3 of 5 Zones won't activate on timer

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Bcorner

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I have 5 Zones on a Rainbird ESP-TM2 6- zone controller, professionally installed 4 years ago. 3 of the 5 zones (1,3,5) are not being triggered by the timer, Zones 4-5 are working.

  • Panel is getting 38VAC, and non-working zones are getting the same voltage at the same time (even when only one is selected). In other words, when any of the non-working zones are turned on manually, all 3 (1,3,5) are registering 38volts.
  • Multimeter Ohm continuity beep test (without removing wires from panel), the working zones beep, non-working zones don’t
  • Swapped a working zone 3 wire with non-working zone 1 wire. Zone 1 now works, Zone 3 does not, so assuming it is not the panel
  • The 3 non-working zone valves are physically located in the backyard, the working 2 are located in the front.
Any help with diagnosing this is sincerely appreciated.
 

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WorthFlorida

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38v is way too high. Did you mean 28 volts? A 24v transformer with no load maybe as high as 29v, but under load, 18-24 volts the solenoids will work.

To test the controller remove all the red wires and tag them. Run it manually for each zone checking the voltage for each active zone. With the voltmeter, do an ohm reading for each solenoid using the red wires. Any shorts the controller will flag a bad zone but not an open. Ohm readings can be between 20-60 ohms but most will be in the 30-49 ohm reading. The picture seems to show a copper wire through the insulation. Irrigation wires are usually one solid wire. When zones do not work, most of the time it is a bad solenoid, second the zone on the controller went bad, then wiring. A nearby lightning strike can also do damage.
 

Jeff H Young

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you said when you switched the wires around that the zone worked so it sounded like the wire
 

Bcorner

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My Multimeter was defective, I purchased a new one and the system voltage is now 28v.

I disconnected all wires and checked Ohms, the bad zones 1,2,5 have no reading just says OL on meter, the 2 working zones 4&5 have a 44 Ohm reading.

When I connect one defective zone to the panel and activate it, it reads 28v and the 2 other defective zone wires also read 28v while unconnected. The 2 working zones don't show voltage. The defective zone valve boxes 1,2,5 are next to each other in the backyard. What kind of troubleshooting can I do at the valves to identify the cause?
 

Jeff H Young

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OL open line. so 3 bad wires or solenoids or connections.


string a wire along the ground if you want for temporary test purposes. maybe Im not getting what your problem is. gotta be simple
 
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