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OT, cheap water valve control for the garden

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  • OT, cheap water valve control for the garden

    I have tried a couple of $50 battery operated water valve/timers by orbit. Never had one last more than one far.

    What if I bought a cheap solenoid operated washing machine valve:

    coupled with an electronic timer like so:

    That gets the total cost down to well under half what the Orbit brand charges, and it makes it user serviceable. If a valve quits, it's 12 bucks, not fifty again. If a timer quits, it's less than ten bucks.

    The water will be on for typically 30-45 minutes, so not too much longer than the washer turns it on to fill. Plus, it's all AC so no batteries to fool around with.

    I'll be careful, it will plug into a gfci, etc etc etc. It will be in a project box, nicely protected, no exposed AC, etc etc.

    Any reason this won't work?


    Last edited by michigan doug; 02-21-2014, 05:29 PM.

  • #2
    Should work fine EXCEPT those valves are not very large. Dishwasher valves are usually 3/8" and washing machine valves a bit bigger. You need a 1/2" if you have lots of water pressure or a 3/4" if it is a bit low. ASCO valves are good, but a bit more spendy than parts for appliances.
    Duffy, Gatineau, Quebec


    • #3
      Originally posted by Duffy View Post
      Should work fine EXCEPT those valves are not very large. Dishwasher valves are usually 3/8" and washing machine valves a bit bigger. You need a 1/2" if you have lots of water pressure or a 3/4" if it is a bit low. ASCO valves are good, but a bit more spendy than parts for appliances.
      You could always mount 2 in parallel if the 3/8 is not enough, besides you get at least 2 out of a scrap washing machine, there are 3 in my current Lg machine, I've been waiting patiently for it to die to get at the guts!, not a chance the damn thing will outlast me, theres no separate drive motor its a giant flat motor mounted directly onto the drum, its like a stepper motor on steroids


      • #4
        Not an answer, but an observation. Several times, I have brought my Orbit valves back to life by taking the control board enclosure apart and drying everything out for a few days. It seems that they get moisture inside and that causes the electronics to "misfire".



        • #5
          I sell irrigation supplies (and other things) and washing machine valves don't have enough flow AND aren't code for most municipalities.

          Stop buying POS Orbits and get either Toro or Rain Bird controller and valves.

          Speaking of code, if you're not using a backflow preventer you're breaking the law and risking the health of everyone on your water supply- entire subdivisions had been poisoned due to one irrigation system backflowing.


          • #6
            I have used Orbit low voltage solenoid irrigation valves commercially for over 14 yrs, replaced 1 solenoid (not the valve) out of 25 in that time period.

            You can use the timer you have selected but connect it to a 24 vac transformer(door bell or HVAC transformers work fine) and use it to operate the off the shelf type irrigation valve.


            • #7
              Isnt a backflow preventer just an acceptable name for a one way valve , if you purchase a backflow preventer it is costlier than a plain old one way valve.



              • #8



                • #9
                  Backflow preventers are combinations of one way check valves with testing ports and need to be tested annually by a licensed technician. Code used to be "double check" it is now "triple check".


                  • #10
                    Is backflow really a problem or is it a way to make money on testing every year??????????



                    • #11
                      It's a problem. The mains supply is only protected by its pressure. If the pressure is lost what you have in your system can backflow into the mains. The valves leak (won't completely stop back flow) after a few years. If you know what you are doing, the repair is just seats and O-rings, but you need specialized meter and your testing likely won't pass municipal review.

                      Irrigation system are only part of the issue - many pools and water heating systems have automatic fill valves protected by backflow preventers. If they fail you could be drinking from your neighbors hot tub

                      A new Watts Backflow valve it comes with a one year test warranty and cost $88. Around here it cost $125 or more to have your existing valve tested. Cheaper to just drop in a new valve each year.

                      To answer the original post - buy a decent controller. I've put in many Toro systems with zero issues over 25 years.
                      Last edited by lakeside53; 02-21-2014, 09:21 PM.


                      • #12
                        Ok, the question is How often does the city water loose pressure,
                        and when that happens, how often does contaminated water
                        (contaminated with what?) flow back in to the mains?
                        I mean, does this happen a lot?
                        I just can't see all the right events line up perfectly for there
                        to be some sort of contamination issue from something.
                        If you can, please tell me some numbers or cite an example(s).
                        I am really interested, because I always thought these backflow
                        things were a gimmick to make inspection dollars.



                        • #13
                          We loose pressure every time we loose power. The generator starts up within a minute but in that minute the pressure is gone. When the water company flushes the mains (monthly), the pressure is lost. Also... some idiot seems to dig up the mains or a serious feeder every year or so.

                          After several bacterial contaminations a few years ago we retrofitted our entire community with soft seat check valves (not backflow preventers, but a decent half step) at the meters. The theory being the mains were in fine shape, but some local residents pipe was leaking (and sucking back from ground water when pressure was lost) or some illegal hookup in their house was contaminating the system. So far, two years later, all tests are good.

                          I don't have numbers you want, but they are not a gimmick. Sadly they are only effective if everyone on the system has one has one on their relevant systems.


                          • #14
                            Thanks, Sounds like it has some merit.
                            Just thinking where contamination might come from.
                            Toilet tanks I would think to be bacteria free,
                            but I dunno for sure. Would I drink from a
                            toilet tank? I guess if I was in a desert, but
                            I guess not. So I think it makes sense in a
                            crazy big "what if" scenario kind of way.


                            • #15
                              Your need to understand the wide use of injectors. At our nursery we use 'fertigation'. Mixing special fertilizers into a tank where they are injected at precise ratio's into the water used inside the nursery to fertilize crops. We also have a backflow preventer - dbl chk.

                              Dosatron is just one manufacture-


                              Our injectors are great for:

                              Wetting Agents
                              Compost Tea

                              Look at the website it will open your eyes and should scare you a bit.
                              Animal medications added to their drinking water.
                              Fertalizers, insecticides, sanitizers, car wash soap, printing press chemicals, etc. etc.

                              There are actually very good reasons for backflow preventers, osmosis will move chemicals backward with out mains pressure loss.
                              edit: osmosis is the wrong term but chemicals will move backward from higher concentration to lower
                              Last edited by Abner; 02-22-2014, 08:43 AM.