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Sprinkler Valve Troubleshooting Guide

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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Unread postAuthor: avlaxmidi09 » Sun Nov 11, 2007 4:22 pm

So i have an Orbit water master one inch U shaped sprinkler valve. It has an adjuster knob/shaft thing tha just changes how high the diaphram is able to go up. I tried using the solenoid but it was slow so i modded it. I took off the adjuster shaft and knob, and screwed a brass double threaded nipple with one end on the top of the valve right above the diaphram and the other scrwed to an air blow gun. After the mod my gun would not even pressurize. I removed the solenoid and put epoxy in all the tiny holes. I also washed the diaphram in mild soapy water and applied white lithium grease to it. Now when everything is back together, my gun will presurize to about 10 psi but then just sits there so there must be a leak. I think the diaphram is the leak, what can i do?. also when i release the presure by squeezing the blow gun, the air comes out the end of the blow gun instead of out the other side of the valve. What is going on?

EDIT: I just took it apart and noticed that there is a small pinhole near te center of the diaphram but looks like it is intentional from the manufacturer. So that must be why air comes through the blow gun. Does anyone know about this pinhole? Is it supposed to be there?
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Unread postAuthor: watto » Sun Nov 11, 2007 10:02 pm

avlaxmidi09 wrote:So i have an Orbit water master one inch U shaped sprinkler valve. It has an adjuster knob/shaft thing tha just changes how high the diaphram is able to go up. I tried using the solenoid but it was slow so i modded it. I took off the adjuster shaft and knob, and screwed a brass double threaded nipple with one end on the top of the valve right above the diaphram and the other scrwed to an air blow gun. After the mod my gun would not even pressurize. I removed the solenoid and put epoxy in all the tiny holes. I also washed the diaphram in mild soapy water and applied white lithium grease to it. Now when everything is back together, my gun will presurize to about 10 psi but then just sits there so there must be a leak. I think the diaphram is the leak, what can i do?. also when i release the presure by squeezing the blow gun, the air comes out the end of the blow gun instead of out the other side of the valve. What is going on?

EDIT: I just took it apart and noticed that there is a small pinhole near te center of the diaphram but looks like it is intentional from the manufacturer. So that must be why air comes through the blow gun. Does anyone know about this pinhole? Is it supposed to be there?


I'm pretty sure theres not meant to be a hole in your diapragm, unless its a different design to mine, If you cant work out where a leak is coming from maybe try putting it underwater in a pool or bath.
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Unread postAuthor: DVLCHLD » Sat Jan 05, 2008 2:29 pm

The hole in the center of the diaphram is suppose to be there. When you pressurize the valve, air goes through that hole and allows the pressure to be equal above and below the diaphram. Then when the air above the diaphram is quickly removed the pressure from below the diaphram forces the diaphram open and WHOOOSH all the air moves through the valve. The reason all the air comes out the blow gun is because there's only 10 PSI of pressure. Once you can get it to hold much more air it will have enough to force the diaphram open and work properly.
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Unread postAuthor: avlaxmidi09 » Sat Jan 05, 2008 8:30 pm

but the problem was that i couldnt get it to fill past 10 or 15 psi and thats how i knew something was wrong at all. i think also the diaphram was not sealing all the way down after it was opened. i cant remmeber that was a couple months ago. i gave up with that sprinkler valve because after taking it apart so many times i stripped one of the holes for the screws. theres just a 1 inch ball valve on the gun right now. and once spring comes around and its warm enough to use the gun at all again ill buy a new, less complicated sprinkler valve and try this all over again. thanks for everyone who has replied to this though.
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Unread postAuthor: DVLCHLD » Sat Jan 05, 2008 11:07 pm

I recommend a jar lid valve like the Orbit 1" sprinkler valve model # 57461. It's the same type of valve but instead of all those screws that hold the lid on, the lid just crews on like a jar lid. So you can take the lid off and put it back on over and over very quickly and easily. Another nice thing about that valve is the solenoid is screwed into the center of the cap so if you want to mod it for pneumatic operation there's already a hole there. You just have to remove the plastic part of the cap under the solenoid. It just looks better too.
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Unread postAuthor: maxfreke88 » Sun Jan 20, 2008 7:17 pm

P: Your valve won't seal while you're pressurizing the cannon.
A: You may have an equalization hole that is too small. You may also have a leak in the top of the valve, so the valve is constantly being piloted. You can expand the equalization hole with a needle or a tiny drill bit. If there is a leak in the top of the valve, use sealant or epoxy to seal it. You may need to create a vacuum in the cannon to suck in the sealant. Your valve may also be on backwards. Check that the arrows point towards the barrel. Also, the manual bleed switch on the solenoid may be up or partway up, keeping the valve from sealing.



First when i got the valve i pressurized the gun and did not seal whatsoever. Then i found this thread, and followed the instructions above. put it together then it leaks a ton through barrel for ~3 seconds and dies down to a smaller but still annoying leak (all leaks are through the barrel) i cannot disconnect from the compressor or will lose pressure. HELP!! :( :(
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Unread postAuthor: DVLCHLD » Sun Jan 20, 2008 8:34 pm

One way air could be leaking out the barrel would be the diaphram IS NOT sealing against the sealing ring inside the valve. When you take the top of the valve off there's a big spring that pushes down on the diaphram. That spring has to be there so if you took it out put it back in. If it is there make sure it is set right and not off center where it contacts the cap and diaphram. If that's not the problem check the diaphram for pin holes or leaks OUTSIDE the seal ring. Check the edge of the diaphram and make sure air isn't getting by there somehow. Make sure the hole in the center of the diaphram isn't so tiny that air can't get through it fast enough. If that little hole is too tiny drill it out a little bigger with a tiny drill bit. If there's a guide rod in the center of the diaphram it can restrict air flow so pull it out with a pair of plyers. YOU DO NOT NEED A GUIDE ROD. I have the Orbits WaterMaster 1" sprinkler valve and it works better with the guide rod removed. Good luck.
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Unread postAuthor: wngovr » Fri Apr 25, 2008 1:30 am

I have a two inch sprinkler valve I bought from McMaster-Carr. I'm using a modified blowgun for a pilot valve. The blowgun works great, but when i first pressurized it, it would leak out the barrel until i got 40 psi, so i took it apart and found the equilization hole. it was very small, maybe 1/32". I saw that the air that passed through this hole had to go through a maze before it got to the other side of the diafram, so I drilled a seperate hole (1/16") in order to bypass the maze. Now it seals up at 20 psi. Much better, however it wont seal if I use the shrader valve. Even with an air compressor. Should i drill the hole out bigger, 1/8" ? How big is too big for an equalization hole.
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Unread postAuthor: BigGrib » Fri Apr 25, 2008 3:14 am

why do people always make such a big deal about sprinkler valves, oh they dont work the valve must be bad....and people dont have the common sense enough to fix things by themselves. but this i why spudfiles exists the valve sealing thing you probably have a chunk of something blocking the sealing face. either that or the spring is not seating the diaphragm properly. with you drilling out the equalization hole probably screwed it up. the manufacturer made the valve to work with that setup. seating the diaphragm shouldn't be that damn hard. i can seat my 1.5" irritol valve with lung power, so i dont see why it takes 20 psi to seat your 2" unless you did something to the valve when you modded it
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Yea, that's definitely going to get you at least a tazer.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AkMkGOpAF4s">DONT TAZE ME BRO.. DONT TAZE ME... AHHHH</a>
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Unread postAuthor: Hydra » Fri Apr 25, 2008 4:19 am

Where is it leaking. You say they diaphragm is the leak but if youve followed everyone else, it probably isnt. Try and pinpoint the exact leak. Block the outlet then pressurise, then block any other small holes that arent sealed one by one and keep pressurising in between.
Or get someone to keep pumping and block holes with your finger and if you hear the "hissing" stop you know where the leak is.
Yeah, what i said was kinda obvious...
Wait a sec, in the outlet(barrel) there should be this narrow tube sticking out, you have to seal that.
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Unread postAuthor: wngovr » Fri Apr 25, 2008 6:11 pm

OK if if you understood my post you would see that the mod I did improved things considerably. Originally the hole did not go staight through the diafram, it went through a maze (a series of chanels molded into the plastic washer in the middle of the diafram.) Im pretty sure this is to slow down the valve action in order to keep down hammering in the water line. Thats why I bypassed the maze. This is not a leak in the true sence of the word. This is a leak that stops when more pressure is applied. The only thing I can imagine that would do this would be a slow acting diafram. The valve works fine - Better now. What size equilization hole does a fast acting 2" sprinkler valve have? Obviously I dont want to put a 1/2" hole. At least I know the valve should work fast and with little pressure. I think I'm on the right track though. I guess I'll just drill it out a little bigger and see. I just thought i would check and see if anyone else had this problem before i messed up this expensive valve. Then again all I have to do is epoxy the hole and drill another one.
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Unread postAuthor: BlackH » Wed Jun 04, 2008 2:31 am

mine didnt wanna seal as well, stuck it under the water, and there it was, a small crack between the solenoid and the outer casing, darn people at the shop must have droped it, got all the parts togather, then this!!!
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Unread postAuthor: Darkside 6ix » Wed Jun 04, 2008 3:23 am

I had the same problem, but I fixed it by stretching out the spring so that it applys more pressure on the diaphragm and creats a better seal. Also try lubing up all the moving parts with vaselie/petroleum jelly. If that doesnt work then you have a different problem.
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Unread postAuthor: neeewwww » Tue Jun 17, 2008 12:54 pm

Hi, I´m about to buy a Sprinkler Valve (Rainbird, Hunter o Baccara) Orbit valves dont sell here in Brazil >.>"

1. Do I need a compressor to use Sprinkler Valve instead of Ball valve?

I will buy/use a Shock Pump rated to 11bar or 160psi
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Unread postAuthor: iisthemuffin » Tue Jun 17, 2008 1:12 pm

I dont really think this is the proper thread to post your question in. But you dont need any special air source for a sprinkler valve. Just fill up your cannon anyway you want and you will be fine.
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