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Discussion Starter #1
I built a pneumatic valve with a sprinkler valve/solenoid and I feel like it might not be working correctly but since I have never tried this before, it might just be the consequence of using a sprinkler valve to activate a prop.

When connected with a 12v transformer and a remote switch to power the transformer off and on, sometimes the valve wont fire, it buzzes alittle bit and I noticed that when I change the psi (up or down) if I was having issues with it activating the valve, the change in psi will do the trick.

if this is a character of a DIY valve, what a royal PITA it will be to have to keep playing with the psi all night long when it wont activate.

If it might be a faulty solenoid or valve, ill go buy another one.

Any thoughts?
 

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The solenoid is what's giving you problems. They are electro-magnetic coils that when energized, pull a small plunger up and uncover the bypass to activate the valve. Most everyone I've ever seen takes 24 volts to energize (actually the transformers that operate them produce 27.9 to 28 volts AC). Any hardware stroe that carries irrigation equipment should have a plug in transformer that should remedy your problem. Check the instructions (or check on the solenoid) to see if this is what you need, but it really sounds like you don't have enough voltage to activate the solenoid on a regular basis.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Brad,

You have me questioning whether or not my transformer is 12v or 24v (thought it was 12v, but im allmost 100% that it matched the solenoid rating on the box)

If by chance it is a 24v transformer, would you suggest I replace the solenoid? or try to up the voltage?

I dont think it would hurt the solenoid to hook it up to 110 for a couple seconds at a time to test and since im not planning on using them next year (going with commercial pnuematics) im not too concerned with lowering the life expectancy of the solenoid.

Thanks again.
 

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Just a thought. I've not used a sprinkler valve/solenoid Hellspawn. But I did have a problem powering up a transformer which seemed to give me unpredictable results. I changed to switching the line going to the device and leaving the transformer powered up all the time. It may be the transformer needs to "get to the proper power" which may vary just a bit. Play around with the wires going to the valve by just connecting and disconnecting and see if you can get predictable results.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Just a thought. I've not used a sprinkler valve/solenoid Hellspawn. But I did have a problem powering up a transformer which seemed to give me unpredictable results. I changed to switching the line going to the device and leaving the transformer powered up all the time. It may be the transformer needs to get "up to full power" which may vary just a bit. Play around with the wires going to the valve by just connecting and disconnecting and see if you can get predictable results.
Hmmm,

Very good suggestion, it would make sense, im using a large transformer that is used to power outdoor malibu lights, ill rig up a way to switch power to the solenoid instead of the transformer and see if that solves it.

I never in a million years would have thought to try that!

Thanks again for the suggestion.
 

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I would try that,if it doesn't work then take a in depth look at the transformer. If the transformer isn't supplying enough amperage, or too much that can also cause a soliniod to fail. But as a practice with any type of transformer wiring, it should always be powered and switching should occure after the unit.
 

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Hmmm,

Very good suggestion, it would make sense, im using a large transformer that is used to power outdoor malibu lights, ill rig up a way to switch power to the solenoid instead of the transformer and see if that solves it.

I never in a million years would have thought to try that!

Thanks again for the suggestion.
If it's a Malibu transformer, then it's it putting out 12 volts. I believe Brad is correct. From what I've read, sprinkler values need 24 volts. Switch to a sprinkler transformer and you should be good to go.
 

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Uh, Hellspawn, definately do NOT hook the solenoid up to direct 110v, it will probably go boom. These little items require between 23 to 29 volts AC to function properly. If you have a digital meter (only about $12. at any hardware dept.), set it for 200AC, plug in the transformer and check the voltage output. Too little, and you will fail to fire, too much, and, well, boom. I do this for a living as an irrigation specialist (amoung other things) for the City of Apopka, so I'm kinda used to them. ScareFX has a very good idea about leaving the transformer hot and switching between the device and the transformer. Should work fine.
 

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If you have a Lowe's or Home Depot, they have a 24v transformer for $12.99 at lowe's. It is made by Rain Bird and it works perfect with the sprinkler valve.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks everyone, It looks like you all hit it on the head, not enough voltage.

Hopefully my wife will not notice another 25.00-30.00 spent at the home depot :D
 
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