 wires to the ones you cut (and stripped), using wirenuts. Polarity doesn’t matter.
You’re done.
I probably would have charged $55 to do the same thing locally.
Basic solenoids run from $15 to $20.
Take your old one in to Home Depot to make sure it matches.

More technical info:
A good solenoid will have a resistance value between 20 – 60 Ohms.
(measured without any other wires being connected)

If your sprinks won’t turn on, it’s probably the solenoid.
If your sprinks won’t turn off, it’s probably the diaphragm.

Clean your filter if you have one and you will avoid some problems.
If your filter is exposed, wrap it with tinfoil to block the light and prevent algae from growing.

6. Julio the Pool Boy - July 30, 2006

Good idea, John. I got some serious wood

Yeah, me too.

7. Bart - July 30, 2006

In the Northeast, we call ’em zones, not stations.
And we don’t use the rigid PVC pipe. We use the more flexible pipe — I forget what it’s called, it’s 1″ black poly pipe and usually comes in 300′ rolls.

And nobody uses that Rain Bird shit. It’s Hunter, Toro, and WeatherMatic.

8. Retired Geezer - July 30, 2006

And nobody uses that Rain Bird shit. It’s Hunter, Toro, and WeatherMatic.

Well, I guess we could debate the relative merits of each but when I go in someone’s yard and see Toro or WeatherMatic, I always replace them with Rainbird.

Rotors: Rainbirds have a slip-clutch, the others don’t. You have to unscrew the whole Hunter rotor from the case and put it back in to index it. All you have to do is twist the RB to the proper alignment.
Hunters have a diffusion screw with an allen socket in the top. It fills up with dirt and you can’t get the tool in to adjust it. Rainbirds have self-cleaning slots in their screws.

Popup sprays: If the Toro stem slips back into the case, it’s hard to get it out because THE END OF THE STEM IS BELOW THE TOP.
Rainbirds, just use the magic boyfriend screwdriver and pull it right up.
Toros have female threads on the stems which grab dirt and screw up the threads when you insert the new nozzle. Rainbirds have Male threads which are easier to clean and besides, that’s how God planned it.

9. Retired Geezer - July 30, 2006

You’re right about PVC. It’s Old School.
Black Poly is the shiznit.
PVC is not as easy to work with and it isn’t as resistant to freezing damage.

10. Bart - July 30, 2006

Geez, Hunter’s have that rotating protector shield.

And the Toro 570 is classic.

My favorite, the prettiest sprinkler is the Toro Stream Rotor 300, with it’s rotating fingers-of-water.

Actually, all my knowledge of sprinks go way back to the ’80s when I worked for a sprinkler company. (I thought it was cool to pull pipe with the Ditch Witch). So I don’t really know the latest technology in the industry.

11. Retired Geezer - July 30, 2006

You’ve inspired me to do a photo comparison of some sprinks.

I’m thinking the 570 is the one where the stem drops down below the level of the top and is hard to retreive.

Yep, the stream rotors are hypnotic, very cool. Rainbird has them also.
They fit into the stems of the 1800 popup spray heads.

12. Bart - July 30, 2006

Put it this way, if you’re a habitual fingernail biter, you won’t be able to pull up the stem on a 570.

13. Retired Geezer - July 30, 2006

Michael, you can usually unscrew the solenoid slightly to get the water to come on.
Some valves have bleed screws that do the same function.
Orbit valves have a little lever near the solenoid that turns them on.

14. kevlarchick - July 31, 2006

Wow, thank god you guys are here. Hot pipe talk! I just flush and hope for the best.

great photo of Lady Godiva and her green friend.

15. Michael - July 31, 2006

Orbit valves have a little lever near the solenoid that turns them on.

I’ve got a little lever, but I’m not wiggling it right because I can’t get the station to come on.

(Oh God, I just read that sentence again.)

16. Dave in Texas - July 31, 2006

My pipe got rigid reading this.

17. Retired Geezer - July 31, 2006

if you’re a habitual fingernail biter, you won’t be able to pull up the stem on a 570.

Without the nozzle, the (spring loaded) stem drops into the case, about an inch below the top.
I would need fingers as skinny as Mrs. Peel’s to get that thing out.

18. BrewFan - July 31, 2006

I hope you guys remember we’re running a family-friendly site here.

19. shel israel - August 1, 2006

So, does that mean that blogging has made you so successful as a blogger that you have no time for blogging? Ths interests me and I may write about it. If I do, it may get you more traffic and then you’ll have less time for blogging. Please advise.

20. Retired Geezer - August 1, 2006

FYI, Shel Israel is the co-author of Naked Conversations.
He was one of the organizers of the Boise Bloggers meeting at Flying Pie.
Very interesting fellow.
Handsome, in a manly kind of way.
He could throw down the Ale too.

(do I get a mention in the next book now, Shel?)

21. richard noyes - August 6, 2007

i’m not really a sprinkler person, but as i have had to fix a couple of late, i wanna understand them, i so hope to make them more effusive . any sites that explain their innermost workings?

22. richard noyes - August 6, 2007

rainbird types, i mean

23. Retired Geezer - August 7, 2007

Which Rainbirds, Maxi-Paws or the 5000 Rotors?

24. beauford - August 9, 2008

If your sprinks won’t turn off, it’s probably the diaphragm

Any other possibilities for not turning off? I just replaced the diaphragm and the station still will not turn off.

25. Michael - August 9, 2008

Did you check the program on your control panel?

26. beauford - August 9, 2008

it comes on at the programmed time, but when the timer turns off the solenoid the water keeps flowing

27. Lipstick - August 9, 2008

We need Geezer on the case. He is our Sprinkler Doc.

Send up the bat signal. (It’s shaped like a potato.)

28. Retired Geezer - August 9, 2008

If your sprinks won’t turn off, it’s probably a stuck solenoid.
It’s not an electrical problem, it’s mechanical.

Go to the valve and unscrew the solenoid a half turn and your water will turn on. This might flush out the dirt that is making it stick.
Tighten the solenoid again and try it with your timer.

If this doesn’t work, you might have to turn off the water TO the valve and totally remove the solenoid and clean out the seat.

I’ve done this 20 times this year already. I haven’t replaced a diaphragm in 2 years.

Let me know if you have any more questions.

29. beauford - August 9, 2008

Thanks, Geezer – and lipstick for alerting the caped crusader.
The solenoid and the diaphragm are brand-new. I will re-check and clean the seat. Thanks again.

30. Plumber Blogger Has Strong Flow — Global Neighbourhoods - July 14, 2010

[…] he was.  While there's a sprinkling of sprinkler work going on, it has emerged into a fun-loving and popular group blog.  The counter says that it has had 41,000 visitors in just four months, and now there's […]

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