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Sprinkler Valve not working, please help

Post questions and info about pneumatic (compressed gas) powered cannons here. This includes discussion about valves, pipe types, compressors, alternate gas setups, and anything else relevant.
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Sprinkler Valve not working, please help

Unread postAuthor: jordanhb » Sat Nov 24, 2007 3:18 pm

I'm currently working on my first ever spud gun and decided to make a pneumatic one. It's put together, and works somewhat, but the performance is very poor. It uses a 3/4 inch Orbit Watermaster sprinkler valve. When I trigger the solenoid to open the valve, it opens, but it releases the air very slowly, and my projectiles barely fly anywhere. I don't get the "honking" noise that I've seen mentioned here, just a very slow release. I also tried removing the solenoid and just blocking the hole where it was with my thumb (pressurizing the chamber with my thumb in the hole, then removing my thumb to "fire" it). This immediately solved my problem and it shot much better. From looking at other posts here, it sounds like modding the valve with a pneumatic trigger might solve my problem, but before I take the time and effort to do it, I wanted to make sure. So, will that fix my problem, and are there any other ways to solve the problem and still be able to use the solenoid to actuate the valve (I already spent money on batteries and switches to use for electric actuation). Hope you can help. Thank you all in advance.
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Unread postAuthor: jrrdw » Sat Nov 24, 2007 3:30 pm

How much power are you running to the solenoid? Personaly, i would go ahead and mod it. You have allready proven to yourself it will work better that way. Welcome to Spudfiles.
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Unread postAuthor: potatoflinger » Sat Nov 24, 2007 3:32 pm

Yeah, I would say the only way to really increase the performance would be to modify the valve. All the sprinkler valves I have are modded, and they work beautifully. I think you'll enjoy your cannon a lot more if you mod the valve, it will have better performance, and you won't have to fool around with batteries.
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Unread postAuthor: jordanhb » Sat Nov 24, 2007 3:54 pm

I'm running the solenoid on 3 9-volt batteries linked in series. I checked it with a multi-meter and I'm getting about 26 volts. I guess I'll just go ahead and mod it then and hope that solves the problem. The valve I have is the kind with both the inlet and outlet pointing the same direction and a plastic adjuster handle above the diaphragm. Is the process for modding it roughly the same as I saw elsewhere in the site, or are there any special considerations?
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Unread postAuthor: BigGrib » Sat Nov 24, 2007 3:57 pm

Dude all I can say about your dilema is DUH. if you have read anything here it will tell you to mod it, trying to use the solenoid as your trigger is very ineffective for the main fact that the solenoid is made to open slowly so you dont get the water hammer effect on the valve and destroy the valve and whatever is at the other end of the system. and what size barrel are you using?? if you got a 3/4" barrel fine but if you are trying to use a bigger barrel with a 3/4 valve you wont get near the power you want
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Unread postAuthor: psycix » Sun Nov 25, 2007 4:15 pm

Drill a hole, screw in a ball valve or blowgun, voila, you got a modded valve.
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Unread postAuthor: jimmy101 » Mon Nov 26, 2007 12:58 pm

Sprinkler valve are not designed to open slowly, they are designed to close slowly which is pretty irrelevant to a spudgun. They may open slowly but there is really no reason for that in their normal use as sprinkler control valves. The slow closing is to minimize "water hammering" which can easily cause pressure spikes much greater than the normal operating pressure of the system. Water hammer only occurs when a valve is closed, it does not occur when a valve is opened.

Besides going to a full blown valve mod you can just port out (increase the diameter) of the solenoid's vent hole. Won't give nearly the same performance enhancement as a full mod but it is little easier and requires no additional parts (so it is ~$5 cheaper).

Take the valve apart, locate the hole that the solenoid's piston seals against and drill that hole a bit larger. If you increase the hole's diameter by just 50% you'll more than double the area though which the solenoid vents.
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Unread postAuthor: psycix » Mon Nov 26, 2007 2:57 pm

Take the valve apart, locate the hole that the solenoid's piston seals against and drill that hole a bit larger. If you increase the hole's diameter by just 50% you'll more than double the area though which the solenoid vents.


So you are actually modding the solenoid?!
Does that perform well enough then?
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Unread postAuthor: JDP12 » Mon Nov 26, 2007 4:55 pm

definitely mod the valve, countless threads, and literally countless threads on here ask about that all the time, and there is a sticky i believe on modding one i believe? Correct me if i am wrong.

I ordered mine from Gort, and it works great, albeit a little honking. It's simple enough to do yourself, i just needed to get a valve, and i couldn't find any at fleet farm.

Good luck.

oh or go to bcvids.com and check out his video on modding a valve if you still aren't sure

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